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In the 1800s, the Florida Seminole and Miccosukee tribes were chased into the Everglades by American troops. They survived by constructing shelter that could quickly be built and taken down. Cypress logs and palm fronds - from sabal and palmetto palm trees - were readily available to them. The Seminoles used these resources to build chickees. "Chickee" is the Seminole word for house. Chickee houses are commonly referred to as the more familiar Polynesian term "Tiki Huts". Tiki Huts consisted of thick cypress posts supporting a thatched roof and a flat wooden platform. This platform was raised a couple feet off the ground to protect the Tiki Huts from flooding, animals and to provide cooling.

Chickee huts or Tiki Huts soon became a dependable source of revenue for the Seminoles. Recognizing this as imperative to their livelihood, the final treaty, signed in 1990, between the United States Government and the 4 Tribes granted them the right to build and place Tiki Huts wherever they could find business, regardless of zoning and permits. Seminoles still use this type of architecture for Tiki Huts throughout South Florida. You will find Tiki Huts, at the finest resorts, as well as comfortable residential paradises.

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