7. Mocama Networks
“Timucuan Transportation” NPS display
The Mocamas used coastal waterways and the St. Johns River as their main highways. Traveling by tico (canoe) was much quicker than by foot. Mocamas built and cleared sand and dirt paths leading to these water highways. They left canoes along the banks for those who needed them. They used canoes for daily activities like traveling to areas to collect food. Mocamas also traveled far and wide to visit with other Indigenous nations, to trade for resources not available in their own national territory, to visit important religious sites, and to engage in both peace and war. Through waterways, Mocamas maintained their connections to one another but also connected to a much larger world of Indigenous peoples.
Mocamas were expert canoe designers and builders. They made canoes mostly out of pine but sometimes out of cypress. Long, shallow canoes were ideal for speed and light loads, whiles ones with higher sides were better for transporting heavy cargoe. To fashion a canoe, Mocamas hollowed a pine or cypress tree trunk first by using fire to burn the wood and then chipping away to shape it. They repeated this process until the canoe was done.
To learn more from a Seminole artisan named Pedro Zepeda about Seminole canoe building watch this video.