Culture - Who we are

Art

The expression of Seminole culture has also been manifested on the artist's canvas. Noah Billie, perhaps the most acclaimed of Seminole painters, had a distinctive style and a love of culture which is very evident to anyone who views his works.

Basketry

"Sweetgrass" baskets have been made by Seminole Indians for more than 60 years.

Beadwork

The amount of beads worn by Seminole women was a phenomenon to all who saw them. Imagine the amount of stamina it took to conduct daily tasks, which were a lot more vigorous than sitting in front of a TV, while wearing 12 pounds or so of beads!

Chickee

The chickee style of architecture - palmetto thatch over a cypress log frame - was born during the early 1800s when Seminole Indians, pursued by U.S. troops, needed fast, disposable shelter while on the run.

Clans

There are eight Seminole clans - Panther, Bear, Deer, Wind, Bigtown, Bird, Snake, and Otter.

Hairstyle

A look at 18th century hairstyles of the Lower Creek Indians, many of whom would in time become known as Seminoles, shows little conclusive information about a uniform look.

Seminoles and Christianity

Tribes of Indians in Oklahoma began to be Christianized mainly through the efforts of the Southern Baptist Convention, Home Mission Board as early as 1846. Baptist missionaries came to the Oklahoma Creek and Oklahoma Seminole tribes in the 1870's.

Dolls

More than just cloth-wrapped palmetto fiber husk stuffed with cotton, the Seminole Doll accurately portrays the clothing and hairstyle worn by traditional Seminole men and women.

Green Corn Dance

At the Green Corn Dance, Seminoles participate in purification and manhood ceremonies. Tribal disputes are also settled during this time.

Seminole Food and Recipes

Today's Seminole Indian enjoys the same foods, shops at the same grocery stores and calls out for pizza delivery as much as anyone living outside Seminole Country.

Language

The Seminole Indians have two languages still in use today, neither of which is traditionally written.

Legends

Late at night around the campfires, Seminole children safely tucked into mosquito nets used to listen to the elders retelling the old stories.

A Legendary Storyteller

The recipient of a legend must do his or her best to retell the story as close to the original version as possible. It is a great responsibility and for this reason, the best storytellers are greatly respected among those in the tribe.

One of the Seminole Tribe's noted story tellers is Betty Mae Jumper. She has written two books, ... and With the Wagons came God's Word, and Legends of the Seminoles. Both Legends Of the Seminoles and a video featuring Betty Mae Jumper called The Corn Lady are available at the Marketplace, then click on books.

Medicine

Medicine men and women still play a vital role in the lives of Seminole Indians. These special individuals do not replace medical doctors, nor are their "treatments" designed to take the place of organized medicine.

Seminoles and the Land

Traditional Seminole cultural, religious, and recreational activities, as well as commercial endeavors, are dependent on a healthy Everglades ecosystem.

Seminole Clothing: Colorful Patchwork

For many decades, visitors to South Florida have been struck by the novel and colorful dress of the Seminole Indians. Bands of intricate designs adorn most garments.

For more on Seminole Culture visit the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum under Tribal Enterprises.

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