Naples school uses restored Native American hut in lessons

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NAPLES, Fla. – A Seminole tribe artifact has been restored to educate elementary school children.

The Chickee Hut at Lake Park Elementary used to be fenced off because it needed repairs. But with the help of the Everglades Foundation, local families and members of the Seminole tribe, teachers can now use the hut for learning.

“We were able to restore it and actually improve it adding a deck,” said Principal Chris Marker. “The same group of Seminole craftsmen who came in initially to build it came under chief Lonnie Billy returned and did the renovations for us.”

Now the piece of history is being used as an outdoor classroom. On Thursday, Lake Park fourth grade teachers used the hut in a lesson about how African-Americans were treated in relation to Native Americans. So far, teachers believe the Chickee Hut is a great teaching tool.

“Education is very multifaceted,” one teacher, Kristin Merrill said. “And my job is to teach children and to teach them the facts, but also to teach them the real world and life skills and to be able to mesh the two together and an outdoor environment like this is the perfect way to do it.”

One student said he is happy the hut was opened to students’ use.

“That made me very proud because I really like coming out here and that other people love it as much as I do,” fourth-grader Bridget Woolley said.

Principal Marker said he expects the Chickee Hut to continue deliver learning lessons to students.

“It’s something that our school will be able to use for years to come,” he said.

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