SUB: Patricia Strickland
INT: Lew Barton
Oct. 22, 1980
B: This is November 15, 1974. I'm Lew Barton recording for the University of Florida's
historyy department., American Indian Oral History program. This afternoon we're,
again at Broadway Street here in Baltimore, Maryland at the American Indian
Studies Center. With me is a young lady who kindly consented to give us an
interview. Would you mind telling us what your name is?
S: Patricia Strickland.
B: Patricia Strickland, would you tell us what your parents names are?
S: Melva Jean Strickland and James Wesley Strickland.
B: How long have you been in Baltimore?
S: All my life.
B: How old are you?
B: Seventeen, we have a Son___ about 17 you know, have you ever heard
S: Uh-uh (no) (chuckle)
B: Where do you go to school?
S: Patterson High.
B: Patterson High. Do you work over here?
S: -Uh=Ya, L e.
B: Are you one of the tutors?
B: How do you like it?
S: Well, I like teaching.
B: So; you like teaching, do you think you'll be a teacher?
B: What are you going to be)a housewife?
UL 28A 2
B: Well that's the normal ambition for a young lady but they have many other ambitions
besides, don't they?
S: Um hum.
B: Uh, how do you enjoy teaching other kids, you know I shouldn't say that. I'm just
calling you a kid and you're not.
S: I like it and it's fun. It depends on what age you get, the ages.
B: A'l right. What courses do you usually, do students usually have trouble with?
S: Math and reading mostly.
B: Uh huhIndian students. I imagine it's about the same with all groups, you know?
S: Yeah, most likely, yeah.
B: Math and reading, wonder why it is people don't read much anymore do they, as much
as they used to perhaps?
S: People would rather listen than just, than to read about things.
B: Yes, it's easy, just turn on the T.V.. set and just see what's going on, you know
or listen to the radio or to a recorder, a recording. So perhaps reading is one
of the skills that we're losing. It's possible isn't it? I read an article
sometime ago called "Why Johnny gan't Read" you know, and this is a problem all over.
People don't read as much anymore I suppose. Do you live very far from here?
S: Um, 'bout six to eight blocks, six blocks.
B: Do you attend the Indian dances over here?
S: Once in a great while.
B: Were you over the other night?
B: Last Thursday night I believe they had one, and last night there was another. I
think it's fun. Do you do other dances, like the watusi?
S: (chuckle) Um, yes, when I go out.
B: Why is it they call this O)1t it's Uh.... I'Mos never able to keep up with
all of them. I try/you know, I think dancing is great recreation, it's uh good
exercise and so on. What kind of dances do you like?
UL 28A 3
S: Modern, up to date.
B: Well what is this dance they call the bump, is this where you turn your back to
the guy, and he turns his back to you?
S: I, I guess so. I don't know.
B: A girl told me the other day she could do the Charleston Wi'4 Qe 0And yotW 1rU0J o5
o dA It was named for Charleston, South Carolina which is where it originated from.
How many brothers and sisters do you say you have?
S: Three brothers and three sisters.
B: Could you tell me their names and ages?
S: Jennifer and Jimmy is, they're 21, then they'll be 20 uh Nicia is 17, she's my
twin, and Bit's 9, and Gogo, he's 19.
B: Well I'm going to use this term and see if you still remember it, who did you say
was the new baby?
S: Bit, her real name is Jean, oh the new baby, I'm the new baby.
B: (chuckle) You had to stop and think a minute, well this is a term that you used
back home when you were born an Indian,
I've never heard it outside, have you, new baby?
B: The second youngest, right?
S: Um hum.
B: How about attitudes towards you, how about the other Indian students from back
home, they don't think that you're stuck up or snooty 'cause you've lived here all
your life, do they?
S: No, I get along good with them.
B: That's good. I didn't know that that would be, you know that it is possible
you know. I'm glad it's not that way. Do you have all your plans made for the
future-what you're going to do when you get out of school? Think you'll go to
S: Uh, I don't know, I've been thinking about it.
UL 28A 4
B: What does your father do?
S: My father's dead.
B: A- n .f f. What does your mother do?
S: She works in um, a bakery.
B: Uptown, I shouldn't say uptown) I don't know whether I'm uptown or downtown.
S: It's, it's uptown.
B: Do you enjoy teaching other kids, other young people?
S: Um hum.
B: Do you have to scold them about learning sometimes a little
S: Well, depends one most of the time they, they know what you're there for so I
guess they got to do it.
B: They usually want to catch up don't they?
S: Um hum.
B: That's good. How about the drop out rate, do you think it's very high among owt
S: Um hum, definitely it is.
B: That's too bad. I wonder why this is, why so many of eou students drop out before
they've graduated from high school?
S: Well, some of them leave here, some of them don't want to learn, some of them it's
'cause of their parents, and just a lot of reasons.
B: Do you think other Indian students usually find it harder to go to these schools
for example than to go to schools back home do you think the standards)- educat-
ional standards maybe are higher?
S: I think they are up here, I think that you get a better education. Because when I
went down there, you know it seemed easier; up here it's a little harder.
B: How long did you go to school down there ?
S: I guess about seven months.
B: Then you've got an index, you you know, you've tried both, and that does tell you
UL 28A 5
B: something, doesn't it? How about, how about dating around here?is it, are parents
attitudes different in this part of the country than back home, do you think?
S: No, all Indian parents are alike I think, most of them.
B: They're pretty strict aren't they?
B: Yeah, I guess that is universal. What do you think of that? Or don't you want
to tell me? Don't tell me anything you don't want to. If I ever-aaant to ask you,
S: I thinkthey're right most of the time, a lot of times have disagreements with them
but that's life, you got to live with it.
B: Yeah, no two people agree on everything all the time. It just wouldn't work out
if they did) gould it ?
B: Do you work closely with your counselor at the HeidL Co-nse(in. ?
S: Yeah, yeah I'm pretty close with Mr. Seaver.
witlj criT Co aurI
B: So, do you knowA^ there's a differences in some parts of the ea-s they teach
sex education and in other parts they don't. However, I think it's being taught
mostly al( of 'en How about in this part of the country, do they teach
S: Well, when I was taught in school, that was in elementary, it was elementary
school. but, they don't teach it in high school.
Ilh hi1. Ile 4 fet AS
B:AWell, I suppose the time b teach it is not so importantA4t3 whether or not
they teach it. There has been some controversies in some parts of the United
States over *44is sor+- a 4inq I guess it's got accepted now. Do you
have a PTA at ts school?
S: I really don't know for sure. They have like open house maybe every quarter so
the parents can get together with the teachers, but I don't know about the PTA.
That was in junior high school, senior I guess a little bit more mannered around
UL 28A 6
B: It seems the PTA isn't as popular as it once was. Maybe it5svW a good thing,
maybe itAhelp in giving new
teachers to get together, maybe even some students too. Do you find it easy to
talk to people you need to talk to, I mean you don't find any generation gap
so fary do you?
S: -^s thereits generation gaps definitely.
B: What could we do about, when I say weI mean we who are over people, Ai some
teachers and so on, what could we do to bridge that gap, you know? I want to
reach young people, I want to reach them 'cause I love them oad ] hi g and
I think I am close to them, but I'like to be able totyou know get even closer.
I find that there is a tendency at first"you know where they, they don't talk
as freely, but if they come to know you, know that you're sincere and honest
and all those things, that you really want to help, they don't mind opening up
and talking. What could we do to improve that, better relations between younger
and older people?
S: Well, I think there was a gap in the beginning, I think there's going to be one
until the end because everybody grows up, you know they got different minds.
And mostly all young people go their way and grown people go their way even
today. And a lot of Indian families, the young people mostly listen to their
parents, and justAyou know 'le parents are strict, that could cause the gap,
but um it's just something you know happen.
B: Do you think that we could also go to the other extreme and be too lenient?
S: Well once in a while, not all the time. Most of the time it pays off to be
a little extreme.
B: So you don't really see much hope in bridging the generation gap?
S: I don't think so. There's, it's too far gone. (chuckle)
B: Like my system nIYl) he and I always scoff at
the, sort of scoff at the generation gap, because we haven't found any between
us. At least Larry says we've shot it down between us. (chuckle)
UL 28A 7
S: Some families they, you don't have them, but a lot of them, most of them I think do.
B: Uh huh, do you think the gap is wider between parents and teachers or between
parents and, I mean students and teachers or between children and parents?
S; Well in today, today in school, you got a lot of young teachers, and um they
kind of think the same way young people do. But then again you have some of the
older ones too, you know, but in order to help you learn they, they go right
along with you.
B: And do you think younger teachers would help, if we had more younger teachers,
more nearly the age group of the ?
S: No, not quite the age group, 'cause that would be kind of .
B: Yeah, I said more nearly, closer to the age group. Say when you're in the fifth,
when you're J you'd be in tenth grade wouldn't you, along about that. And
then you have, you are going to a teacher who has just graduated from college,
would that help?
S: J~ probably get along better j4 klov!l.
B: All ideas are valuable you know. This is the way people solve problems is by
discussing them.you know., :_ __ t, 4^ Let me square about. Do you
suppose you'll live here the rest of your life?
S: No, not in Baltimore.
B: tt you didn't plan to go back to North Carolina or to go to North Carolina
S: Well maybe when I get older, but I want to travel a little bit before I get ready
to settle down.
B: Do you think you'd like it, what we call back home?
S: I like it down there to visit, not to stay for long, you know to be living there,
because it's like all country and I'm used to the city now.
B: Uh huh. Do you think the problems, do you have more problems in the city or in
the rural area?
S: In the city.
UL 28A 8
B: But you sort of learn something in dealing with io=i/L Vto you feel this is true?
S: Well, yeah, because in the country you're kind of closed in. Then in the city
you know it's like space, you can you know get out and get around, meet people
and see things.
B: Are there many things you can do here? What are some of the things you, do you
like to do?
S: I like a lot of sports, I like to do. I mean, you know, I participate in sports
Pilot and lo the parties and dances and all kind of things.
B: There are not as many of those things back home are there, in North Carolina?
S: Mostly for the boys, butAstill you don't get around as good unless you got a car
and then really you know you have to go a long ways to get where you want to go.
B: Are you proud to be of Indian descent?
S: Oh yeah, 'cause you know it's something you know, we were here first and hopefully
we'll be here in the end, but um,just, you know you get a lot of problems being
Indian but I don't let it bother me.
B: Do they, could you tell us about some particular problems that you might have
because you're Indian?
S: Well some people they don't think you're Indian because you don't got black hair
and real dark skin and you don't talk funny. But then again um, some might call
you savages, and beasts and things like that, and it's a lot of hassle.j-g;. I,ya kMout
T ,X tell 'em I'm, I'm what I am you know and nothing else can't be changed you know.
B: Right, what do you, how do you usually handle it when something like that comes
up, somebody makes a remark that isn't kind about Indians?
S: Most of the time I ignore it, but when it gets to far out, you know, I usually,
I tell 'em you know, I don't make fun of what they are and I'd appreciate it if
vas colordJ Y k vio
they wouldn't do the same on my part, 'cause if they wgse a Asr and they call
me, like they'll say whitey and everything to me, and you make the remark I'm
not white,' they'll sayl"then what are you colored?" You know maybe like that, and
you just tell 'em, you know.
UL 28A 9
B: Do you think this kind of thing is just more prevalent among younger people-or
older ones, or is it some of all?
S: Well2it's some of the older ones too. I've seen things like this happen. Like
you know, if um an Indian family move in a community where it was all white, youf
have a few problems there, quite a few.
B: What do they usually do, give you a cold shoulder or make remarks or what?
S: Most of the time they kind of, like, it's like um5,ie behind people's back, you
know they don't let you know that you're not wanted, but you know you get that
feeling that comes upon you.
B: Does this make our Indian people have a tendency to stick together or to pull apart
from the main population let's say?
S: I think they more or less, more or less stick together because um)here where I live
at it's mostly all Indians, you know families around. I mean there's quite a few
whites and coloreds, but it's like, like umif one Indian moves from one place,
they all follow. It's you know kind of, kind of like keeping the tribe together.
Even though you know they all might be of not the same tribe, but it makes no
difference-you're still Indian.
B: Right. Do you suppose when you get married you'll marry an Indian guy?
S: Well I hope to, you know I'd like to keep the race going.
B: Why, I'm for that. (chuckle) How about this, of course you're/T), how do you feel do yoA
that you're still old enough to 4eve an opinion, how do you feel about interracial
S: Well I've-dated;whites and yod know Indians. There's a difference you know) I
guess because it's two different kind of people. But um, like all Indians, I don't
care what kind you are, they're like um strict about their girlfriends, so you
know you can't really argue about that.
B: Have you met any other Indians from other groups?
S: Uh yeah, in school I've met a couple that you know came from maybe um, I knew
UL 28A 10
S: some Apache Indians, and they're pretty good friends, but uh they like dropped out
of school already and they just like do their own thing.
B: Do you think other Indian groups are prejudiced against our group?
S: The Lumbee's?
B: Uh huh.
S: Well, I'm not Lumbee and I'm not prejudiced because most of the Indians I hang
you kVI1 no
around with are Lumbee's, and um, like we're Indian4 we, it's justAdifference
in what kind we are.
B: Right, that's so true. But it is possible that you know.
S: Yes, some do have feelings like um, might take partialities on um, I like
Cherokee Indians better than Lumbees but like you know Indians are Indians.
B: Uh huh, and you'reACherokee?
S: X' Itve got Mohawk in me too.
B: That's nice, you must be proud to be an Indian girl. They're both great people,
they were very great, and they still are great people. Have you ever noticed
that when Indians are talking to Indians they usually, they don't say Indians
they say Cherokee people or the Sioux people or ?
S: Um hum, it's easier to call out their names most you know, but then again you
know like um, like my friends, going back to my friends again, we like call each
other cousin, you know like mewe, likasay I got white friends just as well as I
do my um other Indian friends and uh we might be around you know, just happen to
be meet up all at one time, and you know like this is my cousin and stuff like
that, you know/just you know. o, '+ ge?
B: Do uh most other Indian students I'm sure act friendly, real friendly)like.-
S: Yeah and um, what really, you know what's really good about it is um, you really
take up for races you know. Like um, ifA like yGEle just like you see colored
groups together, if you see one colored person fight)you see other coloreds taking
up for him, you know. -ed it's the same way with the Indians and you know the
same way with the whites.
UL 28A 11
B:A Who predominates in the enrollment at your school, are there more white students
than anybody else?
S: Well our school is a variety of every, all kinds of races; there's Indians, there's
Chinese, Japanese, Italians, Greeks, a lot of 'em
B: How do Indian students get along with other people like the, like the Orientals,
CJdq Chiv C)cj and Japanese?
S: Well most of the ones that go to our school, they can't speak very much English
so um, but you know they're just friendly, you know)get along, it's a neighbor.
B: Do you have any kind of clubs on campus like um ?
S: There is, they got Key clubs and Qui per choir and all the um)teams you
can get on in school. There's quite a few.
B: What are your favorite sports, what do you like best?
S" Swimming is my favorite, and um basketball, lacrosse, and hockey and, I like
football but the idea of getting hurt is you know um, but you get hurt in every-
B: Yeah, I don't think football would work so good, so well for girls. Do you know
how good a swimmer you are, are you about a ?
S: Oh S0 average. This is my first year going out for the team *as I think I did
B: You, you do have a team?
S: Yeah, I did pretty good for my first year.
B: Do you have a coach, a swimming coach?
S: Uh huh.
B: If you don't know how to swim they teach you?
S: Uh huh.
B: I like swimming too, it's a great sport.
S: It's good too.
B: All the muscles get exercised when you're swimming.
S: Definitely, tire you out quick.
UL 28A 12
3 MC, jhJ a oiher Srorts Jo you tkeC?
(Break in tape)
S: Well umI enjoy watching lacrosse a lot and um soccer. Our school's pretty good
on those kind of sports 'vents. And basketball, I'll be going out for basketball
in a couple weeks.
B: Well you know the American Indian population is perhaps umjsmaller than any other
minority ~^+^^ n/- ,t I think it's less than one half of one per cent
of the total population that we can call _. What
would you say to other Indian students elsewhere you know throughout the country
wherever this tape will be listened to? You know it will be in libraries in
Florida at PSU, we know it, it'll be there. What would you say to other Indian
students about Indian pride or anything at all, somehow?
S: Well um I think you know)your heritage you know, you weas er you was born with
a heritage and just like everybody you should die with a.heritage. And uh, I'll,
you know if there is any way, which I know there isn't, that you could give up
what you are, I wouldn't give mine up because it's really something to be proud
of, you know, thinking going back to history, you know you know that we're the
beginning, you know of the United States, we were the first hereAeven though
a lot of people don't appreciate it. 4 Hopefullyif the Lord's willing, we'll
be here in the end. And uh/I feel kind of strong about it because uh, I really do
4 ihk yot Con sick LP
.y.U n.w.t.ako>p a'lot for the Indians.
B: That's good. Do you think we shouldAas much of our heritage as possible?
S: I do, I you know I really, you know like uh, in history classes now in school
when we study about the Indians you know, like kids might make remarks and you
think you know uh, Ikindly tell 'em you know, I say um you may not think there's
not any around you know, but they're still here so only talk what you know about'Qrn
because you know a lot of people see cowboy movies and everything on television,
a lot of nonsense but ur, the only way to let 'em know is to tell 'em.
B: Do you, how do you feel when you watch a cowboy movie of men, and Indians always
UL 28A 13
S: Well, that's what you call show business. Anything, anything eeu14 make a dollar-
they'll do it, and so you knowI just know it's a movie you know, don't let it get
to me that much. I just sit back and watch.
B: Well I want you to know how very much I appreciate your talking with me.
S: I enjoyed it.
B: Sharing, sharing these things with me. Is there something else you'd like to
S: Well, I like like, I like, O 1V last thing I'd like to say is
you know if you're Indian be proud of it.
B: I'm all for that. Thank you so very much.
S: You're welcome.
L Eii of ^ ^\W