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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
INTERVIEWER; Lew Barton
INTERVIEWEE; Mr. W. J. Strickland
November 4, 1974 dib
B: This is November 4, 1974. Im Lew Barton in Washington, D.C. 'mV
in the office of Mr. W.J. Strickland. This is interview number two
for him. A lot of important things have happened and we wanted to
discuss them, and I want to add this to our first interview. Would
you tell our people where we are please?
S: Be very happy to, Lew. The Coalition of Eastern Native Americans is
located at 733 15th Street N.W. in Suite 612.
B: Thank you very much. I know you have interesting work here, because
being a good old Lumbee yourself and working with other -people, I know
this is your life. It means a lot to you. 15/sure it gives you a lot
of personal satisfaction and so on, does it not? Is your work muchfdif-
ferent from what you did earlier?
S: Well, yes. I6s really not that much different, but it is much more
challenging in that we have undertaken a task that no state government
and no national, and certainly any administration has taken on, and that
is to work with the so-called non-recognized Indian tribes. These are
the tribes that pre-date the Con ttution of the United States, and their
names are stamped on our lines. The ithe Pst4,a_ and the P,,., ..
of Main. So essentially the work is very exciting and we are a brand new
organization, and there is not many people that really know that much
about us at this time.
B: w1l, maybe yo'l tell us all about it) Yvzesa, because this is
very important and I know a lot of people are interested. And sometimes
Page 2. dib
it takes a little selling to the general public explaining, not selling,
but explaining, you know, functions. I understand some of the things
and ?sure some other people do to. But maybe yoj)tell us more in
detail about it.
S: Thank you very much, Lew. You know that ) always willing to talk
about the organization. The overall mission of the Coalition of Eastern
Native Americans is we have listed several priorities. One is to iden-
tify and assist in the social, economic, political, and organizational
development of eastern native Americans in their communities. This
includes non-reservation, urban and federally recognized tribes and
Indian groups as well as traditional Indian persons east of the Mississi-
ppi. Second, we are to develop together evaluate and analyze demography
data of eastern native Americans and to effectively use this information
for the Coalition in its long range planning and programng. Third, we
are to provide technical legal assistance and legal research activities
for eastern American Indians. Fourth, we are to assure opportunities
and access to educational institutions for eastern American Indians
from the elementary to the college level by working with public and
private schools to gain an understanding and respect for our local cul-
ture and heritage. Five, we are to design together and assess a com-
munity socio-economic index and profile for eastern American Indians.
Six, we are to research and analyze and to determine appropriate courses
of action related to the U.S. Constitution and civil rights laws, past,
present and future for eastern American Indians. Seven, we are to con-
tinually assess CEfiP goals and objectives in the light of new evidence
Page 3. dib
and documentation and to determine possible revisions. This kind of
sets out what is known as the Mission Statement of the Coalition of
Eastern Native Americans. As I said previously...
B: Thass big order, isn't it?
S: Yes, tha kind of a ...
B: Covers a lot of ground.
S: ...kind of a tall order. As I said s no administration, whether it
be Republican or Democrat, has ever tried to focus in on the very large
question of the existence of the eastern native American. As I said earlier
we were organized in December of 1972 as a result of the First Eastern
Indian Conference'that was held in Washington, D.C. in December of that
year. We received our incorporation papers on March the 23Ai, 1974, in
the District of Columbia. I would like to further elaborate about and
present a functional statement 4-r the Coalition of Eastern Native Ameri-
cans. First category would be general membership. A. The composition.
The Coalition of Eastern Native Americans has a general membership con-
sisting of the following classes. One, regular membership of all tribes,
tribal communities, and intertribal organizations of native American
people in the eastern half of the United States. Second, associate
membership of all tribes, communities, or organizations who do not quali-
fy as regular members, and whose written application for membership in
the corporation has never been approved by the corporation. Third,
honorary membership which may be conferred upon tribes, communities,
or organizations who have made an outstanding contribution to the east-
ern native American, upon denomination of that tribe, community, or
Page 4. dib
organization by any member of the corporation and by the affirmative
majority vote of regular members. The function of the general member-
ship is one, to attend annual and/or special meetings and based on
class of membership vote on issues of concern. Two, is to hold office
on the Board of Directors based on class of membership. Three, to
participate on an annual, special, or standing committees as appointed
by the Board of Directors. Four, is to order the appointment of special
committees to consider and act upon any particular matter which may be
presented by the corporation. Five, to ammend, alter, make or repeal
the by-laws of the corporation. Six, to elect members to the Board
of Directors. Seven, to approve for membership Indian tribes, communi-
ties, or organizations desiring to CENA.
Continutation of our functional statement under B is functions of the
general membership. One is to attend annual and or special meetings
and based on class of membership, vote on issues of concern. Two, to
hold office on the Board of Directors based on class of membership.
Three, to participate on annual, special or standing committees appointed
by the Board of Directors. Four, to appoint, to order the appointment
of special committees to consider and act upon any particular matter
which may be presented by the corporation. Five, to ammend, alter, make
or repeal the by-laws of the corporation. Six, to elect members to the
Board of Directors. Seven, to approve for membership Indian tribes,
communities, or organizations designed to join CENA. Three, Board
of Directors. A. Composition. CENA has a Board of Directors consisting
of the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary, the Treasurer and
Page 5. dib
seven other directors who are elected by the regular membership. B. Func-
tion of the Board of Directors. One, is to determine its policies, all
subject to and in accordance with the law.and corporation by-laws that
effect the membership. Two, to call, conduct, and adjoin regular and
or special meetings of the membership and fixed place of the meetings.
Three, to fill vacancies on the Board until the next annual meeting.
Four, to make an annual financial report to the members based upon the
completion of an annual audit. Five, to remove any officer or director
with cause by resolutions which declare such removal to be in the best
interest of CENA. Six, to establish and appoint members to annual
and special committees. Seven, to authorize any official of SENA to
enter into any contract or execute any deed or other instrument in the
name of and on behalf of CENA Eight, to select banks, trust companies,
or other depositories for deposit of CENA funds. Administrative Support
Office, four. A. Composition. CENA has an Admistrative Support Office
consisting of an Executive Administrative Director, Executive Financial
Director, on research and planning officer, five project directors,
eight technical and professional employees, twelve clerical support em-
ployees. The Executive Administration Director reports to the Board of
Directors and is responsible for the day to day operations of the corpora-
tion. The function of the Admistrative Support Office. One, the Execu-
tive Adminstrative Directors include responsibility for carrying out the
policies of the Board of Directors, establishing admistrative policy to
the government implementation of the Board policies, and for coordinating
the planning of all organizational sponsored activities. Together with
Page 6. dib
the Executive, Financial Executive Director and the Treasurer of the
corporation, the Executive Director reports periodically to the Board
on the progress of the programs, recommends policy change and submits
recommendations to the Board for action on physical affairs and grant
proposal. The Executive Administrator Director is responsible for the
liason with all national, regional, state, and local organizations
related in any way to the program and activities of the Coalition of
B: Indians, urban Indians. First over-all organization?
S: Of any kind anywhere.
B: That's very interesting. Well, you're sort of pioneering here,
S: Well, absolutely. It is a pioneering effort that we don't have
any particular model to follow by.
S: To,pattern after.
B: Well, that's certainly good. I, I always enjoyed getting into
virgin territory even in research. You're laying the ground work
and they've got just the right man to do it, and that's you.
S: Well, I appreciate that. I'm trying to do the best that we know
how. But in bringing together all of these people is a tremendously
B: Oh, I can imagine. How many groups are represented? Did you men-
tiona number or do you know?
S: Yes, we have fifty-two Indian tribes and organizations in nineteen
Page 7. dib
states east of the Mississippi, and our territory is from Main to
Florida, and from Michigan to Louisiana. We do take in Louisiana.
B: Well, that certainly is a challenging mission and I'm certainly
wishing you Godspeed and the best of luck and all those things.
You know, our numbers are so small that on a national scale, for
example, in the political area we, the Indian people have the smallest
minority of all, don't they?
S: Yes, they certainly do. And you know, since I've had a chance to
be in Washington, Lew, share with you that I've really had an opportunity
to broaden my perspective of the total Indian situation, and I find
that the antrocities that were created or generated Wounded Knee and
some of the other more famous battles between the Indians and the white
as they pushed to conquer the west, they're still occurring today only
the difference is is that they're more sophisticated with the, the
incalculable effect that they're having on the people. I make further
assertion to this due to the fact that you can take a look at the his-
tory of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the problems are just as great
now as they ever were. The lack of education, the lack of adequate
housing, the lack of effective tribal governments, and the lack of
responsible leadership, you know, all point to parental control and
guidance by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. And of course the history
of the Eastern Indians is one that is so unique that it would take
approximately,for me to give you further concrete assessment, it would
take approximately five years to thoroughly research the chronology
of events that now leads us to the situation of, you know, how, who were
Page 8. dib
the people, how did they survive, and what are they doing now and who
are they and where are they located.
B: Well, these are interesting people to me as you know, and in doing
my research each one of these groups is different in background. Some
were historically different, wouldn't you, would you say?
S: Oh, absolutely.
B: Their problems, some of the problems are unique.
S: Very, very, very unique. In the north, in the northeast you have
the unique situations of the Naragantans of Rhode Island, and then in
the State of Massachusetts again you have the unique situation of the
Whampanoacks who were there, and the problems that each one has is
unique to his geography and to the society of which, you know; specifically
we cannot denote at this point in time, but just generally speaking
is one of the, the lack of, lack of recognition of the human being,
and the recognition of their history and their identity and their cul-
ture. It's just very amazing that...
B: Each one must have a fascinating story whatever that story is...
B: ...it relates to history.
B: It must be in each case, individual and fascinating.
S: Absolutely, and one of my great concerns, though, in my capacity
here is that I know that each passing day unless we immediately move
to record the oral history of those groups I'm afraid that twentieth
century is going to outclass us and out-It,- and it will be lost
to man, all mankind for ever, and I'll never really have a chance to
Page 9. dib
know the, you know, the real story, you know, of what their history was.
B: Well, this is the only kind of, you can look at this organization
as something that in one sense protective, in another sense it has a
tendency to bring all these people together, at least to classify them
under one heading.
S: Right. Well, you know, Lew, the thing that disturbs me is that
the government and people who work for the government have always been
able to put labels on people. I really feel that a lot of, a lot of
names have been given from the white society that's kind of been not
challenged, and they were taken and used. Like for instance in the
neighboring state here of, of Maryland, Maryland has a unique history
and that there's, the Indian population there is known as Wesorts.
This name derived at a gathering of, of where the, it brought together
the whites and it so happened that a conversation developed between
two individuals where one was asking the question about, well, who
was to come? And so they said that the outcome was that they were,
the people that were not invited were Wesorts, and so consequently...
B: These, in other words, we sort of people.
S: We sort of people...
S: ...and not you sort of people, and so the Indian people got the
feeling and got the name of Wesorts, which meaning that they were not
a part of that society that could, that could control their economy
and make the laws and you know, generally determine the policy of the
state at time. So now history has recorded, this was back in eighteen
Page- 10. dib
hundred, history has recorded and it's true in the nineteen, in the
twentieth century that there's a group of people known in the
state of Maryland as Wesorts. So you see what history has done, it
has given them a name.
B: Do they resent this?
S: Very much so, and they're very frustrated. But yet...
B: Do they have an official name yet, or are they making attempts to,
to have a name of their own Ckose. ?
S: Yes, they, I'm very saddened by what I have to report to you is
that they have been downtrodden so long, is that they even question
themselves. They know for beyond a shadow that they are Indian, but
because the, the government, the state government and because of county
governments and because of the general tendency of not to want to be
recognized as Indians. It's so much better to blend in and go along
with the tide rather than to say they're Indians,because then they be-
gin to run into lines of opposition, and that their resistance is such
a low ebb that at the first encounter they, you know, they wilter.
But these people,we will have to go back and do a complete anthropological
history of these people to determine what tribes were there in the
maintenance information known to them. Then let them begin to check
their family trees and geneology and then to determine, you know, from
what, from which they came,I guess is the proper saying.
B: As you know Dr. Bruton Berry, who was head of the, or was head of the,
perhaps still is of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at
Ohio State University, had published a book several years ago called,
Almost White and he mentions a number of these groups. I believe he
Page 11. dib
said I've, he had counted something like two hundred groups of people
along the eastern seaboard that were all partially of Indian descent
or at least partial.
S: That's, that's probably a very true statement.
B: Do you, are you familiar with this book?
S: No, I'm not familiar at all with this book. I'd love to read it.
B: But I think there was some opposition to the book when it appeared
simply because he talked to people and recorded what people said.
S: He told the truth.
B: But sometimes what they said wasn't very complementary. But he
recorded what they said anyway. But would you say he's done some of
the ground work, I imagine this is about the first serious study of
this particular groups, wouldn't you think?
S: I would think so just from, just from what you've said to me. But
I would have to totally reserve my opinion until I've had a chance to
review his book into detail. There's a lot of erroneous information
available that has been compiled through the years, and it's on file
over at the Smithsonian Insitute, and once you make it,make it on the
files at the Smithsonian Institute it's been generally accepted as being
authoritative. But, however that's not the case. There's a lot of been,
there's been a lot of Ph.D. dissertations that have somehow made them-
selves into archives and they begin to be quoted, and then once, you
know, a quote is quoted, whether it's right or whether it's wrong makes,
you know, makes really no difference particularly in the case of where
its a wrong quote, becuase history's just got a way of not really dealing
Page 12. dib
with that, and thus we have found that there is just a whole lot of
sources of information that, that' s totally inaccurate, and our Board
of Directors have taken steps to work with the Smithsonian Institute
specifically, they're coming out with an edition of Indians of the
northeast and the southeast. There's about four volumes, and we're
reviewing each of those volumes for their, for their accuracy.
B: That's good. I remember the Acostos at California. Mrs. Acosto
published a book several years ago in criticism of references to the
Indians in history textbooks throughout the country, and its amazing
how many errors she discovered and corrected and, you know, on the
basis of authoritative information, pure historical information. So,
so maybe each one of these groups. I would like to write a story of
each one of these groups if I were that, if I had the time and the
S: Well, it needs to be done very badly. It really needs to be done
B: So these are human beings and above all they are Americans,and on
the dustcover of Dr. Berry's book it says that although these groups
have established their relationships with the earliest settlements, yet
they have found no place in the mainstream of American Society. How do
you, do you think this speaks badly for the idea of assimilation? How
do you think these groups feel about assimilation as opposed to the
way the reservation Indians feel about assimilation, which they definitely
don't want,you know?
S: You've asked me a very, very strong question. When you talk about
assimilation, really what is assimilation I guess is what it boils down
Page 13. dib
to in you know, in your definition, not only what...
B: I'm thinking of it in terms of just swollowing up a group, that the
main society swallowing up that group, or you know, the rest of the
population, not necessarily' .. o< but, and of course, our people
have, as you know, have been opposed to that because we want to preserve
our identity. We don't want to be a part of somebody else. There's
one thing to be swollowed and it's another to swollow up it, you know.
And there are people who feel that this is the ultimate result of Ameri-
canization, that this is a process that will come about in time, and per-
haps historically that might have some truth in it. But still these
groups have resisted assimilation, especially the reservation Indian,
because that they've had the means whereby they can accomplish this
to some extent while these other groups have had no government protec-
tion at all in the past. Is that a fair assessment would you say?
S: I, I think definitely that's a fair, a fair assessment. I think
that the point that I would love to make and a very strong point is
that I don't really believe that the Indian leaders throughout history
have taken a very broad look at themselves in terms of the problems
that they were facing and the best alternatives to solving those problems.
They've never looked at themselves nationwide as an Indian population.
B: As they are able to do now through you.
S: Well, as, well, even now it's very difficult for them to really even
recognize that there is eastern Indians categorically speaking. But with
the younger generation it's not that much of a problem as it is with
their predecessors. And I don't have the answer as to why they fail to
Page 14. dib
look at themselves. You take, you take the Sioux for instance. The
Sioux must be divided into fifteen or twenty bands of the Sioux people
alone. But they're still Sioux.
S: And in the last several years they've just come and organized
themselves into a confederation to take a look at the hard problems
S: Now why did it take-all that time for them to come together? Be-
cause they were having very!high rate$ of birth defects. They have a
very high rate of, of unemployment. They had all kind of housing
problems. But yet the leaders failed to come together to prevent a
united front, and but they're doing, they're doing it now, and we have
taken a very bold step in the east in that we have not divided ourselves
against the urban, against the rural, against the state reservation.
We call ourselves Indians, and we work together to solve all of those
problems without drawing lines of distinction among us. And I think
it's really served to our advantage.
B: Well, it's amazing of the history, of the pre-historic things that
existed the average American doesn't know exists at all. The great
civilizations which were established in the past.Right among our own
Indian people there were at times, for example, as brought out by the
Mormon Church who is very interested in Indian history, and their reli-
gion is based on Indains and Indian history, and they take a special
concern for the Indians. But they created, for example, temples, temples
Page 15. dib
built within temples. They were so enormous. Some of the pyramids
they created were so enormous they would actually swollow up the pyramids
of Egypt that we've always been taught to regard as the seven, one of the
seven wonders of the world. This basic bware information that people
like this have dug, and nobody else has taken that much interest.
B: But it's amazing, people don't even realize what the civilizations
are like. When they came over here the reason Cortez was able to march
into Mexico City and take over Mexico City so easily is because those
people has been expecting a messiah, actually expecting that. And when
he came they thought he was that. And he played up, he played the role
to its full extent, and down through the years historians have been
amazed at this, what they regarded as a tremendous military conquest or
military victory. And historians have been unable to explain it. But
the Mormons have been able to, because they've been close tothe people...
B: ...and they know the history.
B: But all these are different, aren't they? So many of these groups
are so diversified. Even among reservation Indians there are great
geographical differences. And they're so small that politicians regard
small groups as insignificant simply because they can't produce the
amount of voting power that they want.
S: That's right, absolutely correct.
B: So I guess if democracy has any defects this would be one of them.
Page 16. dib
I'm sure a democratic form of government is the noblest ever conceived
by the mind of man. Yet every form has its drawbacks, and this is
certainly one in connection with these small groups. Could you tell
us something more about, how about the leadership? Have you been able
to establish leadership or get in contact with people like this in...
I know for example, I want to mention the Hmi .s Indians who take
a tremendous interest and a tremendous pride in their heritage, and they
are definitely going under the Indian label and they've, they've gone
a long way. But there is an element that they have never been able to
bring in, you know.
S: Yes, Lew, we do work very closely with the H'-i .
B: They're a great people, aren't they?
S: They certainly are. They really are, and we've got a member of
their tribe on staff now, Artie Richardson.
B: Hey, that's great.
S: He is working in the state of North Carolina presently, working
with the WoVw-ft^otJ, the 4oce-/ and also with his own group,
the Ho c4s and I would love to have him call on you cause he
somewhat of a very interesting person himself, and I think he has...
B: Oh, yes.
S: ...tremendous potential.
B: That would be great. We would certainly be happy to interview
him and would appreciate it. But I'm certainly, I want to congradu-
late you and wish you Godspeed in this work, because I know what a
tremendously important work you're doing. And as you said a while ago,
Page 17. dib
you're laying the groundwork and you have no, you have no precursors,
you have no past records to go by, you're starting something entirely
new, and you're having to play it by ear largely, aren't you?
S: Yes, absolutely, absolutely. Well, I somewhat take my inspiration
from you. You were a pioneer..
S: L-And I often, I often think of you and probably what must have been
some days when you probably asked yourself the question, "Why am I the
only one to see all these? Why am I the only one to call them to the
attention? Where is my fellow brothers? Why can't we join to, why are
we the, our own greatest enemy?" And I know that what,Lew, I can do in
the short time I'm going to try to do.
B: Well, I'm sure you will. I, I know you're going to do a good job.
You never, you never tackled anything,\that > you didn't do well.
I, I have to say that. You've done everything well you've ever attempted
to do, and I certainly wish you Godspeed. We'll need the help of
Providence with work like this. We could certainly use some.
S: Well, we lb want you to know one thing when you're back down on
the local scene is that you've got an office in Washington. We want to
get this message out to our people.
S: That there's somebody here full-time that is concerned about them
and that in order to utilize us they must be together at the local levels.
And whatever their issues are, whether it be education, whether it be
housing, whether it be better job opportunities or whether it be discri-
Page 18. dib
mination in an area of civil rights or whatever, we can come to their
B: That's great.
S: But we are not going to dictate to the local leadership in the local
community what their priorities should be.Unless the local communi-
ty can stand up and say,"These are our problems. Let's work together
on them," then there's no need for us to be in that community.
B: Right. In other words you want to be, you want to be invited, you
want to be understood. And I'm, I'm sure that you would have no problem
here if they did understand.
B: You know.
S: Well, you know the thing that concerns me is that I believe there's
been too many prophets, too many do-gooders who would come in and build
up the hopes of the community, tell them that they were going to solve
their problems over night, they were going to get action tomorrow or
whatever, knowing that realistically, that the problems we now have,
got that way over a hundred years, and that they're not going to be
B: Right, -2>/ /.
S: But if we resolve ourselves that we're going to work at it a little
bit today, a little bit tomorrdls, a little bit the day after that, in
a matter of three hundred and sixty-five days, two years, three years,
you can begin to make 5e\ -J^,, real progress. And the one thing
that I don't want to mislead people is that we're going to change every-
Page 19. dib
thing, because we exist, over night.
S: It's going to take time and we, if we don't, don't resign ourselves
to the fact that it's going to take time, then we're going to be de-
feated again, because the first thing is that somebody's going to
call up and say, "Well, you were supposed to do so-and-so yesterday."
You'll say, "Well, I didn't have time,"and then you're going to have a
misunderstanding. When you have a misunderstandingsyou have conflicts.
When you have conflicts you have problems, and when you have problems
you don't have progress. And the ultimate is that you could, you could
run very well into a disaster.
S: And we feel very strong that we've got a qualified Board. We've
got a qualified staff.
B: Oh, yes.
S: And we are committed to working with our people, and we work only
with a group of people who represents the majority of the people at
the local level. We just don't work with individuals. We build in
S: You know, self-determination as a concept is that if we had done
our job working with you, we no longer exist, you can make it on your
own. You know how to fight city hall. You know how to fight county
government. You know how to deal with, with state government or any
other government for that matter, because you've got back down to the
Page 20. dib
principals that our Indian people have practiced since before the
beginning of the Constitution. That is you practice truth, faith,
S: Those are virtues of the red man, and they are very high qualities
that if practiced would solve a lot of the problems we now face today.
B: Well, this, you mentioned something there a while ago,j we'll, this
tape is about ready to change, but we can switch and keep going just
a little bit if you don't mind Mary,Mrs. Mary Woods who is operating
the machine. This spirit of defeatism, you know we had it, and I'm
very happy to say today we don't have it.
B: If we can do it, if we meaning the Lumbee, if we can do this then
other groups can. If they won't be jealous and just take a hand or
two here or there from us or from, from your, say from your leadership
and your organization, your agency. It seems to me that this is a,
this is a self-defeating thing, the spirit of defeatism, just feeling
inferior, a feeling of hopelessness. Say, "Oh, my God, there's, there's
no way out of this. There's no way to help myself." But our people
are out of that, aren't they, wouldn't you say on the whole?
S: They are definitely. Since the 1970's there has been a national
awareness in this country that is beyond reproach. Nothing, nothing
can parallel it in any history book you can find. To give you a shining
example of that is June 5, 6, and 7, for the first time all the Indian
leaders of all the Indian tribes in the North, the South, the East and
Page 21. dib
the West agreed to agree to meet in the same room at the same time to
talk about the same thing. Now that is history.
S: This was the, the National...
B: And that's the first move in the right direction.
S: Right. That was the beginning of the National Policy, National In-
dian Policy Conference, and that is the beginning of what I would
Lew, would be the settlement of a national Indian policy. Can you
imagine Henry Kissinger going to Peking or Moscow without a foreign policy?
S: But you...
B: He wouldn't.
S: You know that there is no national Indian policy. So what you have
is a conglomeration of executive decisions, legislative decisions, and
you've got no real continuity, not real focus on the problems, and thus
you have all kind of bottle necks, and you've got very severe Indian
problem. And I think until, and I think the leadership of today are
standing up and taking a look at themselves and the problem, and I be-
lieve we're on the verge of making some progress.
B: Oh, that's great.
Page 22. dib
TAPE I; SIDE II
B: Well, we had to change the tape at that point. I think you've
got the right idea and I'm so thrilled that you are taking a realistic
look and that you realize that this is the only thing we can do.
You know, we are people. Nobody can deny that. We are American.
Nobody can deny that. Our history dates back to colonial times,
and beyond, way beyond. Nobody can deny that. have to look at
ourselves and say,"Well, this is us, and here are our problems. We
have to help ourselves. We have to deal. We have to know how to
air our grievances,"and I might be criticized for saying this, but
I believe the American system is adequate if we got about it right,
you know. There is, there are means of airing our grievances, being
heard. But it goes back to that same problem we mentioned a while
ago about small numbers, of being ignored in, in a democratic form
of government. I still feel that what we've got, although not per-
fect, is the best thing ever devised. But we have to work in spite
of these problems. Your group and mine, it seems to me, has learned
to take advantage of, of press releases, to acquaint the public with
our problems, and we won't get any help or understanding from them
until these things are made known to them.
S: Absolutely correct.
B: The old say, 'Out of, our of mind, out of sight, our of mind. Out
of mind, out of conscience,' you know.
B: But you're doing something about this, and I wish, I wish it were
Page 23. dib
possible for us to have a full-time P and R man somewhere at L.R.D.A.,
somewhere in connection with some government agency where you could
have a full-time P and R man that understands the way to get a story
in print, because that becomes a problem, too, when you have such
a small group.
S: Oh, yes, absolutely. Well, that's where we hope to be of a, of a
liason position, Lew. We've been very successful...
S: ...in saying to the federal government, and we've had a tremendous
response, very favorable...
B: That's good.
S: ...in that they did not know of the existence of the Indian people.
You realize that it was under Bob Scott's administration that the
North Atlantic Commission on Indian Affairs was formed.
S: But the emphasis did not come from Mr. Scott himself. It came from
the federal level when he was asked the question on what was he doing
for the native population. And so it created a condusive environment
for the, the initiative of the local leadership to step in and ask for
the creation of a North Atlantic Commission on Indian Affairs, and that
was just done very recently.
S: L e, .-i cr#4 ,"lc,-
B: And that's just one mistake.
S: That's right.
Page 24. dib
B: But it's a step in the right direction, and it has grown. Carolina
State Commission has grown since it's inception, hasn't it?
S: That's right.
B: And I think it's here to stay. Incidentally we might mention that
this legislation to get this established was done by a black representa-
S: Well, he took a, a very strong lead in, in this endeavor. And I
might say that we have there, we had our ball of wax sewed together so
tight that it was down hill all the way. The, there was no dissent.
There was no opposition from any of our representatives or from the
senate members. As a matter of fact they took to initiative to go
before their friends and colleagues, and it was one of the smoothest
transitions of legislation that we ever saw at a state level.
B: Well, there, there was some apparent cooperation there, and maybe
this looked good to our statesmen or politicians or whatever.
B: If .they can get people to work together a political will work
with that group no matter who that group is, but getting the people
to stand together. And if you can get two groups to stand together
you've got that much more power to work with, you know.
B: That much more leverage.
B: Whatever you want to call it. Influence would be a better word.
Page 25. dib
B: Well, you've been very kind to give us this time. We'd, I'd
just like to ask you to add anything you'd like to add.
S: I don't have anything specifically to add, Lew, except that I've
referred to earlier, I think that what you're doing here needs to
be expanded; There's a great need for it, and I would, I would hope
that, that we would be able to find someone who would be interested
in, in doing this, and because you have done this we can refer to
you for advise and for counsel, because you see the value of it. And
maybe once we get report that you've compiled this can be a documen-
tary of the kind of thing that we need to do for some of our other
communities. And certainly maybe you need to come back in a year or
two years and let's talk again at SENA about, you know, what's going
on, because we've just touched a tip of the iceberg. We really have
got yet to get down to the serious matters at hand, and again that
only, only will come with time. Our interest is there.
B: It takes, it does take time. It sure does. Do you have a, have you,
do you have a publication of any kind, or do you...?
S: Yes, we do put out a monthly newsletter. As a matter of fact I
just have on my desk now our latest edition, October edition, and I'll
B: CrAi I 4u o something about that?
S: ...that I'll be sharing with you. It gives a rundown. Yes, I will.
It gives a rundown of recent staff activities that are going on here
on a monthly basis, issues that we feel that are important, and we, we
strongly believe in communications. That's the purpose of the newsletter.
Page 26. dib
S: Because we find that, that although you do have a satellite communi-
cation system and all these other advanced technology, is that somehow
the Indian community is always left out, and they're not being able to
share in the, in the sequence of events that are going on. You know,
nine times out of ten when you find out something from Washington, it's
always after the fact.
B: Right, y
S: And we are, we are in on the planning and we try to keep this in-
formation as curt. We do special mailouts when information is of a
critical nature. But on a regular,-regular monthly basis our newsletter
is generally speaking to give a summary of what's going on and what's
planned, and it's a documentary of, of communications that we feel that
is most informational and beneficial for our members.
B: Well, could any interested person get a copy of your newsletter sim-
ply by writing to you?
S: Yes, they certainly could. We'd be glad to place them on our mailing
list, and as long as our budget permits we intend to do this, and if it
gets too burdensome we'll, we will ask for contributions to help cover
postage. But we haven't reached that point yet.
B: Have, have you given it a name?
S: It's called CENA News
B: CENA News.
S: Yes, and...
B: And they could, they could a copy of this and at least know what it's
Page 27, dib
all about by simply writing to...
S: Simply writing to the Coalition of Eastern Native Americans, 733
15th Street N.W., Suite 637, Washington, D.C. 20005.
B: That's fine. I'm sure that somebody will be interested. I'm in-
terested, Ihdeeply interested and I want, I'd like to be on your mailing
S: O.K. Alright. Just give me your mailing address and I'll see that
B: O.K. Box 35, Pembroke, North Carolina 28372.
S: Box what?
S: That's it?
B: O.K. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Strickland. I, I've enjoyed
this, this, a lot of this is new to me, too, you know.
S: I, I'm sure that if you knew all that I knew you'd keep me here
for two ninety minute sessions.
B: Well, I want to say, as long as you will or as long as you can afford
to stay, it's, it's certainly something. We need to know as much about
it as possible.
S: I want you to know that we need to plan a future session in the not
too far distant future, because it's, it will take you a while to get
used to what we're doing here. There's no way I can tell it all to you.
You'll just have to see us in action and begin to ask questions and then
get a feel for what it is we're doing.
Page 28. dib
S: Then you will understand, because it's amazing is that we haven't
done a very extensive campaign on the P.R., and because we didn't want
to mislead anybody. We wanted to set our track record, and we wanted
any credit to be based on a track record not off of what somebody had
to say based on what it did.
B: My, my only conception is, or my conception of anything new is that
you have to put it before the people so they'll understand it...
B: ...and know.
B: Because they simply don't, if they don't know then they can't support
it, you know.
B: They can't give you a good shove in the right direction here or there,
which, which is pretty sorely needed with any organization which is in
B: How long have you been operating?
S: Well, we've been here since...
S: ...well, full-time, this time last year I had seven people on the
Board, and in a matter of twelve months we've gei from seven to twenty-
eight full-time staff people, and I'm getting ready to expand again.
And we've been in this present office location since July, and we're
getting ready to expand again.
Page 29. dib
B: -see -_
S: So your office in Washington is growing. You have to come see us.
B: Well, I appreciate that,and we'll be doing that, too. _.
_ill. Have you got something you'd like to bring to our attention.
S: No, I'm really going to have to cut this off, because I'm supposed
to meet Helen Shearback in a few minutes for another meeting.
B: I know you're busy, and I do thank you for this time and for filling
us in, and again Godspeed to you and the Lord bless you. We need his