Religious Beliefs. Ancestral religion was animistic with natural forces considered far more potent than human ones. Seminole today have scant memory of traditional beliefs, although there is some syncretism that mixes old beliefs with Christianity. Many Seminole belong to Christian churches, primarily Baptist, and a few have become ministers. Although not necessarily church members, Seminole often attend Services and events in churches on their reservations. Attendance is a social as much as a religious experience.
Religious Practitioners. The old-time shamans have died without leaving followers or apprentices with the intensive training necessary for the position. Consequently any who claim medicoreligious roles of a traditional sort are self-proclaimed rather than steeped in the lore of the past.
Ceremonies. The Green Corn Dance, or busk, the major ceremony of almost all Southeastern Indians, remains in reduced trivialized form, no longer truly a rite of purification, forgiveness, and renewal, but largely a social event. Only the Miccosukee Tribe has held a busk in recent years, and many Seminole disapprove of the introduction of alcohol into the celebration.
Medicine. With the demise of the shaman who was the healer in Southeastern cultures, much medical lore associated with native plants has been lost. In the 1950s, however, information on medical practices was collected, and some elderly people still perform herbal cures. For the most part, Indians go to Public Health Service physicians, visiting nurses, and local hospitals. Children, for example, are born in hospitals. Public Health nurses and dentists visit the reservations regularly.
Death and Afterlife. Mourning the dead and burial are the responsibility of churches and undertakers in the outer society. Old-time death ceremonials and mourning practices have been all but forgotten. Traditional mortuary practices and religious ceremonials changed or were lost during the long, difficult trek from the original homelands down the peninsula. Since the Seminole during those trying times did not record the changes, we can only surmise what was lost. Probably at one time the ancestral Seminole ascribed illness and death to human failure to observe proper rites concerning nature and the supernatural. Today modern medical theories of disease are acknowledged, and even those not belonging to a church have some notions of an afterlife in a pleasant place.
I'm trying to find information about the health beliefs of the Seminole Indians of the past and present would love any information you may have. Thank you--Kristine