People examine architectural model of a Seminole chickee building
Students and faculty examine a model of traditional Seminole chickee during a workshop hosted at Sage Hill.

Special Project | 2023

Seminole Chickee Architecture with Everett Osceola

On October 15th 2023, IoES Sage Hill was honored to host an outdoor workshop featuring Everett Osceola the Cultural Ambassador for the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The event was attended by UCLA students, faculty, staff and members of the local community. Everett is an expert in the construction and design of “chickee” buildings. Chickees are constructed from palmetto leaves and other native materials and used as event spaces, houses, and businesses. Everett brought along a model chickee to demonstrate the practical function and cultural significance of this unique architectural tradition. Everett donated the model chickee to the Architecture Lab at UCLA where it is currently on display.

Guest speaker Everett Osceola of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Photo: Cully Nordby.
Everett brought an architectural model of a chickee to explain how this adaptable structure is constructed and used today in Florida.

The event was the fourth workshop in “The Forgotten Canopies” series organized by professors Stella Nair of the Art History Department, Shannon Speed of the American Indian Studies Center, and Paul Neill of Florida State University. The series, funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the American Indian Studies Center, explored linkages between ecology, architecture, and colonialism in the Caribbean, South American and Transatlantic Worlds.

People examine architectural model of a seminole chickee
Attendees examine the intricate folding of palmetto leaves required to make a rainproof chickee roof.
Attendees seated on folding chairs facing visiting speaker outdoors at Sage Hill.
The workshop was held outdoors at Sage Hill to learn about the place-based architecture and modern use of the Seminole chickee. Photo: Cully Nordby.

On behalf of the participants in “The Forgotten Canopy” conferences and associated workshops at UCLA, we acknowledge the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (the Los Angeles basin and So. Channel Islands). As a land grant institution, we pay our respects to the Honuukvetam (Ancestors), ‘Ahiihirom (Elders) and ‘Eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging.