Folklore South of Florida. They have many complex

Folklore provides a look into real societies and what they value in a more broken down way through fictional stories that follow the same guidelines and principles that the culture follows. I looked into the culture and folklore of the Seminoles; Seminoles are a group of Native Americans in the South of Florida. They have many complex beliefs that are wholly integrated into their society with ideas and lessons passed down verbally through their folk stories. In their society, respect and honesty prevails as a prominent trait and their folklore follows the same pattern. Almost all of them touch on the concept of respect in some form whether it be for fellow men, animals, or nature. I read through a series of these stories and was specifically intrigued by these three folk tales: “The Rabbit And The Snake”, “The little Turtle And The Wolf” and folk tradition called The Green Corn Dance and the connected folk tale “The Corn Lady”. The Seminole culture is based off of respect for others, the environment and the wellbeing of the tribe which is portrayed in their folklore and traditions. The folk story “The Rabbit And The Snake” is about a deceitful rabbit who lies to get what he wants but in the process he turn others against him. In the story the rabbit tricks a rattlesnake into letting the rabbit tie him up. Then the rabbit proceeds to put the snake in a bag and bring him to a group of hunters to impress them. When the snake sees the hunters, he tells them of the rabbits lies making all parties dislike the rabbit. The mistreatment of the snake is said to be the reason they eat every rabbit they come across. The story displays how dishonesty will turn people against one another and cause many future problems. The rabbit has a lack of respect for others and displays that with constant lying which lead to him being hated. When one does not respect others around them, it can create an environment where they are not treated as equals which is a trait they deeply value. In the folktale “The Little Turtle And The Wolf” one learns to respect others talents and advantages and disadvantages. The wolf is much faster than the turtle and challenges him to a race. The wolf thinking he will win gives the turtle a head start. Since the turtle is slow he uses his intelligence to trick the wolf and have a different turtle placed at each hill in the race and have only one visible at a time making the fox think the turtle is running extremely fast. The turtle runs this scam many times until the wolf is unable to move. He then reveals his trickery and the wolf dies of exhaustion. This story teaches the lesson of respect for others talents. The wolf wants to race the turtle for he is confident in his ability to run quickly. The turtle knows he is slow and has no chance to win fairly. The turtle uses his gift of superior intelligence claim victory over the disrespectful wolf who only challenges him to embarrass the slow moving animal. These traits of respect are very prominent in the Seminole culture and is readily apparent within this tale. The Seminole and other Native American cultures differ from most because their folklore is integrated into their society and celebrations and traditions. Their lifestyle revolves around their beliefs in the supernatural and nature. To them, folklore isn’t just stories, it is past events that shaped the world they live in. Daily life is affected by this which greatly increases the link between their folklore, folk traditions, and societal beliefs. An example of how folk tales and their traditions collide is The Green Corn Dance. In this dance the Seminoles display their respect and commitment to god who allowed the corn to grow and they purify themselves for the new harvest. The Green Corn Ceremony is an annual festival that lasts for four days. The ceremony is usually held in May for the Seminoles and is used to honor The Breath Maker for the fruits of this harvest and it’s also a new year festival. On the first day the seminoles establish a campsite on the ceremony grounds and have a large feast with the remainder of last years harvest. After the feast a fast begins for all men. Women did not take part in the fasting because they were considered too weak to undergo this. On the second day, four arbors are set up each facing a sacred direction. The first dance that is performed is the Ribbon Or Ladies Dance which is done to purify the celebration grounds. After this a large fire is set up in the middle and the head priest, or Mico as they call him, takes a small amount of each new crop and rubs it with bear oil before placing it in a fire. This is done to show their respect for the gods and to ask for atonement for all their sins. This fire will be kept lit and if necessary re-lit until next year’s Corn Dance. Next they all drink the White Drink, which was referred to as the Black Drink by some Americans, to purify themselves. Men were supposed to drink enough of this drink that they throw up so the would purify themselves from last years crop. On the third day of the celebration the men of the community would perform the Feather Dance in an attempt to heal the community. After the dance, fasting usually ends once the women of the tribe announce that the food is ready for them. After the announcement, men get in a single file line and walk to a body of water and as the ceremony dictates they get in the water then return to the ceremony grounds to perform a Stomp Dance before going to the home camp to end the fast begin the feast. At midnight another Stomp Dance is performed which includes more feasting and will last until dawn. On the fourth day they have friendship dances to portray the respect they have for each other and show how they value the tribe. The ceremony honors the gods and the Corn Lady. In the folktale “The Corn Lady” a young boy is snatched by a witch and raised by her on a small island in the everglades. When the boy gets older he wonders where the witch gets all her corn, so one morning he followers her. He sees her wash her legs then rub them until corn fell off of them. Later that day he asks her about this and she tell of how she took him and says he must return to his village but when he does he must burn down the chickee that he currently lives at. After midnight the boy burns down the chickee and returns to his village. He finds his family and tells them his story. Months later the men of the village go to where the boy used to live and find that it is only a field of corn now. They collect all the corn they can and take it along with some seeds back to the village. The villages plant their own corn fields using these seeds and for the first time Seminoles have corn. This is why they perform The Green Corn Dance to show their respect for the witch that gave them corn and to the gods for a bountiful harvest. This folk tale also shows how the boy puts his old life behind him and burns down his chickee to be able to provide corn for the Seminole Nation. The Seminole culture is based off of respect for others and nature. This is displayed in their folklore and the ceremonies that were passed down for generations. Unfortunately, an increase in immigration caused the Seminoles to lose their land and corralled them like cattle decimating their beautiful and unique culture. In recent years they have still been mistreated by the government and treated like third class citizens in a nation they used to control. Poverty is ripe within their reservations and this is one contributing factor to the rampant and self destructive drug use within their society. Their culture was based off respect for others and the land but after hundreds of years of mistreatment that culture is slowly dying.