Native Canoe Log

Who Were The Calusa?

People have been coming to Florida since some time in the late 1400’s. There has been a number of recorded events linking the Spanish, French and English to Florida. While this has been true the real question is who originally settled Florida and what do we know about them? In honesty, I thine everyone wishes we knew more. We did some research and have put together some interesting information about the natives. When you are out on the water paddling next time, you will have a little history to reflect on.

Who were the Calusa Indians?

Calusa (sometimes spelled Caloosa) were the native people to Florida. While their language, both written and spoken may be lost, we do know some interesting things about these native Floridians. For instance, they lived close to the coast and inland waterways. It seems they preferred to live in open walled buildings consisting mainly of a thatched roof. Just like today Florida was hot back then as well. They traveled the waterways in canoes that were hollowed out large cypress logs. It is also believed they traveled the waterways on large rafts made from logs fastened together possibly using a paddle or pole to move around. They most likely were the first paddle boarders in our area!

Were They Farmers or Fisherman?

Living on the water, it appears they were not farmers at all. Just like most of us today, we love the seafood available locally. You may have seen or heard about the large shell mounds that are located around the coastlines of Southwest Florida. These appear to be remains of the harvesting of all kinds of shell fish. Tools that have been found seem to suggest they turned fish bones into spear and arrow heads for hunting deer and other land animals. No doubt they used there canoes, kayaks and paddle board like rafts to hunt as well. Likewise today, many people enjoy fishing right from their stand up paddleboard.

So the next time you are out on the water here in Southwest Florida take a minute to look around. Imagine the shoreline without houses, no bridges and boats. The peaceful environment and the beauty of our waters here in Southwest Florida were enjoyed for hundreds of years. Even today when you are around our mangroves and tucked back in away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life you might for just a glimps know what life for the Calusa’s were like.

We would love to have you out on the water with us when you are in Florida. We have been helping people enjoy our local waters on kayaks and paddleboards. Bring your own, or rent from us. Look forward to seeing you on the water soon! Give us a call or complete our online request form.