Guardian Chief Buffalo Tiger Dead at 94
Guardian of the Everglades Chief Buffalo Tiger passed away January 7 at his home in south Florida. Stately, gentle, strong and a leader through action, Buffalo is the epitome of what a Guardian of the Everglades should be.
The American government didn't take the Miccosukee Tribe seriously until Chief Buffalo Tiger began to renegotiate a treaty with Cuban leader Fidel Castro in the 1950s. Buffalo was authentic, strong and serene to the end. Go peacefully, Buffalo. Stay strong, Yolima, Lee and also Betty.
Buffalo Tiger grabbed headlines in July 1959 when he and other representatives of the tribe traveled to Cuba and met with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara after the United States refused to recognize the tribe.
"We wanted land set aside for us and to be left alone," Buffalo Tiger said in a 1997 interview with the Miami Herald. “'No one in Washington would listen to us."
During the trip, about six months after Castro came to power, Buffalo Tiger said he "smoked some cigars" with Castro and Guevara and asked if they recognized the Miccosukee Tribe. Castro said he did and if the U.S. government would not give the tribe land to live on, “Cuba would make room for us,” Buffalo Tiger said.
“The government started dealing with us seriously then,” Buffalo Tiger said. In January 1962, 8 months after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, the U.S. recognized the tribe.
After retiring in the 1970’s Buffalo Tiger opened Buffalo Tiger’s Airboat Tours with his wife, which the couple ran until several years ago. The tours still operate and are known worldwide for their authenticity. ~Palm Beach Post