Title: Interview with Vanessa Hunt (November 15, 1974)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00006830/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Vanessa Hunt (November 15, 1974)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: November 15, 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: UF00006830
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 24

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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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B: We are recording for the University of Florida's American Indian Oral

History Program. This afternoon we are at the American Indb Study

Center on Broadway Street in Baltimore. With me is a young lady who

decided to give me an interview. Would you tell us your name?

H: I am Vanessa Dial Hunt.

B: I always hesitate to ask a lady her age. Do you mind telling me?

H: No, I am twenty years old.

B: Would you tell us something about your family?

H: Well, my parents are from North Carolina. My mother

was at home before she married, and my father is from around Pembroke. He

was reared by Mr. and Mrs. Don Greens(?). And well, we have lived in

North Carolina most of our lives. My parents lived in Buloxi at one time,

and they moved back to North Carolina when I was about three years old and

have lived there since.

B: Is this your little girl?

H: Yes, it is.

B: And how many children do you have?

H: Just one.

B: What is her name?

H: Laticia Phil(?), and she will be four in February.

B: Do you work here at the center?

H: No, I work out at General Motors.

B: And you live in the community?

H: Yes, I do.

B: Do you attend classes here at the center?

H: I did at one time, but due to my work, I cannot. I work on the second

shift now, but when I was on the first shift, I would come down and

participate in the classes.


B: How long have you been in Baltimore?

H: Almost two years.

B: What part of Baltimore do you live in?

H: In Limmitton(?).

B: On the mountain up there?

H: No, I live in the city limits of Limmiton(?), in the West Limmiton

B: Do you know the Oxydines(?) over there? It is funny little town, is it


H: Yes. As a matter of fact, my first husband was an Oxydine(?). He was

from the piedmont area, and he was of some distant relation to the


B: You mentioned your work. Would you mind telling me what kinds of things

you do?

H: Well, I work with the General Motors plant in Baltimore. It is a consumer

division. I am on the assembly line. I am one of just a few Indians that

work out there. I would like to see more Indians out

at the plant working, but due to the cost of living and all the different

things that have come out in the past few weeks now, it is almost

impossible for more Indians to try to get hired on here at this time.

Maybe after the first of the year if things look better, maybe people will

have more of a chance.

B: I heard someone say that new auto sales were off maybe thirty, thirty-nine

percent, and that is awful.

~N /1.

UL 24A I; .
Subject: Vanessa Dial Hunt
Interviewer: Lew Barton

( Yr j. 1 a .. ) ij o

B: 5h3gy- _.'.-. -something -you better -speak uo.' "-

H: Yes, I hope, so.

B : 4-- I I Id

H: Yes/t, y- ht.-o. 4One g- B t Baltimore the cars

that wee-m mk-i'the" commercial i .1 .-"- -t-.- .-. .,.- -'..- truckst lines.

W2nlte we make are the highest selling cars hevrolet has. So we

Chance of hanging in for a little bit longer, even though ttB plants

wft "it-=as closed down or TT'f cut out a complete shift,,M so far the

Baltimore plant has ySMurmE ,0 i/ /
se i J '-
B: But chevrolet t-& certainly *ibs.

H: Yes it is.

B: I dc'tknow which is t he best seller between ford and chevrolet, or \ /'i

H: Yes it has.

B: Having liked in N rth Carolina, and here in Baltimore do you see many',sub-

contrasts? Between life here and&life in Ro eson County?

H: Of course, employment opportunity is greater up here, greater pay/and there are
-toxci ,cl -!-L A
more things to do up here even though eiieMf sh evil. In North Carolina

thee' s not that much to do, in Robeson County area. I can remember when I was

a little girl, when I wanted to go to the movies/my brother and I aapa the fact

that we were Indians had to sit up in the balcony with the black people

yogeys n and we never had the opportunity to learn to bowl because the bowling

alley was for whites only,,ald up here in Baltimore, their e not that muchft=
conflict the whites and blacks and the
conflict abeou the whites and blacks and the Indajns lgtoul-dnd the people


ei -Su cy my :;
up here accept me more, ft being an Indian, ye__.peope-. ,,.;

ai1W4-AIW"atow.,ryou- know.

B: Th 's great. Do you get hoe sick?

H: Oh yes, % I do. My husband gaW=L witi the coast guardjAS.h, h 1 be
in avc fC
getting discharged about two years. -ft-when he gets out-8wa planning on
A 4
moving back to North Carolina. He also from North Carolina.

B: What partjf North Carolina?

H: dal-t.E/i.-- uiren. He is from Lumberton but his family moved to Clinton,

I guess about ten years ago.

B: UZr-m where is he. stationed?

H: CIb tationed- at Curtis Bay.

B: Where i this in Maryland uss?
,I iS Ij c r- \ /I
H: Yest's a small coast guard yard.

B:And what was uis name?

H: His name is Wilson.

B: Do think hei onua make a career out of it?

H: N No, (hen'ot planning on it. After he completes his active duty, he has

two more years of the reserve. -AmC-po-t_-knw .

B: How many -..L------ ...t L ea=8 '-' yC...I.h .

H: In t^B immediate family I have three brothers/and my mother and father are

both living.

B: Eou couldnItell us their names and ages could you?

H: My oldest brother Slenn is 22, and my little baby brother / Bruce, is sine s '

and the baby Nolan is fourteen. ,
0/ o/ 6 '0 qhe 0r1 -0
B: I'mglad you still retaining th eold LumbeeSlt 71r6 6 ou know ;*mr term ikx.}b ?

H: i A \

B: This is very interesting, because, I, S8 doft jear it Except back home

*ji i
b jt ^ _^^ -~y -'^Y '~ .. &-n


H: Yes. Iths.,een taught there. I have some s that/. work one day
/v1 slA / /J f
jQi aiBgm.family, yB,-aiaMp of '-family and I-shi them/wiiLmr

( v rA C) baby brother and when I said my new baby brother adAs iay

Jsae said what do you mean by that? I said well _next to the

baby. said never heard that term before. And I well

fj( its common in Lumberton, and in North Carolina. /JC

B: Oh t) very common. Many terms that q use there ar n' no *f .

AlP 1rm f.r-_)... J..:, ..f-., --e1Y7
H: Yes. Quite a few.

B: If 4appOW somebody mentioned a worH like around here /Ould you know

what it means?

H: Oh yes I would know what it was.

B: I doubt if anybody else would.

H: No.

B: aBS even though this is Baltimore.

H: And another thing where someone they, they thought they were correcting me,

but when I told them it was a term that we used down home well they accepted it

and that's a tobagan .Which is And I said well atobagan
5 -,h ,
is a 9lk_

B: Is a what?

H:B You know a A'sled. You know a thing that you ride the snow.

B: 4mm. ya.

H:- And I said no,no-st's s

BY. It_'s_-..Ofr-ry ca- -

H: -:-.And so they said ">ijJ I And I said oh yes. A tobagan is the

same as a sae-. ".. which--Is the kind that we use down home.

.You--kinW,-,-An a lot of people .a Li- me about it.

B: Some of those terms i / handsome 6f these people that still


use words like / gradually hosing those
words though aren -we?

B: I Know this -SDSd colo gul I think -a. the way we use i\ h i 7 {/

D b- yoar w when I get hoee 0C 3 Q V 'y C ,, b .
^**- ^*' vlas-kd oF- S-iny~ '.X ^ it"f 1'. '1~6e-- "

H: Yes. OV0
B: Do you still use that 5' 0 J ?"
do no-, ,--- ^oC o m. K o lk r
H: No ol I TJiF=b Another term that I remember and/ the only person that
""aS- ever remember hearing I say it, was I0-that Cf
()rW f s\o/ 1s J h ^C 5he- 50r j4ncXd

-e- ^-
..B : ....
'he first time I ever heard my uncle say that I

know what he was talking about/and I gsJSsi my daddy, and he told me and it
was funr 0 tCat the time. I was young and it was ( ;.i' .i .' 1 3j i-
,. .._ '_ th^
B:Vi)}_:. Our t CO, those times now s$._i-e p

H: .. -.i.e
B: ^^r" / :
"... Sdme-of-them __ what do you

plan to do stay-with the firm y cre with? Do you have other plans for the
future? ^v j'
H: Well I would like to be able to go to school. Jahere in Baltimore

s the s job IT ever had, actually working on the

.n ( production, line, I would aw j0n school and studynF& C-
A/,l_" /r ', 0 f p usness administration, fl( ); i fl .
4- Iv. .Lt


-h -i e C hr)e ar r es
B: "EM i ? Ther9 possibility
of a few sch larships of fft1 C, tO(1
rnr? y 4-a^ T dts t>r rL Ry -Il Y /0 \ J
H: 1I _, .f6 ,. I1((l / coast guard and and his
income isa all that high so I have to work aiong with him in order to make
ends meet, Ad oa kind of hard. :hO Ir(CY -0 samr,
ZoY 1 0o sck o () bo SCIO..l4( A -. -- '
the way i prices are going up. ; -. p .. i
B: oBpBS. -i8- ihope Aill do something about inflation '-.; lls ,ve
0 '\ <-^- ^ ,_ ,
Shoes yo- tan an Lwen he gets out C C
H: Well he would liketo <4 wound' gal__ but ere s/
no way I could stop hi what he wants to do, 'd ike for I to -A
d'-go ahead and +% it and I()1 stand with him.
B: Well that's great.
H: T1 4r I le,, i h i c
B: .- .. .. -,. ,. -^.: -.
"B:. .. Do you thin the different ndan wives
_'s i r Ipj ndian wives
,O O-.J-r ... J0 f)or example., i
A: lo-

"" powl \ LA^ ( 4 Wi my
r1 l"I can tell you is my Jii about the women's libz At-
S'. h -'I- e and when I left him, I SI

vynd S pD(CCF)f\t), and I stayed with my parents and I had my baby. I knew I h
SI Cod rn -fora q+khm n b0c- -- h 0)hi no
rsP.YJ'-/_ and I rm look at him rfe ha .
U _h.ei.l.tZi' ... I had to get up and go to work wwen _as
two week old. Until the 26th.of October, (.1,) ,' (C married Ihd *o on
S3.h _n .f YC / oV. 1." m m out onb
"my own, y of bringing up my little girl,myelfso I had to
wear two yaMrs of pants An my family. 7ake a man's job, flL job S
mostly the mothers job ..y litfAe girl I know what L'slike to have to
work hard for a living and I feel ii if a woman is 'l take t46 position


iwhr I. CiPOvI C. t. "-; "
Ctai she has to go out ad work and she has 1 for her family she should
-h o^ 05 ^ r'aS '^ n" pjiai W
hav,,e the equal rights a a man I'.. ,-, -. -opportunity. And I p1'
aS*lll -ior __2_ //oaBl 1"b ; < T .a n e,,

Very feminine.(UT11: n0 a woman having a masculine point of view in
any way. i14 IS", > I i iSnd now i Ion'I have a husband
and he wears the pants in our family -and I'ihe wife and mother now.
B: )A r reJ satisfied with'- i
H: Oh yesvery.
B: We were talking about women's libIers Ttde '' i al What
do you think of changing the li -I- instead of
being Mrs. or Miss plain Ms.- Do you think that takes away?
H: Well the only thing I see it is people as whether you're arrived or
single r whether "u a divorcee r whatever. I .'l a, the point
Sld 0 M tAasjl 5
coming up ) ylmls _____ _____

d then it hro Caf[; a Yr
n%-t~aih i rn .... ,, i+- ^ ^T ^DOU} C0!OL^)^', b.'-
B: I f0t L !ln making out an application, piil.l- where i a-a o Ae-
times it does, I guess. Perhaps jr1'i. m J ihc b, 0 1 &','1J \.I
H: Maybe. -a either way, Miss or Mrs. yamo --p Ia.1 -iVb4Ci -; __ ,,
laP5i fe as. ^ ih F-eAI -tlly U%4/ e/.'-ha- IMr ModCDM, Tr 0 zi' ,
J JJ a._.- ....;._---- .-- one of the two,# ou single 0 r OlYd,
B: omen general want peo to know if tfey'remarried in society?
H: I think hat'sup to the individual. Bfe re, ~L l etfl- I1 / ?)PI

0.ppra- -d woS Mo "/01 JtN 'lar mc/Wo (- riei "
H: .appro-. bqa4 CA -0 / j Oc&0 0/j "NoC A._Y Q_ of ccc ,' 1 /-C
/81-1-3 _,, _______ ._.___ __-..".^.r___ rec c-, 1 / _

Srit never bothered me yone approaching me and
asking me if I was married
asking me if I was married B-,,i ._ I -.-.--..---.' "*-tkngw^'T fff r

n^jC^'w e~~z-tf.p t~l^aJ^.Jnt*Mrr;e;tfh_'l'j^^ Z

7.r i hOv0 k h 1c'y i-
S'P.o you V-lin, cou. -SA^ ^. CcC^ ^
.ir e pec c..e.r- c,,n" i' 'whe -l' \l h&", ^a"-

---. -..-....-- certain women will. take: certain It;krti;d -do

H) Some of them do. Some of them think-_-- hey'vegot me at an advantage.
they know I'm a divorcee and-- -'_ (T'v beKm.with a man before/ CLIT'
they Konhave any trouble -' g bed with them. -I&MSSWa
so it gets right down to the nitty-gritty, a Ai tiyw.-aa-
B: ;Nk I know what you mean. I hope that this 145 a yU
H: No, _, ,__. _H' 0 O_, .
B: Well let's hope that- vIte tCIE. nP L s. aea i V
ar:T- "pe 'J -.ia- !)).t, (M'' iOt' ^G- dio,jc ,
Dao Ow:a ata-BD1ge, ,c a (
v hy 0^10 j. ^c ha oS'ti ho fij
H: 5lft ^very happy 1
B: That's great. many people make mistakes you know your
first marriage? I think You're surer,

S J+-+ hC 0- p -s7:o
"a. e
stI w s,

B: That is great. Many people make mistakes in marrying too early and having

conflicting personalities and so on. But when things come in, I think you

are more mature, and you are sure of your plans.

H: Well, I am not bragging or anything, but ever since I was sixteen, I have

had the attitude that I have now about life Because I

just got married young, and it was with my parents' consent that I got

married as young as I did. It was just that my first husband was not as

assertive as I had thought he was, but I have always had a separate mind,

and I felt that he did not have that responsible attitude that an adult

should have. I do not know, I guess I just withdrew too quickly for my


B: I think this happens very often when people are precocious and they mature

very early. How about your new marriage. Do you think that if you had

gotten married earlier it would have worked?

H: I do not know what the statistics are, but I think it would have worked.

B: What I am curious about, for my own information, and I know other people

are too, is, as an Indian girl who is also a divorcee, do you encounter

different attitudes depending on race? Do you encounter different

attitudes between guys in the Caucasion race and the Indian race, or is it

about the same, or what?

H: This is only my opinion, but I look at men as human beings-, no matter what

their color. If they approach me in a gentleman-like manner, and they

show respect for me, and say they would ask me out, I would seriously

consider it. White, yellow, black, green, purple, it does not make any

difference. I do find that, I will say a white man, is attracted to an

Indian woman, especially up here. And I have gone out with several black

men up here, and they have treated me like a lady, and they have shown me

all the respect that a man should a woman, more than the Indian men up


B: I have heard that said before somewhere.

H: I do not know what it is or why, but the Indian men up here, the first

time they go out with an Indian woman, they think they own her, and that

is it. One date, and in their mind, they have always had you.

B: They are very possessive.

H: Right, and that is one thing that I have proved to all these Indian men up

here. When I first came up here, I came up here alone, I got a job within

three weeks, I had a car, and a child. That is not common for young

Indian women who come up here. They usually end up on welfare, having

babies and living on welfare, and I did not want that. I cannot see that.

If I would have gotten pregnant, I would not have done anything like that,

because I believe in getting out and working and making an honest living,

as long as I am physically able to. And the Indian men just could not go

for that. They looked on me as being a bitch for the attitude that I had,

which was, I do not need you, I do not need anyone. My husband now, I do

not even need him as far as being able to survive, and I just let him know

from the get-go, I do not need you, I can go out and swing and have a good

time, there are a lot of cute guys around here. And as it turns out, a

few of them are, which did not really make any difference to me. And then

I find the black men with whom I come in contact, quite a few where I

work, are very respectful, and have a lot of respect for me. And people

look down on black people for being black, for their color, but I do not

look down on them, I stand just as tall as them. I do not have any pity

for them, because I came up just as hard as they did. It took my father

six years before my brother and I were able to go to school in the city,

to the city schools. They had lived in they city limits all that time,


and my father was paying city taxes and school taxes. The reason I could

not go was because I was Indian. The only reason I got in was because of

my average, and I know what it is like to come up. I know what it was

like for black people, and I know what it is like for me, and I have just

as much respect for them as they do me. But when it comes to penciling

out the white and Indian and black in the men, I hate to say it, but the

Indian men appear on the bottom, because they do not even know how to be a

"secmm. They do not even know what it is like to show a woman respect.

There are just a few of them, and thank God, is one of them.

B: Do any of the men show any resentment of you?

H: Yes, they do. They look down on the women, but you could make a survey

for a year and look at all the Indian men that are living with white

women, but you have got an Indian woman living with a white man, and they

want to do something about it. And frankly, I do not think it is any of

their business.

B: The little boy must feel sorry for himself. Do you think interracial

marriages are numerous in this area?

H: Well, there are not too many, because people are usually just shacking up,

but I think that most of the interracial marriages work out, that the

couple gets along, and they never have any trouble.

B: How does it usually work, is it usually an Indian man and a white woman?

H: Yes, it is usually an Indian man and a white woman, that is usually what

it is. As a matter of fact, I do not even know of an Indian woman who is

married to a white man up here, but I know of several Indian men and white

women who are trying to marry and live up here.

B: Do you think people ever force such marriages?

H: Well, I do not think they would, the attitude that all the black men have

had that I have talked to, is that, well, If I see you and I like you, and

I )

there is something about you that attracts me so, and I feel like maybe

you are the woman that I would want to be my wife, no matter what color

you are, I am going to try to get you. Some of them look at it like, they

are black, they have their freedom now, they want a white woman just to

look good, but then there are a lot of them who do not have that attitude.

They are just human beings that accept people for what they are, and they

do not look at a person's color, they look at their heart, just like I do.

B: Yes, and that is important. A lot of the things that people say about

blacks are more or less superstitious.

H: Yes, I have seen, or I have met more black men up here in Baltimore, more

or less from the plant where I work, that is where I have met most of

them, but I would gladly go out with virtually any of them around here,

just because of the way they show me respect. They treat me like a lady,

and they do not go around and talk with foul language, and talk about

other women, and this and that in front of you, at least in front of me,

they do not do that. There are guys up here, who sit around here, and

every other word, they are cursing, and that is not showing respect for


B: No. Well, that is too bad, but do you think the attitude of the Indian

guys here is different from the guys' back home?

H: Yes, they come up here from home, and I think they just go crazy. Down at

home, there is not that much to do, they do not have bars. Here, they

just go everywhere they can where there is a bar, and they just run

around, and it is not like that down at home, so when they come up here

they just go crazy.

B: Do you think alcohol is a big problem?

H: Yes, it is.


B: How about drugs? Do you hear anything about that around here?

H: I consider it a big problem too.

B: I guess it is pretty much a universal problem, too, drug addiction,

alcohol. How about the gambling craze? I have not heard much about that,

is it because I am...

H: I think it happens around this time of the year because a lot of the Indian

guys up here do outside work, they lay bricks, or they dig, or some kind

of construction, and in the wintertime, there are quite a few days that

they cannot work because of the weather, and it is usually gambling season

around this time of the year. I have noticed that. In the summertime,

you hardly hear of it, but about this time of the year, it begins to come

out of hibernation, and then it is all over.

B: Yes, there are not the opportunities for gambling back home that there are

here, and the same is true with a good many other things. I do not know

what we can do about gambling, but I think they are doing a great job here

in that particular area, counseling and so forth, trying to help people.

Do you think Indian people more susceptible to alcohol, perhaps, than

other people? This is something that has often been stated, and I do not

really know.

H: I think they are. I mean, I myself go out every once in a while, and I

have a few drinks. I can control myself, but it seems like the Indian

people up here, that is all they want to do for the whole weekend is

constantly drink and drink. They just do not know when to stop. They do

not know when they have had enough. It has gotten to the point where you

can go out where they have a band playing and a dancing room, and there

are people out there and they are so drunk they can hardly dance, and

everything is getting to be so disgusting that it has come to the point

where I just do not want to go out anymore. I would rather go to a movie


or something like that where I can take my little girl with me.

B: When they have floor shows, as many of the night spots do have, do you

often hear risque jokes?

H: No.

B: I wonder how topless dancing is going.

H: I do not know.

B: It is probably going as great as it ever was, as far as popularity is


H: I think it is mainly popular down on the Block. It is a certain section

of Baltimore Street that they call the Block, and all those nightclubs

have women in there dancing, or they are stripping, or they are walking

around topless or whatever. I do not bother to go to places like that.

B: Well, no, but I can imagine men going somewhere like that. Of course, I

know that in the city you can find just about anything.

H: Oh yes, in a big city like Baltimore.

B: Are you familiar with the capital city?

H: No, I have never been there. I have never been to Annapolis.

B: But it is not very far away.

H: No, it is not.

B: And one thing I am sure about is that there is a difference between the

nightclubbing in Washington and Baltimore. Do you find this to be true?

H: Personally, I do not know, though I have quite a few friends who go down

to Washington sometimes, and they talk about how much nicer it is in the

bars there, you know, it is not the rinky-dink bars like they have up here

and all.

B: I think that they leave big tire tracks and oil tracks in front of these

bars, though.


H: Yes.

B: Someone mentioned that they are having some trouble with this in

Washington now. I have seen it on television the day before, they had a

reporter out on Fourteenth Street, which is notorious for prostitution and

that sort of thing.

H: And another thing I just thought of, something that was pointed out to me

in a book, that in Washington, we see it more in Washington than we do

here in Baltimore, and that is the, as we say, gay people, you know, men

dressed like women and vice versa. It is more common down there than it

is up here.

B: There is something very unusual about homosexuals.

H: Oh yes, very, I think that a man in an attempt to walk down a grand street

in Lumberton dressed like a woman, if some guys realized it they would

probably half kill the man.

B: He would probably get beaten up or something. They had a male prostitute

on television last night on the program I just mentioned, and the guy

said, Well, I am not really that way, I just have not been able to find

any other kind of job, and I found a demand for this kind of thing, and so

I decided to accommodate them.

H: I think I could find some other way to make a living than prostitution. I

have had quite a few men offer me money to go to bed with them, and I will

not repeat some of the words I said to them, but I never had any more

trouble with them after that.

B: You knew how to handle them.

H: Oh yes, and that was one problem I had when I first started to work at

General Motors, I have worked there for about a year and a half now, and I

started on the daylight shift, and I was one of about three girls on the

complete shift, and I would walk around and there would be guys whistling


and stuff, and they would do all kinds of prank things like stick pictures

of naked women out of Playboy on the sides of cars, and then the cars

would go by you and you would see it, and they would usually go all to

pieces and the guys would stand around and laugh at you. I had quite a

few far out things done to me like this, and I would just tell them good-

bye, and pretend I did not see it, and the guys would just be standing

around, and their bottom lip would just drop because they thought I would

not be able to take it. It was a strong, hard disposition that I had

towards the men in there, and I had to keep it in order to follow the men.

That is one thing I can say, I have always been able to keep up with a man

who has tried to overpower me in any way.

B: When you come to a big city like Baltimore or Washington...

H: A young girl alone better know how to take care of herself.

B: Young men, too.

H: Yes. Before I came to live in Baltimore, I lived in Providence, Rhode

Island for a year. I had an uncle and an aunt that lived up there, and I

was only seventeen years old when I went up there. I lived with my uncle

for about two months, I had a job two weeks after I was up there, and I

finally found my own place. It was just me, because my uncle lived about

fifteen miles away from me, and I had to get out and work and take care of

myself, and you know, it is hard, and it is something, I will say, for a

seventeen-year-old girl to experience. You learn a lot, and you mature a

lot. When you experience something like that, you learn more. It is just

like going to school. You can go to school for something, and study

books and study books and study books, but you do not know it all that

well until you get into it and you learn what you are doing and you

experience what you are doing. And all the experience that I have in

office work, and I did not go any further than the eleventh grade, I

finished eleventh, and I took the GED at the end of the summer, and the

only thing I took was two years of typing. I was lucky to get those jobs

in training, and I was one of those who caught on fast, and I never had

any other education other than my eleven years of school. I learned more

from just doing it, from just getting into it myself, with someone

standing over me and training me, instead of studying books for maybe two

or three years, and then going out and doing it and not knowing half of

what I was doing.

B: Yes, they do say life is the best teacher, although it gives you the test

first and the lesson afterwards.

H: Yes, and you can always learn from your mistakes, and I have. I have

learned from my mistakes.

B: All of us have for sure. It is not so bad to make a mistake as to repeat

the same mistake. Well, you certainly seem to have adjusted in large

measures, and I believe this is the secret of the Indian's surviving is to

adjust to your surroundings and to adjust to the immediate environment.

You know, back home we are often accused of being prejudiced toward black

people. Do you think that Indians are more or less prejudiced toward

black people in this area? Of course you know prejudice works in all

directions, not just in one.

H: I feel that with the Indian people I know up here, and the black people I

know here in this area, I would have to say that the Indian people here

are less prejudiced toward blacks, but you see, I have no prejudice in me,

except for the white men, the way they have treated me, and I have been

treated badly by the white men. My first year in the city schools, I

started in the sixth grade, and I was the only Indian at this elementary

school, and the kids were always trying to get me in trouble, to the point

where I would be expelled from the schools, completely expelled, and I

would have to go back to the county schools, out to the Indian schools.

But I sat still, I kept up my effort, kept up my grades, so I could get a

better education, because I felt lucky. I was lucky to be one of the

first Indians in the city schools, and I was looked down on a lot for

being Indian, even though my skin is just as white as any of the other

white people's, they knew I was Indian, and just because of that fact,

they looked down on me.

B: And somehow they always knew that.

H: Oh yes.

B: Yes, that was always a big thing with people back home, between black

people, white people and Indians. But there is a big difference between

people back home and people up here.

H: Yes, there is a big difference. The people down there are still old

fashioned-like, and up here, we are in the modern age. But me, I do not

try to keep up with the fads, I do not try to keep up with the fashions, I

keep up with what I like. I do not try to look good for the public, I try

to look good for me and my husband and that is all, and I will always be

that way.

B: I believe in being individualistic myself.

H: I am me, and no one else, and I cannot try to be somebody that I am not,

and I am not going to try to do it.

B: How about the Indian people back in Lumberton, did they look down on you

for going to the city schools?

H: At first they did. You know, they would say, What are you doing going to

a white school? And what could I say? There was nothing I could really


B: Really, this was your nearest school anyway.

H: Yes, it was. My favorite school was about three miles from my home, which

was in the city limits, and I started school at Pine Grove, and I went for

five years there, and then I was switched by my father to the city school

system, which means, when I was in the county school system, we had to get

up earlier, and there was a pretty long ride on the bus to and from

school, and on top of that my father was having to pay the city taxes,

which included the school tax and all, and yet we were not allowed to go

to the city schools.

B: Did they list you as Indian even after you enrolled?

H: Yes, they did, and before I came to Baltimore, I came so close to joining

the Army, and I went up to see the recruiting officer several times, and

he helped me fill out my application and all, and prepared me to go for my

physical and interview and all, and he put down on my applicaiton "white,"

and that just went all over me. I said, "Look, I am Indian." He said,

"You are?" He said, "You would be better going in as white," and I said,

"No, I am going to go in as what I am, Indian." The same thing happened

to my brother when he joined the Army. They wanted to put in his race as

white, and he said, "No, you take it out, I am Indian, and I will not be

anything else."

B: Well, it is good to be proud of your own individual group, I think.

Adolf Dial(?) has a saying that I like, he says, "I am

trying to teach my children pride without prejudice," and I guess that

is not easy to do, but it is possible. What do you want for your

children? Of course, you hope that they will not have the same problems,

or problems as a people that you have, and that I have. Do you hope that

things will be better for your children?

H: Oh yes, I hope for my little girl right now, I plan to expand my family,


but all I have is my little girl now. I want my children to grow up in a

world where there is no prejudice, no violence, and I think, people loving

people for what they are, and not always looking at the bad in a person,

but at the same time looking at the good in a person, and letting her have

an equal opportunity to do anything she wants. If she wants to go to

school after she finishes high school, I want to be able to provide that

for her, and I just do not want her to go through her life the way that I

did in my childhood.

B: What do you think about sex education in schools?

H: I think it is a good thing. People look down at it, but I cannot. I came

up in my adolescent stage, and I was never taught anything. Maybe it was

just that my mother was shy to talk to me about it, but she should not

have been, and if a mother or a father has that attitude, and they are

just not strong enough to sit down with their children and talk about it,

they should at least allow a professional to do it. They should be given

information to deal with. I think it is a good thing.

B: How old do you think they should be before you start teaching it? Do you

think there should be a set age?

H: I think it is that age such as anywhere between eight and ten years old,

because there are thirteen year old girls getting pregnant, and the reason

they are getting pregnant is because they do not even know anything. Some

young guy is generally seducing them, and they do not happen to know what

is going on, and they end up being pregnant. And these girls sometimes

are ten, eleven and twelve years old when they begin their menstrual

cycle. They should know about is before it happens. I was one that did

not know, my mother never told me, and I think children should know about

it. I think children should know where they came from. They should not


be told that Mother and Daddy put in an order from the store and ordered a

baby for them and that is how they were ordered. I think they should know

the truth. Like my little girl now, imagine what it is like to explain to

a three-year-old why her mother cannot get her a baby, and she wants a

brother or a sister.

B: Which is a very normal thing for a little girl to want.

H: Yes, and you have to sit down with a three-year-old and explain that to

her, and this was before I got married and had incentive, and it touched

me so inside, all I could do was cry about it, but now that I am married

and I want to have a child, and my husband wants me to, Latitia wants a

baby. So, I work, my husband works, we can afford it, we want one, but I

am not going to sit around and every time I have a baby, trying to get

pregnant again. I want to plan my children. I want to plan them to the

point where I know that we will be able to support them financially, we

will not have any trouble bringing our children up, we will be able to

provide them the things that they need and the things that they desire,

and the things that we feel like they should have. I am not one that

believes in spoiling a child, giving a child everything they want. I want

to bring my little girl up right, and I want to bring her up in a way

where she respects me the way I respected my parents, and not turn around

and curse me out for telling her to do something like a lot of the

children are up here. You bring a child up like that, and you do not

discipline your children right. The next thing you know, they will be

turning around on you and killing you, if you do not watch it. People

should just be careful how they bring up their children. I am one, I

cannot say anything about the way other people deal with children, I can

only be careful about the way I am bringing up mine.

B: Yes, I know what you mean. Well, things have certainly changed a lot in a


short while, have they not?

H: Yes, they have.

B: Were your parents really strict on you about dating?

H: Yes.

B: I want to ask you something, you are well-adjusted and so forth, what

about the pornography? If it is a problem, I would just like to know your

opinion, do you think things like pornographic books, and here I am

talking about hard core pornography, and not you know...

H: I know what you are talking about.

B: Do you think this is a good thing or a bad thing?

H: It is bad. I think it is bad. I see it every day at work. The men are

always bringing in magazines, books, and they are exchanging these films,

you know you can buy the films and all, and I do not see what they get out

of it, but if that is their thing, let them do it. But personally, I do

not see anything in it. Say a man has these books in his home, and he has

got children, and children, you know, my little girl loves to sit down and

look at books, she loves to look at the pictures, and what would you think

of a two or three-year-old sitting down and looking at a book like that?

She sees a picture of a naked woman and a naked man together, and she

says, "Mommy, what is that? What are they doing?" That is bad, that is


B: That is showing things to children before they are ready for them.

H: Yes, and it is just bad for them to see such pictures as that. And things

like this, people get weird ideas in their heads from looking at these

drawings and things like that. That is how a lot of people become sex


B: Well, I certainly have enjoyed talking with you today. Is there something


you would like to leave with other people your age? Any special message?

H: Well, one thing that has been on my mind because of my family, is if you

have any Indian blood in you at all, you be proud of it, and if a person

calls you a half-breed, just stand and look at them. I am not a half-

breed, I am not a full-blooded Indian. My mother is a full-blooded

Indian, my father is half Indian and half French, and that is enough of

blood in me to make me say Indian and nothing else, and I am proud of what

I am. I take pride in being an Indian, and nobody can ever take that away

from me, that is one thing I have that no one can take away from me.

B: You have been very kind to give us this interview. I have enjoyed it so

much, and I am sure it will be helpful to others, and I wish you good luck

in and in your life and in all that you choose to

do. Thank you so very much for sharing these things.

H: I thank you, and I am just glad that you asked me to have this interview

with you, and I hope that something that I said, maybe one thing I said,

will help you and will help others.

B: I am sure it will. Thank you so very much.

H: Thank you.

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