On August 31, 1934, three months after the Bureau ofIndian Affairs (BIA) assigned Charlotte Lillian Conrad (1892-1980) to become the first Indian Service Field Nurse for the Seminoles of Florida, she typed up the report to her federal employer vividly illustrating her introduction to her public health work. Her narrative "A Novice Penetrates the Glades," captured her first battle within the unique location to seive the indigenous people at that time known as the "Florida Seminoles" but consisting of two linguistically diverse groups of Creek speakers and Mikasuki speakers. On this occasion Conrad's journey to reach an ill man of Mikasuki-speaking heritage nestled in a camp, deep in the Everglades, could only be attempted with the aid of a Mikasuki-speaking ally, who not only assisted her physically, but opened the door to her understanding of Indigenous life. John Cypress had told her of the ill man and offered suggestions for a successful mission insisting that she negotiate the journey with chains on her car wheels to prevent the car from bogging down in the wetlands. Her vehicle proved unsuitable, but an automobile with chains for the wheels was close at hand belonging to Harriet Bedel, an Episcopal missionary and a friend of the Indians. Accompanied by Cvpress and Bedell, Conrad set out through what environmental author Marjory Stoneman Douglas tellingly described as the "river of grass." Conrad offers a rare glimpse into the difficulty of travel into the Glades with descriptions that single out Florida's inhospitable landscape, but her account does more than serve as an introduction to her official health work to reach out to the Seminoles and prevent disease within Florida's distinctive environment. The pages of the report revealed the physical toll on her person; in her own words she "suffered much," but her suffering did not curb her idealistic approach to the mission. Though at first she saw her work as straightforward and achievable, what she found were multiple conflicts that she did not expect and that were never resolved.

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