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The Seminole Indians
Religious Beliefs


Introduction | How They Came to Be | Religious Beliefs | Native Clothing and Housing | Green Corn Ceremony | Death and Burial Ritual | Conclusion

Religious Beliefs.

         The Seminole Indians were dubbed as one of "The Five Civilized Tribes" along with the Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks, and Cherokees. The name was given to these tribes because of their fast adaptation of the white mans civilization (The Indian Heritage of America 108). The Seminoles, in this case, owned black slaves and some even converted to Christianity (The Southeastern Indians 465). Some, however, never even considered converting to the Christian faith and preferred to stick to their ancient tribal beliefs. Non-Christian Seminoles believe that there is a "Great Spirit" and some lesser good and bad spirits. The different spirits may exert influence upon the affairs of men and can, fortunately, be appeased with offerings and prayers. They are also believed to live in a "sky-world" above the earth and in a sub-world below the earth. In addition to spirits, all creatures and inanimate things also have spirits that are set free when the creature perishes or the object is broken. Any manifestation of nature such as the sun, moon, and rainbow are also considered supernatural spirits (Floridas Seminole Indians 79-80).

         The Indians came to realize that many of the things that happened in the world such as illness, death, weather, was beyond their power. The Seminoles felt that humans were weak and the supernatural was all-powerful. They believed in an "orderly universe" where nature was fragilely balanced and could easily be upset. They knew at times that they upset nature when they hunted and killed animals and in order to keep things intact, they would apologize to the animals through ritual and purified themselves. This process of purification was accomplished by sweating and bathing after the hunt. This helps keep nature gentle, but if neglected, the spirits of the animals were angered and sent irritable circumstances to humans such as disease (The Seminole 28).

         A great majority of their native religion focuses on medicine bundles, connected to the Green Corn Dance. In these bundles are pieces of minerals, stones, different powders, snake fangs, bones, horns, many dried herbs, dance rattles, and a flint-and-steel where a ceremonial fire is lighted at. These articles were wrapped in buckskin and it is thought to have god-like powers. According to their belief, a mythical being (the adopted son of the Corn Mother) gave the archetype to two medicine men, while the smaller ones were then produced from the main one. Medicine men are the protectors of these sacred bundles which preside at the Corn Dances. They also believe in several legendary creatures. They include mischievous dwarf-like creatures and mythical serpents of irregular size and extraordinary abilities, that wander around swamps. As one can conclude, the Seminoles feel there is another realm that goes beyond ordinary reality (Floridas Seminole Indians 80).


Two Seminoles

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