2014 Opening Session Speaker: Wonderous fruit, bountiful land: from trucks farms to Agribusiness

Gary Mormino


How many of you know Chief James Billie? The story goes that after he returned from Viet Nam in the 1970s, to his astonishment
the Seminoles elected him tribal chair. In lacking the confidence to lead the Seminoles—this is a modern era—you’ve got to realize the Seminoles were impoverished, he consulted an elderly medicine man and asked “what can I do to win over my people?” He said “son, you must first go out and capture, kill, and eat a Florida Panther,” which he proceeded to do, and he was promptly arrested for killing a native species. He pleaded that it was a religious purification ceremony on sovereign land and in fact, was acquitted in what was called the trial of the century in Ft. Lauderdale.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283