The Mayaimi, also called Maymi and Maimi, were Native American people who lived around Lake Okeechobee in Florida until the 17th or 18th century. The lake was then called Mayaimi, which meant “big water” in the language of the tribes living there. Miami derived its name from Lake Mayaimi.
The Mayaimis built ceremonial and village earthwork mounds around Lake Okeechobee similar to those of the Mississippian culture and earlier mound builders.
They dug many canals as other earthworks, to use as pathways for their canoes. The dugout canoes were a platform-type with shovel-shaped ends, resembling those used in Central America and the West Indies.
Mayaimis used to live scattered in many towns of thirty or forty inhabitants each. Lake Okeechobee provided most of the Mayaimis’ food. They used fishing weirs and ate bass, eels, American Alligator tails, Virginia Opossum, terrapins and snakes, and processed coontie for flour. In high- water season they lived on their mounds and ate only fish.
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