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Sanibel Sea School hosts Calusa Week for campers

By Staff | Jul 30, 2018

SANIBEL SEA SCHOOL Calusa Week campers practice canoeing on the San Carlos Bay.

Calusa Week, a week in celebration of the Native Americans who were the earliest known inhabitants of Florida’s southwest coast, is a favorite among Sanibel Sea School campers each summer.

The Calusa were fierce, strong seafarers and their history can teach us many things about how to coexist with the sea. Participants explored their culture from various angles, retracing their footsteps to become young ocean warriors.

The Calusa used the ocean for subsistence, constructing nets out of natural fibers to catch fish, and transforming shells and other materials from the earth into weapons, tools and supplies. Campers tried weaving their own net cord from coconut husk and palm fibers, used seine nets to catch fish, and learned how to craft tools, palm leaf plates and clay pottery.

They also practiced Calusa traditions like canoeing, shelter building and trading. The week ended with the beloved Totem Game, where each group gathers items from nature to symbolize fishing, shelter, clothing and cooking, then builds a symbolic totem to be judged by the group leaders.

As usual, both weeks included plenty of time for surfing, macram tying, and hanging out with camp friends.

The Sanibel Sea School is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time. For more information about the organization, visit sanibelseaschool.org.

The Sanibel Sea School is at 455 Periwinkle Way.