UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Oral History Program
Interviewee: Jean Chaudhuri
What follows is Jean Chaudhuri's interpretation in
narrative form of information gotten from an unspecified number
of Seminole informants. Whenever it is apparent that there
has been a change in informants or in the'subject of the
narrative, such changes are indicated with bracketed editorial
Many years ago, when the Indian medicine was very strong,
one could make love medicine, and this medicine was made from
herbs. If one drunk this medicine, his personality could charm
any girl. Most of the time, medicine was used for the good of
the tribe or the individual; it was never used to do evil.
There was one character who was highly unpopular with the
girls, and no medicine man would give. him any medicine bundle,
because they feared he would use it to do evil. This young man
was infatuated with two young women who would not look his way.
Since they did not belong to the same clan he thought it was
alright to pursue these two girls. These two girls lived with
their mother in the neighboring village. Their names were
Morning Star and the other was Evening Star. They were charming
girls; their beauty and their skills were known among all the
villages and during the Green Corn Dance they proved to be the
best dancers. People enjoyed being around these two sisters,
because they made everyone feel so good, and they were always
so helpful. When the young man would see these two beauties,
he would just go berserk.
One day he made a flute for himself, hoping tha-t the two
maidens would listen to his music and become his friends, but
the two girls were always busy and interested in other people,
so they paid no attention to him. Poor fellow, he went to
every medicine man possible, trying to get them to make love
potions for him so that he would be able to charm these girls.
Finally, he found one medicine man who said he would make love
medicine for him, but he must strictly follow his instructions
or something bad might happen to him.
The medicine man said, "Every morning you must chant
and you have to stay up for four nights making this medicine.
On the fourth day you have to put ashes all over your body
and then this will be the end of preparation for your medicine."
And the young man said, "I will follow your instructions."
The medicine man told the young man he must find a way to
put the love potion into the drink of the two girls. After they
had this drink, they would pursue him, and then he would become
the object of their affection. This made the young man very happy.
Immediately he set out to put the love potion in their
drink, and he saw a big bowl of sofkee. He thought to himself
that this is the best opportunity, "I can put this into their
sofkee." He put it in without anyone seeing him.
Later on that day, a big black bear came into the village,
sniffing around, and the aroma of the sofkee attracted him
and he consumed the sofkee. The young man did not know this.
Thinking that it was about that time the two girls would be
drinking from the pot, he decided to take a peek. While
he was sneaking around the chickees to see if any changes had
taken place with the girls' affections, the big bear saw the
young man and that bear gave this fellow such a big hug that
he crushed the young man, and he fell dead.
The bear had come to the rescue of the two girls because
they belonged to the same clan, the Bear Clan. And they say,
if one fools around with bad medicine, they will suffer the
[Here Chaudhuri changes subjects.]
We talked about legends, we talked about a little bit of
history, and so many of the things we talked about were all
fragmented. But the stories and legends were real nice to
talk about. And one thing that we would talk about was songs.
Some of the Christian songs that they sing at the Brighton
Indian Reservation are the words that the Indian would use before
Christianity came on the scene--these were words of encourage-
ment. I often heard Oklahoma Creeks say this, too.
For example, one song, that I will sing in a little while,
is that each time visitors would be leaving the homes of their
relatives or friends they would say [Seminole words], and this
means, "Wherever you are, wherever you go, maybe this is the
last time we shall see each other." But "wherever you are"
[Seminole word] can be interpreted, "I will pray for you, or
I will think of you." So this is the way this song was sung:
The words are pre-Christian, and the hymn is a Christian hymn.
[At this point, Ms. Chaudhuri sings the hymn in Seminole.]
The translation of that is: [first Seminole phrase] "Whatever
you are doing, wherever you may be;" [second phrase] means
"I will be thinking of you, or I will be praying for you, and
you will do the same for me. And one day, our paths will meet."
Another song we talked about was: "When these trials and
tribulations of this world is over, I will tall the great
creator of all the heartaches, all the heartbreaks that I suffered
on earth. This was hell, this was damnation for me, and
when I do see the great creator, I will tell him about
my trials and tribulations." And then the Christian part
comes in towards the end of the song--they'll say, "And then
I will be with Jesus."
So it's interesting to know that the Seminoles had
words, pre-Christian, and that it was so easy for them to
adapt a hymn, and in place of the Great Spirit to put Jesus
Christ, Savior--whatever they know him or whatever they call
Much of their history they've forgotten, but I have a
feeling given a little bit more time....
They have a lot to talk about today. They're interested in
their souls and the flesh, making sure they're making enough
money. So they're very oriented towards religion, and they've
talked about when Christianity first came on the reserves in
One thing that helped my interest was this man saying: about
two hundred years ago, probably, that the Indians used to get
up early in the morning, take their sweat baths, and they would
be fasting, not having any water or anything to eat, and they
would stand, chanting, and receiving the sun. And they would
sing all sorts of things, saying [Seminole words], which meant
"early in the morning, the day shall start and we shall work
throughout the day." What is so interesting to me is that
they've taken the same words and used it in their Christian
hymns. If their religious leader knew that they were using
pagan words in order to really tell what their feelings were,
I'm sure this would have been thrown out the window. But it's
a beautiful song, and this is what they would say, chanting to
the sun god: [She now sings song in Seminole].
They often remember the times they used to go to the
Green Corn Dance, or when they got together for big feasts.
But for many of those who have traded their values, their tra-
ditional values for the Christian values, they do not like to
talk about the times they went to the Green Corn Dance. But
this wise old gentleman said he remembers the time when he
went to the Corn Dance and there would be people coming from
different villages. This was the time to see relatives and
friends. They would talk about the old times and what alligators
they've caught, and all the exciting things that had happened--
who died, who lied, who cheated, and who was banished. You could
talk about just about everything at the Green Corn Dance.
He said what really would captivate his interest was
the drums covered with deerhides and filled with water.
Then they would start beating on the drums, and the drums seemed
to have certain spirits in it that was compelling the people to
come and dance--to dance and to really get with it. The fire
with the four logs signaling and saying come dance with us. And
then the rattlers, people with coconut shells filled with pebbles
would start shaking and start singing. Then the stomp dance
leader would get in front when he would start singing, and then
the fire flames would get higher and higher. It was almost
like you were intoxicated or something, and you would dance
and dance, and then while dancing around you would feel so good.
You'd feel as though you really had communicated with the Great
Spirit. This went on for four or eight days, and each day was
He said he used to look forward to all this dance, and
hear the medicine man sing, and also to see people drink the
black drink; but since he became Christian, he knew that these
were wrong things to do, so he had never, never indulged
in them any more.
I had asked him to please tell me what the four logs re-
presented. He said that the four logs were placed in four
cardinal positions which represented the four corners of the
earth, and when the medicine men prayed, they included everyone
on this earth. Through their prayers, the Great Spirit gave
them the healing power. He said the healing power was to give
the Indian a good mind and a good body. The way they acquired
this healing power was through medicine; they'd have to utilize
herbs in certain ways that their medicine would be strong.
Through mother earth, the Great Spirit also gave the Seminoles
the sacred fire--this was to inspire the Seminoles to abide by cer-
tain virtues or by certain rules.
There were certain moral obligations that they had to
live up to: They had to be good because the Great Spirit
was good, they had to bbey the teachings of the Great Spirit,
and this was living in harmony with mother nature. The elders
of the clan had to be obeyed. Within the clan and within
the villages, one could not steal, lie, nor use his people for
his own glory. A hand that was raised against his brother in
anger was forbidden, and jealousy and hatred were discouraged
because this wasn't the nature of these people. They had to
work together and love each other.
The laws of the tribal council were very strict. Any
unlawful act committed, such as lying, stealing, or killing, or
being a traitor, was to be subject to severe punishment.
He said that there were many, many ways of punishing people;
and as he said before, they either cut their ears or nose off
or took them to the steamer. Another way of punishing them
was to give them so many lashes across the back with a green
limb. This was back in the days before they started picking
up white man's laws.
Their leaders, or chiefs, were chosen by every clan,
or tribe. He claimed that the chiefs and leaders of those days
were real leaders in the real sense of the owrd--he would lay down
his life for his people, and he really represented the entire
clan. Whatever decisions he made, he made it for the interest
of the whole people. And he had to be dedicated. But if he
failed his people, then...which is too bad.
[From cultural, social commentary, Chaudhuri goes here
to a traditional story.]
In ancient times, they tell me, there was a little boy
who was a hunter. He loved to hunt, he loved to go diving in
the water, swim along with turtles. He loved to go hunting for
deers, and whenever he found one, he would get on its back and
go dashing through the forest, or go splashing through the
swamps. So he was quite a little hunter, they said.
One day, he decided to take a further trip away from his
usual stomping grounds--there was a beautiful riverside that
he wanted to go to, he heard so much about it. So he started
out; he had his little food bundle with him. While he was
there he heard singing as though people were dancing, so he slowly
went through the swamp and went through the bushes, and peeked
through the bushes to see what was beyond there. To his sur-
prise, he saw tiny little people singing.and dancing and he said,
"Who are these?" He was just full of curiosity. As he looked
up in the trees, he saw little people in the trees, and as he
looked beyond the water lilies in the river, he saw little
people just floating around, and then in the flowers. He
saw them all over the place, and he said, "Oh my goodness,
these are the wonderful little people they talk about just in
case you get lost. They are always there to help you back,
help you find your way back home."
So he went up to these cute little people and he said,
"Could I play with you, could I please dance with you?"
And they said, "Oh yes, you are welcome to."
Then they asked the little hunter what he would like to do
and he said, "You know, I really like to hunt for deer."
Then they all stood back with wide open eyes and said, "Hunt
And he said, "Oh yes. Every day I go hunting. When I hunt,
when I find them, I get on their back and we go breezing
through the forest. This is so much fun."
There was a deep sigh of relief and they said, "Oh yes.
If this is what you want to do, we will help you find a deer."
So they found several deers. About twenty little people got
on one deer and the little hunter got on one, and they just
went breezing through the forest, just like the way he loves
And he said, "I tell you what. Let's go take a swim.
In the river, there should be a lot of fish and a lot of
turtles we can swim with."
They all said, "Okay, we'll do that."
So they took a deep dive into the river, and sure enough,
there was a big turtle there. The little hunter got on the
back of the turtle and the turtle went gently breezing through
the water. Then the little hunter would slide off his back and
hang onto his legs, and then they would just go gliding through
So all day long they had been playing, and after they left
the river, they had a big feast. It was late in the evening,
and then Gibon said, "Look, I'm awfully tired and sleepy. I
must be getting back to the village, otherwise my mother will
be getting worried about me." So he said his "goodbyes" and
He was so full of excitement, when he got home his mother
said, "Little hunter, what's wrong with you? You seem so happy
and excited about something."
He said, "I am. I had the most wonderful day today. I
found some deer and I went deerback riding, and I went swimming
with the turtles, and I sung and danced with the little people.
I had such a wonderful time."
His mother said, "Oh, it sounds like you had a wonder-
ful time, but you probably only saw the ripples in the river--
you know you have such a big imagination."
The little hunter said, "I do:not, Mother. It is not my
imagination. I really and truly played with these little
And the mother said, "Oh, well, you take a good might's
rest and tomorrow we'll see."
The next day the little hunter gets up and says, "Mother,
would you please go with me to the river? I must show you
these delightful little people. They live inithe trees and
live in the flowers, and they're the most fantastic creatures
that you ever did know."
So his mother said, "Okay, I'll go with you."
So the next day she went with him to the riverside. The
little hunter looked into the rocks, looked up in the trees,
looked into the flowers, looked at the water lilies, and he
didn't see anything. His mother smiled at him and she said,
"Little hunter, I told you it was only the ripples on the river."
And that ended the day fot the little hunter.
[Here Chaudhuri begins another story by an unknown informant.]
When I was just a little boy, when my parents and uncle
would think I was fast asleep, I would hear them talking, sitting
around the fire, about times long gone by. They would talk about
our people being on the run and not having time to eat
cooked food. They said many times they had to eat raw fish
because there was no time to make a fire and cook the fish--
they had to depend a lot on dried fish and dried beef. This
is the way they used to eat. They would be so exhausted--
these men, women, and children. Their feet would be sore, and
sometimes out of cold, their toes would actually burst, because
they really didn't have any warm clothes. But, our people were
very strong and brave. Because of them, they used to say, we
are here today. I would lay there under my covers listening
to every word that was being spoken, and I used to think it
was so nice how we used to use the palmetto leaf for dishes.
I used to use it even awhile back. I even use it once in awhile
when I think of days gone by.
[Here Chaudhuri begins a new section of information]
There was a young family who invited me over for dinner; and
they're traditional Indians. This young man--he's a Miccosukee
Indian, he's about twenty-eight or twenty-nine years old, and is
very involved in the traditional teachings of his people.
Unfortunately, I could not get him to utter even one word on
the tape recorder, but we got to talking about marriages.
He told me he liked the traditional way of arranged mar-
riages, and I asked him why. He told me that these days, some
of the girls you marry don't know anything. Exactly what he
meant by that, I don't know. But he started talking in terms of
the past; and he said a long time ago, marriages were arranged
for the boy with some girl of another clan, because you couldn't
marry into your own clan.
These marriage-makers were conducted by the maternal rela-
tives on both sides and the young people were not consulted.
The boy never knew what kind of girl he was marrying, but he
didn't have to worry about it,because whatever choice his maternal
relatives made, he knew that she must be a nice girl. Any-
thing of this importance was a clan matter, he told me, and, as
you know, everything had to be decided by the mother's clan,
not the father's. The person in charge of the marriages was
usually the mother's maternal uncle. He was the one that went
from village to village, from camp to camp, trying to evaluate
the girls--see if she was.healthy and-strong, if she was
a good cook, and if she knew how to dry meat and hunt berries,
and knew what herbs to cook with in her food. If she met all
of these qualifications, more than likely she would make a good
wife. Well, if this was all agreeable to the boy's side,
then they were well on their way to get married.
If they did get married, the wedding usually took place
during the Green Corn Dance time, which was a celebration of the
new year, celebrating the harvest of the corn. When they
were married, they had exactly a year to that day to have a
During their marriage, the girl had to be careful to
keep away from her husband during the time she was having
her natural period. Usually there were two chickees. One
large one where the husband and wife slept, this was their
bedroom, and then naturally they had the common cooking area,
but behind this chickee was another smaller chickee. When a
woman was on her menstruation, she would be secluded to the
smaller chickee, because they thought that a man who was around
a woman of this nature or copulated with her, his male strength
was taken away from him. Even when they went bathing in the
rivers or anywhere--they weren't allowed to bath in the same
water, otherwise this would be another way of weakening the
man's strength. And there were many taboos like this.
What was so fantastically wonderful about the marriages--
they could be trial marriages. The couple was given one solid
year to see if they could live together as man and wife.
If they got along beautifully, they were declared man and wife,
probably for the rest of their lives. Divorce was allowed if
consent was given by both sides of their people. When the
Green Corn Dance festivities came up, this is what really
sealed their marriage. It was the time when the new year
started; and this is where the trial marriage might be dissolved,
and they were free to look around for someone new. During this
time, all the camps have to be swept, and new clothes have to
be put on, and everything has to be burnt, and they have to
start from scratch.
So this young man told me of all sorts of things that were
done in the past. One thing I thought was kind of interesting
was during the time when the Seminoles were having their wars
with the white soldiers. He was telling me that his grandparents
used to tell him, that one way the Indians got away from the
white soldiers is that they used medicine. This medicine could
do fantastic things; the medicine could cause the person to
At one time the soldiers were right up on a group of
Indians, and these Indians were fortunate to have a medicine
man with them, because this medicine man always carried medicine
bundles with him. He quickly put some medicine on some pieces
of stick and he gave it to each individual person. He told them
that the white soldiers are coming, and they're coming here to
kill us, and if you use this medicine, this medicine will
cause us to become invisible and the white soldiers will not
be able to see us. So all the people obeyed the medicine man and
they took this little piece of stick that was about two inches
long. The instructions of the medicine man was: you dampened
this piece of wood, and then you put it on your forehead, and
then you lie down on the ground on your back and close your
eyes, and then you say a few prayer chants. While you're
saying this, this will cause the white soldiers to bypass you
without seeing you, because this medicine will cause you to be-
come invisible. But the moment that this little piece of wood
falls off from your forehead, then you will become visible to the
eyes of the white soldiers. Once you become visible, you have
no chance of survival, because then they will shoot you down.
This is how a lot of the warriors were shot down, because they
lost their piece of wood.
Also, they felt very strong that medicine protected them.
If they were caught out on the praries or out on the flat lands
where there weren't any trees, they would quickly start chanting
for help, and through these chants they felt as though some
magical powers were done. Then suddenly they would see some
trees, and they would hide in it; and then the white soldiers
would come through the forest and could not find a single
Another way that the warriors fooled a lot of people....
Maybe there'd be about five or six warriors and they were being
hunted down by white settlers or some other people; they would
follow each other in a single file, following in each other's
footprints. This way would leave the impression that only one
Indian was around. So there were a lot of little trickeries
that they did.
I noticed on him a lot of scratches on his back and on
his arms. He was wearing walking shorts and he also had scratches
on his legs, too. Well, I should say, just scars. I was very
curious to know where he got all these scratches. He was saying
that he went to the Green Corn Dance every year, often there was
special ceremonial meetings, he's usually go and that they
were scratched. Then I asked him if any of his little boys
were scratched. He said no,he probably would not do the scratching;
probably his maternal uncle would do the scratching or his
mother's brother would do the scratching, or the medicine man.
Then I asked this young man, were these scratches only
done for ceremonial purposes. He says, no that these were done
for punishment as well. And I said, "Punishment for old
He said, "No, it was mostly for children. There were dif-
ferent kinds of punishment for the older people, but with the
children, they scratched their arms and legs."
I aksed, "What did the children do that they deserved
this scratching on their legs?"
He says, "Sometimes it was for disobeying the parents
and also being unkind to animals or unkind to older people."
And another thing, there were usually morning baths that the
little boys were supposed to take, and these baths were quite
cold and they had herbs in it. They didn't want to take these
baths, so therefore the parents would scratch their arms and
legs, he told me.
And another thing--during the ceremonies, when they scratched
these little boys, it was for their own good, to make them manly
and to get them accustomed to looking at blood. But before
getting them accustomed to the blood, they usually bathed
them with warm water so their little skins would become soft
and it wouldn't hurt so much. Going back where the little boys
did misdeeds--like they lied, or they cheated, or they were
unkind to animals and old people--dry scratching took place.
This dry scratching hurt the worse, and it was the kind of
punishment that was meant to hurt. So this type of punishment
The role of the medicine man.... I asked this young man
about what exactly did the medicine man do. He told me that the
medicine man was the keeper of the medicine bundle, and usually
people from all over the area would come to see one medicine man.
Most of their medicine men have died out now, but used to, people
would come by dugout boats or would walk for many miles or would
ride horseback just to find a medicine man. And they had to
stay at the camp of the medicine man for several days and
several nights. If they had any kind of sickness, the medicine
man would keep them in an isolated chickee, and he would bathe
them in medicinal waters, and he would sing to them. After
three, four days of meditating, singing, and doctoring them,
the patient usually went back to his respective homes, all
well and ready to resume his daily activities. The greatest
power that the medicine men had was at tribal, ceremonial get-
togethers. The medicine man--at these places like the Green
Corn Dance--he would be the one that was in charge, he would
be the one who made the medicine drink made out of herbs,
and he would be the one that would serve it to these novices,
who was in training. Also he would make sure that everyone
was fasting for four days and four nights and that certain chants
were learned. Then he would more or less sort of give the blessing
to these dancers and warriors and novices, who were learning the
old tribal ways.
There was another young man who wanted to say something--
he asked me, do I know how the white man, and the black man, and
the red man came about? I told him no, and he asked if I would
like to hear the story. I said definitely I would.
Then he told the story: Once long ago, according to the
Indians, there was a beautiful river which had purified water,
and it was filled with green medicinal herbs. This water was
supposed to purify a person. There were three men--they all
looked alike, there was no color difference--and each man was
asked to bathe in this purified water.
The first man dove into the water early in the morning
before the sun came out. He took a couple of dips, and he
decided it was too cold, and he quickly left the river. This
was the white man; he didn't give himself the time to stay in
the purified water.
The second man, it was his turn to take a dive into the
water. He looked at the water,and it was a little dirty; and
he thought, "Gee, should I or shouldn't I go in?" He was really
reluctant to bathe in this dirty water, then he decided it
probably wouldn't do any harm, so he dove in the water. The
sun was beginning to get hot, and my, he enjoyed the warm sun
and lukewarm water. He would get out of the water and lay under
the sun for awhile, and just sort of bask in the warm sun, and
then he would jump back into the water. He found himself en-
joying this bath. He went back and forth from the water--diving
in, jumping out. He was just having a good time. Finally he
decided to leave before the sun really became too hot and
unbearable. He spent sufficient time in the purified water that
he felt as though he was going to be a good man.
The third man was asked to bathe in this water. He looked
at the water; and by this time the water was pretty dirty. He
couldn't see himself bathing in this water, but he thought,
"Well, this water has herbs in it, it has medicine in it, and it's
supposed to purify me." On second thought, he thought he'd
better go in, so he took a deep plunge into the water. It was
quite warm and he really enjoyed this. This is the time the
sun sent the blazing heat down. He decided to get out of the
water, and he went and played down, and he felt purified; and
he was purified because he stayed in the water a long length of
time. But this poor fellow fell asleep, and when he woke
up he was burnt to a crisp--from this the black man came.
I found this mythology intriguing. This was my first time
ever hearing it; I've never heard it among the Creeks of Oklahoma.
One direct question I usually like to ask: do you think
Florida really belonged in the hands of the Spaniards? They
went back and forth with the British and the Spanish and the
last people who got hold of it was the white people--they actually
hold title to these lands.
One beautiful thing one of the young men said, "Florida
was our home long before any white Europeans. The swamps, the
alligators, the birds, everything that makes up the beauty
of Florida, and its quietness were ours, was the spiritual
beauty of the Seminoles. Long time ago, land was my people, and
my people was the land, because we had the concept that the land
was equal to life and life was equal to the land. We were one,
and no other intruder had the right to take this away from
us." Which I thought was really great.
I've met several young men who have spent some times
over in Viet Nam, and I asked if they really feel as though
they need to be over there. They're really convinced that they
are protecting the nation, the United States; that it is their
duty and obligation to stand beside her, because communism
should be killed at any cost, even if that means sacrificing
so many boys.
And then I asked the follow-up question,"But you're an
Indian, and you're the last great warriors who've held steadfast
to holding onto the little lands that you now hold. You've been
robbed of all your land, all of your dignity and honor have been
stripped of you, and you still yet feel as though you have a part,
a duty, an obligation to this country?"
They always said, "Yes," because they live here. Not
only that, it was the teaching of their elders that it was
man's moral obligation to protect one another when one is
living on the same common grounds. "Just because other people
saw no beauty in our way of life, do we have to be like that?
Just because some people forgot to be human, do we have to be
inhuman? How long do you think it takes a people to live in
peace with one another? Today it doesn't call for being separate
from each other, we have to live in peace and harmony and if we
can all realize that and know that we all live in the domain
of the Great Spirit, then things would be better off."
I thought this was a good attitude for them to have. Sure,
they have bitterness, they talk about their history--how bad
off the Seminoles were treated. They also were facing reality,
knowing that no matter how bitter they may be, or how much they
may be bucking against the system, these aren't answers, that
they have to help along. The beauty of it is that whatever
they said--being human, seeing beauty in other peoples' way
of life--these were the teachings and the concepts of the elders
of the Seminoles. So I really think, that without knowing it,
a lot of these young people sort of holds a beautiful value
system within their hands.
I wish they would just talk into the tapes, but all they
want to do is just visit and talk, no specific questions, but
just to talk informally. Most of the young people we have
seen or met with, it's usually around nine or ten in the
evening, and they feel more relaxed and more apt to talk. They
have so much to say, but unfortunately they're holding back.
Each time I would tell different ones about the fact that
I belong to the Bear Clan, they seem to get a bit of enjoyment
or a big kick out of telling me about the last bear they killed
in 1958, In 1958, they were going to have a big feast. The
whole community of the Brighton Reservation were going to have
a bear, and they did kill a bear, but no one could touch
the bear, because it has to take a member of the Bear Clan
to come and strip the bear and clean it. After he was cleaned
up, a member of the Bear Clan had to be the first one to take
the first bit. So, for a while they thought they couldn't
find anyone that belonged to the Bear Clan.
[Here Chaudhuri begins another section of information.]
They hold onto their traditional beliefs quite strongly.
The story goes somewhat like this: the Indians had no problems
about money matters until the first contact with the white
man. So over the periods of hundreds of years, the Indian
knew that silver and gold was quite meaningful to the white
man. There were certain values that the Indians were picking
up and one of the values that they were learning quite early
was the value of money.
There was a little boy, a young man, rather, who was really
obsessed with the idea of owning gold and he told his parents,
"You know, whenever the white man wants something--they're always
giving us money or silver and gold for this."
And the mother warned her little son, her young son, "Well,
don't be decieved into thinking that money will always make you
And he answered, "Oh, no, I wouldn't do that, besides,
I would just like to look at it. It's so beautiful, it glitters."
His mother said, "Well, run along and do what you were doing."
So the young man went out and carried on with his daily
duties. And one evening he decided to take a stroll by the
riverside. While he was walking he suddenly realized that
there was some glittering things out in the river. The closer
he came to the river, the brighter and the shinier it became; and
the closer he looked, he was really convinced that it was gold.
And he said, "Oh, how fortunate, how lucky I am. I've found
some of the white man's gold." So he started going closer
and he said, "I'm going to pick that up and I'm going to take
So he looked at it and he reached down for the gold and he
fell into the river. It was only the reflection of the moon.
Unfortunately the boy did not know how to swim and he
drowned. The moral of the story is: whoever pursues the white
man's gold suffers from illusion and loses one's self.
[Here Chaudhuri begins another story told by an unknown
I asked one man, how did the warriors know that the soldiers
were coming? How did they let their people know? He said [that]
it was customary for the Indian scouts to be in trees; they
would be setting up in trees looking over the prairies, over
the field of saw grass, and if they saw soldiers coming they
would make animal calls to let the rest of the tribe know that
soldiers were coming. And from this tree they could see out
a great distance--they could see in front of them if enemies
were coming or not. Usually sitting up trees...some of our
history tells us that just looking out at the beautiful prairie
would look so peaceful and every now and then a rabbit would be
hopping here and there, but suddenly, out of nowhere there would
be soldiers coming and the signals would be sent out. Usually
their strategy was to fall back into muddy area, into swamp
area, where it was real boggy. If the soldiers followed them in,
they were usually trapped; they would get bogged down with their
wet uniforms, and then the Seminoles would have their small
victory. But usually there were only about fifteen to twenty
warriors carrying on this type of guerilla warfare. In order
to carry out, or plan to entice the soldiers into the swamps,
we would have a few men running into it. Then, more than
usually, the white soldiers were always courageous and then
they would come right out after us, and then we would have
our small victory.
But usually we were always fighting by animal instinct,
seem as though; or our elders have told us that if they didn't
have strong instinct of what was going to happen they would
have been all killed, because they have to really depend
on nature, and nature camouflaged them from their enemies. All
these battles were so terrible, because there would be torn
bodies lying everywhere and everything was so maddening. They
often said they never suffered from delusions that the odds were
against them--they knew that anytime they would be slaughtered
one by one. Their biggest advantage was rain; when it rained
they could maneuver about in the swamps. Nature was really
truly their ally, and although they were heavily outmanned and
outgunned, they managed to fight their enemies on equal
grounds. It was good fortune that we knew the geography of
Florida, because sometimes we would hide our dugout boats,
and if we had to make a quick getaway we would go gliding
through and they would never know what had happened to us.
Then we would hide our dugout boat and dugouts and hide out
for a few days in rest, and then we would start off over again--
either hunting the enemy or being hunted by the enemy.
Our defense was always flimsy; at times we did not have
more than fifteen or twenty warriors, as I said. I know my
grandfather said our battles were never victories, because the
beautiful camps would be destroyed and hundreds of human beings--
women, children, and warriors--would be killed or maimed.
These really weren't victories, these were really human sufferings.
Fighting in the swamps, many of our men drowned, as well as
There was always struggle to retain our ancestral lands.
The fighting was in hopes of victory in persuading our enemies
that this was our land and we would fight until the last drop
of blood was drained out of us; and we knew that the odds were
greatly overpowering but our people fought and always in hopes
that there will be a better day. The long and bitter Seminole
wars did achieve one victory--they have not completely destroyed
a people who desperately fought for their land. No matter how
many papers that Florida, that they say Florida belongs to the
white man, in our hearts and mine, Florida still yet belongs
to us, was the thinking of this young man.
And he also went on the say that his grandfather told
about the warriors. The warriors were often tired and down
to their last men, and sometimes they were destitute, because
they've lost their food supply, and never enough ammunition to
even kill one deer. And the white soldiers never ceased coming
with their powerful guns and cannons. He also said, "I remember
my grandfather talking about one village that was completely wiped
out. He doesn't know if it was in Big Cypress of further north,
but he said that the white soldiers brought in the cannons and
they shot one ball at this camp, because this group of people
were refusing to move out. The only thing lying about were just
broken bodies, he said no one could fight back, because their
bows and arrows were no match for the cannon. They fought as
often as they could with white soldiers who had only guns. But
in spite of all their deadly weapons, they were proud of the
fact that they fought the good fight.
Also he mentioned the Dade massacre. He said that it
was probably in this period that there was a Dade massacre, and
how the Indians overtook them. This young man was saying [that]
you had often read that there were a thousand or more warriors
who overtook a hundred men and about eight officers, but he
just can't believe this, because who would be standing around and
counting all the warriors when a battle was going on. It would
be impossible to take an accurate account, and also, many of the
skirmishes or many of the Indian massacres took place because of
Payne's Landing; Payne's Landing was a treaty that was supposed
to give the Indians better opportunity in a different area.
Paynes Landing is the one throughout history that the white
people claimed that our leaders signed away our life's blood, our
life's blood being land. It's according to white history
that [Seminole name], one of the leaders, was the person who
consented and signed this treaty. He said many of his...grand-
father telling him stories that this could not be true, because
way back then, they weren't fluent enough to even understand
the language, and that their interpreters.... They would know
if they had misrepresented them and that they would be killed.
So therefore, more than likely, you know, they just didn't sign
the treaty, he claimed. [The Treaty of Payne's Landing was
signed May 9, 1832, by seven chiefs and eight sub-chiefs re-
presenting the Mikasuki and Alachua bands of Seminoles. Charley
Emathla was the chief who, intending to migrate, was killed
by Osceola in 1835.]
He told me that it was unfortunate that they said [same
Seminole name] had signed the treaty, that he was the instigator
of having other chiefs to sign this treaty, too. Then Osceola
was waiting for him; and he thinks that [same Seminole name]
had sold his livestock and was coming back from some fort, and
that while he was coming back, this was when Osceola ran into
him. When Osceola ran into him, he says, "So you are the one
that betrayed us, you're the one that gave our lifeblood away.
You signed our land away, saying that we were going to trade
this land for the land in Oklahoma." And he shot [same name] and
then he took the coins from [same name's] hand and threw it
at him. So this was tragic, and, according to oral history of
Indians, this was very sad, but it had to be done. Many unkind
deeds were done in order to save tribal lands, because if people
got away with it, then even the few Seminoles that are left today
would have been completely wiped out.
[Here Chaudhuri begins a legend told her by an unknown
We went back and forth dabbling around oral history, and
also we would talk about Indian legends and Indian myths and
stories. He told me a story about a turtle and the possum--
how the turtle got his back broken. The story is somewhat like
this: During ancient times, there was a turtle who was the
most beautiful thing in all of Gonfuskee. Gonfuskee means
"peninsula of Florida." He was very proud of the fact that he
was beautiful; his shell was one that looked like a mirror and
he was very proud of it. Everyone in the forest or in the
swamp loved to play with this turtle because he was so jovial,
but at times he would sort of get arrogant and egocentric. So
everyday with the turtle was sweeter than the day before, when
people get to know him. Wrestling and playing and dancing with
the animals were his favorite pastime.
One day, he suddenly looked up into a tree, and to his
surprise, he saw a strange little animal hanging upside down
swinging from a tree limb. In order to get a closer look
at this stranger he tiptoed as high as his feet could stretch,
and with the help of his neck, he got a closer look. His
neck stretched so long, he looked like a snake, all stretched
out. He noticed that the strange thing had his tail all
wrapped around the tree limb; this thing was the silliest
thing in all the forest that he had ever seen.
With uncontrollable laughter he started laughing and
he said, "My goodness, what kind of a creature are you any-
way?" With his head tossed to one extreme position, never lifting
his eyes from the possum, he continued to look at the possum.
Then he said, "Oh, I know what you are. You are a mean rat
that someone caught fighting and tied you to a tree, isn't
that right? That's the reason why you're hanging so funny.
Look at your long nose. That nose belonged on a bigger animal,
it does not even fit. It is too big for you."
"I am a possum," the possum said, "and what are you, may
I ask? Please do not laugh at me. I'm not so funny."
"Oh, yes you are," answered the turtle. "You are the
funniest thing I have ever seen--a creature hanging from his
tail. That isn't very nice, you know. Of course you must
know all creatures walk on earth, and they do not swing on
trees. Your nose is too long, and you are very bushy and
ugly. Ha, I must say you are the ugliest thing I have ever seen."
The poor possum was embarrassed. "I'd be glad if you'd
leave me be and go away. I'm not bothering you."
"Oh, but you are," said the turtle. "I have never, never
seen anything like you in this forest. You are indeed funny
The possum, now growing impatient, tried to smile, and he
said, "For the last time, I beg you to go way and leave me be."
Her politeness and patience only invited the turtle to
make more fun of her. The turtle's sarcastic laughter increased
each time the possum asked him to leave. The little turtle
began to dance and sing, showing off his beauty and his glossy
shell. In a frenzy he chanted, "If anyone should leave, it
should be the possum. No one wants to be around an animal
who swings from a tree limb. The thing does not have enough
sense to know she has ruined her bushy tail. Well, look at her,
she lost her tail hair from rubbing it against the limb. She
is so silly, she has made her little children act and look just
like her. They too are hanging upside down from their mommy.
Ha, ha, ha. I see that you even have a pocket so that you
can hide your ugly babies. That I don't blame you."
And then she began to sing: "The possum is so ugly, the
possum is so ugly. The possum's nose is too long for her face,
yes, the possum's nose is too long for her face. The possum
is so ugly. She has a pocket on so she can hide her ugly children.
The possum is so ugly, she is not like all the other creatures
in the forest."
The possum became so angry she came climbing down from the
tree quick as a wink. She picked up a stick to frighten the
the mischievous turtle away. The poor little turtle was
so terrified he became speechless. The possum lifted the big
stick and hit the turtle's shell. It's shell was so fragile
that it shattered into a hundred little pieces.
Shocked and stunned, the turtle began to cry, "Oh, no, no,
my beautiful shell, what shall I do, what shall I do? My shell
is no longer whole--it is broken into many little pieces. I
would give anything to be whole again. Please do not leave
me," he begged the possum. The first time in his life, the
turtle was upset. Who can describe the grief of the poor turtle?
Sunrise to sunset he wept for his shattered shell, but the tears
brought no ease to his grief.
At that time, the possum felt very sad for the turtle in
spite of his meanness. The possum sighed, "I cannot help you
out of your distress, but if you do as the medicine man of the
forest, he will grant you a wish or two."
"Anything, anything," cried the turtle. "I will ask help
from the medicine man." Full of his grief, the turtle prayed
and pleaded to the medicine man to glue his shell back to-
gether. "Please, good medicine man of the forest, mend my
The medicine man, being good and kind, said, "I will put
you back together, but first you must promise never making fun
of anyone who might be different from you." The turtle pro-
mised he would never again be foolish. The good medicine man
said, "I will grant you your wish. Your shell will be one.
But remember one thing: You will always carry the scars of your
misdeeds on your back. From this day on, your shell will have
many parts to remind you of your thoughtlessness to another
living creature. Also, never again will you walk on two legs;
for the rest of your life you must crawl on four legs. You
will be slow to anger, and to think. No longer will your shell
be light to carry, but heavy, because it will serve as a protec-
tion from your enemies, since you can no longer run as fast
as you used to. Now repeat after me the healing chant: "Put
me together, oh Great Spirit. Put me together, oh Great Spirit.
Put me together, oh Great Spirit, that I may become whole again,
that I may be whole again."
Sure enough the turtle was like new, but to this day you
will notice the different parts of the turtle's shell showing
his misdeeds. The poor turtle realized how severe his punishment
was, but he was grateful that he could have his shell whole,
because that was the one thing in life he cherished the most.
From that time on, the poor little turtle did not want the
company of his friends. With tears of unhappiness rolling
down his cheeks he slowly went in search for a new home--caves
and ocean's depths became his home.
[Here Chaudhuri retells several legends told her by
There were many delightful stories that we exchanged, and
here are many more:
They say a long time ago the wildcat was quite fond of
eating rabbits. And the rabbit was always on the lookout for
wildcats, because he knew that if he didn't keep his eyes
sharp and his wits about him that he would be eaten up by
wildcats. But once, long ago, the rabbit got caught by wildcat,
and wildcat wanted to eat him. Out of desperation, rabbit
said, "Wildcat, if you let me go, I promise you I will
find a nice big deer for you, and you will really enjoy eating
him. I know exactly where to find your deer. They're always
eating out in the meadow."
"Deer," asked the wildcat, "you mean I can have it all
to my self?"
The rabbit nodded, "Yes, all of it. Just think, you
can take your time eating it and really enjoy it."
Wildcat believed the rabbit and away they went to claim
his food. They came to the meadow and they did see the deer
feeding on the little green plants. He looked so contented
standing under the trees. Rabbit quickly climbed the tree,
jumped from the tree limb onto the deers back. The deer was so
startled that he gave a little jump. When he jumped, it
caused the rabbit to fall, and he fell into the river right
beneath him. The current was so swift that rabbit went sailing
down the river stream. He was out of sight in no time.
Poor wildcat didn't know exactly what had happened. He
was so preoccupied with rabbit going down the river, that when
he looked up for the deer, the deer had disappeared. Wildcat
lost out on both the rabbit and the deer.
After exchanging a few other stories, I told one which
I heard when I was a little girl:
Once there was a young girl, a young maiden who was very
conceited. She thought she was about the best thing that
had ever walked on earth. Every day she would sit by a little
pond and look at her reflection and she would always have her
little make-up kit with her. She'd have a couple of bowls
that had different kinds of paint and she would put yellow
on her forehead, put red markings on her face. She
would just admiringly look at herself in the pond, till one
day she decided that she was mature enough to find her a
husband. She said, "Today is the day that I will look for
someone to marry me."
She went running through the forest, through thickets
hollering, "I'm looking for a husband, will anyone marry me?
Is there anyone out there who can play the flute so well, who
can whistle or sing so beautiful who will entertain me?"
No one answered her, but she was not discouraged at all.
She thought she was so beautiful and so talented that
she thought surely someone would say, "Yes, I will marry you."
A few days slipped by, and no response.
She began to get very discouraged, and she thought, "Well,
today I will try again, and if no one answers my call, then I
will become an old maid." So she went through the forest
hollering, shouting and saying, "Look, will anyone marry me?"
And out of nowhere, she heard a voice saying, "Yes, I
will marry you."
Her eyes widened, and she said, "Oh, you will? Who are you?
Come out and talk to me."
So out of the dark shadow came someone who wanted to
talk to her and said, "I will marry you."
She looked at him and she said, "What will you feed me?"
And he said, "I will feed you the finest herbs and the
She said, "Oh dear, my throat could never stand that. My
throat is so delicate that it must have something else besides
roots and herbs."
And he said, "Well, I'm sorry. That's the only thing that
I can give you to eat."
So she said, "Well, run along and find someone else."
She walked slowly through the forest, and she thought, "Oh
my, the first person who said he would marry her can't feed her
anything but herbs and roots." So she thought, "Well, it's
no time to be sad.- I might as well cheer up and look for
So she started running through the forest all pepped up.
She said, "Hey, anyone will marry me? Here I am. I'm very
talented and I love to sing. I can sing all day and all night
if you let me. Please will someone marry me?"
And someone said, "I will."
And she said, "Who is it?"
He said, "I'll come out and show myself." So out of the
dark forest came someone.
She said, "Well, what will you feed me if you marry me?"
And he said, "I will give you grass and wood.
She said, "Oh, for heaven sakes. I cannot eat that. My
throat is much too delicate for that. I have to have something
to eat." She said, "Go away and find someone else who would
be satisfied with what you have to offer."
About this time she was really discouraged and she thought,
"Well, no one will ever marry me." So she was very upset and
she said, "Well, I'll give it the last try, and then I'll just
go home." So she went running through the forest once more
and asking if anyone will marry her.
Finally someone said, "Yes, my beautiful princess, I
will marry you."
She looked up and she said, "Who is that?"
And he said, "It's me."
And she said, "Me who?"
"Your future husband."
So out he came, and he said, "What is it that you expect
your husband to do?"
She said, "Well, I expect my husband to feed me well. But
you tell me, what would you feed me?"
And he said, "I would feed you grubs and feed you worms."
"Oh, that would be wonderful. I would love to have worms
and grubs to eat."
And who were they?'They were the first birds of spring.
We often talked about the Indian stick ball game and how
exciting of a game it is. I asked Howard Osceola to tell me what
the ball was made out of. Jokingly he said, "I would first
have to catch a deer before I could find out." He said the ball
was made of deer skin, moistened, stuffed with deer hair and
sewed together with sinew. The ball had to be about three
inches in diameter.
The ball sticks used to catch the ball were about two feet
long. Each player had two. These sticks had rounded ends,
looking like a cup with netted bottoms. This is how they caught
the ball--between two sticks. To make the ball sticks,
pieces of hickory were tapered off; they'd have to be steamed
and curved over at the ends. They were curved for the right
hand players, and curved to the left for those who were left
The ball field was about 150 feet in diameter. There
was a goal post in the center. The object of the game was to
hit the goal post at the top; and the goal post was about twelve
feet high. Each side had an even number of players. The ball
was tossed up in the center and the players on each side tried
to send the ball directly to the goal. When the ball hit the
goal it counted one for the side sending it against the top of
the pole. The cores to the game was kept by the scorekeeper.
He sat at one side with a bundle of small sticks besides him.
For each point won, he's set up a stick for the winning side.
And after this exhausting play, they would have a dance
following, and feasting, and then some more games, and dances
and songs. And this was usually, they had an Indian stick ball
game during their [Seminole word], or their Green Corn Dance.
There is a legend among the Seminoles that at the northern
end of Lake Okeechobee there was a battle. This battle began early
in the morning, and the Indians were beaten, they were completely
slaughtered. There again was another incident where the Indians
didn't have too much arms, but the white soldiers had a lot
of guns and ammunition. And the Indians lost many men, they were
tired of fighting, and they wanted to just give up and go further
into the Everglades. What is interesting is that they were saying,
if you listen very close during some nights, if you're out near
north of Lake Okeechobee, you can hear chanting, moaning of some
of the people who fought bravely, who died for their country.
Things we talked about in general.... We talked about
their hunting trips; when the Seminoles went on their hunting
trips, who took care of the camp behind. Howard Osceola said,
"Well, a long time ago when we went on hunting trips, we usually
left the old people, and the sick, and the women to look out for
We moved on to slavery and we asked how much of an impact
did the blacks have over the Indians, and one young man said,
"Well, since the Seminoles always practiced their hospitality
to anyone who would treat them halfway civil, they were hos-
pitable to the black slaves. When these slaves ran away from
their owners, they would make their way into the swamps and the
Indians would find them, starving and ragged and cold, and they
would bring them home. And always these black people were seeking
refuge among friendly people. And their only friends seemed to
be Seminoles, because they gave them sanctuary. Not only did
they give them shelter, but the slaves were free to marry into
the tribes and have a respected place among the people; but
taking these people in only made things worse for us in those
days. Everyone hated everyone, especially Indians, and there were
the slave hunters roaming everywhere, and they always had their
eyes open for black slaves. And once they would capture the
slaves, if they saw an Indian hanging around, they would take
him, too. So we had to pay for being open to blacks."
They were telling me about the last big camp, you know,
to each camp there were about thirty or forty chickees around.
The biggest camp that sort of was dissolved was about ten,
fifteen years ago on the Tamiami Trail. And what happened
there was--there was one man who killed his brother, he sort
of went, he had been drinking, and he killed his brother. The
man who killed his brother was sent to prison. The Miccosukees
were so upset during that time that they had their last dance,
their last get together;and they burnt all their utensils, all
their plates, they swept their yards and burnt all the chickees
and left this area. I thought this was interesting, because
this seemed to be the last traditional thread of holding the
camps together. These days the camps are strung all over
Tamiami Trail. They still yet have their traditional Green
Corn Dances, but they claim a lot, so much of it has been watered
[Here Chaudhuri begins another story.]
Once upon a time, there was a man who delighted in visiting
the sick people. He dealt with black medicine and everything he'd
done--it wasn't really to benefit anyone. So one day he decided
that he was going to visit a person, and he made some medicine.
He sung some songs over it, and four days and four nights went
by. So the fourth day came, he bathed himself in ashes and
then he sung some more songs. As he sung, he took all of his
insides out and he said he was going to become a dog, and he
turned into a dog. As he looked at himself, he looked very
beautiful, and then he thought, "What am I going to do with my
intestines?" This man decided he would put it in a tree trunk
and he was gone. All day long, he made his visits with the sick
people and took their hearts, one by one. But when he returned,
unfortunately, the wild animals of the forest had eaten up his
insides. The moral of the story is--those who do evil unto
others will suffer the consequences.
[Chaudhuri continues with various informants.]
I asked them if they still leave food with their dead. They
said, yes, they still do; whenever one of their relatives die it
is quite customary to be sure and bury them with their fa-
vorite quilt, their favortie food or whatever it is. Then Mr.
Osceola said [that] one day he heard a story one Indian was telling
him. He said that some white man was making fun of him, the
way we take food to the burial grounds.
The white man asked the Indian, "Well, when do you think the
Indian is gonna get up and eat his food?"
The Indian turned around and looked at him and he says,
"Well, I think the Indian will get up and eat his food the same
time the white man gets up and smells his flowers." So he
thought this was pretty funny.
Time and again I have heard that there's a body of water
near Big Cypress and whenever Big Cypress had a battle with the
white soldiers, soldiers came in and slaughtered the men, women,
and children, everyone. They apparently gathered all the bodies
and threw them into the river. They said this one time that
the river had so much blood in it, it was awful to look at. But
I'm very interested in the story. No one seems to really know
the detail of the Big Cypress massacre. They keep talking about
it in general terms, and I have not yet found anyone that would
go into detail. It's just vague things that they keep telling
I have talked in many full-blood. The term here is a con-
notation of traditional Seminole. The term is used because the
Seminoles refer to themselves in degrees of blood, and this
tends to identify the person one is talking.:about. Full-blood
is also misleading culturally, for not all full-bloods practice
tradition--a great many of them have turned to Christianity.
By the same token, not all mixed-bloods are oriented toward
the dominant society's outlook. Many of them become pretty
involved in traditional dances, and their traditional get-together.
Although I must say, there are only a few mixed-bloods. It is
obvious that there is a tendency for most of the full-bloods to
be conservative in their outlook; and for those of white ancestry,
particularly under three-fourths or one-half, to be more pro-
gressive in theirs.
Then there's the so-called "white washed Indian," who has
had a taste of middle class values. He is easily persuaded by
the white ways rather than by the Indian ways. Inconsistencies
in the enunciation of values are characteristic of him. He
leans to be inconsistent in regards to what he believes in.
An individual in this group varies as to the extent of how much
white values they have adopted and how much Indian values they
verbalize. Their outlook is as though they believe in the old
ways--and they'll talk about the old dances, the old songs,
and the old medicine men--but their behavior is that of a white
person. It depends on how much white values they have internalized.
The few traditional Seminoles are conservative Seminoles.
[He] sees himself interested in his traditional values and
he still yet maintains and preserves many of this, and he con-
sciously strives to maintain his cultural values. Overtly, he
is the stoic red man. His Indian traits are shown through his
native speech and medicine--he preserves them well. And their
hospitality comes thorough--they're really quite hospitable. His
traditional values may occasionally verbalize in some white
values, or he has integrated the white values such as work
hard and make a lot of money, but most often he adheres to
Seminole values and gives expression. The traditional Indians
speak Creek, or Miccosukee and regard generosity as a prime
virtue. His impression of the reservation, the population of
the reserve is divided into two groups: Indians, of which he
is a member; and white Indians. Traditionals are suspicious of
white people but they are with very good reason.
Robert Osceola asked me if I like sassafras tea and nat-
urally I said yes. He asked me if I had ever gone digging for
sassafras roots, and I said no. He said, "Well, that's the
most interesting part of getting sassafras:- roots. You have to
know where to dig them up. If you ever find any sassafras
roots out in the wilderness somewhere, in order to make a good
drink, this is what you do: You get about four sassafras-
roots, each about two and one-half inches long. Then you take
it home; you prepare one and one-half quarts of water, then you
scrub the roots, you wash it real well--if necessary use a stiff
brush, rinse and wash, wash and rinse. Then you scrape away the
bark. The second step, you put the roots and bark scraping
along with the water in a large saucepan, and then you bring
the water slowly to a boil. When it's boiling, you reduce
the heat and you let it set for about ten minutes, after that
you strain it, and you serve it. You can drink this in a jar
or whatever you want to drink it in. You can drink it hot or
you can drink it cold." And he said he prefers it hot; and I
did drink it hot and I think I prefer it hot too.
I also asked Robert Osceola about the black drink, the
special ceremonial drink that they drink and bathe in at the
Green Corn Dance. I asked him if he would tell me how to
prepare this drink, and he sort of laughed and he said, "Well,
maybe next time." And this drink is made from the leaves of
the tree, the holly tree, called ilex vomitorium.