WIMAUMA – Need a place to get away from it all, to commune with nature or your higher power? How about somewhere to take the family to spend some quality time together?
Brenda and Bud Hoshaw know such a place. They’ve created it – an 18-acre, Native American retreat called Redhawk Ranch – and they want to share it with others.
Located at 4110 C.R. 579 in southern Wimauma, the day retreat includes natural vistas and meditation areas, an 84-foot labyrinth, fire pit, covered shelter with picnic tables and grills, walking trails and a shop called The Native Way. All kinds of wildlife can be seen, including eagles, hawks, gopher tortoises, box turtles, deer, wild turkeys and hogs and owls.
“We were brought here for a purpose,” Bud Hoshaw said. “After we purchased the property we learned it was part of ancient Tocabaga-Timucuan land. We realized we wanted our mission to be helping people become more aware of the sacred way.”
The Hoshaws believe the ancients drew them to the land.
“They want to be remembered,” Brenda Hoshaw said. “They want people to come here for a place of release and comfort, to reconnect and remember the old ways.”
Both Hoshaws are of Native American heritage. Bud Hoshaw, also known as Red Feather, has the blood of the Mamacqtaw/Menominee tribes and Brenda Hoshaw, aka Quahneah (Morning Dew), is Cherokee and Cheyenne. They were born in Indiana and met in Bradenton when Bud responded to a dating ad in the newspaper. They married 19 years ago and eventually built a custom log home in Palmetto.
In 2003 they learned about the Wimauma property, which was overrun with palmetto scrub and woods. While touring the parcel, Brenda Hoshaw said she became overwhelmed with emotion and began to cry when she and her husband came to a waterfall in the spring-fed creek that runs along the southern border of the ranch.
“I knew I had been here before,” she said. “Several days later I had a vision of three Native American men who prompted me to come back to the property and do a blessing. They told me we would become its caretakers,” she said.
Then she had another vision about offering a third of the asking price for the property.
“It was accepted the same day we made it,” she said.
Within weeks of the transaction, some people from up North knocked on the door of their log home and offered cash to buy it. Part of the deal was the Hoshaws had to be out within 30 days, so they bought a dilapidated trailer from a friend and moved to the new property.
“I can still remember wild hogs running by the trailer door when I opened it in the morning,” Brenda Hoshaw said. “It took a good six months for us to clear the land while we waited for a modular home to be built.”
Now – 11 years later – the couple wants the public to come visit.
The grounds are open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, with other times available for large celebrations, like weddings, scouting ventures or family reunions. Boy Scouts have already visited and camped primitively to earn their Indian Lore Badges.
The Native Way, which was entirely built by hand, is open the same hours as the retreat. It features a large assortment of handmade items from drums, walking sticks and historically correct weapons and bone knives to dream catchers, prayer fans, jewelry, books and music. Visitors will find lamps, artwork, clothing and custom gift items, as well.
Through its center is an 8-foot cedar table, considered sacred by native people, Brenda Hoshaw said. “People sit here for hours baring their souls and usually leave in peace.”
Redhawk Ranch is forming a Saturday evening drumming circle to start at 6 p.m. Participants are welcome to bring food, beverages (no alcohol) and lawn chairs to the free event.
To learn more about Redhawk Ranch, call (813) 634-5352, email [email protected] or visit www.redhawkranchnativeamericanretreat.com.