Seminole tribe member tells traditional Native American stories at FAU

Mailyn Abreu

Alligators are not as strong as they seem after one gets killed by a rabbit. This is one of the twists that students heard in Native American folktales.

Seven students were entertained with stories about trust and Native American tribes’ culture on Nov. 18 in the Student Union. The event was put on by Multicultural Programming and Oliver Wareham, a member of the Seminole tribe.

“People take different things from these legends. A lot of what they learn is to work together in the community, to trust and always watch out for others,” said Wareham.

Wareham told stories about the creation of Earth, how Native Americans began to use fire, and the beginning of the New River in Ft. Lauderdale. These are old Seminole legends, told today to keep the culture alive, according to Wareham.

“I came to this event because I’ve always had an interest in culture that is not my own. I’ve been to a Native American reservation once, and I thought it was really cool,” said freshman, Anthropology major Tyesha Clyburn.

“The Alligator and the Rabbit” was a story about a rabbit  that planned to betray an alligator by gaining his trust and then killing him. This was told to warn people not to trust strangers. The rabbit would try many times to burn the grass on which the alligator lied, but the alligator always escaped by running into the water.

So the rabbit tried to kill him with something else, trust. He gained this by being friendly, instead of just burning the grass around him. When the alligator began to trust the rabbit, he told him his weakness -the middle of his back. Getting hit there would kill the alligator. The rabbit then used this against the alligator and killed him.

Wareham added, “This story teaches you not to trust people you don’t know because you don’t know if they are trying to hurt you. You wouldn’t give your social security number out to a stranger.”