Honor Indigenous Peoples of North Central Florida

by W. Gilbert

Please honor the Timucan People who once lived in this area by removing the Rodman Dam and re-naming Newnans Lake.

The dam should be removed for several reasons:

  • It would allow the Ocklawaha River to flow naturally to give us the natural beauty and benefits the Timucan people of long ago enjoyed.
  • It would allow once again the migration of fish and manatees. 
  • It would reveal and bring to life the 20-plus lost springs in the river that artist and environmentalist Margaret Ross Tolbert revealed to us with her community presentations about The Lost Springs of Florida.
  • The restored area would be a jewel for our Ocklawaha River Watershed and a shining example for the State of Florida in the restoration of damaged natural environment.  By removing the dam, nature will quickly repair the area.
  • The watershed, the ‘Real Florida’ will then be a natural attraction and bring many eco-tourists, benefiting everyone — particularly local residents.
  • Recognize and honor the Timucan People who once lived in this area by renaming Newnans Lake  –  Lake Pithlachocco as it was called by the Timucan People.

Fresh water defines our ‘sense of place,’ living here in the Orange Creek Basin of the Ocklawaha River Watershed, in Alachua County. We must protect it and restore its quality because it is part of us.

“We must go beyond the arrogance of human rights,” stated Santee Lakota John Trudell, during his address at the Survival Gathering during 1980. “We must go beyond the arrogance of civil rights. We must step into the reality of natural rights because the natural world has a right to existence. We are only a small part of it. There can be no trade-off.”

Please contact: the Alachua Board of County Commissioners, the Gainesville City Commission, the Gainesville Sun, and the Independent Florida Alligator.

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