What Were Some Original Religious Practices of the Seminole Tribe?

What Were Some Original Religious Practices of the Seminole Tribe?

The original religious practices of the Seminole Indians include the Green Corn Festival, dream interpretations, animal spirit guides and shaman healers. The Seminole Indians considered the environment to be the sacred source of life and humans to be the guardians of the land.

Originally, the Seminole Indians attributed death and disease to a person's failure to pay proper respect to nature and supernatural spirits. Nonetheless, the dead were mourned. When somebody died, the body was buried in a coffin with cooking utensils and additional clothes. The family would then abandon the home it was living in and move on to settle in a new area. The previous home would remain empty until another family moved into it.

The Seminoles were also great believers in animal spirits. Many of their legends include personified animals, notably the Panther, the Rabbit and the Corn Lady.

Each person was believed to have an animal spirit helper who watched over him and guided him through times of strife. A person's particular helper would reveal itself through dreams. It could take many years and many dreams before a Seminole Indian recognized his spirit guide.

Unfortunately, little is known about the ancient traditions of the Seminole Indians. The shamans, who were healers and keepers of a clan's history and wisdom, did not leave any apprentices who were sufficiently trained to carry on the practices. Thousands died in the wars and forced marches of the 19th century, and the old ways of living were lost. Once resettled in Florida, the cultures of the many Native American tribes forced by President Andrew Jackson to relocate blended together and became convoluted.