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Ancient Indian spearhead returns to AMI

ANNA MARIA — What do Facebook, the 21st century social networking site, and an ancient Indian spearhead from Anna Maria Island have in common?

“A cool story,” said Wes Cameron of Lilburn, Ga.

“A neat thing,” said Sandy French, his sister, in St. Pete Beach.

Neat indeed, said Melissa Williams of the Anna Maria Island Historical Society.

Inspired by the Society’s Facebook public profile page, Cameron and French donated in July a light-colored spearhead she found as a teenager walking along Holmes Beach in 1969.

It is several hundred years old, perhaps more.

“We’re in the process of trying to find that out, its origins, and whether it is bone, shell or rock,” said Williams, a Society board bone, shell or rock,” said Williams, a Society board member. “The island was never inhabited by Indians, but only used to fish.”

That included four tribes — Tocobaga, Ucita, Mecoso and Pooy, according to local historian Bill Burger.

The spearhead joins other Indian fishing implements 1,000 years old and more at the museum.

French had no such inkling when she found it and kept it when the family moved to Atlanta in 1971.

“I’ve found other arrowheads, but not as interesting,” she said. “I was going to give it to Wes and his children, but he said why not give it to the museum.”

Their late grandfather, Fred Craven, a Holmes Beach city councilman instrumental in passing the ordinance limiting building heights, would’ve approved.

“None of us live there now, but our family has deep ties to the island,” Cameron said.

That connection resurfaced amusingly a few years ago when they returned for the first time — and saw an old photo at the museum of French and the spearhead.

“A shock,” she said.

Then when her brother saw the Society’s Facebook public profile page for the first time this summer, he posted about the spearhead and decided they’d loan it to the museum indefinitely.

“I thought it would be nice for people to see,” Cameron said.

“It belongs there,” French said.

The spearhead will receive its own unique display.

“It’s important to display these items and respect those who were here first,” Williams said.

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055, or write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL 34206 or e-mail him at vmannix@bradenton.com. Please include a phone number for verification.

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