Last Stand

Battling both polluters and conservationists, the Miccosukees aim to save their Everglades home

Inside the $50 million casino resort that Florida's Miccosukee Indians have just opened near Miami, it's hard to imagine that the rows of blinking machines could have any purpose more sublime than electronic bingo. That's why Miccosukee chairman Billy Cypress likes to usher guests onto the rooftop and point west to his tribe's home: the Everglades. An 18,000-sq.-mi. expanse of shimmering water, waving sawgrass and emerald tree hammocks, it is one of America's most vital but abused natural treasures. Like the endangered wood storks that glide overhead, the fewer than 500 Miccosukees rely upon this unique "river of grass" for their...

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