Title: Interview with Bruce Barton
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007005/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Bruce Barton
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Spatial Coverage: Lumbee County (Fla.)
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.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00007005
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Lumbee County' 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: LUM 11A

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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

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
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Tape #8
Bruce Barton
August 19,20, 1972

L: This is Tape A, Side One. I am Lew Barton interviewing for the Doris

Duke Foundation Oral History Program under the auspices of the Univer-

sity of Florida. I am in my home. I am interviewing this afternoon,

August 19, 1972, a young man from Cari5orough, North Carolina, and I

want him to tell you his name and his age, his various family connections.

I want him to identify himself in his own words, if he would. Would

you please do it?

B: My name is Bruce Barton. I am the eldest son of the interviewer,

Lew Barton =e is my father. I don't know if it has been mentioned

i a tape in this series so far, but this is a very large, closely

knit family. There are nine children, four boys, four girls, and I

make nine.

L: Would you give your age please?

B: I only do that reluctantly because I just turned thirty not too long

ago. I will be thirty-one this October 1.

L: Shall we check this tape? We checked this tape because unfortunately

we recorded 45 minutes which were lost because the.machine was not

working. It was not d properly, so we will ser and

repeat the things over. I think we began just now by mentioning Jerry

Bledsole's statement in the Greensboro Daily News and other writers who

have said this in the past, that when a Lumbee Indian does leave home,

he almost invariably returns at one time or tikhother. Do you think

there is any validity to this statement? Do you think this is generally


B: Yes, I think that is generally true. But before they return home, I

think it is also probably true that they leave and that is because of

all the things that we are both aware of. It is most times because

of the inhibiting environment in which we live. Generally we go away

to find out what we are before we come back. But I think, yes we

eventually come back.

L: Now do you know why this is Bruce? Do you think there is a great
XRX of our native territory that goes beyond that felt by other

groups or other individuals in other groups?

B: Yes, I think so. You know that I am full fledged and can't go

home again, but I think most people try, if not physically, at

least emotionally and I think the historian's answer here is "Ite in order.
//V 0,-J& 6At/ I
I think that we all at- ne-teime or another try to return to our

mother'lwomb, whether it is the place that we grew up at or whether

it is some emotional state that we are trying to return to. I
guess everyone feels MEN special about where they grew up at,

if it's on the desert or wherever, that's a special place, that's

where you have got your roots, that's where you were nursed.

L: Do you think this is more true of the Lumbee than of the average


B: Yes, I think so, because I've done a lot of travelling since I left
home and I have never found KKHg Indian group like the Lumbee Indians

that we-have here in Rutsrewbf County. I think that we are a close-

knit group for us vival's sake. If we had not bee-dawn to each other,

I think that we would be exten4now, and I am glad now that the things


that I used to curse and berate and bemoan the fact of, I don't feel

that way anymore,' I think that these things have held us together the

past few years' and I am glad that they are in place. Without these

traditions, I would not have had anything to return to, I am talking

about the close family ties, the farming agricultural things, the

way people feel, the way they keep to themselves, and I think that

it has helped the ethnogroup together and just now in the last few

years, the intermarrying thing has come to the forefront, but for a

long time, they Ipt themselves apart from other people and that held

us together.

L: Do you feel that this sentence about coming back home, I gather from

what you say, that we could call it clannishness a form of clannishness?

B: Yes, I guess so. You know we talked manytimes about the subtle

nature of being a Lumbee Indian. In the years past, I am not sure of

my dates, but we have been called a lot of things, and just recdhtly

in '53 we were defined in the legislature as Lumbee Indians. You

know in times past we have been called everything from he time

around the years of the Civil War and Immediately thereafter during

Reconstruction and even later years from that, we hesbeen people

ofon-color, and have been called the Indians of RIftrtasn County,

which is not very romantic. It doesn't sound very romantic when
you //_- a
you say who are/and you say, tjat ae an Indian from Robertson

County. I mean there just isw =3nyt ng romantic about that.

L: So you pursue the term Lumbees?
B: I think that/is a very apt description of us. I do believe that

we are descendents of John White's Lost Colony and I think that

with the intermingling with the 1se"?rOrce and with the other

Indian tribes we have evolved into what we are today. With the


physical traits that are obvious I think that we are descendents of

John White's Lost Colony,and I think that we are certainly not

Tuscorora, I don't think we are Cherokee, I don't think that we

can be any true ethnic group, because there are too many physical

things that are obvious to the naked eye. In the same family you //

wi3A see one child with pure Indian physical traits and then you

will see another that is his brother, and the only reason that
we are the I don't know
his brother would have blue eyes is because XK]/descendents of which.

John White's Lost Colony or the momma or the daddy was guilty of infidelity./

L; In the atmosphere here, it would have been very difficult for this to
14 c!k5^e/ r") cze c
have happen?
discrimination that would have shut out that kind of thing? it was

even-/at one time illegal for an Indian to marry a white and also

illegal for an Indian to marry a black person. This is a mistake

that the Ku Klux Klan made in 1958 when they came into the area and

saw the people who had caucausian features and they immediately assumed

that there had been wholesale race mixing,and then they thought of

threatening and what they were going to do to them to the Indians. 7"Teir

Later actions, especially tose of inviting the Indians to join the
Klan in 1966, do you think this shows that they recognize the mistake

and that they knew that this wasn't an immediate thing or very recent

thing, but something that happened or was brought from way back in

the past?

B; Yes, I think so. Of course, everybody says that we are the lost

colony. We've never felt that we were lost, those of us who belong here,&/40

grew up here. We all kind of instinctively knew who we were all of

the time once we got as far as eighth grade in history class. Yes,


I think the clan found out they had made a bad mistake to sese us

tihsy & because the so-called race-mixing was many, many years

ago, maybe in the 1600s, a couple of hundred years before the Civil War,

and this is just my personal opinion, but since that time we evolved

as any other ethnic group has, We are standoffish; we claim one for

another; we are very closed mind about the sharing with other racial groups;

and we are about as closed toward the black Indian mixing as the whites

are with the blacks as a general rule. But I think we are no different

from any other ethnic group as far as that goes and I do think the

clan made a very stupid error, anr I think they paid for that error.

We were talking earlier before the machine conked out on us about how

young person feels, and I do consider myself still young, I suppose.

But when I was a young man growing up in this county, I found a lot

of things that caused me a great deal of concern. You know we've

talked many times about the subtle discrimination that's felt here

and you have to be here and you have to be subjected to this very subtle

discrimination that's felt here. The blacks call it Jim Crow, I guess

that we could call it Jim Gray. It's not as pronounced but it's dis-
_j.itiiy /IN
crimination in its most devious form and oAn the subtle form. I remember

as a boy being segregated at theaters, notbeing allowed to play billiards

in Lumbertown, the nearest town, the nearest town of any size. I always

felt it when we went in to buy any wearing appareljor whatever. That's
each and
subtle discrimination that's felt by/everyone of us.

L: Do you think these people who are operating public businesses actually felt

that they were doing us a favor if they served us at all?


B: Yea, as long as we stayed where they told us to stay)and ate where

they told us to ate. I think that they felt toward us just as they

did toward the blacks. That was their right as so-called WASP white

Anglo-Saxon Americans.

L: Do you see any drastic changes in this pattern of discrimination that

have taken place since, let's say since the historic Brown decision,

you know, which in effect banned segregation in public schools. Do

you think that this has had a tremendous effect or just a little affect

or any affect at all?

B: Well, it's an inverse factor now you know with the--we built our own schools

here.and they were all Indian schools. We never had that problem Yfe

never asked for integration. We were settled in our own ways and we were

sorta--there were a lot of people upset when desegregation was forced upon

us and -4know that we had to accept the black and white students in our

schools. A lot of people became ien d about it. But I think with an

inverse factor that we had to deal with there, that that was not the thing

that we were upset about and that's not the thing that had to be dealt with.

As far as the schools go, we wanted them to stay as they were. They were
dominantly/100% Indian.

L: Do you think many people were v;gy surprised I mean people outside of

our own ethnic group, do you think they were surprised and that they actually

expected us to try and break down the racial barriersand they were surprised
SLi swre d tdd
tC= we didn't, even though we had t4%eght to freedom of choice plan. Do

you think maybe people were actually surprised that we reacted in this manner?

B: Well, I don't think so, because we have a history of being clannish and not

asking for anything except to be left alone. Primarily that's what we've

always been after, I think, whether it's right or wrong, I don't know.


But, 4t subtle discrimination that we talked about, that causes problems

in itself, this clannishness and not wanting to broaden our horizons and

share what other people have. Closing ourselves off was very damaging to

the psychic of many young men, like myself, you know, you and I had to go

through things that when I was a young man I was groping trying to find my-

self and just setting ourselves apart. Isolating ourselves is primarily

the reason that I left home initially. You know,I had been gone approxi-

mately thirteen years, and I'm just now arrived at an emotional state where

I feel that I'm ready to come home and cope with some of these things.

This isolation, this discrimination, this very subtle, devious discrimination,

I think is the most evil kind of all. Because we were isolated we had

no where to bring our frustrations, you know the mortality rate is very
high'-,/n Ree n County among the Lumbee Indians.we kill each other

at a frightening rate;.and it is because we were isolated and we were
/>: L D ,, yo" -t- '"^
primarily on the whole illiterates nA we took our kind of particular

frustrations out on each other. e took them out on each other and we still
ANc! I,} U;OlNCC c-
do to a great extent. e-r'- it "-violent7 I think primarily its the

reason that I left home because it was something that I just couldn't

cope with. You see it everywhere you go the coarseness. And I might

inject here that this is a unique ethnic group; it is a unique place to

live; and dPe'sq unique thing 'to da with hhe Lumbee Indiann a but I was

"a little different from the ordinary, not the ordinary but the norm, as

"a young man growing up here, because you know, you were the fortunate ones,

one of the few fortunate ones who was able to go out and get a well rounded

education. I don't know if we've mentioned this yet, but you're my father.

I think we did. Anil grew up in an environment; I grew up within an isolated


,us, within this isolated county. I did have the privilege of having

"a well rounded education and I had an enlightened father, I think, to

"a great degree. He a an education, he has traveled extensively, he

has had a lot of varying experiences. It gave you a broader horizon

than the ordinary, say Lumbee Indian father. So I had that. An ith

that, what it did /o, me was it gave me a sensitivity and I was able to

define some of these things and I find them kinds frightening, you know

the discrimination, the violence. I found them kinda frightening because

I was taught to appreciate the arts. I was taught that culture was a

good thing, and there's a lot to be said for aesthetics; that everything

is to give emotional temper its strength. And I fortunately have that)

and I do feel that I am fortunate in that respect, but at the time, I

didn't think so because it made me so acutely aware of these things- the

discrimination, the frustration, the violence that I saw vented on tg.

Ao I had to go through things and it caused me to leave home at a very early

age, and I'm thirty-one now. Thirteen years later I feel that I am able

to cope with these things and I am able to make my contribution and that's

why I'm ready to come home.

L: So in actuality you are one of the Lmbee Indians who left home and who is

returning home. And this,of course, makes it important, uh one of the things

that makes it important. Did you find sharp distinctions outside? Did you

find that prejudice was pronounced against Lumbee Indians outside the corporate

limits of the county as you did at home, or did you find it very different

in the way that people treated you generally?

B: You know, except in this county discrimination is based on various shades
of color, I mean if you're 3XSXi L hued as most of us are, at leas no longer

further than the physical sense, say a blonde caa=ion' that's acceptable,

now outside this county. It is not acceptable inside the county, but it

is outside the county. So we really didn't feel any acute discrimination,

-9 11A LUM

Tape #8 Side 1 continued

Bruce Barton, Interviewee (B)

Lew Barton, Interviewer (L)

B cont'd: I didn't when I left the county. I was generally,accepted for

what I was, Ind so I found that to be a very important to my emotional growth,

as I was able to get away from the discrimination and able to get out there and

take my knocks, uh, take my experiences and apply them to my life, and I was

able to arrive at this point, uh, where I think that I'm ready to come home

now, but, that gave me a perspective, leaving this county, that I didn't have here,

it was so subjective here, that we were taught from the time we were children that
we were some indescribable, undefineable way different; that we were not as good

as, say, the average white in Lumberton, and I think this is a generally,

as a general rule is true. So, when I left here I felt very inferior, I felt

,I felt that I was not as good as the average person, and I was ashamed of

my identity. I had been identified as A Lumbee Indian, and I was ashamed of it.

So I left' I left here under the cover of dark so to speak.

L: Well, of course, you were probably able to view it more objectively at a

distance. Uh, but uh, would this give you insight, a better insight, do you think,

into our problems here at home, by being away from home, and having this

objective, more objective, view?

B: Yea, I think so, after I went through some things were important to my

growth. One thing, y'know, and it's not secret that I've had, a good fight with

the bottle--I'm an admitted alcoholic--

L: But do you think this is a weakness among many Indians, Bruce, do you think

many Indians are addicted to alcohol?

B: Well, I think most of it is, uh, psychological--I mean because of the factors

in the county when we're growing up, we're faced with this discrimination; we're

faced with this illiteracy: we're faced with the lack of culture, and all these

things, the sum total of them, and the violence, and no refinement of very little

page 10


Bruce Barton

Lew Barton

B cont'd: kind in the county, and I think most it is psychological, at least
it was with mep and when I left here, I left out of this community, and I just put

myself in a vacuum; I was in an emotional vacuum, and I didn't know who I was,

I didn't know where I was going' I didn't know what I wanted out of life; and

I found an escape with alcohol, and that's what it was for me, an escape,

and- I had some experiences, and I went through all the things that an alcoholic

go into, that we don't have time to talk about, and who wants to hear a drunkQ/aoUE

But, all that was necessary, I think fe, it tempered me, so to speak, emotionally,

and when I was able to arrive at a point where I could say, "I am an alcoholic"

and I found some some help in- Alcoholics Anonymous, and that's where I found

myself, uh, y'know I was in the Army too, and stepping from this environment into

that environment was very detrimental to me, and I reacted very badly to the

authority and the regulations; and that didn't work out, and nothing seemed to

work out, so, I kept trying to apply everythingrutside the county to the things

that were inside the county, and they're not the same.

L: Do you think this county, course this county's been called unique many times,

and do you think this is an apt description?

B: I think it's a very apt description, especially for a Lumbee Indianl-e-

Because this situation, this environment does not exist any where else in the

United States. I mean we were, not only did we have the, uh, subtle discrimination

from the whites, but we also had to contend with the presence of the black in

this county--that's three distinct ethnic groups in one county.

L: Do you think you, we were in the middle of an interplay of prejudice?

B: Yea.

L: ...racial prejudice, two-way prejudice?

page 11


B: And sometimes we caught. it from both sides. It's sorta like being in the

middle, between the devil and the deep blue sea.

L: Do you think our people are, in return, are also prejudiced?

B: Of course, I think I, everyone has a prejudice that's inbred, I don't know

exactly what they might be prejudiced against, I don't pretend to know them that

well, but I'm sure that prejudices are here. There's certainly a very deep-

seated prejudice, for instance, against the blacks in this county, and it seems

that uh, for instance, if our experiences might have made us more open to the

plight of the blacks, that has not been the case,9because we didn't have the

accompanying education, and the enlightenment, the enlightenment that the arts,

the aesthetics might have given us. We were, we were not fortunate enough to

have that to help us over this. There's still a lot of prejudice against the black'

I know that to be true. And it's open ,..,, hostility sometimes, toward the


L: Uh uh. How about your home environment--#o you think that, uh,
h vttY 6 Lo/ ~ Q/1/
increased your prejudice, or decreased it, or yu ti- one

way or the other?

B:1 v/ s I said earlier, I think I grew up in a very enlightened family,

and tta, that unique in itself in this county. It's certainly not the norm

in this county, I was just fortunate, and uh I, y'know I was able to at

least get a little bit of culture/and a little bit of the aesthetics, and I

read some good books that were recommended to you, and you've always had books here,

and tapes, and good music, and I? had opportunities to take part in experiences that

were very helpful in that sense, and I don't think I was taught to be prejudiced,

but I think I'm also a unique situation within a unique situation, coming from%

that kind of home life it's certainly not the norm. Y'know, you, there are

not too many educated Lumbee Indians, you just happen to be one of those

fortunate few, and you passed it down to us. So that was the saving grace there.

page 12


L: Well, do you feel that, uh, being away was, sort of had the same effect

for most families who leave, for various reasons, mostly for economic reasons--

in your case, or course, it was a little different, hath, do you think it's

actually good for the people who go away, to go away for awhile, whether it's

in the service or whether it's off to work, and then to return home?

B: Yea, I think it's almost necessary, anyone that I've ever met who was

a Lumbee Indian went away and got a little objectivity, and put things in perspective,

and then came back, I've seen very little success with one who stays within the

confines of the county, entirety, y'know for the rest of his life.

L: Well, do you feel that we have a right to our own distinctive culture,

or if :eItly ehe, it may coincide with that of the caucasian people, uh, do you

think we have a right to be ourselves, uh, whatever, y'know, Jerry Bledsole said

in the Greensboro Daily News we had been partly aculturated' that we had not been

assimilated, and uh according to what he said awhile ago, and I agree, it seems

that we have, we've been isolated as well, and whether that's our fault, or

whether it's somebody elses, or a combination of both would seems to be the

case* uh, do you feel this is true?

B: Yes, but...

L: I'm asking the question badly, do you follow me?

B : Yea, I think so. iah isolation is bad. Now to hold onto tradition, to

instill pride, to help one another share our experiences with one another is good,

but the isolation is bad, I mean, we gotta, we've gotta broaden our horizons and

at the selfsame time hold onto our traditions, hold on to our history, because,

y'know most of us agree that we aretine descendants of John White's Lost Colony,

and that's the theory that I ascribe to, and whether anyone else does or not

is relatively unimportant, I suppose, but that's the one that I ascribe to, and it's


page 13


B cont'd: important historically, something that I'm proud of, and I want that

to be held on to as much as it can, and I would also like to see as much of the

Indian blood preserved as I can, I, I kinda shudder at all the intermarrying

with the whites, for instance; that's where most of us get off to get this

perspective that we speak about--some of us come back with a white /nr_ ,

asd..1 can see if we did that often, we would, there would be no Indian blood

left to, to at all, I mean we would be just kinda, a mongrel people.

So I would like to see, as much of that preserved as possible; I'd like to

see Lumbee Indian marry Lumbee IndianQ/and hold on to what we got--not in a,

I don't consider that so much prejudice or discrimination, or thinking we're better

than anyone else, I just like for that to be preserved for its historical sake,

'cause I think it's important, and I think most of us are very proud of our Indian


L: Well, that's certainly interesting. Could you tell us something else about

your experiences, and uh, in being away, and the differences in the way you were

treated--it seems that people outside the Roberson County are not able to

understand why there is this prejudice, and there is this discrimination, and uh,

I don't think that we have to prove it, because it, it's obvious, and it's so

conspicuous, but uh....

B: Y'know that old story,/that you have to be one, to know one, and I think that's

true being a Lumbee Indian, that...

L: This is literally true, too, it's...

B: Yes, I think so.

L: How 'bout a speech, Bruce--of course, you've been subjected to :humane

culture, and uh, we certainly picked up something from school, and our, your

English and my English isn't the typical English spoken in the county, would you


page 14


B: No, I wouldn't think so--there's still that Elizabethan twang though that

people remind me of every so often. For instance, now I don't know, maybe these,

I know in the last year, three of four people have asked me if I'm from England.

Now I don't know if they were cock-eyed or drunk or on dope, or what--I don't know

why they asked me that, but it also reminds me of my background and where I think

I came from, from John White's Lost Colony that was founded on roanCda ,

and, and I think there was an intermingling with the Indians :ini the area3

and somehow we came here, and we set up shop here, and the Elizabethan twang

is still with us. You go out in the countryside, and you hear some of the

most unbelievable sounds, and its so unique that you know it had to come

from across the water. I mean, it is an Elizabethan twang, if you listen to

it and you're familiar with the languages, I think that its obvious. So,

that(= people have brought that, that to my attention a time or two, and I'm

sure that it was not coincidental that more than one person has mentioned it to me.

L: Uh huh. So, you would say then that our, our speech, or if you want to call

it a dialect, and a numerous, numerous dialects, are several dialects in this

county alone, um, but would you say that the speech of the Lumbee Indian generally

differs from that of the Caucasians and also that of the, uh, the black, h1 black

brothers (?) of this county?

B: Oh, of course, It's not just here, you see, it's in other isolated parts of

the countrywhere a particular people set up shop, uh, the I tuAS I think

there's some Scottish overtones through our general speech patterns, sounds you

hear. I think there's every explorer/maginable probably came through here and

one or two of them stopped and set up shop, and joined the general goings-on,

and we are the sum total of all the things that happened in the past. The primary

thing, I think, that happened in the past was that John White's Lost Colony

page 15


B cont'd: was stranded, and uh,they disappeared and I think they disappeared

into the interior, and I think by the waterways that were evident then, I think

they came down river and some of them stopped here, and maybe some of the others

went other places, but I think we stopped here.

L: Al/ight, and since North Carolina was not settled until, uh, after this

initial attempt at the colonization of America by the

(blank on tape)

Uh, then, uh when they began to settle other colonies came,- do you think

this tended to isolate us further still?

B: Yea, I think so, because of the uh, physically, you know, the inter-

mingling with the friendly Indians, youjnow, some of us had uh, y'know it's obvious

in families now, even now, as much intermarrying as been done with whites, you

see in the selfsame family, a brother with pure Indian traits, black glossy hair,

properly tanned, and then his brother somehow or another will come into the world

with blue eyes, and the selfsame mother, and there are onjy two answers to that,'

we either are descendants of John White's Lost Colony and those genes are playing

tricks and you never know where they're going to crop up, or the mother or father

will give you infidelity, and we certainly don't want to espouse that theory.

L: Well, it certainly didn't happen on the scale that uh we received our

Caucasian blood, now some people...

B: That would be infidelity on a monumental level.

L: ...it certainly would. But uh, there have been writers in the past, who,

you know, they had us marked as a people who would be striving to break down

the walls of segregation, uh, battering down the walls of white schools, and

attempting to enter them and two very important things, I think, have proved that,

and one of them was the lan(?) clash of '58, when, uh, the people, I think,
and one of them was the iilan(?) clash of '58, when, uh, the people, I think,

page 16


L cont'd: when they came into this area, the clansmen took one look at us, and

said we had been doing a __I_ lot of race mixing and they just had to do something

about it, and d'you think they probably discovered the mistake later, and learned

that this was an ancient thing, that it didn't just happen recently?

B: Right, I think those people were aware of the, of that particular t/OV

aod-I think that was in '53, wasn't it?

L: '58

B: '58, yea, yea. The lan came in and we had a big shoot-out, and ran them

out of town. But y'know, the clan is a motley lot to begin with; there's no_

love lost in the family for them, among the Indian people. And they are very

uncultured people themselves. They always misread the history books.

L: I think it was amusing that when they came back later and admitted this

mistake, in 1966, they actually ushered an invitation ft all Lumbee Indians
to meet them and p v/w/ha//te on was spoken of as neutral grounds/and join
the elan and I doubt if anybody had ever been issued that invitation, before,

at least no non-white group had every been issued this invitation. Of course

our people snubbed them, and this made me proud of our people, because,uh, in

the school situation too, wouldn't you think that this proved to a lot of people,

and surprised a lot of people, because our people by their actions showed that these

pictures of us AWesn proud of the fact that we had white blood, and wanted, they

figured that we wanted to batter down the doors; and we didn't do this at all;

we, we acted in the opposite direction.

B: Yea, y'know, it's an inversion of what's happening in the country.

That we, we were proud of our Indian schools; we built them because we were classified

for a long time when schools were being developed as people of non-color S)

so we just had to educate ourselves. And uh, it's an inversion of what's happening,

page 17


B cont'd: MRew we were desegregated against our wishes, we wanted to hold on to

what we had, and I can see the isolation angle g4w to be badly but uh, as a

general rule, I agreed that uh, y'know we had been shunted aside for so long,

and that we'd worked so hard to develop our schools ,we should not join the

general havoc that was afoot socially. So we were desegregated against our

wishes. (laught).

L: That's true.

B: You don't find that as a general rule,...

L: And our people are, interestingly enough, we've (been) speaking about

LSr(?) s eatf 1e unique counts; it's interesting to me that the Indians

resisted innovation, and the blacks, some of them, also resisted it, and that both

fully supported, all three races supported the freedom of choice l/ao

for just as long as it was legal, and would support it today if we had it, if

we had it to work with. .k ^ / / A COJ^

B: Looking at it in perspective from a national angle, I can see that uh, uh

these segregation of schools is a necessary aim, because the black discrimination

that was afoot in this country, it was a thing that needed to be done, that I,

the thing that happens when you get a bureaucratic train rolling, it runs over

everything that's in the way, and that's what happened here, that we were a unique

situation and I think allowances should have been made for that, because we

wanted to hang on to what we had, and of course when bureaucratic things, no

allowances are made for unique situations; everyone suffers the same fate, so

we are being desegregated whether we like it or not.

L: And eventually you think these things will right themselves47do you think

we'll ever be assimilated?

B: Only if we keep uh sending our young Indian boys out and they keep

returning with white maidens, I think eventually all, uh, physical traits will

be eradicated: they'll just kinda disappear into the general mongolization of the

page 18


B cont'd: white American 15 y'know, a little bit of this, a little bit
of that.

L: Do you think the average Lumbee Indian agrees with the old building-top

theory that, y'know, we're going to have to be one people, and uh, disregard


B: No, I don't think so, because, y'know, you were talking earlier about when

I left the county how ashamed I was of what I was, being a Lumbee Indian, I left

and got this perspective, uh, had this/4a/V 0i' about with alcohol, and uh

/, !A gt out and decided that I was an alcoholic and I was a Lumbee Indian,

and I'm proud of both facts, and uh...

L: But it took this objectivity to bring you/ERis point?

B: Right...

L: From a distance...

B: So, so y'know we talked earlier too about isolation in itself is bad,

but being proud of what you are is good, and uh, and holding on to tradition

is good. I used to think that all tradition should be shunted aside and it

was useless and it was negative in itself; but I see it's something to hold on to

in a country where everything is topsy-turvey, and all these sociological

experiments are going on, I think tradition's important for us to maintain our

sense of sanity of what we are, who we are, what we have to accomplish.

L: Can you see us as a very distinct group, just as distinct as the two

main ethnic groups are?

B: Right, as distinct as those two, uh, as distinct as the Caucasians,

as distinct as the Italian, as distinct as the Chinese, y'know, I think we have

our own, uh, lines of definition, and we are Lumbee Indians; we are descendants

of John White's Lost Colony; we are a very unique, aad I Pa' i necessarily

good, but certainly unique people, and I think we have something to offer, to

page 19


B cont'd: society as a whole from this base of hanging on to what we are,

defining our traditions giving our children something to be proud of.

L: Well, then you think, uh, these writers--would you say they misinterpreted
uh, our motivations and how we would react, and of course they didn't have past

experience to go on...

B: I think we've always been misunderstood, and I think we've always, its

always been misinterpreted as to what we would do at any given time and as to

how we'd fit into the...

(end of tape 8, side 1...continuing on tape 8, side 2, locate at no. 11)

...grand scheme of things, socially. Y'know, as we were talking about wth-

-_tfe C!_______ initially kick of desegregation, and I'm

all in favor of it.

Continuing next day.

Tape 8, Side 2, locate at no. 15.

L: Now we're continuing the other side on August 20th, here in my home in

Pembroke North Carolina. Uh, I thought perhaps Bruce, you might clarify some

things, or you might want to amplify on some things that we discussed last night,

and uh, uh I'm going to leave it mostly up to you what we talk about on the

rest of this tape, okay?

B: All right.

L: Bruce, are there any clarifications you'd like to make, because above all

things, we want to be understood, ,nd uh, uh one thing that interested me very much

last night on the tape that was spoiled was uh, your mentioning your ambitions

not only to come back home and help with the newspaper, but also to establish

uh, an AA chapter for Indians in this area, and if there are any clarifications

page 20


that you would like to make at this time, we can make those maybe and go ahead

with the rest, maybe there's something on the other side of the tape that you might

want to amplify on, if you can remember that well. Uh, I have difficulty in

remembering all the ground that we've covered.

B: The only clarification that I can think of, and most of the things that

I said last night, even being sleepy, y'know.... opinions formed over the years,

but one clarification probably I would like to make is the uh intermarrying

thing, especially Indian-white relationships. When we talked about the young

men going away and sometimes they come back with a white lkma(?) and I think

y'know, that's very natural; people, y'know, have aspects of loneliness and

everything that you have to contend with, fe: I'm not condoning anything, nor a&

I casting disparaging remarks toward anyone, I was just saying that the

idealistic situation for me is to see what we have, the physical traits

of the Indian-nesst preserved, and the only way that can be preserved is

Lumbee Indian marrying Lumbee Indian. But being away from home, uh, you have

no control over who you fall in love with, and I certainly am not against

for instance, the Lumbee Indian falling in love with a white, or vice versa;

that's, that's a natural part of life. I don't want to damper love...(laugh);

I'm all in favor of love with one of another race, that's fine. But that's about

the only clarification I wanted to make on that. But we talked about, maybe

we could talk about AA and my relationship to it, and how I feel about for this

county. As I said on the other side, that's where I found myself in AA.

I went away with all these problems that are paramount that we talked about:

the discrimination, the poverty, the illiteracy, the lack of culture, all these

things I think the sum total of caused me to uh turn to the bottle for solace;

Some sort of escape. And I found myself in Alcoholics Anonymous away from

page 21


B: cont'd: this county/because Alcoholics Anonymous is not very evident

in this county, and it's certainly not overly acceptable to the Lumbee Indian.

But I found my emotional self in AA, and my salvation was declaring myv

that I am an alcoholic, and its an a1 (?) that you hear a lot of talk about

in general terms, about alcoholism and Indians in general, and y'know we were

talking about this book'that just came out, I Have Spoken...

L: Uh huh, that's great. I'm so glad that's been published.

B: The name of the book is I Have Spoken, its American history through the

voice of the Indians, compiled by Virginia Irving Armstrong with an introduction

by Frederick W. Turner III. and before we get into it, I thought we'd see if it

had a copyright date or anything. It's originally published by the

//o ___ Press, Inc. and it's real interesting, and I came across a couple

of things that the Indians themselves had to say about alcohol, and I'd like to

uh insert that here. I think it'd be in+rsing....

talk about alcoholism per se.

L: Okay, that's fine Bruce.

B: The couple things here I'd like to read yus just for the record, and then

we can go from there, maybe to get --background. Uh, this book deals, uh, with

speeches, things Indians had to say in terms of treaties and their relationships

with whites that are on the record; the government has records of 'em;. probably A

the Bureau of Indian Affairs. What they've done is they've e,, au f CicJ/-c/

all these things that've been written that Indians have said and translatedI

and they've put 'em in some kind of chronological order, on varying subjects.

And I wanted to read a couple things they had to say about uh, that demoralizing

alcohol or whisky. First section I wanted to read was by OCte"7 Co _

a chief of the Delawares in New Jersey, 1677, who was 11p, in Council

with the English for the drunken behavior of some of the chiefs. His reply

page 9


B cont'd: is as follows: "A strong qtter was first sold us by the Dutch,,and

they were blind: they had no eyes; they could not see it was for our hurt(?)

The next people that came were the Swedes, who continued to sell strong liquor

to us. We love it so, we cannot refuse it. It makes us wild. We do- not know

what we are doing. We abuse one another. We throw one another into the fire.

Through drinking, seven score of our poeple have been killed. The cast must

be sealed; it must be made fast; it must not leak by day or night, in the light

nor in the dark." And that's wha-t 4-ep se today in another uh piece in this

book, I Have Spoken, it. by Handsome Lake, Seneca orator, half brother of

Corn Planter, evolved code of conduct which won high praise from President

Thomas Jefferson. The next ---- as follows: "Whisky is a great and monstrous

evil and has _ad_/ a high mound of bones. You lose your minds and whisky

causes it all; so now all must now say, 'I will use it never more, n rriage

shall live together and children shall grow from them. Man and wife should

rear their children well, love them and keep them in health. Love one another

and do not strive for another's undoing. Even as you desire good treatment,

so render it." So even in olden times, Indians had problems with alcohol. And

it carried over until today.

L: One interesting footnote right here, Bruce, I think would be to, for us

to say that when the first European Americans arrived on these shores, Indians

had no alcohol of their own; it was strictly imported. But they seemed to 've

liked it very well, and to have taken it to--I don't know that this is a very

important footnote, but I wanted to throw that in, excuse meA4or /e,1fti-iy'

B: Right, I think it is an important footnote, because, now I talked about

the things that caused me to turn to drink, and I think it was mostly psychological.

When you have upheaval in social life, and your conditions are endangered, you

see strange people on the horizon, and they upset your daily routine, things

that you grew up believing in and clinging to for comfort and you see these lings

being dismantled, of course it causes you problems psychologically. So, alcohol

page 23


B cont'd: probably was a soother, a great solace to the people, or so they

thought, temporary respite from all these things. It worked the same for me,

probably as it did for them back in those olden times. And, for me, the thing

that really gave me the emotional maturity that one needs to contend with uh

negative forces was Alcoholics Anonymous. I found when I went away from here, after

having been subjected to this very subtle discrimination, feeling inferior,

I found this place away from here that accepted me for what I was when I declared

that I am an alcoholic, thfe zs that things starting righting themselves, and

I found my comfort and my guidance, my purpose, found out who I was, not only am I a

Lumbee Indian, but I am alsq an alcoholic, and its something that I'm very proud

of. I'm unique i those two 4Y7"f lacae.fte ...I'm a Lumbee Indian,
A (sound failure on tape)
and proud to be a Lumbee Indian, as I think I am a descendant of John White's

Lost Colony; I have ties with the Colony; I have ties with the Indians that they

intermingled with, the Tuskorora especially; this is my opinion. And also, I'm

an alcoholic. So when one finds out who one is, he can go from there, and make

his mark in the world, his contribution, once that purpose is defined for you.

It was defined for me in Alcoholics Anonymous, and I found it to be open to all

people; all ethnic groups, whether white, black, red, green, pink, purple, whatever

color: you're welcome in Alcoholics Anonymous, if you're an alcoholic and you wnat

to do something about it, and I did. I was kinda desperate. And I found this

solace and this comfort and this guidance and this purpose in Alcoholics Anonymous, and

one of the primary motivations for me wanting to return home is this problem of

alcoholism; it's rampant in this county. -A:d the Lumbee Indian, because he's

isolated himself, he's never been exposed to AA. I don't know of another Lumbee

Indian who has gone away and joined Alcoholics Anonymous and found it to work.

And it worked in my life, and I'd like to come to the county, when I come back and

when the newspaper's going well. I'd just like to make that a secondary interest,
J~s l~ e t ma e t ata secondary interest,

page 24


B cont'd: so maybe even a primary interest, i Alcoholics Anonymous. )aybe,

explore, if there is a chapter here--I've heard that there are with a few

white people attending spasmodically. But I would like to uh see Alcoholics

Anonymous fluorishing in this county, and I would like to see Lumbee Indians

flocking to it to find the solace and comfort that I found. And I think I'm

a essive enough, and I think I'm interested enough in my people that I would

take the necessary steps to innovate a group'if there's one here and it's not

fluorishing as it should, if it's not following the principles, I certainlyL

think I would inject my personality into it to see that we did try to open it

up to all people, 'cause it is open. The problem is, as I found it to be with

a lot of blacks outside this county, they think :that they're not welcome

but they really are; they have to get inside the door to find out that they are

welcome. And what I want to do is kick the door open in RobersTn County,

and let just as many Lumbee Indians who admit an alcoholic problem, and want to

do something about it, I'd like to be the one to kick the door open and let them

walk in and find their solace and comfort, and it's available to them; it's their

right; it is the answer if you have an alcoholic problem.

L: That's very interesting. So, your purpose in returning is twofold at least

twofold, maybe more-fold than that, but these are two important motivations in your

plan o return. And we certainly, as a parent, I'm certainly proud of you, and I'm

proud of the record that you've made with AA, and I understand that uh, many of

the people in AA are proud of you, and I'm sure, though, as a matter of fact, that

all AA members are proud of each other. I think many of us have this problem; I had

it myself at one time in my existence, and uh, I have, I've been dry for, I've been

dry since September 10, 1950. And although we didn't have a chapter here, I had

studied the principles and I'd read much AA literature, so this is something that
/ / 0
we share in common, and I'm sure the things I read about in the AA literature was

very instrumental in helping me, y'know, maintain sobriety for, since 1950. And uh

page 25


L cont'd: uh, I'm like you, I, I'm not going to deny that I'm an alcoholic,

because i!nthIe s-bmisCon-, you actually find strength, and uh being honest about it,

and dealing with the problem honestly, so I certainly am proud that you have these

ambitions, fini although I didn't suggest them to you; you wanted to do it on your

own, and this is, this makes it, this really enhances it for me, because, y'know,

you need the freedom to find yourself, and to decide for yourself what you want

to do and so on, and I think this is very commendable, Bruce, and I so proud of


B: Well, I went out and searched and found that out for myself for survival's

sake. I think that's the way it works best. You get desperate enough and Y/LU

get sick and tired of being sick and tired, and you use up all your avenues

of escape, then you can grasp, and grapple with the problem as it is. And uh,

I certainly am not ashamed of the fact that as a matter of fact I'm very

grateful to be an alcoholicY'cause its given me a great deal of insight into myself,

and I feel confident with the emotional maturity and the stability that I've

gained from AA /that I can come here and make my contribution, 'cause just to return

home to the same things that I, as are here as they were when I left, I; it just

wouldn't work for me, a1 probably the thing-that has changed most is me, my outlook,

my attitudes, and I can come back and not like the discrimination, and the poverty

and the illiteracy, but I can understand it now and see how I fit in and make a

contribution and try to effect some constructive change, and I think I'm ready

to do that. And alcoholism is a very real problem. I think it's a very general

problem with all ethnic Indian groups.and it's just unfortunate tht Alcoholics

Anonymous has not been made available to them. It's always been available) but

because of the racial barriers, they never knew how to transcend that barrier, how

to, how to climb over that obstacle of racial differences. Fortunately, I was able

to do that, =ad find that it's open for everyone, a.d it's something that needs

page 26


B cont'd: doing, and I think that with my past experiences, that probably I

can be very effective with other alcoholics.

L: Uh hmm. Well that certainly seems to be trueabecause if there are any two

human beings who really understand each other, its two alcoholics, and uh...

B: I agree.

L: Well, that's very interesting, Bruce, uh, maybe we should go into uh

approaches and ways of solving our problems, I don't know just uh what you have in

mind, y'know there are many different approaches and some have, it seems to need

sterner means than others. It's very difficult to effect change, you know, anywhere,

and uh,...

B: You know, good graces don't work very well when you're trying to effect social

change, or so history has thAus. You know that the blacks never really gained

any concessions until they did adopt some militant tones to their out-, outpourings

of grief, and trying to ask very quietly and sedately for change' and it never

came til they started sitting-in and demanding, being a little more militant,

I think, that's they thing that interests me, the things that are happening in

the community today. There's a militancy in the air. People are demanding their

rights as they should. And I think that's the thing that interests me about

returning home. You know some of the things that are happening in the community,

like uh, on campus y'know--there's Pembroke State University here that was built

primarily, was built specifically to fulfill educational needs of the Indians,
and it'ss evolved into something other than that now. And uh; original Pembroke

State College was what we call now "Old Main" the first building on campus. And

uh, y'know, they were ready to tear it down; the Board of Directors and

the State decided to tear it down, and put another building up, plaster, y'know,

20th century wonder and uh, they went one step too far, and people became incensed

page 27


B cont'd: about it in the community. That's the only tier they have with

the original concept of the college is the physical building, so they started

to save Old Main building, and people got to talking about it, and they came

together, formed a committee and started seeing people and g ga little

more pushy than usual. And consequently that building is now saved. That's the

one motivating thing that caused me to think there would be a chance for

effecting some change if I returned home. Old Main is saved, and a lot of things

happening,TLumbee Bank; some of the Indian businessmen got together and came up

with this concept of a bank that fit the needs of this community--the Lumbee Bank--

its fluorishing. And y'know some of us have an idea about beginning a newspaper,

a weekly newspaper; we're working on it, doing a lot of research, and gonna

begin publication and, and the first wk in January...
L: You're going to be part of that newspaper, right, Bruce?

B: Right, Wherever I fit in best, I'm going to be one of the incorporates,

L' vs (?) going to act as our editor. And it's all-Indian project, even the uh,

I found out just recently that we have a Lumbee Indian who just passed the bar exam,

for instance, and he's going to handle the incorporation papers for us--the legal


L: Would you mind mentioning his nameA I'll probably interview him later.

B: He just passed his bar exam; his name is Horace -daC /i _____, a young

man, under 30. He understands the subtleties and the nuances in the community,

and he understands his relationship with the community. And those are the

kind of people who are going to be our salvation. We need more lawyers, we need

newspapers; the bank's going to help. And economics is the name of the game,

and the only way we've been able to gain a foothold is to insist on our rights.

L: That's very good. We have to work in many areas simultaneously, I think.

And uh, you have envisioned great things for the newspaper. Would you tell us

page 28


L: cont'd: some more about the newspaper, or...

B: Yea, y'know we've been doing a lot of research, and a lot of talking,

and getting things together, and we've got our legal aspects worked out, and

it's gonna be one of the.: few times that we've had a total Lumbee Indian

output; that is, from inception to end result. It's a Lumbee Indian enterprise, T7

there's a profit to be realized from it# it's going to go into the pockets

of the Lumbee Indians. Y'know we used to, we had a paper here before and the

managing editor was a white man, e4d--ir, we had a lot of altruistic feelings

about the paper, we hada lot of ideals' and he was behind the house counting

the money, and we were left with our dreams and our aspirations and he left

with the money. So, that was a concern to a lot of Lumbee Indians, and we

hope that it'" g to ppen again; that's why we're so interested in this

being a total Lumbee Indian output to protect all our interests.

L: Well, Bruce, what is the name of the paper; have we settled nn a name yet?

B: Yes, we settled on a name; it's going to be Lumbee Current, the Lumbee


L: Spell the last name..
B: C-u-r-r-e-n-t--Current. And that connotation, I thinkS/very identifiable

for a number of reasons. One, a current, denotes the fact of news gathering

and uh the current aspect of news, what happens when, how and where, and also

the name Lumbee is derived from the Lumber River, which is the main waterway in

this county, and it's just a derivative of that name. We call ourselves the

Lumbee Indians by it. 4M(?) legislature, and I think most people agree that

that's very identifiable, and a good name to claim to. So the Lumbee Current

takes into account the news and it also raises this connotation of the Lumber

River that's known to have a very strong current.

L: Uh huh. Bruce, uh it is going to be an Indian newspaper, but are, are

page 29


L cont'd: we going to exclude our white friends; we do have some.

B: On the masthead, y'know, we've already decided on our masthead. In the

form it's in now, in one corner will be a picture of Sir Walter Raleigh, in

the other picture, in the other end of the paper in the corner will be a picture
of an Indian,/noting our heritage. We are the descendants ,of John White's Lost

Colony; we, most of us agree on that theory, and uh tits for the Lumbee Indians

and their friends; that will be under the title. And it, of course, will be

the forum for the Lumbee Indian, but we don't want any rabble-rousing or any

screaming and ; we're going to work toward a responsible fact-gathering

enterprise. That's the responsibility; I think's going to be the key word#

that's going to be the difference between success and failure, how we respond

to forces in the community, and we're going to try to be how subjective as

possible. I think with a newspaper, if we are simply objective, it will cover

the interest of the Lbbee Indian because we certainly never had an objective

newspaper in this county tit I know of. So if we're objective, that will usually

cover our interests. We'll see that our viewpoint is given. We're always the

one that is subjected.

L: Well, I'm very happy about this enterprise myself, and, Bruce, I will be

"a part of it too. It sounds like we're giving ourselves a plug, but this is

"a part of the entire picture...

B: I-knew-4t, that's why I'm returning home, and...

L: Certainly. And uh, I think any community without a voice is a very

sad community, be it an Indian community or any other, and-uh, there's a

desperate need for communication between our people even in the county itself,

because we are thirty thousand people in the county with many more in other areas

page 30


L cont'd: of the country. Some 42 thousand I estimate in all. Uh, so this

is going to be a vehicle of communication between our people, and uh, of course,

as you mentioned, whomnwill be servingO this paper will be for the Lumbee Indians
and their friends.

B: That covers just about everything. We hope even that some of our enemies

will buy a subscription. Y'know, we're not going to be discriminatory towards

anyone who might have the price of a subscription.

L: Right, or advertise thefl r.t for that matter. And uh, we want

to write a responsible paper. I'm glad you pointed that out...

B: I think responsibility, y'know, that's the key to the whole thing;

we'll try to be responsible; we've gotta be responsive and responsible.

L: And of course, also, we have to be true to, y'know, to the situations

as the arise. If something arises that affects the welfare of our people,

aSd we certainly won't be able to exclude this, and...

B: That's right...

L: I think it can be, a newspaper can be a godsend, I've talked with you

many times, and we see eye-to-eye on it, because I respect your opinion as you

know, and we came up, you came up that way,...

S It's good when we can sit down and talk and uh, I respect your opinion

whatever it is. I respect anybody's opinion, really..

B: f'Mright, and y'know I'll give you an example about the need for a

communications medium in the community, especially is the total Lumbee Indian

output. That means that we will speak the truth as it applies to the Lumbee

Indians. For instance, there's going to be some housing units built in Pembroke,

and I surmise by population and everything that most of the inhabitants of tCat
// Lumbee
housing are-going-t- be/Indian. Well, we have a Lumbee Indian bank that is

fully capable of satisfying the needs of the housing authority.. Well, they

page 31


B cont'd: have their money, that was given to them by the federal

government to see this project through; they have it placed in First Union

Bank, which happens to be totally white-owned bank, and uh, I, one of the

emissaries from the bank went to a board meeting /they had about this project,

y'know, building these housing units, and he wanted to explore the possibility

of them placing the funds that they have at their disposal in the Lumbee Bank.

It seemed very reasonable at the time. They had one white member on the housing

authority board who determines uh who builds the housing units, what they do

with the money at their disposal etc. And uh, the Lumbee Indian who's connected

with the bank came to the open meeting and asked that he be considered, that

the Lumbee Bank be considered as a place to deposit these funds, and he made

a motion that they not change where these fundsre deposited. And I thought

that was very close-mouthed, and I thought that it was very apropos that a

white, the only white member was the one who made this motion, that they not

consider it. I can see, y'know, if they explored the possibility, and the

Lumbee Bank not able to handle these funds, as they should be handled with all

the full-service capabilities, fine, but at least let's talk about it. If we

had a newspaper reporter at that meeting and we reported the facts objectively,

exactly as they happened, I think ^would be, they would think about it, and

at least explore the possibilities beforethey arbitrarily decided no, we will not

move those funds.

L: Well, that is a good example of some of the things that we can do;

we can simply keep the people informed as to what's going on.

B: I'll give you another example, w re economics enter into it, the

militancy, not coarsely demanding your rights, but insisting that you be

treated as an equal entity in the community. Pembroke State University handles

millions of dollars that's sent down from the state to perform their mission,
y'know, to graduate students who go/out into the world and make their own living,
of fifty thousand dollars
keep the economy flowing. They made a token deposits/to the Lumbee Bank, and the

page 32


B cont'd: majority of their money is in a white-controlled bank in this

town, and I think that's kinda sad and out of keeping with the character,

especially when you think about the concept of Pembroke State University, that

it was established as a school for the Indians of this county. And you think

about, there are two or three thousand students and only about 100 or so are

Indians, maybe 100 blacks, and the majority of them are white students now,

and the concept for the university has been circumvented ?evidently, they have

a new concept of a university; there's no rapport in the community. Simple

thing like economics; that's the name of the ball game. All this millions of'

dollars; why can't the Lumbee Bank be entrusted with some of these funds, if

they are capable of handling them. The problem isn't even talked about!

You talk about tokenism; fifty thousand dollars out of an operating budget

of say, I have no idea, I'm sure it's in the millions of dollars; think about

the payroll and the money received from students going there, and money has

to be deposited somewhere, and someone is making money off that money. Why

can't the Lumbee Indians make money off of it. It's in their community, and

supposedly a university is set up to serve the needs of the community, at least

that's the way I understand it.

L: Or at least they should be given equal consideration, right, Bruce.

B: I certainly agree, so. At least let's alk about it; let's explore the

possibilities, and that's where a newspaper will enter into the situation at hand.

At least if we make this known. Most people don't even think about it; okay,

how much money is spent at Pembroke State University; where is that money going;

who makes money off the money that's placed in deposit, and then interest

drawn off that money when they reloan it. You know those are things ae people

really never think about, and it's because they've never been told about these

things; they really never have; it's not been brought to their attention. I think

page 33


B cont'd: a newspaper can bring these things to their attention, at least

let them be aware from being attacked. If someone's sticking a knife in my

back, I'd at least like to know whether, what kind of knife it is.

L: Well, this is going to be a great asset to the community for these

reasons you've enumerated them. And uh, then from sheer pleasure of

communicating with people whom you know, and who share common ideas and

dreams/ uh, this deser-ves its value too, and you're very optimistic about

the success-of the paper aren't you:

B: Yes, I am. You know, there is a militancy in the air that has not

been there before. The young people are becoming aware. And I guess for
a lot of reasons--television. Most of realize now the importance of education.

We have more educated Lumbee Indians now and we're making other people aware

by mouth-to-mouth that we think about the medium of the newspaper. And

add(?) a simple editorial page. Why can't we editorialize about where is

the money going that's used to operate Pembroke State University?

L: Right, and also the statistics, for example uh, indiscussing the matter

of only three Indian professors among the, I guess several hundred professors

in all over here now. Uh, one professor was arguing that uh, this just isn't

true; somebody said we had only three Indian professors. And I said, how many
S/i /
do we have professor? He said we have four. (Laugh.) I said big deal.

B: 0 7~ four.

L: He wanted to argue that moot point. (Laugh.)

B: And this militancy that I talk about. It's not that you go out and

because I left because of the violence, but it was the violence vented from

frustration, one toward another, I mean Lumbee Indian was killing Lumbee Indian

and shooting Lumbee Indian. It's not that kind of militancy. It's an

insistence that we be treated an entity and we be recognized if we have a

Lumbee Bank, at least explore the possibility and see if we can offer the selfsame

page 34


B cont'd: services that uh the white-controlled bank can offer and consider

us; allow us to bid for these services that have to be rendered.. And you
think about, you know we were riding along and looking Bir PSU and seeing how

it was closed off and barricaded and uh and the rumor I've heard iT's because

of vandals; I don't know, but it seems a waste of the taxpayers money when all

those recreational facilities for instance are available during the summer

months especially and no one is allowed; you have to keep off the grass;

roads closed; do not enter, one way only; y'know that's all you see is signs.

L: How many entrances did you see, Bruce, when you went by there yesterday?

B: Oh, we were looking around,, JT ol/ see, only saw one entrance; that's
the only way in and the only way out.

L: Was this the entrance and the exit--the single entrance and the single


B: Yea, yea, you go in one way and turn around and come out the same way.

And there's some building going on, and maybe there, maybe there, that's because

has something to do with it. But I, uh, was thinking yesterday as we were riding

along; for instance they have tennis courts, and I wonder how many Lumbee

Indian children have been taught to play tennis. You say that's a small thing,

but you think about it, if we have facilities here, why can't Lumbee Indians

play tennis, have the same right to play tennis as children of other races.

I would venture to say that not, you wouldn't find five Lumbee Indians

en toto that can play tennis. You say that's a small thing; maybe so, but uh

they have tennis courts on campus and they've been just sitting there during

the summer months. Why can't that someone(?) hold clinics. Playing tennis

is a great exercise; many people get a lot of enjoyment out of it; why should

we be denied that enjoyment?

L: Well, that's certainly a good point. And uh, the paper can bring these

page 35


L cont'd: things to the attention of people, and when people, the only

way to deal with a problem is to understand if somebody said if you would

argue with me define your terms. And uh, this not only goes for an argument,

it goes for a discussion; you have to define the problem first of all, and

I think the paper is instrumental in doing this.

B: Right, and we need to be responsible in the sense that, uh, that no

more killing, no more knifing, shootings, uh beating up on one another;

I'm not, it's not that kind of militancy; it's in terms of economics; it's in

terms of expression that if a business, a white-cnntrolled business is

threatening this community because we don't buy his product because we

aren't treated as uh, uh who wants to be unequal y'know, but treated as

a separate entity and people with dignity and if we're not treated with

respect we won't buy lettuce from that cat, y'know, that kind of thing.

Economics we're finding out at this late stage in the game, is the ball game;

that's what it's all about. Uh, I talked to some of the young people in the

community who are involved with their own businesses; they offer the same

product that the white-controlled business offers, and it's competition

that's (or) and it's good and it's healthy. I don't say that white merchants

have to leave town, and I don't say that the white bankers should fold up and

move elsewhere; let them stay here, competition's good. Let us, in the

arei,* let's have fair competition; let's all play be the same rules, the

same guidelines. These subtleties that have stifled us economically for so

many years; y'know that's in the past. And if you have to be militant, be

militant; that's the name of the game. If you can't get in on the economic

action, you might as well pack p your little teepee and move to the big city.

page 36


L: Right. Just because uh there's such disparity between the uh, say

the income, uh I think something like, it's very low even for the average

white family; it's low but uh, for whites(?) and Indians, itjs, it's almost

nothing, y'know, it drops so, there's such a difference between um white

family income annually and the Indian income annually and the Brghten(?)

income annually.

B: It's all a matter of attitude. You take politics, for instance, okay you

say that in this county, we're just talking in round figures, but take the

ninety thousand, say, as the round figure of inhabitants, and you divide it

equally, and I think that'd be pretty close to the truth. That's, it's about

equally divided between whites, blacks and Lumbee Indians that comprises

the total membership in the county. Now, it seems very simple if you look at it

theoretically; okay why can't the white uh the blacks and the Indians form a

coalition and control the political action in the county. Well it doesn't work

that way because the whites have had much more experience politically than

they, than we have; they play this ball game of venting frustrations one

toward the other as the Lumbee Indians have done all these years. So now we

have, they keep uh a juggernaut, like the white, they keep the whites avery

subtle, devious means to keep the blacks and the Indians at each other's throats,

and they always come out on top politically, but that's changing too. And that's

another thing that I'd like to talk about--we're just about to run out of tape,

I think, but something that could be explored at length, politics.

L: Right. Help yourself Bruce, say whatever you like.
in the air,
B: But I just like, I like the, the uh feeling, we're getting involved in

politics. You know, this time we've had a delegate to the Democratic National

Convention, and we have a delegate to the Republican National Convention, and that's

good. We don't all have to be the same political affiliation, but we do have to

be active, and we do have to keep 'em honest, by voting, by getting involved,

registering people, and that's, that's the way--economics and politics.

page 37


L: Well, Bruce, when you left home about thirteen years ago, this wouldn't

have bee possible, uh, would it, y'know...

B: No, it was so /1o-Ik and unfair that I, for frustration's sake

I just left and tried to disassociate myself, but with the emotional stability

that I've gained from AA, and the varied experiences of living away from here,

I think that I can come here and make a contribution and take part in these


L: Well, I'm sure you can...

B: Theta4sot)...things(?)...

L: ...but uh, just a few years ago, it wouldn't have been possible to have

a delegate to a convention, on either side, Democrats or Republican, and we did

get the same year, and this is very encouraging,...

B: I think so. I think we're running out of tape. I've certainly enjoyed

this project. It's nice to be able to sit down and say whatever you darn well

please without having to, answer(?) looking down the barrel of a gun. A microphone

is much more variety and in keeping.

L: Well, we've certainly enjoyed having you on the tape, and uh I hope that uh

scholars of Lumbee Indian history or students who study Lumbee Indianuh will uh

take advantage of these tapes, and I'm sure they will because...


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