Children's Literature - Gisela JerniganPart of the "Indian Nations" series, this volume presents the history and culture of the Seminole Indians. Ten brief chapters introduce history, traditional lifeways, religion, family life, tribal life and contemporary lifestyle. Two legends, a recipe and some Seminole greetings are also presented. The many color photos, drawings, chronology, glossary, index and resource guide add to the usefulness of this visually appealing series. The resource guide lists books, audiovisuals, websites and places to visit.
As with all the books in the Indian Nations series, The Seminoles opens with a creation story of the "Breathmaker," grandfather of all things. Since the arrival of Europeans in Florida, the Seminoles have had a difficult and dramatic history, first under Spain, then Britain, then Spain again, and, from 1818 on, under the United States. They fought three wars against outsiders, in 1817, 1835, and 1855, but eventually 3,400 Seminoles were captured and removed to Oklahoma, leaving only a few hundred hiding deep in the Everglades. Following a historical summary, the book describes the Seminole clan system, traditional housing, and hunting, with special attention to the colorful patchwork clothing that they developed and are famous for. Their Green Corn Ceremony continues to be an important annual renewal of the tribe. Other important aspects of their present-day culture are briefly, but clearly, describedfoods, herbal medicines, sports, and education (within the family and now at their own tribal school, K through 12). Today, both the Oklahoma and the Florida Seminoles have effective tribal governments. Cattle herding, farming, and casinos contribute to an increasingly successful economic life. Their story is a remarkable one, told vividly here and emphasizing the Florida tribe much more than the larger group in Oklahoma. This handsomely illustrated book ends with a useful chronology, a glossary, a list of available resources for more information (including the addresses of Web sites), and a list of Seminole museums. (from the Indian Nations Series; a Rivilo Book.) Highly Recommended, Grades 5-6. REVIEWER: Dr. Richard B. Woodbury (University of Massachusetts)
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