in the early sixteenth century the Calusas were actively trading with the Apalachees, a north Florida group with assumed Southeastern Ceremonial Complex affiliation.
Widmer goes on to say that the Calusa tribe, who are mentioned specifically in Russell's novel, were known to interact with SECC groups:
Ossie plans to travel to the "underworld" with Louis, using an entrance to the realm that lies through "the Eye of the Needle," a narrow waterway between two Calusa shell mounds deep within the twisting canals of the swamps (150, 187).
Ava describes the two Calusa shell mounds creating the Eye of the Needle as "a kind of Calusa Scylla and Charybdis" (294-95), and perhaps this Greek myth is a fitting analogy for the treacherous passage between the twin dangers of childhood and adulthood as presented by the novel.
Some Calusas equated conversion with enslavement (p.
Hann has produced a comprehensive English source book concerning the Calusa Indians of South Florida and their neighbors as seen through Spanish eyes.
Parts Two and Three provide additional documentation about the Calusa in the late sixteenth and early eighteenth centuries respectively.
The Calusa Indians whom Europeans encountered in South Florida in the early sixteenth century formed a "complex and powerful society" with their own religious beliefs, rituals, and art.
The Franciscans' brief mission to the Calusa in late 1697 was based on the presupposition that the Native Americans sincerely wished to be incorporated into the Catholic Church (baptized); Spain simply needed to provide the missionaries to accomplish this task.
The plan to bring the remaining Calusa to Cuba in 1710 was killed by bureaucratic procrastination and in-fighting.