Published on October 23, 2012 by Amy
The Tekesta Indians lived in what is now Dade and Broward Counties, southeast Florida, and had a capitol town, probably also called Tekesta, in Miami. Although their social structure was collapsing when their manner of life was first recorded, there is some indication that before contact with Europeans and before the hegemony of the better known Calusa Indians, they had developed a paramount chiefdom or state-level society.
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They were preceeded in Florida by paleoindian big game hunters, but the Tekesta and other Taino peoples who settled Bimini (the Taino name for Florida) after 8000 B.C. were quite different, representing a tropical marine adaptation imported from the Caribbean and ultimately Amazonia.
The Native American population of the Caribbean was complex, but in the course of time it came to share a sense of common heritage based on genetic and geographic origin, a common language, environment, and some shared culture. The term Taino refers to this sense of common heritage that is shared by modern tribes such as the Jatibonicu of Boriken and also the historical tribes of Bimini, such as the Calusa, Timucua, Tekesta, Ais, and Jaega.
Today those who are aware of their Taino heritage are struggling to define themselves in terms of it. This web page, which is sponsored by the Tekesta’s fellow Arawak-speaking Taino, aims to help them toward that goal.