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The music of the Native Americans were performed for specific purposes such as success in battle, bringing of rain, success in hunting, or songs to help treat the sick. These songs were either handed down generation by generation, received in dreams, or would reveal the influence of the European culture in the modern songs.

Each song is sung differently and performed for definite results. One thing that the Seminole tribe incorporates in their music that is not really seen in other tribes is the use of call and response. The songs for success in hunting are without accompaniment of instruments and are sung in succession, not in sets of four. The leader sings the first phrase, then pauses while the men repeat the phrase, after which they all sing together.

The Cow Creek Group used certain melodies for treating certain illnesses or conditions. Also, some medicine songs consisted of four sections, in which three were repeated, and the tempo changed in relation to the words being sung. The use of the four sections is one form of melodic and rhythmic characteristics that are often used in many of their songs in the Middle West where the Seminoles went to settle.

The Seminoles are very private people and are seldom interviewed so there is very little information on the different styles of the music they performed during their rituals and ceremonies. It has taken years of friendship and building of trust for the first recordings of Seminole music to take place.

Based on the rising popularity to study and learn about Native American music, specifically the Seminole tribe, the conclusion shows that Native American music is mainly melodic with no harmony and the occasional singing between a soloist and chorus. References: Florida Historical Society. Burton, Bryan. Moving Within The Circle. Danbury: World Music Press, New York: The Womens Press, Instruments of the Seminole tribe include varied types of rattles, drums, and flutes.

The type of instruments and their individual uses by the Seminole tribe depend on what event the music accompanies. For example, the Seminole tribe partakes in numerous dances, festivals and ceremonies such as the annual Corn Dance held in June and the Hunting Dance held in September, which involve different arrangements and specific uses of instruments and singing.

The Culture and History of the Seminole Tribe by Dr. Andrew Frank Part 1

One of the oldest Seminole instruments is the rattle. Rattles are made and used in a few different ways depending on the context in which they are used as well as the period in which they were created. The coconut shell rattle has proven particularly important historically for the Seminole tribe, who used these instruments during their numerous social dances. The coconut shell rattle "consists of a coconut shell, pierced by a stick and containing the seeds of the Canna flaccida Rosco.

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During the annual Corn Dance and other ceremonial dances, women in the tribe strap these rattles to their lower legs and dance, causing the rattles to shake. Previously, rattles were made from a variety of other materials including the shells of small box turtles with sun-hardened pieces of mud in the center to create the rattling sound. More recently, the Seminoles have used tin cans as rattles for the same purpose in their dance ceremonies. Though rattles are the predominant instrument in the ceremonial music of the Seminole tribe, a few types of small drums are used to accompany the different types of music of the Seminoles, as well.

These drums include small hand drums, a larger "cypress knee drum," and a "water-drum" for events such as the Corn Dance, the Stomp Dance, and the songs of the ball game, respectively. Originally, water drums were made with cypress bark and buckskin, but more recently have been created from tin cans. Another group of traditionally influential instruments involved in Seminole tribe music were wooden flutes; however, use and creation of these flutes is rare in present times as many of the Seminole people no longer recall how to make or even play these instruments specifically, though some recall their use in earlier times.

The design of their flute is peculiar in comparison to other Native American flutes as the headpiece is detached from the cane used to make the body of the flute. The headpiece is then tied on with a buckskin thong. Other features of their flute include the drilling of four, unevenly spaced, beveled finger holes that allow the flautist to cover the holes completely.

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References: Densmore, Frances. The modern Seminole Indians of Florida are a very proud tribe that takes great pride in their music as well as other traditions. They have many songs and dances that have been passed on for generations. A lot of times these songs are used for particular activities such as hunting, playing ball, or special rituals. The Florida Seminoles have songs! The majority of these songs were written by Billie Stewart who wrote Panther wrote the second most songs with an impressive count of This song was made to have a downward progression of a major triad combining with a minor triad.

There is a short phrase that is only repeated three times throughout the song. Panther would also sing when the sick were being treated. While treating the sick there was never a set melody but more of talking with occasional higher pitched notes.

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The Calusa Indians never sing when sick people are being treated. The only instrument used is an old fashioned rattle.

The beat is very slow which surprises me because it is a dance song that they usually have fast beats for. There is a swing in the beat caused by a quadruple measure, but there are no pauses in the song. This song is used any time usually during the day when the tribe is in a happy mood. The most interesting song for me that the Seminoles use quite often is their Hunting Song. They sing this the night before a big hunting trip and it is believed to draw the animals in closer and to make them easier to find. While singing the song they do a ritual around a fire which consists of throwing a special tobacco plant in the fire to cause a lot of smoke.

They then hold their hands and guns over the smoke to gain good luck while they sing the hunting song. The hunting songs are not sung in succession they are sung by the leader singing a phrase then the rest of the mean repeating it together. The three-day festival has been going on for forty years, and honors the Seminole Tribe by showcasing their history, song, dance, foods, storytelling, arts and crafts, pow-wows, and other customs.

Between the three days, there are over fifteen different types of music and dance related performances, including warrior dances, traditional flute playing, and modern Seminole blues band like Paul Buster and the Cowbone Band, and Hank Nelson. Founded by the Hard Rock International and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the yearly tour, which began in , was created to support Seminole and other Native American music and artists. The tour features different performers including Grammy and other award-winning artists who perform rock, blues, jazz, and pop.


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Their goal is to show the world that Native Americans know how to play more than just a flute or drums, and they want their music to be recognized worldwide. The Seminole Star Search program is another modern twist on Seminole music. Sanctioned by the Seminole Tribal Council, it is a summer program that tours throughout Florida to find the most talented Native American performers, from flute players, to other instruments, to singing and rapping. Their aim is to promote showcase the diverse kinds of musical talent that Seminole Country has to offer, and at the end of each summer, winners are selected and featured all throughout the Seminole community.

Many of the winners from this competition participate in the Native Music Rocks tour and get to travel the country to spread their heritage, and twist on traditional Native American music. The three of these events and programs are just a few examples of how Seminole Music has found a modern touch into the twenty first century American ways.

There they eventually formed the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma.

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A minority of the Seminole between and remained in Florida. A separate Seminole Nation of Florida formed in After their relocation to the Indian Territory the Seminole were initially confined to the Creek Nation. There the United States allowed them to have some self-governance, but only if they adhered to the general laws of the Creek. Frustrations with these terms and the general conditions in the region led two bands of Seminole under Wild Cat and John Horse to migrate to Mexico in Originally there were twenty-four towns in this territory, which is present Seminole County in Oklahoma.

Under the Curtis Act of the Dawes Commission dissolved the Seminole government and divided its territory among approximately three thousand enrolled tribe members. The restrictions that accompanied allotment did little to protect their interests in the land. Through sale, often by fraudulent means, many Seminole families and individuals lost their land holdings. By only about 20 percent of the Seminole lands remained in Seminole hands. Of those who retained their property, a few became wealthy following the discovery of the Greater Seminole Oil Field in The policy of allotment was repealed by Congress in By the following year the Seminole had reestablished their government.

In the tribal council was reorganized to adhere to its traditional structure. Contemporary Seminole society contains fourteen matrilineal bands. Two of the bands are called "Freedmen bands," named after the former slaves who formed them. These bands structure politics and many aspects of daily life.

Each elects a chair and vice chair, who run the monthly band meeting. In addition, each band elects two representatives to serve on the Seminole Nation General Council. The Seminole tribe spoke in several related dialects of the Muskogean language family. They refer to themselves as "Red People," or "Istica-ti" in Muskogee.

What did the Seminole tribe eat? The food that the Seminole tribe ate included included wild turkeys, rabbits, deer venison , fish, turtles, and alligators.


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Their staple foods were corn, squash and beans supplemented with wild rice, mushrooms, pumpkins and plants. As time passed the Seminole began raising cattle and hogs that they acquired from Europeans. What weapons did the Seminole use? The weapons used by the Seminole included, war clubs, knives, gunstock clubs, bows and arrows, spears and axes.

The Europeans introduced muskets and then rifles. Seminole History: What happened to the Seminole tribe? The following Seminole history timeline details facts, dates and famous landmarks of the people. The Seminole timeline explains what happened to the people of their tribe.

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Seminole History Timeline Early contact with the Europeans began with their encounter with Hernando de Soto, the Spanish explorer Epidemics of smallpox and measles and inter-tribal warfare with the Cherokee and Catawba diminish the Creek populations in the late 's and 's The French and Indian Wars begin James Oglethorpe and his Georgia colonists arrived in Close contact and trade with the Europeans led to the establishment of strong cultural ties between the Creek and the newcomers Alachua, the earliest recorded Seminole town, is established The Treaty of New York, under the administration of George Washington, the Creek people ceded a significant portion of Creek lands to the US on the condition that they were allowed to live in the remaining territory Benjamin Hawkins was appointed the federal agent to the Creeks and began the 'civilizing programs' leading to the name of the Five Civilised Tribes The Creek War — erupted in Alabama and Georgia and many tribe members move south to Spanish Florida.

He was sent to Fort Moultrie on Sullivans Island, outside Charleston, South Carolina Osceola died on January 31, in mysterious circumstances The Seminole tribe was forced to surrender and required to move to Oklahoma where they were resettled in the western part of the Creek reservation. A few Seminoles remained in Florida. Dawes, to negotiate land with the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole tribes The Dawes Rolls, or the Final Rolls of the Five Civilized Tribes, entitled an allotment of land to tribe members, in return for abolishing their governments and recognizing Federal laws The individual allotment policy of the Dawes Act was terminated by the Indian Reorganization Act Seminole History Timeline.

Seminole Tribe. This article contains interesting facts, pictures and information about the life of the Seminole Native Indian Tribe of the Southeast cultural group. Native American Indian Tribes. Site Index.


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