Florida Native Hororo Stories

(Hororo is a less common spelling of the Spanish Jororo. I chose the 'H' spelling for the title to avoid the common English mispronunciation, and to play on the words 'horror story'. These stories aren't meant to be scary, but you might find my writing to be that horrible - though maybe I shouldn't have said that before you read it.

Jororo is properly pronounced 'Hoe-roe-roe'. Most English speakers seeing the word for the first time tend to pronounce it Joe-roe-roe. But since what we know of the Florida Natives comes to us from the Spanish accounts, I will from this point on use the more traditional spelling, Jororo.)

The Jororo were the Indians native to Southern Central Florida prior to and early into the Spanish Colonial period of Florida's history. They lived in what is now Southern Orange County, Southern Lake County, all of Polk County, and Western Osceola County, plus possibly at least northern Highlands County. The cities of Kissimmee, Lakeland, Winter Haven and Lake Wales are all located on former Jororo territory, as are Disney World, Sea World, Gatorland, and Cypress Gardens.

Unlike the Calusa, Appalachee, or Timocua, comparatively little has been written about the Jororo. Their homeland was very remote from the Spanish population centers, and frankly, exploiting them wouldn't have been very profitable for Spain. The Jororo are essentially a forgotten people, and these stories are my meager attempt to salute them.

These stories are works of 'historical fiction'. I have attempted to present realistic Jororo settings based on the few historical facts we actually have, along with common cultural aspects of other southeastern American Indian tribes, plus my personal experience living and camping in the Florida wilderness, as well as insights arrived at after two Vision Quests that I have undertaken in some of the remaining wilderness of the Jororo country.

Among the historical facts I have gleaned about the Jororo are:

1 They spoke the same language as the Mayaca, the tribe who lived to the immediate North.

2 There were three Spanish missions established among the Jororo, but they didn't last long at all before the Jororo rebelled at the way they were treated by the mission priests.

3 Like other pre-contact Florida tribes, they wore little to no clothing. The men and children generally went naked in warm weather. The women may have ornamented themselves with drapes of Spanish Moss and various shells. (Recently, some people, including a few educational web sites, are saying that the Spanish chroniclers meant that the natives were scantly clad rather than actually naked. I tend to give the Spanish writers credit for knowing the meaning of the word 'naked'! Rather than bog the reader down here on this topic, I have included it in an author's note at the end for anyone who cares.)

4. Like most Florida tribes, the Jororo lived exclusively by lakes or rivers. Water travel was heavily depended on.

5. Disease brought by the Europeans, as well as slave-taking raids devastated the Florida Native population. The Jororo's remote location didn't spare them. We have accounts of slave raids well South of Jororo country. If any Jororo survived the disease and slave raids, it is likely they were absorbed into the later-arriving Seminole tribe as they worked their way down the peninsula.

Though collected together here, the stories were meant to each stand alone. For this reason, you will see repetition of the above facts from story to story. Please accept my apology if this repetition is tiresome.

Without belaboring things any further, I present the following Florida Jororo Stories:

La Florida Vacation

The Last of the Jororos

Living the Dream

A Walk on the Outside

Author's note


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