north of the Tamiami Trail. This then would be kept for the exclusive
use of the Indians.
As it is, dependence solely on game is a poor gamble for anyone
in the precarious economic position of the Seminole today. They hire out
as guides, do a little farming, and hunt and fish the year round, selling to
tourists trinkets of alligator hide and snakeskin.
Instead of sitting for hours to fish, the Indians once had a trick
of stupefying the fish with soapberry leaves. The leaves, crushed and
dropped into the water, diffused a poison disappeared, leaving no ill
The Seminole Green Corn Dance is similar to a combination of
Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Fourth of July. Four days are given over
to dancing, feasting, fasting, purification and the punishment of
offenders. Fires are built around a tall pole of light, and for hours the
Indians dance monotonously around the pole and the fires. Their only
music during the dance is the rattle of gourds containing seeds, and shrill
voices raised in a two-toned chant. The women wear tiny turtle shells
strung around their ankles that add to the din. In recent years tin cans
have replaced the turtle shells.