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Wimauma’s Redhawk Ranch opens as retreat, store and meeting place

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image Handcarved items of all kinds, some made from wood and others from gourds, are available in the store portion of Redhawk Ranch. Photo Penny Fletcher

Three times Bud and Brenda Hoshaw have lived on what Native Americans call “sacred lands.” But they didn’t know that when they moved there.

By PENNY FLETCHER
 
Three times Bud and Brenda Hoshaw have lived on what Native Americans call “sacred lands.” But they didn’t know that when they moved there.

The 18 acres they now own at 4110 County Rd. 579 in Wimauma was just palmetto scrub and woods when they bought the place in 2003.

When they first walked the land, they found they were close to the spring that forms the Little Manatee River. The creek that flows through the south end of their property soon becomes that river. But on Redhawk Ranch, it is only a few feet deep and babbles across rocks, the water so clear you can see every pebble on the bottom.

Brenda and Bud have cleared and mowed and cleaned large spaces to allow for what’s coming next: a retreat that will be open to all, many events without any charge.

The two — both of whom have Native American blood in their background (Bud has Mamacqtaw/Menominee and Brenda Cherokee and Cheyenne) — have already been in touch with Ruskin’s Boy Scout leaders and arranged for the scouts to earn their Indian Lore Badges on the property.

“It’s a perfect place for artists and writers and for people who want to relax or meditate,” Brenda said.

They also plan to have spiritual meetings and to allow people to walk the large labyrinth they’ve built.

Bill, a history buff, says labyrinths are one of the oldest spiritual structures in history and are found in the ancient background of almost every religion.

He has also studied the tribes that have lived on or near the land and has verified the one-time existence of those Brenda says “come in spirit and help her with her poetry and prayers.”

In fact, the name, Redhawk Ranch, was derived from an unusual spiritual experience that happened when they first looked at the land.

“I took all kinds of photographs,” Bill said. But when they were developed, there were ‘spirits’ in the pictures I had not seen.”

He called in photo and computer experts to check the photos. One was of a neon orange-colored hawk on the ground that appeared transparent.

“We had to crawl through animal trails to look at things before we cleared it, he explained.

They were first led to the land while living in Palmetto, also on what Native Americans call sacred land, when Brenda, who was not used to computers, was trying to learn to go online and do email.

“An ad for this land kept coming up on the screen,” she said in an interview Sept. 15. “Now I know what a pop-up is, but I didn’t then. And it wasn’t a pop-up. It was a regular ad.”

It happened several times, so finally she said maybe they had better go look at the land.

Bud describes himself as a “major skeptic” at the time. But once on the Wimauma property, he said he began to sense the presence of the spirits as well.

“We’re going to be having Sacred Circles starting in October,” he said. You do not have to be Native American to attend, and there will be no charge. Renting the large long room in the store for meetings, however, will have a charge, although they do not have a price set yet. Use of the land as a tranquil relaxation place — a retreat, they said — will be for everyone, at any time.

They purchased a vibroacoustic chair that uses electromagnetic sound waves as music flows through it into the body. “It is used by NASA to give people a feeling of zero gravity,” Brenda said.

Some similar chairs used in the medical field cost from $20,000 to $40,000 Bud said. This one, however, did not, and will be available for periods of at least 15 minutes to one hour for a fee not yet decided. It is behind a screen in the small shop they are opening in October, called The Native Way.

The shop was built entirely by hand by Bud and their son Marty May. They rented a lift for two weeks to hand-make the 19-by-30 foot room with a high cathedral ceiling entirely out of cedar, which is what the “ancient ones” like best, Bud said.

“The scissors lift was more than $500,” said Brenda, “but we couldn’t have gotten this built without it.”

The inside of the store looks like a rustic cabin, with everything made from wood. There are shelves filled with handmade items from sage-prayer feathers to bags of different kinds of sage, which is used for many ceremonial purposes. There are lamps and clothing and jewelry and replicas of ancient tools that Bud has made.

There is also an array of art — paintings especially — and everything on the wall except the huge black buffalo head is for sale.

Skylights bring in natural light but there are full utilities, including a modern (although rustic looking) restroom in the store.

The couple originally came to Florida from Indiana in 1984, where Bud says they had also lived on what was called “sacred Indian ground.” Yet he was a skeptic until they moved to Redhawk Ranch.

Brenda was not.

Her great-great grandmother was an escapee from the Trail of Tears and she has traced her family back through many lines.

“A lot of her people have last names like Chicken, Abraham Chicken, Beaver Chicken, and other animals, Katie Owl and Rachel Whitefawn,” Bud said. “They gave themselves animal names when they had to get names.”

Bud says he enjoys making replicas of ancient tools and fighting instruments. Some of those he has done are hatchets from buffalo jawbone, hoes, and weapons from antlers and horns.

Meanwhile, Brenda crafts dream catchers and pottery and prayer fans.

Some things that happen there are unexplainable, but visitors say they find peace.

“I discovered when I met with Brenda and Bud at their ranch it was a very special place and the atmosphere is conducive to relaxing and meditating and becoming more in tune with nature and with my own feelings,” said Joyce Kennedy, who recently used their vibroacoustic chair. “In this fast-paced society, it was a place I could slow down and catch my breath.”

Joyce said she had been searching to find peace of mind following her husband’s death and since using the chair and putting up a dream catcher Brenda made for her she has found better sleep and stays in a more peaceful state during the day.

There are many more stories told at Redhawk Ranch but people have to be there to hear — and understand — them.

“Every time I research a spirit I have heard or seen, it turns out to have been someone who has lived on, or had an experience on this land,” Bud said. This was confirmed for him when he researched the story of a breakdown of a train carrying Native Americans from out West to Fort Hamer and St. Augustine and broke down near the ranch.

“A Lakota warrior named Zacade escaped; it’s all recorded,” he said.

Zacade is an historical figure. Bud, originally a skeptic, said he did not know that until after he had heard the story from his spirit who he says appears on the land.

To find out more about Redhawk Ranch email Redhawkacres@aol.com, call 813-634-5352) or visit Red Hawk Acres (three separate words) on FaceBook. The website has not yet been created.

“Anyone who would like to learn more about the Red Path is welcome here,” Bud said.

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