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Spirituality of Miccosukee Indian tribe - Research Paper Example

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They do believe in traditional spirituality. Also known as Seminoles, the Miccosukee believe in animal spirits and in dreams. Dreams have a significance in Native…
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The Miccosukee Indians of The Miccosukee Indians The Meaning of Life and Spirituality Like most Native American Tribes, the Miccosukee do not talk about their religion or their rituals in public. They do believe in traditional spirituality. Also known as Seminoles, the Miccosukee believe in animal spirits and in dreams. Dreams have a significance in Native American many Native Americans believe in totem (also known as spirit) animals that help them find answers to challenges that the Native Americans have experienced (“Daily Life”, n.d.). They also believe that humans can take on the characteristics of the spirit animals (Gold, 2007). These spirit animals are often seen in a vision quest that each Native American do when they are young. This vision quest is a time for fasting and prayer and the youth hope to see their totem animal that also becomes their guardian (Gold, 2007).
The Florida Seminoles and the Miccosukee believe in a Great Spirit or the Breath Maker who is in charge of making and maintaining life (“Religion of..”, n.d.). The meaning of life is very important to the Miccosukee because they acknowledge that everything is a part of their environment. All life is important. In the old days, when they hunted, they asked the spirit of the animal that was being killed, for forgiveness (“Religion of” , n.d.). The Miccosukee would also pray to a spirit of a tree before cutting down the tree.
The Miccosukee may state that their strength comes from their religion and the fact that they have not adopted the Western ways. Because they are unique in keeping their customs and history, they would also see their matrilineal foundation as being important to their strength. For Native Americans, everything is spiritual and everything has a presence anywhere in the earth (Johnson, 2007).
The Miccosukee and Healthcare Practices
Sweat Lodge and Shamans
The sweat lodges and shamans are very important to Native Americans and healthcare. Shamans often help with health issues in the tribe because they understand how to interpret dreams and oversee many rituals that take place within the tribe (Johnson, 2007). The sweat lodge is one of the ways that Native Americans are able to keep balanced with the spirit world and with the creator (Garrett, et al., 2011). For Native Americans, the concept of balance means that they will have balance in mind, body, and spirit “with the natural environment” (Garrett et al., 2011, p. 318).
On the spiritual level, the sweat lodge is also done for transformation and renewal of the spirit. In contrast to the way Westerners believe, the concept of transformation traditionally will be done in the presence of family and friends. Each individual goes into the sweat lodge with their own concerns and their concerns merge with other everyone else’s concerns so that harmony and peace comes throughout all participants (Garrett et al., 2011). Generally, there is a building on the premises where Native Americans where sweats are held on a regular basis.
As traditional Native Americans, the Miccosukee may also do sweat lodges for some of the same reasons, although many are encouraged to go to the local Western health clinic when necessary.
References
Daily life in olden times for kids: Everglades Seminole Indians Religion, Southeast Woodland Indians Index. Retrieved from http://nativeamericans.mrdonn.org/southeast/seminole/religion.html
Garrett, M., Torres-Rivera, E., Brubaker, M., Agahe Portman, T., Brotherton, D., West-Olatunji, C., & ... Grayshield, L. (2011). Crying for a vision: The Native American sweat lodge ceremony as therapeutic intervention. Journal Of Counseling & Development, 89(3), 318-325.
Gold, G. (2007). Native American Spirituality, Practices Of, in Downing, E. M., and Scarlett, G., Encyclopedia of Religious and Spiritual Development. 316-318. DOI:10.4135/9781412952477.n170316-318
Hayes, M. (2011). The conversation continues: Another day of dialogue with Florida’s American Indians. Progress Report, Office of Minority Health. Retrieved from http://www.doh.state.fl.us/minority/pdfs_and_word_docs/tribal_report_final.pdf
Johnson, Troy. (2007). Native American Indian spirituality, in Dowling, E. M., and Scarlett, W. G. (2007). Encyclopedia of Religious and Spiritual Development. DOI: 10.4135/9781412952477
Matthews, M. (2012, July 17). The Miccosukee Tribe: a spirituality defined by the Everglades. The Deeper Ecology Blog. Retrieved from http://thedeeperecology.blogspot.com/2012/07/miccosukee-tribe-spirituality-defined.html
Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. (2013). Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. Retrieved from http://www.miccosukee.com/tribe
Religion of the Seminole Indians. Seminole Class Project. Retrieved from http://www.jollymoon.com/seminole/religion.html Read More
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