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Houston R. Cypress

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The Reverend
Houston R. Cypress
Born (1980-11-22) November 22, 1980 (age 43)
Florida Everglades, U.S.
💼 Occupation
Artist, Poet, Filmmaker, spiritual environmentalist
Known forEverglades education, conservation, spirituality
🌐 Websitewww.lovetheeverglades.org
🥚 TwitterTwitter=
label65 = 👍 Facebook

Houston R. Cypress (born November 22, 1980; in the swamps of the Florida Everglades) is a Two-Spirit Native American artist,[1] poet, environmental activist,[2] ordained minister, and filmmaker from the Otter Clan of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. Cypress is an advocate[3] for two-spirited and non-binary gender peoples, Everglades ecosystem and cultural preservation, sovereignty, and environmental issues.[4] He co-founded Love the Everglades Movement. Through his artistic practice, Cypress explores and articulates queer ecological knowledge[5] through community-based artistic, mystical, and shamanistic techniques, including deep listening practice,[6] ceremony, prayer walks,[7] and service. Cypress is a member of the National Advisory Committee[8] for the Artists in Residency in Everglades (AIRIE), an organization in partnership with the Everglades National Park.

Early life[edit]

Cypress grew up Miccosukee bilingual playing in the Everglades.[9] He shared in an interview[10] that growing into a Two-Spirit person continues to take him further on a path of healing through ceremony, plant medicine, art, therapy, 12-step fellowships, Two-Spirit, queer, and LGBT communities, and honoring Miccosukee spirituality.[11]

Love the Everglades Movement[edit]

In 2013 Cypress co-founded the non-profit Love the Everglades Movement (LTEM),[12] with his artist Jean Sarmiento, an organization devoted to the development of platforms and initiatives for environmental protection and cultural preservation. They started out by organizing educational Everglades airboat excursions and over the years have expanded to include Everglades cleanups, prayer circles in urban areas in Miami, 2TLGBQ+ hikes in Big Cypress National Preserve prioritizing Trans people.

LTEM Annual Summer Symposium[edit]

2014-2017: Cypress facilitated these two-day summer symposia[13] which were held at the Miccosukee Resort & Gaming Center. Seminole and Miccosukee citizens joined about 100 environmental activist and politicians. The goal was to bring communities together for networking and information sharing on environmental, political, social, and spiritual concerns regarding Everglades Restoration.

Walk for Mother Earth[edit]

2015-2017: Prayer Walks on U.S. Highway 41 (Ochopee to Naples, Ochopee to Miami)[edit]

Cypress organized these prayers walks with Miccosukee grandmother Betty Osceola along with her uncle Bobby C. Billie (1946-2018),[14] attracting people of other First Nations, Everglades people, scientists, environmentalists, and concerned citizens. Billie, a spiritual and clan leader (whose official title was Council of the Original Miccosukee Simanolee Nation Aboriginal Peoples) lead this multi-day prayer walk along a proposed bike path to be built on Florida State Route 41 between Naples and Miami which was designated as the River of Grass Greenway (ROGG) with negative repercussions this project would bring to the Everglades ecosystem. Eventually, the Collier County Board of Commissioners followed by the Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners concluded in both counties by rescinding the project.

2019: Lake Okeechobee Prayer Walk[edit]

In January 2019, Cypress served as one of the organizers with Betty Osceola and Holley Rauen, from Pachamama Alliance Southwest Florida. A group of six participants walked for seven days and 118-mile prayer walk[15] to bring attention to the water quality issues.

2019: Walk for Mother Earth[edit]

In December 2019, Cypress and Betty Osceola organized a group of over 60 participants during a two-day long and 31-mile prayer walk[16] in the historic Loop Road in Ochopee, Florida.

2021: Defend the Sacred Prayer Walk on U.S. Highway 41 (US 41)[edit]

LTEM supported in organizing this prayer walk[17] with Miccosukee grandmother Betty Osceola. The walk was held over two days from Monument Lake Campground to Carnes Town in the Everglades.

Collaborative Art Projects[edit]

2016: Inflection Points: Healing waters, healing culture[edit]

“Inflection Points” (2016, art installation) was a spiritual and interactive installation curated[18] by Cypress who also lead the Miccosukee Embassy History and Tour,[19] as part of Tigertail Productions’ month-long Water Festival. This installation was commissioned by Tigertail, a Knight Arts grantee, and it was activated during the tour. This was a project built on the work that Cypress and Sarmiento had been doing through Love the Everglades Movement for a few years. The installation and ceremony borrowed water from 13 sites located throughout the Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades watershed–the Greater Everglades. The water samples were merged into one vessel and attendees prayer around it. This water contained in the vessel was later released back to the sites from they were collected.

2021: What-Endures...(Short Film)[edit]

“What-Endures...” (2021, short film) [20] created and directed by Cypress as a digital commissioned by the Institute of Contemporary Art (Miami). The film was envisioned as a non-binary, interfaith travelogue set amidst the landscapes in the Greater Everglades.

NOMAD MFA[edit]

2020: Cypress becomes part of the team as a visiting artist[21] with the University of Hartford, Hartford Art School Interdisciplinary, Masters of Fine Arts.

Oolite Arts Residency[edit]

2022: Cypress and Sarmiento from Love the Everglades Movement were awarded an arts residency by Oolite Arts[22]Miami.

Awards[edit]

On January 7, 2022, Cypress received the Everglades Coalition Grassroots Activism Award.[23]

References[edit]

  1. "Everglades Seminars". ICAMiami. Retrieved January 7, 2022.
  2. "Native American Activist Houston Cypress Calls Out People in Headdresses at Ultra Music Festival". MiamiNewTimes. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  3. "BIPOC Local Leads Community Closer to the Everglades". SFGN. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  4. "Everglades Coalition Virtual Meeting". TheNewsPress. Retrieved January 9, 2022.
  5. "Two-Spirit Man Fights for the Everglades". MiamiNewTimes. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  6. "Houston Cypress Big Listening Deep Cypress". LocustProjects. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  7. "FIU Indigenous Events". FIU. Retrieved January 9, 2022.
  8. "National Advisory Committee". AIRIE.
  9. "In conversation with Houston Cypress". EarthIslandJournal. Retrieved January 9, 2022.
  10. "Inflection Point Art Installation". KnightFoundation. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  11. "What We Stand On an Interview with Houston Cypress". BOMB. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  12. "Houston Cypress Activism as a Form of Creative Healing". TheCreativeIndependent. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  13. "Love the Everglades Symposium focuses on Conservation". TheSeminoleTribune. Retrieved January 9, 2022.
  14. "Indigenous Environmental Leader Bobby C. Billie Dies". TheNewsPress. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  15. "Lake O Prayer Walk". TheNewsPress. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  16. "Loop Road Prayer Walk". Mut. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  17. "Defending the Sacred". TheNewsPress.
  18. "Interview with Houston Cypress". MiamiRail. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  19. "Houston Cypress Inflection Point Installation". KnightFoundation. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  20. "What Endures...Film". ICAMiami. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  21. "Visiting Artists". NomadMFA.
  22. "Love the Everglades Residents". OoliteArts. Retrieved January 9, 2022.
  23. "Grassroots Activism Awards". EvergladesCoalition. Retrieved January 9, 2022.

External links[edit]


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