Title: Interview with W. J. Strickland (November 4, 1974)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00006827/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with W. J. Strickland (November 4, 1974)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: November 4, 1974
Subject: Urban Lumbee
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00006827
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Urban Lumbee' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: UL 21

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Full Text


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and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

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LUM 201A


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

LUM 201A

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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

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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

LUM 201A

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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

LUM 201A

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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

LUM 201A

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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

Native Americans.

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,

aren't you?

S: Well, absolutely. It is a pioneering effort that we don't have

any particular model to follow by.

B: Right.

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

challenging position.

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

LUM 201A

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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...

S: Right.

B: ...it relates to history.

S: Right.

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

LUM 201A

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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...

B: Right.

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

LUM 201A

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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

LUM_ 201A

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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

LUM 201A

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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

very badly.

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

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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

LUM 201A

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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.

B: Right.

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

they face.

B: Right.

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

LUM 201A

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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.

S: Right.

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...

S: Right.

B: ...and they know the history.

S: Right.

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.

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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,

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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.

B: Right.

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-

LUM 201A

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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.

S: Yes.

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

solved tomorrow.

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-

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thing, because we exist, over night.

B: Right.

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.

B: Right.

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


B: Right.

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

LUM 201A

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principals that our Indian people have practiced since before the

beginning of the Constitution. That is you practice truth, faith,

and honesty.


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.

S: Right.

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.

B: Right.

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?

I can't.

B: No.

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.

LUM 201A

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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.

S: Right.

B: But you're doing something about this, and I wish, I wish it were

LUM 201A

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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...

B: Right.

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.

B: Right.

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.

B: Right.

S: L e, .-i cr#4 ,"lc,-

B: And that's just one mistake.

S: That's right.

LUM 201A

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-

tive, right?

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.

S: Right.

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.

S: Right.

B: That much more leverage.

S: Right.

B: Whatever you want to call it. Influence would be a better word.

S: Right.

LUM 201A

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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

B: Right.

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


LUM 201A

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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

list \t/j

S: O.K. Alright. Just give me your mailing address and I'll see that

it's done.

B: O.K. Box 35, Pembroke, North Carolina 28372.

S: Box what?

B: Thirty-five.

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.

B: Right.

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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...

S: Right.

B: ...and know.

S: Right.

B: Because they simply don't, if they don't know then they can't support

it, you know.

S: Absolutely.

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

its infancy.

S: Right.

B: How long have you been operating?

S: Well, we've been here since...

B: Full-time?

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.

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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

help, too.

S: Right.

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