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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
TAPE THIRTEEN LUMBEE INDIANS
AUGUST 25, 1971S
INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON
I: Professor Dial, we appreciate the opportunity to interview you
and thank you for allowing us to do so. I would like to talk to
you in a very relaxed atmosphere. The sky is the limit. We
want to leave it open' we-a a.ttU ivtPiasr an and let you do
most of the talking. First of all, though, we would like to have,
if we may, biographical information about yourself and Doctor
Sandlin, if you...
S: Well, Lew, I as born December 12, 1922, on prute 30, Maxton, North
Carolina in Robeitson County, in what is known as the "prospect
community" as what I consider one of the old ----- communities
of RobeAson County.
I: Right, and that is spelled p-r-o-s-p-ec-t.
S: Yes. And perhaps as much .aian blood, if I may use the term
Sprtmran blood in the prospect community.--T long spot among the
last-femr-years and some of the bvAds=s as you would find anywhere
in the 09#- ---of c se. I attended elementary school in
Prospect, graduated from high school in 1939 and entered Pennebzoke,
what is today Pennebroeke State University. But at that time, the
University was known as Penebrooke State College for Indians. meS /Vk-
' a? e Iniversity has had many gains over the years, started Ajw o 4
tyOfpli school in 1887 and later the Cherokee k o normal school
later Peabroe State College f r Indians and then Peanebrode
State College and then PeirAebro e State University. And last
year, 1971, well, really this year, 1972, we had become tired of
the regular University system. But getting back to myself, I
graduated from Pehiebrooke State University in 1943. I went into
the service in April, April 23rd of 1943. I believe I said '43,
did I not? Anyway, that's correct. Anyway, April 23rI went into
the service and I would have graduated in June. As a matter of fact,
I did graduate in June in- -- -. Because most of the universities
colleges and universities at this state and I suppose in the country,
were given full credit for a half semester's work if you were called
to do service for your country. So I graduated in ab sen---. At
that time, at the time of graduation I was & asic training at
Fort Eustis, Virginia. As I recall, graduation was sometimes in
June; the_ Jz WinLLAtiWorld War II which I was tha-er --
batlTrsi, which I was a little bit disappointed. I was unable to
come home.for graduation. So I suggested to the President of the
University, Dr. R. D. Wellen, that my diploma be presented to my
mother, so she, my mother, Mrs. H. A. Dial, better known as
"sugar made" before she married Harry Allan Dial. Lots of people
call here sugar--s-u-g-a-r.
I: She is a very sweet person, tktd
S: Thank you. I even requested she march in my place, and of course,
she did. And Governor Hor, who was the governor of the state of
North Carolina at that time, gave the commencement address. My
mother told me about di fntT t part ; it was a very unusual thing.
I enjoyed it very much. I graduated that year in --------. I
was proud of the fact that I was listed in "Who's Who".
I: Which year was this?
S: In 1943 or '42. I think it was 1943 I was listed in I-Who's Who"
among the students in universities and colleges. And I graduated
cum laude. And I was overseas, as well as I recall, and arrived
overseas in the fall, sometimes in the fall in England, in 1943.
And I spent two years, it was in October or November I arrived in
England. And I spent two years overseas and I- ------- November
of 1945 and I came back, retired with six battle stars. Never did
shoot a man to my knowledge, I waslt in any aircraft. And I guess
I was, as I often say, I never did shoot a man and I was never shot
at. Often times, I tell my students about this. They began to feel
sorry for me when I say "Well, I never did shoot anyone, and as
far as I know,was never shot at." They say, "Well, how did you get
six battle stars?" I tell them I j-st happened to be there at the
right time, being in an anti-aircraft outfit.
I: I want to interrupt just a moment. I hate to interrupt you chain
of thought coming out so beautifully. We had better put the date of
your birth and your present occupation.
S: December 12, 1922.
I: And now your occupation.
S: Now, I am the head of a new, just beginning this year, a new program,
American Indian Studies Department. Also, this American Indian
Studies Department met last night for the first time last evening.
A contemporary American Indian problems course. I have 26 students.
And I think next time we meet, there will be eight or ten more.
The class such as this we are doing it on Monday, Wednesday, and
Fridaylas 40 students. A- course of History of the American
the course /fe/
Indian. And,tin archeology, that is Professor Gordon's ,;b, is
doing well too. So we are beginning with three courses and I think
-AS we are off to a very good start. We are looking forward to it. And
by the way, in my Contemporary American Indian Studies course, it
cae out just as I wanted it. I have exactly half white and half
Indians, all Lumbees. And it is nice it came out that way.
I: Maybe we-hed go back and pick up where you were. I don't want to
miss anything. You were telling about your service during World
S: After World War II Mrs. Dial--
I: Let's get back to my mother later on. After World War II, I returned
home and I was self-employed on the farm for a year. You could draw
self-employment. And I was employed on the farm for a year. And then
I went to Detroit in 1947, the fall of 1947, oa ta h aa.-.. the
automotive industry. I pointed this out for the fact that many of
our people, several hundred, were in Detroit. And several hundred
were in Baltimore; about 3500 # day, maybe 4,000 in Baltimore.
And perhaps maybe a couple a thousand Lumbees in Detroit today and
I worked there till February for five months. And I got the opportunity
to return to Pe bro e to teach in the public schoolsA I was prin-
cipal of Prospect High School from 1958; 1955 through 1958. And I
taught in the public schools for several years in PeQbroee High
School and Prospect High School, Magnolia High School for one year.
Ofcourse, I have been with the University now for 14 years.
S: And that tells pretty much about myself. I might add that
this year I a-a- very busy man, I received $19,276 grant from
Ford Foundation to do research on the Lumbee Indians of North
I: That was an exciting project, wasn't it?
S: Yes it was. And the publication I hopeto get to the press by
next summer. And I have enjoyed it very much. Also, this year
I served as chairman of the advisory committee on Indian work of
the United Methodist Church, with headquarters at 475 Riverside
Drive in New York City. Also, this year I had a wonderful experience.
I worked about 20-25 days with Margaret Meade and about 32 or 33 other
scholars from around the country where we have a publication coming
out called "4w --------- it t s i in November of this year.
It will be out now in a couple of months, ti friendship eP3s.
I also this year have been involved with voter registration. I
was elected a delegate fer the Democratic convention. I served
as chairman of the American Indian Conference. I also served as
chairman of the board of directors of the Roberson County Church
and Community Center. And, uh, lots of other things. I have ad-
ministrative work in my church and so forth.
I: You really h a full schedule don't you?
S: Yes, and getting back to my mother. My mother is Mary Ellen Moore,the
daughter of W. L. Moore and W. L. Moore was the, I call him the founder
of what is now Pesmbro e State University---Because he was the first
head of the school in 1887 and he gave to the University, what became
the University; its literal seed, its l1ats. And from this class of
f'jit people and from his leadership, grew to be what is today a big
university--about 80 years or more.
I: Q1s about g "e U ul.
S: Today is somewhere 4*cit 2200.
I: And it started with just 15 students?
S: 15 students. Faculty today runs something like-135. Total assets
I imagine run more than $10 million. It is headed by an Indian
president, Dr. Jones, that's English Jones. And we have a few
Indian faculty members, not too many, but we do have a few on the
faculty. On the faculty, we have myself and James Arnold Jacobs,
Andrew Ratson, and Gilton &4u(, 'Gilbert Townsend, who is on leave,
Mike kli44 O 1Griffin, Norma Jane Thompson, who is head of the
commission down there outside of the registrar, James O'Chaney
who is-p -1-V --students. Did I mention all of them?
I: I believe you got everybody. -I was thinking it all over with you,
the cAlgs in my head turning.
S: David Mana joined us this year too.
I: We had better go back to the ---.
S: Oh yes, going back.
I: Be sure when you tell us when you got married.
S: Yeah. Well, too I am the son of Noy Dial, N. H. Dial of the Prospect
community. And by the way, the two farms join, the Moore farm and
the Dial farm. And it was a case of a love affair with swamps
separating you, a quarter of a mile from there. And, then, of
course this was rather significant because this happened so often
among many of our people. For many, many years there was nt much
in a marriage taking place before World War II. And this is what
I call a lot of inbreeding, so to speak. It probably bee%@ f 470.
the fact diabetes rate are high here among the Indian people and
I think this is one reason for it. Now my father's father was
I am correct
Marcus Dial. Marcus Dial was born in 1838; I believethe died in
1932 at age 96. He married Elizabeth, Elizabeth Harrise, who was
half QWtf Harris. And this is significant because her father
was Brent Harris and she was illegitimate child and J. tHarris
was a white man who was despised by the Indian community. He was
a member of the home guard who was later killed by the Lowry wig
the Lowry band. It was always told that B t Harriswas the father
of many illegitimate children the Lumbee people. I think that accounts
for a lot of, you know, the bright skin which you see among the
Harrisaes, among the Lumbees today.
I: Well, now, you got married in what year?
S: I married in 1948.
I: Who was Mrs. Dial before you married her?
S: Mrs. Dial was the daughter of ----------Jones of Spson County
and Wilma Carter of Robertson County. As you know, there are many,
approximately 1700 Indians up in S mpson County.
S: And she is one of the SAmpson County-18 I say that all of
Robeoson and the adjoining belong to the same group.
I: I certainly agree.
S: If one group is in Robegtson or adjoining counties then-'f-----I
think iaf c s all the groups of Robegason.
I: How many do you have in the family now?
S: I have one daughter, Mary Doris Dial.
I: We had better get your wife's age and her age.
S: My wife was born 1945; no that was the first time .. --19, 1925
and that w n my wife--- ----. Anyway, she was born April,
30, 1925. Mary Doris, she was born October, October 30, of let's
see, 196 no she will be ten in October, 1960 uh, 1962, wouldn't
I: Now you've got me confused now.
S: She will be ten in October. 1,4/
I: That's great. I think we need to talk a, it about your being a
delegate to the democratic convention this year, because this is
the first time this has happened in our history. And this year
we have the delegates to both parties, but you are the first, you
are actually the first Lumbee Indian ever to be a delegate at the
national convention- i that correct?
S: Yes, as far as I know, the first Indian from North Carolina.
And a-/'d4-- from North Carolina at the democratic convention.
And one or two from the East, one from Massachusetts. And of course
there are 31 delegates all together throughout the state, throughout
the country. Ptc--
I: Well, that was an exciting adventure, if we can call it that.
Well, the telephone interrupted us briefly and we cut off at this
point. At this point we were talking about the democratic convention
and your being a delegate tis year and we said it was an exciting
experience. Did you meet a lot of new people?
S: Oh, yes. I met lots of new people--had a chance to rub shoulders
with the big people like the governor and former Governor Cason
and former Governor u Iog's, who was also former secretary of
I: Well, what significance do you attribute to this? Do you think
at this time there is evidence that we are developing politically
as well as in other areas?
S: Yes, I think as a people we are really developing politically, as
I tell people everyday is what we need to do is use a ballot box.
You see, Lou, here in RobelLson County where we have 30,000 -_ -
people in the county.
I: Indian people.
S: Indian people of course. Where we make up about one third of the
people. There is no reason why the ballot box--no reason why it
shouldn't be very important in their lives. I think that they
black man and the Indian man s ad work together, the ballot box,
to get some of the things they ought to have. I think the answer
to the coalition against the white that that ought to be the
political strategy. Until it becomes strong enough then this
thing of race goes out the window and people just start voting
for the candidates, then everybody forgets their race as far as
the candidates go. But as long as the situation is like it is,
then that's the thing to do. You know we have never had but a few
Indian commissioners and my brother who was is presently serving
as Indian commissioner was the third one. His name is Herman Dial.
But let's go back to the first one. Before the turn of the century,
a man by the name of James wrxwm served as county commissioner
and then the second one, Tracy Sp4son, who served as county
commissioner in the 1950's and is also was the 1950's when Judge
An Blwas elected to the first Indian judge that was ever
elected And then we had my brother elected county commissioner
who defeated another Indian, Mr. Tracy S-apsT; he defeated
the incumbent Herman Dial who defeated Tracy Sap4n. And
we never reelected a man to the county board of education as
we would like to til this year, we elected Mrs. Eileen Holmes.
Now Mr. Harry Wdst sits there on the board of education but his
term began originally by appointment by a white man. And the
people were not quite satisfied with this because not that Mr.
Harry is not all right, but the people alwaysfelt that they should
have had the choice to choose their own people. In other words,
we had a couple of candidates running that year: Us Ktrg,
Reverend ALy 'rd Doctor Martin L. Brooks and some of the
boys in the legislature promised that if we didn't elect the
man they would appoint one of those boys. But instead, they
didn't appoint # one of the two who were running; they
appointed e-as. Ty done of them, Mr. Harjry
I: So there has been some dissatisfaction ever since because of this
do you think?
S. Yes, I think so, yes. Now, that's, I mentioned you see, politically,
that's pretty much been our accomplishment. We have Indian people
here are the campaignest people I have ever seen in my life. But
they have always had the oddstagainst them; people use them and they
do the work and then when the goodies they don't seem to be able to
get very far. /I
I: And then of course, I don't think we mentioned the late Nafttr-Mlaor
S: Yes, I'm glad you mentioned the late a' hose 7/ i///-
f.aher-i4 Judge Brooke in ti tory Maxton.and-- -
..-.L..3.-9 .However, when the recorder's court
was no longer, when that position by the corporate form had
been abolished and -a try for the position
of judge running on more than' ee ,/at least two and maybe
it was three. He was defeated.
I: And he was a Lumbee Indian too?
S: Yes, f /,I ____ was a Lumbee Indian and a mightly fine
6/k 7 6?JI
father, father of Helen Chervak who today is director of Indian
Education in Washington, D.C. And I might add, Helen is
perhaps the most knowledgeable girl; --- ------rA'-round
Washington many meetings there; in meeting with her some of the
Health, Education, and Welfare boys a couple weeks ago. And
most anyone who has met Helen GCerR-k is the most knowledgeable
girl on the subject of Indian education tk anyone in this country.
Helen _hxv_ .
I: This is S-h-i-err-b-e-c-k?
S: Helen Schierbeck. Helen Maynor Schierbeck.
I: Of course, that name Maynor is M-a-y-n-o-r.
S: Right, M-a-y-n-o-r.
Ad--' --A-L -- I toother people in Washington. Perhaps,
you will make a tape on them sometimes main.
r t--- __-J__. -- ---L --head of communications in the DIA ,N6
-wemmen. Louis Bruce, who -/-f-----------i------- -. And-eCnaChax,
jr^^ff^Fr r~/af ^^^nAisw^C
o' '---W- wn Washington / o /ls -----A
S Lumbee people really move around and really do a good job,
if they have the opportunity.
I: And then you are very optimistic about the future of our
I: How about economic wise? AEwe showing any gains?
S: I thiikwe are showing gains economically. We have never produced
a millionaire up until this time but perhaps we will someday be
able to do this. We have organized the Lumbee Bank and had- ,
-__ _-Lumbee Bank. And I served on the Board of Directors.
Aid 4r dew d the Board of Directors of the Lumbee Bank.
And on the Board of the lumbee Bank Police too----------the
organization of the Lumbee Bank.
I: Well, since the IRhmbee Bank began operation that was several
I: It has been very successful.
S: The Lumbee Bank opened December 2, 1971. So we have been in operation
I would say about eight months. And bQ--2 -t-- ---- een operate
out of a trailer. Siaee- a.e V ^I__----- ___ -
b something like $2,200,000 We came to ------- and when our
_, ri ua-. F/',>. (, II
new bank is complete enrte construction I think this really
/ '-A ====. The bank was capitalized at 467,000 ta1; that's
"1P COWt 3
$10 per share. That's $70 000. jA ooneee or ejecting to be
elected cQieeree i- .. C-&&4t-r 4e-a nd ------ -; at least he
was a Democratic nominee where a Republican rem against him.
S: We had this tngA ---- -----servA a the Board of
Directors; we have a white man who is president of the bank;
Ray Ryles, the first president of Lumbee Bank. And we have.
on the Board of Directors: --f H-a-r-b-e-r-t.
,w xs 6o!I W/ 4j6u"A
Dr. Martin L. Bush and John Robert 3Jhn-, my brother-in-law. 7 /ir
And of course we are going to expand the Board -(e feel that
at least this is our plan, we need to get more involved with
_J erv P.o,
I: I have already sdid the Lumbee Bank was the first Indian bahk
of America, you being a historian.
S: I think dis is true. I think this is the first Indian bank in
the United States; that is, Indian controlled and mostly, w&ll
Indian owned;when I say this, more than 85% of the stock is owned
by Indian people and most of the employees, all of the employees
of today, six working in the bank. And all are Indians but one;
Indian-controlled, Indian-owned and Indian-operated. And we are
quite proud. Yes, the bank opened December 22, 1971. It was a
historic moment for us. We plan to have a big celebration when
we get into our new building. Right now, we have tentatively set
December 7, 1972 the date we hope to have our new d".
S: I might add next to the Lumbee Bank, we are going to have 12,700
foot store, a Stanley Store, which is a chain, not as large as some
chains of stores we own; this, I believe was the 29th store; we had
inspected then or operate the h& of Pennebrooke.
I; Do you think the bank will have the affect, perhaps, is having the
effectof making it easier for Lumbee Indians to secure loans and
this sort of thing because of the me en that the Lumbee Bank
is getting the other banks.
S: Yes, I can see a difference all right in here. I understand,
they haven't done it yet, but I understand that the First Union
Bank is already talkhdg about putting some Lumbees on their Board
of Directors. If they do we can say that the Lumbee Bank caused
them to do this. And they hired a couple of Lumbee Indians recently
to work in their bank. This is what a n will do.
I: Well, that is wonderful. How about the school system; are you
satisfied with our present school system or others because there
is always room for improvement. Are you satisfied--?
S: I am not satisfied, as a matter of fact/ I worked in the school
system, a public school teacher; I was a principal in Flagler
University. I am still not satisfied with the school system.
The reason I am not satisfied; I feel that we, as part of /1-
Robegson Count aae never gotten our share. Another thing
that is very unfair too is that we have six administrative units
and the city units like Red Springs, Maxton, ,
Lumberton, St. Pauls, y an-e7ee. These people have
their own chartered units and yet they vote in our elections to
elect their board of education. And yet we don't vote in theirs
but they vote in ours. I believe this double really is uncon-
stitutional but the city IZundereo s 4like we pay a tax to the
city and also to the county. But zp me that's not really a valid
I; Well, maybe we should mention here that the Robetson County system
as its known, the student body is made up primarily of Lumbee Indian
I: 57% of the Robeitson County system is made up of Luibee Indian
students and the blacks and Lumbees make up 81%. So you see
there's not many whites in the Robeatson County system. But
the whites are controlli g it--they have all the board members
at this time but one hey are controlling it and of course, this
isn't right. I hope~ someone reads this transcript many, many years
from today that the situation will have changed. We are working
for change now. We are trying to burst the system open with change.
Now it seem u are being very successful and this reminds me of
the part which is being played by the United Methodist Church, which
you are a member, I believe.
S: Yes, I am a member of the United Methodist Church. As a matter of
fact, Lew, I was elected a delegate this year to the Southeast
Jurisdiction Conference which met the same week that the Democratic
Convention met so I couldn't &p in two places at the same time so
I sent my alternate to the Southeast Jurisdiction conference. This
is one time I took politics ahead f church work.
I: Perhaps, ;fA s should go hand in hand. Could you tell us a little
more specifically the way the United Methodist Church is working
to help non-whites in the area?
S: Well, yes, I have been responsible to a great degree for bringing
s0 Ar money into the area. I served on the La3mee Advisor Committee
of Indian work of ae Methodist Church which put me in a position
to help get what is known as the-tbSlen County Church and Community
Center funded. I was able to bring in $30,000 at one time. And
then I was able to bring in several more thousand dollars at a different
time. I don't mean I was, you know, get-es a loan. But I was in
a case about where I could have some -. Also, I
mentioned among the Indian Carcae we were funded for $20,000
for voter registration project in 1971. And we have been funded
again Sr $15,000 recently. And we ware -- -
"t Fret years from now. We have some more Indian candidates
I: Well, I am certainly eneC-o.4i.d
END OF SIDE ONE
I: Can you recall where you were when we ran out of tape?
S: Yes, well, one thing I was going to say Lew, one thing that
certain to be encouraging, I mentioned funds that we received
from the United Methodist Church. And some of the funds
came from the Commission on Religion and Race: the Lumbee
Indian Geaease for the voter registration became the Commission
on Religion and Race for the United Methodist Church. But we
had Methodists in the area, even Indian Methodists who opposed
this. And this is rather discouraging to see that people would
send you money from far away and then somebody lying at home for
political reasons don't want to stay 4t work and don't want to
see their house torn down. I am speaking of the Apetondos, not
the Tomahawks, who don't like to see such projects working well,
They would like to know we are 2-- L
I: Do you think perhaps some of this may, not all of it, but maybe
some of it is because the lack of understanding or the lack of
communication, proper %d4d communications, you know, public
information; some of our people are still illiterate and that sort
of thing? Does this complicate it to some degree, do you think?
S: Well, its true, illiteracy, lack of education, and you know, this
does casue some cf our people to think along t hesline 1 .But some
of our people, I suppose, have an education also think along these
lines. They know that thy are working to tear their playhouse down.
And they don't want it torn down.
I: U11, I think that is true of any community, that problem, don't you?
S: Well, yes, you must keep in mind, as the story goes, power is never
given, it is always taken. So, people with power they just
don't hand out t goodies.
I: They hold onto it.
S: They would rather hold onto it.
I; Some of the power is changing hands and it's changing from weste
to wabe; I think, now you mentioned earlier in the tape, the
correlation between Indians and blacks and maybe you would like
to talk a little more about that and tell us just how this has
worked; I know in at least one instance we have been very successful
and perhaps in other areas too.
S: Well, I think when you are in the minority, I think if you have,
as say we have here in Robeqtson County, three ethnic groups and
you know, they're in the minority. If the two can unite and become
the majority, then when they are being denied anything, then the
only thing to do is to unite publically in their cause.
I; I was thinking in particular of one of our tbad brothers whom
we have sent to Raleigh; he has been nominated again. Is this
S: Yes. Joey Johnston for the state house; the Indians giving him
good support. Rev. Joey Johnston, North Carolina legislature--
he was the first black man tn-m elected to the North Carolina
I: Of course our bi brotheifeels the other way and I guess this
S: I will put it this way: if he was not the first, he was one of the
first. Do you recall if he werethe first?
I: I don't know. I believe there might have been some during
S: I didn't mean during Reconstruction. I meant now, you know
in this century.
I: Certainly in this century. Well, the white politicians in the
county, of course, this would be against their interest R /Xf'
coalition, wouldn't it?
S: Oh yes, they, the white people of the county, go to the Indians
and say "you don't want to fool with the black politics" and
go to the blacks, "you don't want to fool with the IndianS 01d
politics'.' And naturally they don't want a coalition because
this would tear their house down.
I: Do you think sometimes some pretty low tricks are resorted to?
S: Oh, yes. There have been a few cases where white landlords
told their farmers not to go vote or plan for them to work
all day, where they couldn't go vote and so forth. "Jily use
threats, economic threats--of course, the man can't vote anyway
if he's never been a booth before; he deliberately figures
this is something he can't do. He doesn't want to be embarrassed
and so forth; consequently, a lot of people stay at home and not
get around to vote.
I: But we are preaching the gospel of the ballot like we preached the
gospel of education and they are passed on.
S: I think various Indian communities are different. For instance,
some Indian communities where they have only four or five hundred
people, they can't hope to do much at the ballot box. So maybe they
will work on their problems some other way. I think here that
the ballot box is the place where we lead the way.
I: We were talking about the gains we have made. Now two different
people have been nominated to the Robeeson Board of Commissioners.
ThisA& on a staggered basis.
S: Yes, we forgot to mention a while ago that M A. Lockler was
elected this year to the County Board of Commissioners. My brother
Herman Dial and Bobby Bane Lockmere that will give us two now out
of the seven. And Elmer Lowry,ET.Lowry was running, another LumbeeJ
and he should have won in his race without any trouble but as a
matter of fact, E.T. Lowry told me that he felt confident he'd win
and he didn't feel he would have any double. Most people felt that
way so he was so confident e lost. If he had won that race, we
would have had three of the seven.
I: The person who is over-confident won't work quite as hard as you
S: That's right, if you're over-confident you won't work as hard.
ota I I
I: I aw something that your brother, the commissioner, said once.
I commented to him you know, I said I think you've got it sewed
up. He said, "No, I never say something like that til the last
vote is counted." And he has always worked so very hard, you know.
He never assumes anything. And I think this is very fine.
S: Church is never out until the last benediction.
S: The same way in politics.
I: How about the understanding of our people. Do you think people are
beginning to understand us better?
S: Well, I would hope so. I would hope so.
I: We have been mentioned many times in the pae for one reason
or another, especially since 1958 and are you familiar with
the study of our schools which was conducted in 1968 by the
United States Office of Education?
S: Yes. The Havent-Hurst Study--Havent-Hurst University of Chicago
sociologyr-I have great respect.
I: Would you mind going .
S: Dr. Gregory Peck from NC State College. Ydu worked with that
program I don't know as much about it as you know perhaps
Kut I understand that research reveals that the Lumbee Indians
here who were never 0 wardsof the government, who were never
a reservated Indian group were oing much better at the schools
than those Indians who were on the reservation.
I: Do you think this indicates that some people are given a say
in their destiny in this particular instance in their educational
destiny? Do you think this is a great encouragement for the
Indian people universally?
S: I think so. I think so.
I: Well, there are so many areas we could get into. Are you getting
S: No, go ahead, we will finish this page.
I: You've been active in so many different areas)and I have looked
forward to this interview because of this. Itr-is very '.ai bl,-
thi1 in.r. M ucm n t-lL.- It's a very valuable interview
because we know you check out your facts and you are so knowledgeable
in things concerning our people. How about, could ye say something
about our church life? Do you know some people go away and
write, they come here and visit very briefly;they go away 4qo Urr,
their stories. One anthropologist stated in his book that
Indian survivors generally including us in this, we-are not
interested in religion. He was very mistaken, was he not?
S: Yes, I guess so; here among the Lumbees, we seem to have lots
I: If the churches is any indication, we certainly compare
favorably with the two other races, wouldn't youamy?
S: I would say so; that is a number of churches.
I: How about the trained ministry? I know we have some well-
trained ministers among our people. Is there a need for more
of this, do you think?
S: Yes, I think so. As a matter of fact, in the ministries, I might
add here, all over the country, we only have, as far as we know,
we only have five Indian ministers around the country-- five or
six with a BD degress in the Methodist Church. I can't speak
about other denominations. Here among our people, we have only
a couple with B.D. degrees who are here--Reverand Jamas Earl Wood,
-A" ---seminary graduate, Reverand Coolidge -' a
graduate of a seminary school in Texas.
I; And so you don't think the interest of religion among Lumbee Indians
S: I don't think so. But you will find among some of the Indians around
the country that they are -4' -some of them g to go back
to their native religion.
I: Do you think this a sort of a protest?
S: Well, I don't think it is a protest so much as just as
t satisfied with the white man's religion n
why should the missionaries have us drop our own religion
and take the religion of the white man? Therefore, some of
them would like to go back to their native religion.
I: Some groups never,I am sure,they never did depart really.
They still have their native religion Christianity has
really affected the Indian world. I remember, if I am correct, IA&af
one of our own ministers, Reverand Claudey Dial, wasn't the
Seminoles of Florida the last ones to be reached with the gospel?
The last group of American Indians?
S: I don't know about whether they were the last or not but I do know
Reverand Claudey Dial as a first cousin of mine. He was a first
cousin of yours by the way. He went down on the Tammany Trail, on
Highway 41. I have been there. And he built a little church there.
The church is in the area of the Mcat_ y; but most people who
attend the church are the Seminoles. The M!&casnnhy do not do not
go to much church.
I: But theyA church has had some success. About how long has that church
been going, do you think?
S: He told me this year, let's see that church has been going about Is
years so it was somewhere in the early 60's when Rev. Claudy Dial
began his work among the Seminole Indians on the emasny Trail.
The church is located about, oh, or 4 mills out from, about half
way between Naples and Miami from the Temnrmy Trail, on the left
hand side going from Naples to Miami.
I: Do you think the Lumbee Indians generally.
S: Right in the swamp right next to the highway.
I: Do you think the Lumbee Indiansiwould like to spread Christianity
further, that they are interested in, you know, reaching other
S: I guess some of them would. I suppose somewhat tBt the missioner/ ,i d
would. In that respect, I suppose they are more like the white
man. Of course, what I would like to see them do is put more of
it I practice right here at home.
I: Into the religion?
S: Yes, I'd like for them to be concerned more their fellow man.
I- J-i---------- an article I did for the New World Outlook,
May 1972; The New World Outlook is a publication done by the
Presbyterian or Methodist Church from 475 Riverside Drive, New
York City. The title of the article is "A Lumbee Indian Still the
Lost Colony" by Adolf Dial. Speaking of churches, I note here in
this that. .
I: Maybe you can give us some excerpts from that,0'?
S: Well, all right, I thoughtI would. I see one thing here. "The burden
of education deprivation in RobeVpson falls equally among the races.
The county system unit, *7.6% Lumbee, $2.6% black, and 19.8% white.
Only 14.2% of the county high school graduates go onto college--a
four year college; 43.3% go directly into employment. Despite the
fact that the county school system students are 80% black and Lumbees,
the county board of education consists of only one black, only one
Lumbee, and five whites. I might add we elected Miss Eileen Holmes
this year. She hasn't taken office yet; she will take office in
December so that will be one more e -=_-e 2 iL
"-Miss Eileen lb lmes.
I: Of course, you are assuming that nomination is tantamount to
election, in this county.
S: Yes, pretty much so democratic. However, there are some in
those laces Republican looks like there will be some.
I; w" agree with you.
S: "The office controlled by the white and lack of opportunity for
blacks and Lumbees in high administration may be one of the reasons
for the county system for performance Xe* sending students on to
college. In civic education and voter registration the Commission
on Religion and Race of the United Methodist Church donated $20,000
to the Lumbee Indian 4a&eges. Viewing more statistics by the
Robeison County Church and Community Center, it is eaykaw recognized
(t&cas CfWar4 at,//Q -*
that the Lumbee Indian Genfevet was a -worty-. j -t. The statistics
W/ */AW only 31,400 people were registered to vote in Robertson County on June
9, 1970. Over 40,000 were over 21 years of age; of the 31,400 registered,
16,207 were white; 16,193 black and Lumbee. So black and Lumbee to-
gether comprised 61% of the population. There were 30,189 registered
Democratic; 946 Republicans and 265 others. I might say that the
voter registration we had this year would add close to 4,000 Lumbees
to that list. But we are in better shape than when this article Vas
I: Do you think people are beginning to see the light?
S: I think so. I think they are beinnin to see the light.
S: I think so. I think they are beginning to see the light.
I: Yolmentioned the Community Church, the Robetson County
S: Church Community Center.
I: Excuse me, I didn't remember it correctly.
I: You published a very, very important folder of statistics.
Did you not? This little folder had some very startling
statistics relating to RobeTjson County. And .tree races
and their income, their annual income. Do you remember what
the annual income was--I believe the year you quoted.
S: I can't remember, I can't recall the income but it was mightly
low. First it was high than I would say the annual income of
most of the reservations.
I: lAt" you compared either the black income, annual income u;*
the Indian income with the white family income in the same county--
wi *p1rJ bly bear great difference.
S: Yes, that's true.
I: We've often, maybe not often, but we have been spoken of as one
of the few Indian groups et produce solidN class. And, about
how largedo you think this middle class is among our people?
S: Well, we have a lot of teachers. I suppose we could say we have
a middle class. I don't know and I couldn't say what percent of
our people would fall into the middle class. But I think a good
example of exploitation is that we have never produced a millionaire.
And another example is that where we have 57% of the student body
in the county system of schools,we don't have anybody there in a
I: Do you think this is due to other conditions besides the ability,
native ability and preparation.
S: You mean the Indian being behind, or what?
I: Yes, and the fact that we don't have many Indians in the RobeiEson
County system. We don't have an Indian superintendent which I
think we both agree we should have.
S: I find, you know Lew, around the country on certain reservations
that they are short of leadership. There is one thing about it,
the Lumbees have lots of leadership and its not lack of leadership A4?e
the reason we don't have more people in key positions, it's a
matter of race. And, as I said earlier, you just don't give away
your goodies, youkiow, you kin of demand them or take them Well,
now, when the Robertson County Indian School System was established
in 1885, it was established as a separate unit, wasn't it?
S: The legislation of 1885, which provided for separate schools, yes.
And if we didn't use the money in two years, it was to revert back
to the states. And of course that only was for salaries, it was not
I: And this law stated that Indians would have teachers of their own
choice and principals, and so forth in the 1885 law?
S: Yes, they would have Indians here basically that's what it was in-
I: And he law which established what is now Pe'dbroke StateUniversity
was the law of 1887 two years later, wasn't it?
S: Yes, yes. The law of 1885 made the provision for it and then the
school was established in/V7. You see the law in 1885 said, in
other words, we give you a few years to have a school. Then in/S87
they established P school.
I: Right. Well,xe have still come a long way though, don't you think?
I: Especially since 1835 when we were expelled from such white
-rP >st oiqf
schools there were at that time. Are-thee people who attended
S: Yes, yes. The interesting thing about the history of the school7-
one, that never did make much sense to me in a way, looking at it
today it didn't make much sense. The schools of Robetson County
were established were made for the people of Robeoson. And for
years we kept out the people from adjoining counties and even
the Navabh couldn't come to our schools at one time. The school
in------------------------was rather absurb. Of course, the
idea that the Indian people had
want their race of people to be mixed anymore than what it was
I: Although we have always been regarded as a mixed people, right?
S: RIht. I know the i--O-.--Baptist Association records
the first minutes they ever kept; I read those. You know they
didn't keep minutes in 1880 but in 1881 they did keep minutes.
The minutes read, Swamp Baptist Assocation of a mixed
race." Of course, then in 87, I mean in '85 we were designated
as -__--_a.. ..
I: That's interesting. What do you think people outside the Lumbee
River Community who are interested in helping us and I am sure t A4c.
P' we have many friends and I think this is something we have needed
in the past. I think we have more friends now than ever. What do
you think they could do to help the situation--the overall situation
as it exists today?
S: I don't know. Funded programs and so forth would help. All of
this, I think would be beneficial to our people. As of yet, we
have never hadtindian lawyer to practice law in Robertson County.
However, Horaae Lockbird who has just passed the bar in the last 'wo
or O weeks is going to set up office in Lumberton. So he will be
the first Indian lawyer to practice law in Robe*son/LOtA
I: I asked Commission lTue about the reason that lawyers we do have
don't practice in the county-or in the state. He said they were
never able to pass the bar exam and those who did study law had
to practice where they could practice and they could pass in the
other states but for some reason they couldn't pass the bar exam
S: I think it is a little different now, you see. tha-n% the black
man has opened up the way and it is mighty easy now to yell
discrimination. So I think this is the advantage of the Indian, J Oo,
I: We desperately need legal talent, don't we?
S: Yes, we do. There's a demand for legal talent.
I: I know in the case of the school case, which is still pending; it
has been pending since 1970, I began to doubt that it will ever
be tried, but in this instance, legal talent comes for about
$30,000 per hour and this is enormous it seems to me. It seems
to me we need lawyers to be hired by the group, wouldn't you think
that would be a good idea?
S: Well, we need lawyers practicing in the area, you know, Indian
people need to use. They need to be successful lawyers. They
need their own lawyers.
A /Vow /01*.f k lYQ2ftl w
I: A Do you think justice, legal justice has been proved within
S: I think so.
I: Of course, some of us are planning to begin a newspaper again
and this is something that has been done in the past several
times and for one reason or anothergScP papers failed and
probably because of lack of financial support. Do you think
an Indian newspaper that served the Lumbee Indians and their
friends could be successful today?
S: Well, I think all newspapers of small towns have trouble with
newspapers but I feel that there is a down here for a
I: In other words / /' + ep
S: We've had two or three attempts; the next one will be more
successful. The last one failed the Lumbee and then there
was the Peaebro&e Progress, any more?
I: Yes, there were several others dating back to 1810. I don't know
very much about them. I t seems we have been unsucces.Maybe
this is primarily because we have many subscribers but not much
among our people
S: You mean there are Indian newspapers of our people dating back to
18109- the Lumbees?
I: Yes, there was one, but I am sure there was at least one other
newspaper and it was 1910, I'm sory. I'm very sorry, I guess
we're both a little weary at this point. The town is certainly
developing due largely to the increase of the PeaivbroAe State
University. Wouldn't you think?
S: Yes, I think so, <" ^"
I: What can we do to rule and win some of the students and faculty to
support things like the project at this time?
S: Well, the town has to have more services. Most of them go down to
Lumberton to the A & P and do grocery shopping and so forth. We
need a few good chain stores.
I: It seems they come here and you know, get their education and go
back to Lumberton, the county seat, and they don't spend any
money, to speak of, in Peabroe.
S: That's true.
I: And I have observed the same thing, I believe in connection with
the Lumbee recreation facilities. What could you tell us about
tij This is such a worthy project.
S: Well, the Lumbee Recreation Center which developed a few years ago,
within the last decade. I was one of the charter members. This
money, the United States Government granted a loan. The loan was
made, I think, what money was borrowed oit -- ----
administration. I understand from the North Carolina Teachers'
Association. Of course, the government, the F.H.A. had to guarantee
the loan. So this big project was constructed. 800 acre 3Je, so
to speak; 18 hole golf course; swimming pool; softball court with
lights; place for fishing. So the Lambee Recreation Center could be
a real number one thing; however, right now its suffering from financial
I: And this debt has to be paid off, doesn't it?
S: Oh, I don't know whether it has to be paid. Somebody, the government
can write it off. Someone said that's what ought to be done. They
really owe it to the community. That's all--this land is our
land. This land at one time all belonged to the Indians. So
why not give the Indians a little of it back?
I: It would certainly be a wonderful thing if we could find channels
to get this debt paid off and open it up to you know, to those
who, well 0 some of our poor as well as the wealthy. The way it
is set up now is by membership, isn't it? I mean you pay so much
a year and not everyone can afford it.
S: $180 per year now. Initial membership is $360 charter members.
I: It's showing some progress.
S: Yes, te poor people that can't get enough of the $180 membership
to make a do of it.
I: Well, I certainly hope something can be done along these lines
some way of helping--it is such a worthy project. I have heard
the complaint that nobody else other than the Indians use it
at all, hardly use it at all. I imagine b*ae-e membership would
be welcome too, would it not as membership?
S: Oh yes, welcome any membership.
I: That's one more problem we can think about and gain about, isrit it?
S: That's right. It will work out better some day.
I: We have seen a lot of, well maybe not many dreams realized in your
lifetime and mine, but we have certainly seen some of these, some of
our dreams realized. Some of the dreams I have shared and you shared
and other people.
S: Oh yes. Things have changed a lot in the last few years, And although
I can go back to 1958, and you know that if four years after 1954
when Brown revision, the famous Brown revision, the Supreme Court made.
I was out in Paramient, North Carolina. I was down there with some
other friends and my wife and two white students were over at the
University. I think they were the first wite students that were
enrolled there; that was about all the white students we had there
and two or three other people. We were going to attend a square
dance; I was in line ready to get tickets for the group and I
noticed one of the town cops he kept eying me; he finally walked
over. He said, "Are you from Peabrodk I sai es. He
said, "Are you Indian?" I said yes. He said, "Well, you can't
go in." This is very interesting. It shows how racism went.
It was all right til I told him who I was and where I was from -j4 .-
ptts prejudice began to show.
I: I think its ironic, don't you,that although we have had prejudiced
factors against us all these years, we are still willing and we
encourage actually integration at PSUand I think nobody has com-
plained about that to this day. I think this is something that
everybody has agreed on.
S: Almost everybody.
I: Almost everybody. The only thing, they complain once in a while now,
because naturally they are strictly in the minority now of course
e(alWays will be simply because there are more of other races.
And we bring in people from all over the state, don't we? Many parts
of the United States.
S: Yes, yes. In the university today, we have about 10% Indian and
a little more than 200 I would say Indian students, and less than
-tV4 f4 -o
50 black, A\ I"d white. So we could say the University has changed
considerably z'm an all Indian school.
I: Do you think working intimately with the diversity .