American Indians and Health/Illness

American Indians and Health/Illness

Seminoles are a part of American Indians who have inhabited Florida. The Seminoles are descendant of Indians who were left behind after the Seminoles war in 1842. They inhabit the Everglades part of Florida. Though they have changed with time they still carry on with their practices. According to Englar (2002), the Seminoles are arranged in nine clans and descent is counted from the mother’s side. These clans are named after animals like the panther, wildcat, and tiger just to name a few. Although each American Indian tribe has its beliefs some of the practices are general.
Birth / death beliefs
The Seminoles life of birth and death was believed to be that of reincarnation. This meant that a person could die and then another person is born to replace them in character and role(Spector, 2009). Birth was considered a blessing since life was holy. Death on the other hand was a transition to another life. Death was caused by super natural power (King, 2006). The Seminoles believed that life after death was determined by ones fate. One could reincarnate as a person or as an animal. One could also become a ghost and go to another. Death of a person was accompanied by mourning. Once a person died ceremonies were carried out to help in the transition of that person to another world.
Health/ illness beliefs
The Seminoles believed that health was living in total harmony with nature and having the ability to survive under exceedingly difficult circumstances (MacCauley, 2008). Human beings are said to be intimate with nature. The earth and the body have the ability of being either healthy or not healthy. One is expected to treat their body with respect. Once the body is harmed the earth is as well harmed. The body should therefore be protected to stay healthy.
Illness or disease was caused by lack of protection from supernatural powers. Protection is offered by wearing charms. Illness was also caused by interference of the body by a material object which was caused by sorcery or absence of a free soul in the body. They also believed there is a reason for illness or pain (King, 2006). It can be a price being paid for something that happened in the past or will happen in the future.
Who is their healer?
The Seminoles believed in a medicine man or a woman as their healer. They sought all their medical attention from the medicine man or woman. They understood better the relationship between humans and the earth. They understood the planets, sun and the moon(Spector, 2007). To cure an illness they took their time then had to engage in a mission to find a cure for the illness. They would perform ceremonies in order to find these cures (Englar, 2002). Cure of different illnesses were found from plants, animals and other natural things. A healer could have the role of a medicine man/ woman, a spokesman and a spiritual leader.
Conclusion
In a nutshell, the Seminoles are descendant of Indians, left behind after the Seminoles war in 1842. Seminoles believed in reincarnation and also in the Supreme Being and the powers of a medicine man or woman who acts as a go between. However, they have with time forgotten their culture and incorporated themselves with the American cultures.

References:
Englar, M. (2002). The Seminole: The First People of Florida. Minnesota: Capstone Press.
King, D. (2006). The Seminole. London: Marshall Cavendish.
MacCauley, C. (2008). The Seminole Indians of Florida. South Carolina: BiblioBazaar
Spector, R. E. (2009). Cultural diversity in health and illness. (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, Chapter 8, part 1: Retrieved on 25th January 2012 from:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/47566859/Cultural%20Diversity%20Chapter%208/Cultural%20Diversity%201.pdf
Chapter 8, part 2: Retrieved on 25th January 2012 from: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/47566859/Cultural%20Diversity%20Chapter%208/Cultural%20Diversity%202.pdf
Chapter 8, part 3: Retrieved on 25th January 2012 from http://dl.dropbox.com/u/47566859/Cultural%20Diversity%20Chapter%208/Cultural%20Diversity%203.pdf

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