Research Paper #1 - Zach Holland Native American Music...

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Zach Holland Native American Music Research Paper Seminole Nation The Seminole tribe was formed in the 1700’s by the collaboration of the Creeks, Miccosukees, Hitchitis, and Oconees. The tribes decided to form one nation for better protection. The word Seminole comes from a Creek word meaning “separatist” or “runaway.” This fits because most of the original members moved down into Florida from towns located near the Chattahoochee River. The Seminoles moved into the southern part of Florida in the Everglade area. (Densmore, 1956) They learned to hunt alligator, otter, raccoon, deer, and other animals, which they would sell the hides of these animals for spending cash. The people of the Seminole tribe refer to themselves as A’jia’tki, meaning “white corn.” They believe that in the beginning they were white people. The legend behind A’jia’tki in summary is about an old woman and her grandchild who drink sofki. The boy secretly watched how the woman made the drink and upon seeing the old woman scrape off flakes from her sore ankles he stopped drinking the sofki . The woman took notice to this and asked why he was not consuming the drink anymore. He did not explain himself but simply said he would not drink the sofki anymore. Because of this the grandmother told the young child to have the people burn the house down with her and all their possessions still inside. A few days after the burning the people came to see the ruins and found the old house fully restored and full of corn, then corn was spread all over the world. (Densmore, 1956) The Seminoles have many other stories like this one that help define their culture. When born, a string of beads is placed around the neck of the newborn Seminole. Children of both sexes wear a one-piece dress until the age of three. Then the girls change into a two-piece dress that are ankle length and have bright patchwork similar to the woman of the tribe. The boys continue to wear this dress and it was custom to wear this garment until the age of 50 when the dress would be cut to knee height. Young boys often wear felt hats that have a wide-brim resembling a cowboy hat. All adults and children walk around barefooted and are not discomforted by this. Woman of the tribe
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wear a full skirt, an underwaist, and a cape. It is tradition for a woman to hide her hands under her cape when meeting strangers. Woman wear their hair neatly and decorative. They wear a woven net that is decorated with small beads over their hair. (Densmore, 1956) The oldest instrument of the Seminole is the rattle. Their favorite rattle is the coconut-shell rattle made of a coconut shell that is pierced by a stick and it contains seeds of the Canna flaccida Roscoe. (Densmore, 1956) These rattles are used by women in the tribes two most famous ceremonies, the Corn Dance and Stomp Dance. The rattles are tied below each knee. With the Corn Dance a small hand drum is also used. A “cypress knee drum” is used in the Stomp Dance ceremony. The Seminoles are also known the use
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Research Paper #1 - Zach Holland Native American Music...

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