Why We Exist

Sadly, the story of Florida's first native peoples and the 12,000 plus years that they cared for this land is largely untold. Even more frightening, they have begun to fade from our memories entirely. Due to the geographic location of Florida in North America, these natives bore the brunt of the invading armies of the Spanish, French and English in the 16th century. They were, therefore, first to succumb to warfare, slavery and diseases introduced from Europe. In less than 2 centuries the Timucua, Apalachee, Calusa, Tocobaga, Ais, Mayaca, Hororo, and many other ancient chiefdoms had perished. Only their shell mounds, along with a few personal artifacts, are left to mark their passing. Each of us has ancestors that, at some time in history, lived in a "primitive" society; a world where their survival depended on extensive knowledge of the natural environment and their ability to adapt themselves to it. No matter how advanced our technology is today, we are still dependent on our environment for our air, water, food, clothing and shelter. You don't need to be of Native American descent to appreciate and respect our Mother Earth.

Who We Are

Heritage Of The Ancient Ones (HOTAO) is a multi-cultural, non-profit, educational organization. We are dedicated to preserving the history, culture and traditions of Florida's original native peoples while promoting respect for Mother Earth.

The Ancient Native Village Living History Museum

HOTAO has re-created the pre-Columbian native village of Uzita, based on research of historical documentation (recorded by early Spanish and French explorers and missionaries) as well as on careful analysis of archaeological evidence. The Ancient Native Village serves as a classroom for preserving the knowledge of ancient skills and traditions, and as an honoring place where we can go to remember the ancient ones. Here, each of us has an opportunity to find our place within the hoop.

The Ancient Native Traveling Exibit

Since 1993, our living history educators have taken The Ancient Native Village Traveling Exibit to schools, museums, and state and national parks throughout the Southeast; interpreting the history of Florida's original native people. Thousands of children and adults have visited The Ancient Native Village, briefly leaving the 20th century behind and entering the world of an ancient tribal society.