Breathmaker: The History and Legacy of the Seminole’s Creator God


The Seminole tribe is one of the best known Native American tribes, and one of the most feared among 19th century Americans and Spaniards. In fact, the origin of the term Seminole comes from a Spanish description of them as “wild”, which belies the fact that the Seminole had friendly relations with the British and Spanish during the colonial era.

To appreciate Seminole Native American mythology, their history and origins must be understood. Their forebears, the Muscogee, first migrated into what is now the Southeastern United States from various points in the north and west, which they accomplished by overpowering the indigenous inhabitants. The region was already occupied by several groups, including the Yuchi and Hitchiti, tribes that were likely descendants of the Moundbuilders. These tribes were subdued and then integrated into the Muscogee system. Thus, the traditions, beliefs, rituals, and mythologies of these various groups became the communal belief system of the Muscogee collective.

According to the Muscogee, humans emerged “somewhere in the west,” a location described as the “foundation of all things” or the “backbone” of the Earth. Most scholars associate this location with the Rocky Mountains, and they credit the Four Corners area of the United States as being the location for the creation myths of Native American groups like the Pueblo. Though still not commonly understood, Breathmaker became the creator god of the Seminole peoples (the name is also written as Breath Maker and Maker of Breath), and he became the center of a cycle of creation stories.

Narrator: David Van Der Molen