Title: Nova Amos
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00006835/00001
 Material Information
Title: Nova Amos
Physical Description: Book
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: UF00006835
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.

Full Text
UL 29 A
Subject; Nova Amos Transcribed 12/30/76 C.H.R.
Interviewer: Lew Barton
B: Interviewing for the University of Florida's History Department's American
Indian Oral History Program. Again this afternoon we're favored to be on
uh, street here at uh, Broadway street, I should say, I'm stuttering today,
at the Ameriacan Indian Studies Canter, and with me is a young lady who has kindly
consented to give us an interview. Would you tell us your name and how to spell
it too so we don't make any mistakes?
I as+
A: My name is Nova Amos. That's N-o-v-a, and the next name's A-m-o-s.
B" Thank you very much. Uh, do you and your husband work over here?
A: Just my hus-, uh, just myself, I'm an arts and crafts instructor and cultural
education assistant.
B: Oh, that's very interesting. Uh you must get a great deal of satisfaction out of
work like this.
A: I do. I like arts and crafts and the cultural background of #our people.
B: Now, do you think we should preserve our cultures as much as possible?
A: Yes, I do, uh, I believe we should because for our children coming up, and then
bringing up their own families, a lot of it will be lost if we don't preserve
and hand it down to them.
B: Uh, huh. Well, I certainly agree with you. Uh, how about your background, you're
uh, you're not Lumbee, are you?
A: No, sir, I'm not, my father was a Cherokee and Creek. And my mother is Scotch-
B: Uh hih, that's great. Uh, the uh, we certainly honor Indian people wherever we
find it. Do you consider yourself Indian? I think that's the only criteria.

A: Yes, I do.
B: Uh, you know..,
A: Uh, not in uh, disrespect to my mother, but I do. Think of myself as Indian.
B: Uh huh. Well, I!m sure she doesn't mind.
A: No. No I don't really think so ) 6 5 kC pro a -.
B: What does your husband do?
A: My husband, uh, is a district railroad inspector here in Baltimore, Maryland.
AI eOhl3 -A( -- .g takes him into Delaware. And uh, my husband is full-blooded
Choctaw from Oklahoma, also.
B; Uh huh. Great. Uh, Choctaws are great people too, aren't they?
A: Uh, I think so, yes.
B: U-, you say you've been working here at the studIS center how long?
part time for the first two and a half years
A: Uh, I have been here three pad h half years,4and then full-time now.
B: Uh huh. How many children do you have?
A: My husband and I have five children, we have four sons and one daughter.
B: Well, that's great, would you mind giving us their names and ages?
A: Let's see, I'll start with the oldest one, thatTs Stanley, and he's twenty-four,
and then we have a boy we call Tommy, he's twenty, and we have David who's
seventeen and -then we have Nathan who is eleven going on twelve, and we have
4f9, our -er who is seven.
B: qUh huh, that's a nice family. Uh, I uh, I think everybody should have as large
a family as they can afford uh, I came from a fairly large family myself. is
r^-l i}F' g'i Y8 -I \'-ft;? '/ '-
seems things ar/ ardoA these days,/even bf up Lhildren.
A: Ha ha, it's hard to raise children, Financially nowadays, ha ha.
B: Oh it certainly is. Uh do you uh, do you encounter any problems because dof your
Indianess? Uh, do people have, do you think it's an asset or a liability? Uh,
I shouldn't ask it that way, but do people, do you think it hurts you or R J
O f C. c

A: Uh, we have never found repression until we came to Baltimfore, and uh, we
only found it in the school system .
Evidently between the students s aSR one/of our sons did encounter the iact
that .' thought of better off dead, uh, by one of his teachers, that a good
Indian is a dead Indian.
B: Oh, my!
A: But uh, we here are the type of Indian family that has instructed our children,
If you're Indian be proud of it,
B: Uh huh.
A: And so we talked to the young man and encouraged him not to drop out because Indians
wouldn't do that even though other repression or being dejected and uh, how he,
we have moved from the area where we lived to uh, a suburb of Baltimore, where
we're doing better, and the family is accepted as an Indian family, and that's
in the schools too.
B: UH huh. Well, I'd rather think that's an fiIjj/ et usual uh,...
A: I think so.
B: I'd like to think so, anyway.
A: I think because that time in Dklahoma everywhere our son wentour_ were
part Indian, and everybody's accepted for what they are, and it's not unusual to
find Indians in high places in your cities. Whereas here in the East uh, you in
a location where an4 Indian is uh, accepted as maybe a next door neighbor but not
in higher offices W your cities.
a good
B: Uh huh. Uh,you know Oklahoma was once known as Indian Territory, uh,'many Indian
groups were removed from other places to Oklahoma, were they not,
A: Yes they were, a lot them, a lot of these uh, were brought in from North Carolina,
and south Carolina and Georgia, the So-uthern states.
B; Uh huh. Uh, I guess maybe you, they look back on that or when they're told about
it, nobody remembers it of coirse. Uh, but uh, it was a terrible thing uh, you

know, for the -Cherokees who were moved from North Carolina I'd say at this time,
when-yrt, a quarter of them died along the way.
A: Yes.
B: The Trail of Tears.
A: Yea, it's a...
B: And this story was repeated in other instances S'U0 C_ Cherok-e
story, t a
A: Yes, it was uh, seemed like when President Jackson got tired of using the Indian
at thht time, then he just sent them west, which was an easier way of getting rid
of them, because they WiBaoKX were'nt XKKHW X able to withstand the change of
climate and uh, traveling that long distance. Being farmers and settled people
it was hard on them.
B: Wonder if they forced them to walk or put them on covered wagons or what. Have
you ever heard your folks talk about Indian traditions or anything like that?
A: From what I can understand the Cherokees ddd go west in wagons, and when they got
to the Mississippi uh, there were boats, that, of course the boats were too small,
a lot of people drowned in thd Mississippi due to this, and uh, most of the people
did go by foot. But if there were horses available they went by horse and wagon,
because they took a lot of possessions with them.
B: President Andrew Jackson seemed determined to move them whether uh, what ever the
case where transportation was concerned, didn't he?
A: Yes, that's right.
B: Uh do you think Indian people generally know about this, and uh, therefore
don't respect the memory of Andrew Jackson?
A: That could be. I think they hold that one thing in memory.
B.: once read something somebody wrote about Andrew Jackson and they pointed out
that he raised an Indian child. Uh, so he didn't really hate Indians.
A: Ha ha ha ha ha ha aaa ha ha.

B: It would be very hard dto convince Indian people of that, wouldn't it?
A: It really would, especially after using them and having them help him and then
'/./ '1, '' ,-' 'M ./i' H'' '' ,.' and sending them off to their deaths,
essentially. Especially on the Teail of Tears.
B:qWell, that's terrible, but uh, he certainly did that, For example there was a
highway XKM back home, called it Andrwe Jacksonne Highway and Indian poeple were
\ ft r.' j /9 ?! +/ {l +",8 1, i ~For 6l Gv.
very disturbed about 'ttfib. They were talking about taking the signs down and
A: Very understandable.
B: Can you think of any of the other things that you heard your parents talk about
uh, were there, did you hear stories told maybe about animals or some other
A: I have heard my father speak of bringing slaves with them from the south into
Oklahoma, and how his uh, his grandparents had brought slaves and had slaves
who were from the south.
B: Were thesd black slaves?
A: Yes they were.
B: Uh huh. Uh well itTs certainly true that Indians were slave owners, some of the
Lumbees were certainly slave owners, for example James Lowerey, whose will was
probated in 1810, had nine and uh, I've examined his will, he left his slaves to
other people, but uh, we suffered disaster in North Carolina in 1835 when they
revised the Constitujtion ZS=, you know, left us all out in the cold for about
fifty years, no education, no nothing. And the Cherokee in North Carolina had
developed a great educational system of their own.
A: Yes, it's so.
B: They show a pageant at Cherokee Noth Carolina each year called onto these hills.
A: They show a similar one in Oklahoma called Trail of Rears at Tullaqua Oklahoma,

B: Uh huh. That's interesting, Are tehre many other pageants around, Indian pageants
that you know of that you could see in Oklahoma? I havesome friends in OklahomaI
A: Uh, besides the yearly one for the Cherokees the Creeks have one they put on once
a year. And the Choctaws have a trail of tears pageant, also.
B: Choctaws, uh huh, So we have quite a few Choctaws around uh, Baltimore, don't
A: A few, I have run into a few, yea.
B: Uh huh. Are they scattered t uh, very far, do you think?
A: Uh, most of these/I have known have been either in Texas, Oklahoma or we've heard
of them being from Mississppi where they originated. 'Course I'm sure they're L''
d up te E n S
' spread up the Eastern Seaboad too.
B: Uh, what do you think the attitude is today in the South generally toward Indians?
A: It's pretty cold for a warm climate.
B: -WnRe there just a few Indians, maybe a family or so, it seems that they felt better,
have you ever noticed that?
X: YesI have. They accepted better in teh community, and it doesn't seem to be that
fear that they're gonna take over.
B: You think the movies have done a grave injustice?
A: Yes. I do. A great injustice as well as T.V. has done the=same injustice to us.
B: And they're continuing to do that too, aren't they?
A: Yes, and they will until there's something done about it. If the Indian people
could band together and demand gEfr better showing for the Indian side.
B: I think we are making progress in that respect in the Indian world, but here again
we're confronted with the problem of small numbers and unfortunately, all politicians
respect is a large number, you know, the possibility of gaining votes, don't you
think this is the problem?

A: It seems to be that way,
B: Uh the Indian groups are so scattered too, and so divided, do you think this is
part of the overall national policy? 'awme they were already uh, some of us
were pretty far apart. But I don't -think these help very mush, do you?
A: Well, I don't know uh, about here in the east, I do know in Oklahoma that uh,
there doesn't seem to be a situation of bding Indian or white, if you have the
qualifications and you can get the votes you can have the office, because we've
had more htan one governor that's been part Indian in Oklahoma.
B: Uh huh.
A: And we've had many/high offices that have been part Indian.
B: Maybe we ought to call a few of their maaes, you know.
A: Well, we'll try governor \)i____ for one.
B: Uh huh.
A: Of course LAOUf C --. ^- Will Rogers.
We always like to look back to him. Being part Cherokee.
We always like to look back to him. Being part Cherokee.
B: Oh yes. Uh huh. Evangelist Oral Roberts, is he not part Cherokee?
A: Yes. Uh huh.
B: Hets certainly come along way in his Kield, hasn't he?
A: Yes, he has, and uh,.....
B: Uh, we had just mentioned prominent Indian people, and particularly Cherokees who
were uh, who had made a great showing on a national scale, and we mentioned Reverend
Oral Roberts, and uh, do you remember what it was you said when were interrupted by
the tape running out?
A: I believe it had to do with the fact that he was well-know with the Indian people
there in Southwestern Oklahoma, they knew him when he was a child and respected
him and are proud of the fact he had grown up to bed the minister he is today,
and owning a school in Tulsa Oklahoma, and then the worldwide activities in the

B: Uh huh. Well I believe you mentioned the immortal uh, Mr. Rogers, the late...
A: Will Rogers?
B: Right, the great American humorist.
A: Right, Will Rogets,
B: Uh huh.
A: Uh, part Cherokee, humorist, orator, what-have-you, iv tA- _______ -..
B: Um hm. Movie actor.
g'-il .n
A: Movie actor, what-have-you. He was uh, he was one of the best sen Oklahoma, our
people, I think, in his field.
B: How 'bout Will Rogers junior, do you ever hear anything from him? Last account I had,
last year I believe he was working for the bureau of Indian Affairs in central
A: That's what I heard, yes, I dontt know exactly what the capacity is, buy ~'
know he is working there.
B: I remember the story covered by the Indian press and I guess
the Indian press, uh, Will Rogers Junior said we don't want equality, we want more
than equality, you know.
A: Well the Indian would like to have his fair share, yes.
B: If he had what was coming to him he would have more than equality, wouldn't he?
A: Yes, that's true. really is.
B: Uh, I don't know him so well by reputation as I did his father by reputation, uh,
but he seems to be a chip off the old block, doesn't he?
A: It sounds that way, yes, what I 2a read and hear of him, yes.
B: Um hm. How do uh, how do you think the Cherokee people feel like you know, when
people make popular songs like, have you heard "The Cherokee Lament"? Which was
uh, a very popular song for a while, it hit the charts, uh, it was sold throughout

the country, you know, just last year. It told the story of the fall of the
Cherokee, you know, And I think it was beautifully done by a groupXlK I be-
lieve known as the Rangers.
A: Uh, I think the Indian as a hole, they don't mind this type of song if it's
true. And there's no breaking down of the feeling of the Indian, and it has
help our
something to do with EKU building up NXXKUXM pride and trying to make other
people realize that we have feelings too. Uh, I think;a t the type of song
that we don't like is when they come out like "Halfbreed,l Now these type of
songs kind of hurt, sometimes.
B: Uh huh. Uh, this is by Cher, isn't it?
A: Yes.
B: Uh huh, this-s very popular too.
A: Yes it was j fAzfc <.- jL o /c/d but still yet in one
way it hurt I think those of us especially, like myself, whose half Indian and
half white.
B: Uh huh. Well, uh, there was another song as I recall, Custer died for your sins,
uh which became a national hit.
A: I don't remember that one as well. But I figure as long as there's Indians there'll
be somebody to sing about.
B: Right. Have you heard, have you ever heard the recording by 7TwsFKW FloydVl Floiyd ~
A: I don't think so.
B: I can't recall his tribe, unfortunately at the moment, but his song was very, very,
very, I mean all over, you know,
A: That's good, we need more songs like that.
BX: r \\ vr X 1 W.
A: Um hm.
B: All his'songs deal with the uh, with the plight oflIndian people in one way or

another, practically all of them. Uh, the song I tried to do a while ago, I don't
know if you heard it, I was playing a little bit of it this morning, trying to
sing it on the tape just before you came in, was based on and old Indian --- -./.-
where the Indians warn that if, that they kill all the buffalo, kill the eagle and
so on, one thing will lead to another until finally we have to move backinto the
A: It looks like it.
B: /O/t i 4G, even prophesied in this, this old Indian prophecy the day
when the machines would come, and there would be machines in the sky.
A: Um hm.
B: Uh, and this is supposed to be authentic, whether it is, I don't know. I can't
vouch for it myself Bkut somehow
Floyd I\QC ff/(M a I t, has been able to fuse the Indian music and the Indian
sound with modern music, and how he brought about htis happy marriage between the
two is a, 4-1sar, work of genius really. But it is so very beautiful, and he
us& conventional instruments, uh, amplified instruments, modern instruments,
he prefers instruments of the modern uh type music, ai SC%-\ a 5 O CgY 4i'
with an Indian sound, and Indian music that you can't write 0A\ < i- te. it's a happy marriage between the two, and it tells the story.
A: Uh huh. Well I think a lot of historians go hack to the fact that uh,_
that the Indian especially in America prophsised things that were
/ ,/ f.-
prophesised in the sctiptarel and thed Indian oa't know that there were
such things as the scriptures.
B: Uh huh.
A: And uh, it could be, you know, they had a way of, I know they did, they had a
way of being in touch with the Maker.
B: Um hm.

A: And therefore they could recieve visions and things from him, 'tlrlS" --
B: Right.
A: So I see, to me it is uh, I'm not surprised when the Indian comes up with something
like this, and can put it to music,
B: Um hm. So uh, a case in point here is what the Mormon church, I believe the correct
name of that church is the Latter Day Saints of Jesus Christ,
A: Uh huh, yes.
is a
B: Uh, they have the only Christian religion which is truly American. And thisXUiL
fact it
Mi31XXjlX is not just an opinion, I mean it's built around the Indian.
A: Um hm.
B: And, and they regard Indians as the chosen people of God fS( these latter days.
A: Um hm. I've heard that too. Yes.
B: T L-tfjtgne. But I was so amazed recently when I viewde some of the Indian
historical slide that they had and showed some of the pyramids, Indian pyramids
which were so great they just swallow up these famous pyramids of Egypt...
A: Um hm.
B: Actually. And magnificent temples, some of them so great uh, one temple built on
top of another, uh, is something which isn't generally known, the Aztec
Indians, uh, in that area of the country particularly.
A: I heard this too, I have read about these temples you're talking about.
B: They are actually going into it in detail and digging out the archeological facts.
A: Yes.
B: These nobody can deny,
A: It's there for people to see,.,
B: Absolutely.
A: .,.and you have facts, Right.

B: Absolutely, And it, they are magnificent, some of the artwork uh,.,
A: Well, it goes to prove that the IndAan legend is, is meant as white people i \j .
B: Right. Of course, w*'ve always known that...
A: Right.
B: But 9s people seen not to K3'v-X [/pn N &'5NQ \
A: It's not us that was lost, Welve always been here,
B; Right, it's very true. Uh what do you tell your children about Indian pride?
A: About Indian pride?
B: Uh huh. Indian culture AL.(Ac nk\- v i tei- i V\s c.
A: I think one of thed main things that we teach them is uh, to be stable and you
know, and they are the things thati that the Indain is a conservationist at heart.
We are of the land, the land, we live from the land, ra- e iA s to get
by, I don't know how you, I could put it except that such as ~t-, when my husband
takes the boys hunting, he's always taught them lt never kill anymore that you
can eat.
B: Right.
A: And uh, be careful where you walk, be careful of the other animals, uh, even though
both of us in our families were raised in a white environment, we've always felt
this way.
B: Um hm.
A: That we, if we are to get our food from the land, 'te.we should treat it with
much respect.
B: Right. Mother Earth.
A: Right. Have much respect for our neighbors, even though they don't seem to care
for us, respect them and treat them nice anyway, If they come to visit us give
them the best E f\ A E ( give them the best of the food, if they stay the
night, give them the best bed.

13. 13
B: That's certainly Indian. That is certainly Indian, 've always thought of
the Indian people as being the most hospitable People on earth. .
LA: They really are. T hI
A: They really are. Thetwh6 really break down you know, and visit with htem a -
find this to be true.
B: But most Americans would i/))l C 0ci you know hhat? You know, because
what they know about Indians is all they've learned from the movies and television
Indains laugh about .
and so on, which ii inaccurate. Uh, Indains laugh about it,.i'', ,
it's nothing at all like Indians.
A: We do laugh Xft-it, Cause sometimes they stereotype Indians as a big \_O_ OOS.
B: We know he doesn't exist, don't we? '. .' alitte bok of
poetry I wrote in 1961 I have, I composed a little poem in there called Bome
Popular Misconceptions of the American Indian", you know, people think there are
Indians sit around the reservation and just look picturesque, they never do anything,
they never...
A: John Wayne type. Oh, my.
B: Sometimes they rankle me a little bit, uh, 'cause I know it isn't so. How bout
this role of s4being so stoic, uh, all Indians are supposed to be stoic, unfeeling,
unmoving, uh, he can suffer a lot and never, apparently not be so upset. Do
you think this X is a bad stereotype '
A: I don't know, uh, our family was that way. We don't, we _fQ_ _A_ _SM
children, fj -: \ 1 \ ( f if they teach you that way. Um, such
if" t''Q
as one of my sons was cursed for being an Indian. Since been here in Baltimore.
And he!.l2 u'! 1\-e&I ,4 'C7Af- 0 iWo -'i l a, *- ^quite' a bit.
And told him to ho back to the reservation. And the person whowas doing all this
foul language wasscreaming and yelling and my son just didn't look at her, He
never smiled, he never looked angry, he just looked at her. And so we were talking
about this later, and he said, well, Mo m, he said XXXKUK children yell and scream

like that.
B: *ss, that'sAtrue. I think that's great,
A: So in one way we tried to teach them to you know bef Indians, but don't lower
yourself, I mean, you know, there's a, into this, there's a line, I think, of
sDme--thimng- Of course it hurts, wire people.
B: Um hm,
A: And it does hurt, and maybe we don't show it, Maybe we don't want it to show.
B: Um hm. It's part of the Indian pride, isn't it?
that d
A: Yes, it is, we know that much, we donvt want people to knowVweYsuffer. And that's
one reason I think a lot of Indian people will not go to welfare,
B: Um hm. --
A: We don't want people to know that they finally broken-down, and/aisv-pe4haps they
feel it's begging, and a lot of Indians won't beg.
B: That's true, that's universally true, of all the Indian people Irknew anything
A: oC s just the fact that uh, we have pride uh, sometimes it gets in our way.
I can see this.
A: But uh, to be wfiX stoic like a lot of them are, I think it's part of being trained
that way.
B: Uh, I wonder what effect this has on the other person?
A: Well in the case of my son being cursed out, he got married. She got worse than
married. He married her, that's the correct word. The longer he stood there
and looked at her very calmly, and didn't get mad, the worse she became.
B: Um hm.
A: Because she had really expected him to break down and say something back to her.
And he didn't do it.

B: I think people often do this, Maybe sometimes they want a reaction.
A: Yes, and she didn't get her reaction.
B: I remember going into a lieutenant governor's office for a group of Indian people
one time to make a request that uh, it was their due, they had it coming, next
I, k -.-V) fo^n<-4-C ft L,
thing the lieutenant governor said to me,, 3k, I don't even like you. I said
sir, it doesn't ge2rmatter whether you like me or not, I didn't come here to
atlk about Lew Barton, I came here to talk about the Indian people. And a
particular problem. And uh, fs m t t instIt rme,___
stalking out of his office without what I came for. And I said how 'bout us
talking aobut it,-7T talk about it. He did, and later he became a friend of
mine and he admitted to me that this was a technique of his, he used when he
didn't want to do something J~.'li T,: t.L\ '-:.^A-',v...i ,: .-. C;... : ,..( r;.,-C
j 7 So I was glad you k hae to now him that well -. _'.' -1-}iFr 1
_AKtL_'_r ._________ And ahis was one of his methods of getting rid of an
O\,tt1"- '\ I -A i. I'm glad my Indian showed then.
A: Yes.
B: But you know the most natural thing in the world, uh, our people, back in North
Carolina particularly, there in Robeson county, that they would walk, that they
did go into the welfare office, and somebody made a slighting remark, they just
waik out of the of-fict, you know, turn and walk out.
A: Right, right.
B: Hate themselves for going in in the first place, Though they might get violently,
they might get violently angry, too, on occasion, you know, but we've been accused
of being oversensitive, you know,
A; That could be one reason'we decided to just play it cool and not go begging.
i ~~~rr
B:\ _v \. .. \^ -, En A ',^ I wish
I was a, I wish I was a rait master of uh, of that particular thing, but I, I
trained myself to be expressive, and I've tried to become articulate insofar

as possible because I wanted to help Indian people and the only way I-/f't '
tta1 I-'could help Indian people was Xr eo nversing logically with uh, with
the main population and with ohter Americans, and uh, reaching their conscience
for a minute, because I've always known they had a conscience, Uh, so many times
I feel thast we, the problem is simply that, uh, with our numbers as small as
they are, uh, people have not become acquainted with the fact htat we have these
problems. And I'vet m this very gradually, and uh, those staying out of
sigh9 out of mind. Out of mindout of conscience.
A: I'm sure, because in most communities I think you find the Indians' impersonation
of wood.
B: Uh huh.
A: By the community, to the fact well, that's my neighbor, oh, he's an Indian,
6k\ oof- .^ *"t t Ax Dof-
are we gonna recognize this, unless we put MrliUatm Indian
dress of some kind.
B: Right, this is % 4tf the things they recognize as authentic, don't they?
A: Right.
B: So we have to accommodate.
A: It seems so, yes.
B: Yes, uh, one thiag 1-"vh the Ameriacan Indian is learning to do, is to
command attention. And they ace doing this more nd more.
A: Yes, I find that to be true.
B: People like S' : t ^ i, .
:A Uh huh.
B: Do you like him?
A: Oh, yes,
B; 0_ __..._^. _
A: ON Um hm.

B: Uh, they are competing with uh, the main population on their own terms
uh, and speaking to them in theri own language, although this language
to them is a forieghn language,
A: Yes, that's so.
B: P they had become *ati this language, in order to reach other people
on behalf of their people.
A: I think that's true and I think it's hard to some Indians, in one sense. Uh,
such as my husband, let's say, it's easy for him to speak his own language
with his mother. But it, sometimes he finds it hard to converse, and uh,
especially in a forieghn tongue called English.
B: Um hm.
A: Yet he's been a school teacher most of his liEe.
B: Um hm. I suppose that uh, whwt you are used to uh, maybe it never will come
completely naturally to you, but uh, we can improve our skills.
A: Yes.
B: Ikt's a very complicated language. Very, it is very complicated. But it's
also very versatile, uh, you can do just about anything with the English language,
i borrowed so many expressions from all over, practically all other alnguages.
A: Yes, I think it had
B: All evar, you know.
A: Um hm.
B: Western languages, So maybe we can uh, use it as a tool, you know, to communicate.
I believe that if the world is to be saved at all it will have to be through the
ability to communicate meaningfully to other people,
A: Yes, that's.so,
B: No matter how long you have to sit around the conference table, it's better
than being out there shooting at each other.
_ __ _________________________\________________________

A: Yes, by all means
B: You think Indians are making progress all over?
A: Maybe not over, not all over, but I think we are making progress in most areas.
B: Um hm.
A: There is- room for improvement.
B: Uh, how 'bout the effort that's being made right here uh, of which I confess
I'm so proud, you know, do you thinj there something else you could do
A: Uh, I don't know, thereV,I can see where a vocational-technical school for
Indians in this area would be beneficial. I really do because of the fact that
a lot of the Indian people do not go ahead and finish highschool.
B: Um hm.
A: Because of your high dropout rate we have here, I can see this would be very,
very good, especially for the boys.
B: Uh huh.
A: And if you had a highly, uh, what is the word I need here, you had a very versatile
type of vocational-technical school for Indian children, I believe this would
help them. Or at -1- it would get them prepared to go into the white man's
world and work at their level.
B: Uh huh.
A: And that wouldAtf; .-4i i iao anything from learning to paint houses, to
maybe Eectrical engineering, to engineering design, from the higher KiSNh Xthat
boys are very good at,
B: Right.
A: And also too for the girlslthat drop out due to babysitting at home or uh, maybe
there's no encouragement from the parents frt-CEii to stay in school, maybe they
could go into these vocational schools and take up nursing or secretarial work

um, cafeterial work, or anything along the line that would hep the girls
get a better job later on.
B: Uh huh. Do you think Indians universally are, do they have the what we call the
patriarchal-type family structure, where the husband is the head of the family?
Uh, do you think this is more or less sharing now?
A: In my studies and in Nb travels we have found that uh, the Cherokees have always
been maariarchal although there is a man' figurehead, and in the Nothern States,
Especially inthe Nottheastern staets, it's the same way.
B: Uh huh.
A: Uh, whereas my husband's tribe has always been patriarchal. Uh, they are definitely
iet-re of the ~hl. No one has any other way.
B: How would you have it, personally?
A: I think he and I have learned to share.
B: VEfi!s good.
A: And work problems out together which I find is much better.
B: Uh huh.
A: Because the children &.-c l. -\ '- 1, -*- .: And uh, in the modern times
that we live in, it works better if you can share your problems together and
work things out together.
B: Um hm.
A: And even though I do know that She is head of the house. 'Course it wasn't hard
for me to come up under this, my father was\head of the house.
B; Uh huh. Well, I'm with you there, I believe it should be, there should be a type
of sharing between the two. lCourse somebody has to make the final decision
if there's a tie! I think about the chairman, you know, uh, usually the chairman
doesn't have the power to vote unless he uh, unless there's a tie, and then he
could come in and vote and break the tie.

A: Well, what, yoo know, personally, in our family, my husband has the final
say. And the children know this and they respect theri father for it. Q-
B: Um hm. I don't think the womenrs libbers will ever reach eht indian/o you
A: Well, m n't o'i ,e-t 'S?, Navaho women have always talked first, maybe they
didn't know that, but the Nayajo/own their sheep, and their cattle and their
goats, and their land, and they own their own homes, and when they marry their
husband Ar to help them take care of it.
B: Uh huh.
A: But if in the process something happens in their marriage, and.eey-&p e divorced-
orr a the husband goes his way with nothing,
B: They say the Navado was the greatest nation...
A: Right.
B;..in the Indian world
A: Um hm.
B: And theyat' 't/- c h 'I- so many NavajoAhave never left the reservation.
A: TFt's so, their still thete. Um hm.
B: I believe somebody told me they are in excess of a hundred thousand.
A: I MIKXW think it's something like that, 'cause I read the statistics not t3b
long ago. They're not up to date but, who was the number one tribe.
B: What they say and what they do inevitably affects meqw all the other groups,
eventually, doesnTt it?
A: Um hm.
B: Uh, what can we do within the Indian would, that we aren't doing you think to
improve communications between the different groups, because we are widely
separated '' ... G'iC(/ Altheough we are the same race uh,
were definitely affected by 'P' '' or customeA J_ _

Do yotuiee'g \,-:.f: move toward closer communication between the various%
A: I do see a move for closeness or pulling together um, although I think it's
closer now than it used to be.
B: Oh, yes- no doubt about that.
A: Uh, and I think wounded knee incident has got the Indian people closer together
I As
as one people. And maybe many of the jctts thart the Negro has had in the past
has helped us see that maybe we need to form a oneneess group too, that maybe
uh, I do know tath uh, we have come up ;with a coalition on hte east coastal i'-.i C- .
B: Oh, yes.
R -..j \\5
A: This is helping us. is new and iI belieet' help ing Eastern Seabaard Indians
find thast they can get along together. This is not new, the tribes getting to-
gether, becauselwe hadwhff- i ft0 __a __ ____ _-C_ here.
B: Uh huh. ,.
A:4IaF northern tribes such as tuskaroras that went in later.
B: Right.
A: And then your Indians that were moved to Oklahoma more or less banded together
for safeties' sake.
B: Uh huh.
A: So uh, I think qOl, dNi' that it would help and I think it would be more so
as the years go by, rtSt we're going to have to band to gethere. That as t-o
many cases against each other get better, then I think well have a better understanding
of each other.
B: I'm sure you're tight I have the, I've .-f.O i -
V\I!t' Uh, and even ':. wehad started good, you know, covering all
. ut maybe someday we'll be ab&e to do more of that.
A: I think so.

B: Ltj iL '- n the Ford Foundation helped in this ..^-('
,,, ,, .' .4
A: Well, that's good.
B: I -. i FJ ;l''4Ji'/ ''' the first time it happende. Do yuo uh, you, have
you heard of ft f ; o San Francisco?
A: No, '- ,-'
B: Yeah. They probably, the American Indians historian.
A: My husband is a historian.
B: They were instrumental with others in getting this complication settled, and I
think its been going since 1940. I mean 1870. Uh, when I get a little bit tired
I fall down on my numbers. But uh, it was certainly it was valuable to me ped-
sonally, and I think when I came back home I had a new feeling of assurance, a
new feeling of oneness, a new feeling of d .ESEft. U
A: Um hm.
B; Although we've been widely separated, during the meeting somebody made what I
regarded as a slighting remark about Lumbees, and I stalked right out of the
meeting, got out in the middle of it, and uh; 'cause I'm not going to sit back
if I think my people are being insulted or something. I guess I'm O',:.,'\l it .
and that's the opposite of theibts toric sort of thing, but I felt that this is
where it counts, you know.
A: Um hm.
B: Weld rather have acceptance by eachother than all the government acceptance in
the world, by all the other peoples of the world, our own people are the people
who are important, you know,
AL ]-R ,~ you can't stand together you'll surely fall.
B: Right.
A: Um hm.
B: So anyway, I walked out of the meeting and the chairwoman .' \ ?tP' came

out, 'sat down on 'A. ,_ put tmy head in my hands because I couldn't
speak up to defend our people. And the chair wouldn't recognize me to do so,
so I walked out of the meeitng. They say that was very Democratic, and I don't
suppose they were worried too much about that, except the tuuth is they had a
J1- c 6W-A
lot on the agenda at %E*ehF ni 'l~e ee. Anyway the chairwoman came out and sat down
on the quadrangle with me, beside me, she put her arms around me and she started
weeping. -... I said what am I doing? You know? She
said I want you to come back in with me f : [. ^-', \ rv
\ e accept the Lumbees, we donlt need any anthropologist or historina telling us
who Indians are, we knowwho ndians are. So I guess I'm a little bit sensitive
in this respect because all my life I've suffered as an Indian,
A: Um hm/.
B: Been regarded as an Indian, I borne whatever burdens I should bear, I gue-s that
might sound boastful but its not meant to be, its meant to be exclamatory. I've
tried, and uh, you know, I've never been ahhamed of what I've done, because I
done my best, and uh, I've always stood up for the Indian people, You know.
A: Yes.
B: All my life. Uh, you know, since I was older. And I've been insulted for the
sake of Indian people and other things happen, you know. Thaf's why-they--eai-
-meJsus-eBasr-ten-C s--.hr
A: Yes.
B: Suffered and things, loss'suffered, economic losses because of my aGn \
Indian people. And so I am a little sensitive there 7 espeeiallya iuud -LLh Lt d-r,
A: I think -t can be uh, I guess\my family didn't XiXKK realize we could be senistive
either until we came here to Baltimore. And -wea-d one child put down because he
was an Indian in the schools, and another one just because he was an Indian fron

an Indian family, Cause our schools never a4feess before. -Gae-4rm Indian
territory, where we were accepted for what we were,
ik'. io' f
B: Right. Uh, what was the end result fo this nowt Incident.,
A: ALright, now the end result of the boy that was in junior high, who was put down,
and uh, and he almost dropped out of school, but the counseling from his father
and myself, we finally persuaded him to stay in. 'Cause he was go near the end
of junior highschool, And then he wanted to go back to Oklahoma, and we were
willing to send him back, We thought we'd keep him in school, and we as a family
might seem strange to some Indians, uh, who don't really back their kids into
going to school, but we believe in the education, We want our boys to have a
good education, we want them to be educated in what they want to do when they grow
B: Um hm.
A: And uh, so we talked to him along this line, and if something didn't come up for
highschool that would benefit him, we were willing to send him back to Oklahoma.
Even though that meant to break up out family. But it uh, so happens that uh,
one of the senior highschools here in Baltimore wanted David fro thier football
team. And so we told Dave we'll try that. And if we see that you're not accepted,
things are gonna go bad for you, then we'll send you back home. But it was to
his advantage that we stayed. The school accepted him, his grades came up from
F's andD's to A's and B's and he was put on the main string of the football team.
And the other boy who was cursed so badly, uh, he just said Mrm, don't worry about
it, he said Ah, just children yell at you. In other words he felt he'd matured
enough, uh, the 20 year old boyhad matured enough to realize that this woman
who was screaming and hollering was, you know, as k far as he was concerned, she
was childish. So I tink h w L about it.
B: So y well,- certainly was.

A: So uh, when we moved t ;i has even been better for the children
they have come out of their little doldrums and have _I1 -i \_-
and they...
B: i- ': i '
A: And they found a place where they can walk to go fishing and a place they can walk to
/be- in the woods again, and they're happy,
B: That's good, because if there's anyone who deserves to be happy it's the Indian
A: And if they're close to the wooded areas it might, it makes them happier.
B: Oh, yes.
A: Be close to God's makings,
B: Right. Be at one with mother nature.
A: Yes.
B; I don't like to put myself up above anybody, but I do know that for all that
America ever was ever more shall be she's indebted to herH native children
and uh, I think most thinking Americans Eealize thsi, and I think this is what
Will Rogers Junior meant when he said, we want more than equality.
A: Yes, it's so, it really is. 'Cause they look back and in my work and sometimes
it had to do withI ; ndian useq to do w-fh food. And we
find that the Indian 4'raJi raw material, and bring it up to a standard
where it would be beneficial to their familiUs, and the white man came over and
he took it i 'ii'; .'':_\ has made itfmore beneficial and healthier for everybody.
B: Right.
A: And not many people, not many countries you move to where it's already been started
for you.
B: Right.
A: And the Indian having worked raw material,'headcome up with healthy nutritional

foods for their fami es,
B: That's so interesting, the contributions of the American Indian, for example
I was reading a story written by an ndian girl, I've forgotten her name, she
had a beautiful name, it appeared in Prevetion Magazine several months ago.
A: Um hm.
B: And she was mentioning all the contributions in the field of medicine.
A; Right.
B: Herbal remedies particularly,
A: TXat's so. 5' e patent medicines today.
B: Right. And many of these things have been accepted, you know, for example uh,
iSa' *;. ^. .i. g uh, you know, chlorophyll chewing gum and uh, to
name one minor example, uh, Indians have always known that chew at leaves with
A: Right.
B: They knew what to do about it and they knew something about penecillin, too,
which comes from the mold.
A: Yes, that's true.
B: And so many of these otehr, so many of th-se remedies worked well, and emrr im-
proveR them. But the marvelous thing to me is that what the Indians did accomplish
they haEw-accomplished without the benefit of an example to go by, uh, they had
to begin from scratch, it seems. They developed all these things from nothing,
you know, without any example. And of course what makes European civilization
so great, and it is truly great, is that they have been able to adopt the best
features, or some of the best features of all the other civilizations of the
world. Whereas the Indian was isolated for nobody know how many centuries from
the other peoples of the world, And so he had to devise everything,
A: Right from the raw material itsdlf,

B: Right, I think its most marvelous he had developed those forms.
A: Well, I don't know, sometimes I look back and I can see aour first apartment, -
house its a highrise built down in the pueblo area of the state, liko I lk Lw
\\ l''',':U "'.':.highrises. They're not new. And.,.
B; No, they're not new,
A: And the mothers used to form what I call disposable diapers out of moss. And
they imhte((Cjftj dve4 bark of certain trees.
B: Right.
the cradle board : q Of
A; So nothings new you haveKlXgi MwXIMYf xi-ghtff, the Indian used to have a cradle
board all aaotg, which some still use, and really there's no first, with the
white American because the Indian had already started it.
B: Um hm. I think with the world being as closely knit as it is today, and with
transportation being what it is, communication, get on a jet and you just minutes
away, hours at most from any point on earth, you can speak to the other side of
the world via communications satellite, hence0oVtof, 0O werelr.ally hot-ir
if' / J ,? "
from anybody anymore. I think it all adds up ,: ^Iwe have to
leann to work -ogether somehow. And yet we have to retain our identity, I believe
we have the right to do that, to be ourselves.
A: I do too, I think we should keep our identity as an Indian, and yet in the changing
world we're living in we have to learn to adapt these changes.
B: Tbat's true. Do you think that Indians r; Ar \j (\C 1 tlCTdtCian most
A: I think so because a lot of them do not want to readily change. They want to retain
their Indianess,3what someAof-l a-.stil -e-as the blanket age,
B: Uh huh. Well, uh, I certainly have enjoyed this interview, I don't know how t
.i .. ,\r '-,' .; 3 '' > I' . know you and your husband have been a great
blessing to many people,,
blessing to many people,,

A: Well, we hape we have, I guess it's just the Indianess in us, we want to
help, we-ant to do our part,
B: Yes.
A: To help the other, Whether it be black, white or red.
B: Right. You want to be a good neighbor and I donft know nobldy who's a better
neighbor than the Indian people.
A: Like I told one group, I said there's only two kinds of Indians, good ones and
alive ones, And I say when you come to our house or any other Indian's house
you're always welcome,
B: Well I was thinking about that phrase when you mentioned that teacher came out
and said,&\h{Vw \? V' 1/ the only good Indian is a dead Indian.
A: Um hm.
B: This person who said that was only parroting some nonsensical phrase that they
heard somebody else say. I want to thatk you very much for giving me this
interview, you've been most kind and most informative and helpful, thank you
so very much.
A: Thanpyou for talking with me.

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs