Seminole Birth Song

Sung by Betty Mae Jumper

Betty Mae Jumper probably recited this traditional birth song when she brought a new life into the world. She was a nurse and midwife for the Seminole tribe. From 1947 on she was known as “Doctor Lady.” This song is reprinted with permission from Moses Jumper, Jr.

You day-sun, circling around,
You daylight, circling around,
You night-sun, circling around,
You, wrinkled age, circling around,
You, spotted with gray, circling around.

Seminole tribal chairwoman, nurse, author, and storyteller Betty Mae Jumper (April 27, 1923 – January 14, 2011) found creative inspiration in the Everglades. She was the daughter of Ada Tiger, a Seminole Indian medicine woman, and a white French trapper. Over her lifetime, Betty Mae had many “firsts.” She was the tribal nurse midwife, founded a newspaper and wrote three books.  In 1967 she was elected the first woman Seminole Tribal Chairman; in the 1970s, she advised President Richard Nixon on Indian affairs; and in 1994, she was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters from Florida State University. Along with these high honors, she was known to be a fearless alligator wrestler.