Filed Under Story

6. Mocama Town Life

“Timucuan Friends” NPS display

You are looking at a replica of a Mocama paha (house). Most Mocama houses would have been smaller, but holatacare (chiefs) had houses similar in size to this one. Isocare (mothers) were the heads of these households, not itecare (fathers). Mocama children belonged to their mother’s haso (clan), or extended family. Many generations lived together, and Mocama husbands moved into their wives’ multi-generational homes when they married.

According to archaeologists, Mocama pahas (houses) were round with a pointed top like a pyramid, about 20-25 feet across, with wooden frames and thatched roofs made out of sabal palm fronds. Mocamas lived in homesteads. In addition to one or more pahas, they would also have a garden, a storage building for food and tools, and an outdoor fire and cooking area with drying and smoking racks for fish, meat, and animal hides.

Mocama households were the foundation of their towns and nation. Mocama hicacare (towns) were made up of many pahas (houses), which were spread out across the town’s territory near the marshes. The hica of Saturiwa, for example, had 25 pahas and probably 200 or 250 residents. Separate households were anchored to a central town or community center which included the holata’s house and perhaps houses of other political leaders. Every Mocama town had a large council house, similar to a modern-day community center or government building, which was at least 60 feet across. There was also a central plaza and game post for their ball game, and a public granary for storing extra food supplies.

Many political decisions were made by each household. For example, families made decisions about whether to join in a war. Women governed these spaces and played an important role in the decisions that affected not only their own families but families across the Mocama world.

Images

"A Mocama Town" A painting that depicts Mocama people engaging in everyday town activities. Source: Warren Anderson, Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute of Florida Creator: John Robak
"Timucuan Friends" National Park Service Wayside Display A still image of the "Timucuan Friends" wayside display located at the entrance of the "Timucuan Village" National Park Service display. Source: National Park Service Creator: The National Park Service at the Fort Caroline National Memorial
"Timucuan Hut" National Park Service Display A photo of the "Timucuan Hut" as part of the "Timucuan Village" National Park Service display. It is meant to recreate what a Mocama house would have looked like. Source: Center for Instructional and Research Technology (CIRT), University of North Florida, and the National Park Service Creator: Michael Boyles (photo) and the National Park Service at the Fort Caroline National Memorial (display) Date: 2023
"Timucuan Village" National Park Service Display A photo of the "Timucuan Village" National Park Service display, meant to recreate what a Mocama Town would have looked like. Source: Center for Instructional and Research Technology (CIRT), University of North Florida, and the National Park Service Creator: Michael Boyles (photo), the National Park Service at the Fort Caroline National Memorial (display) Date: 2023
Indigenous Fort Caroline Tour Map A map displaying the physical locations associated with each tour spot. You are now at Spot 6 in front of the “Timucuan Friends” National Park Service display before the "Timucuan Village" National Park Service recreation. Our path takes you from the Main Parking Lot, past the Timucuan Preserve Visitor Center, overlooking the river, along the Fort Caroline Memorial Trail, to the actual replica of Fort Caroline. Source: Center for Instructional and Research Technology (CIRT), University of North Florida, and the National Park Service Creator: Michael Boyles and the National Park Service at the Fort Caroline National Memorial Date: 2023

Location

Metadata

Indigenous Florida, “6. Mocama Town Life,” Indigenous Florida, accessed April 20, 2024, https://indigenousflorida.domains.unf.edu/items/show/40.