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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
L._U 32 -
OCTOBER 31, 1972
INTERVIEWER: LEW BARTON
DORIS DUKE FOUNDATION
AMERICAN INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM
INTERVIEWEE: LIBBY SUE LOWERY
I: This is October 31, 1972. I am Lew Barton interviewing for
the DorisDuke Foundation's American Indian Oral History Program
under the auspices of the University of Florida. With me in
my home this afternoon through her courtesy is a young lady
who is a student at Pembroke State University. And I'm going
to ask you to give us your name if you would please ma'am?
S: My name is Libby Sue Lowery.
I: Uh, how old are you, or should I ask that c a lady?
S: I'm nineteen.
I: All right. And could you tell us your parents' names?
S: My parents' names are Mr. and Mrs. Tohnnie Lowery.
I: Uh, um. And you've here in Pembroke most of your life?
S: All of my life.
I: You're now nineteen?
S: Yes, I am.
I: And which year in college are you?
S: I'm a second semester freshman.
I: Well, there are a number of things I'd like to talk to you about.
It's always interesting to talk to young people on this program.
You are a Lumbee Indian?
S: I am a Lumbee Indian.
I: Uh, since you've been over there have you noticed any difference
in the treatment given to Lumbee Indians and given to other
students? Do you notice any difference or would you rather not
comment on that? If you would rather not, then just pass over
S: Well, the Lumbee Indians don't, they don't seem to associate
with the white teachers, like the white students do.
I: Uh, hum. Do you think this is on the part of the Indians or
S: Maybe more so on the white teachers, than on the Indian students.
I: How about white students, do they--do you ever get snubbed by
S: Yes, occasionally you get snubbed by a white student. Especially
if it's around Lumberton or Red Springs, those around home.
I: These are the towns, by the way, which are nearby towns inside the
I: What are you studying? I mean what do you plan to become, a teacher?
S: Yes, I do hope to be a teacher.
I: Are you going to specidize in elementary work or other work?
S: I hope to be able to teach on the college level. I'd like to get
I: Oh, great. I certainly wish you success. I certainly admire your
effort. Uh, are Indian students conspicuously missing or few
on campus or are they so few that, well, this is not a fair ques-
tion--uh, what I would really like to know is do the Indian
students have a tendency to be clanish and to cling together or
to associate with each other on campus?
S: Yes, the Indian students do associate with each other on campus.
They're very close. And you probably have exceptions to tHis I
Suppose. But there has been a noticeable lack of rapport between
Pembroke State University and the Indian community which surrounds
it. And of-course we know that Pembroke State University originally
was charted by the Indian people of this area. And, uh, they have
had some differences from time to time, noticeably in the past few
years, particularly in regard to Old Main, famed Old Main Movement,
which was bitterly protested by some of the people, Indian people
of the area and became a national issue. And, finally, the admin-
istration did come across;and in this instance, we did beat city
hall. Uh, I would like to ask you if I may, and I can assure you
this will not get to the administration. I would like to ask you if
during this campaign there were noticeable innuendos about it or what
you should say or what you should not say, or that you should take
a stand or that you should not take a stand on it or any hints or im-
pressions. Or did you receive anything like this? ,
S: Well, when the issue was the hottest, I just-ent on campus then.
But since then, the white students, especially, don't seem to realize
the significance of Old Main to the Indians. Therefore, if they say
anything about it, they must say it among themselves. They don't say
it around Indian students. You never hear it discussed on campus.
Not now, not this fall.
I: The publicity department over there claim that there are about
.390Indian students. Do you think this is a pretty accurate
S: Yes, it's very close to it. I doubt seriously if there's any more
than 300 on campus.
I: This includes special students?
I: And how about black students?
S: The black students seems to be increasing each year on campus.
I: And when this controversy began, there were 54 and probably more
than that you would say now.
S: There definitely is more than 54.
I: This is good. Uh, do you think. .do you think anything is being
done on campus to include the rapport between the administration or
between P.S.U. and the communities that surround the Indian com-
S: Well, the administration, uh, I guess it would be the administration
who sets up the new studies or new courses to be offered. They've
begun to offer courses for Indians about Indian history, archaeology,
et cetera. And they hope to expand this curriculum. They'd like to
get a real good Indian study program out here so they can. But, I
think this will help because the Indian students would really be in-
terested in something like this.
I: Are you, by the way, are you taking any courses on Indian studies
S: I'm taking archaeology of the North American Indian.
I: Um, hum. Are those classes well attended?
S: Yes, they are.
I: Uh, I'm interested in the interest. Uh, .do white students
generally show an interest in Indian studies courses. .I mean
just basing your observation, you know, on people you've seen
in class, and so on.
S: Well, the students that I take class with in our college is--
the white student seems to be: very interested in it. They con-
sider the Indians to be something of a mystery to them. And this
intrigues them. They've got their own & ie about us.
I: Un, huh. Uh, they regard us sort of as an exotic people, you
I: I think this is generally true to everybody. Uh, you know, all
non-Indians regard Indians as exotic. And perhaps, do you think
this is something that we could use to our advantage--this interest
in Indian people?
S: I think so, because if we used the interest in a constructive way,
then I think we can improve our status.
I: Um, huh. You don't encounter any animosity or anything like that
on campus from other students, do you--do you notice as a rule?
I: Uh, huh. Antagonism or resentment toward Indian students by other
S: I think among the sororities and fraternities, you would find it
more so there than anywhere else on campus, because they tend to
be such an elite group.
I: Uh, huh. With this attitude might also be reflected against others
of their own ethnic group too, don't you agree?
S: Probably so but I think most are against Indians because there're
really aren't any Indian boys in the fraternities.
I: No Indian boys?
S: No Indian boys got in fraternities.
I: Do you have to pass certain- requirements in order to enter?
S: I believe there's a fee and there's also certain things that they
have to do before they're accepted. You know, they have to pledge
I: Um, hum.
S: And, uh, I don't the Indian vewee so'far has attempted to join
or actually feel like they would be welcome.
I: Um, hum. Do you tlink, uh, of course, you probably don't have an
index to reference to other institutions in the large degree, but
do feel that the entrance exam Lr --
gE nonwhites? Do you think it particular difficult to pass this
S: I think so for the average Indian student around here in town, and
in Robertson County, because most of the parents haven't completed
high school. And their language is one of the--is very simple
language that's been used. And when they go up to the college
entrance examination, English part especially, is quite difficult
to hack for the Indian student.
I: Uh, hum. So the S.A.T. test would be based on. on we might say
white cultural patterns--might be revised somewhat to be a more accurate
measurement of I.Q., true I.Q.
S: Right. It's a poor measure of a person's I.Q. because they haven't
been exposed to, uh, what some of the S.A.T., especially the English
I: Uh, huh. That's a very astute observation. I'm glad you made it.
We carries this compaint from other quarters throughout the nation.
And perhaps, they will get around to doing something about eliminating
this or revising drastically. Uh, how about your social life other
than fraternities and sororities. Uh, do you ever date a white boy?
S: No, I haven't dated a white boy.
I: And do you think this would be found wrong if you did? If you did
went to date a white boy, do you think white students would frown
on you, generally, or have you had an opportunity to observe any-
thing like this? Any other...any other student.
S: Well, there's one couple, an Indian girl and a white boy who are
going steady. And I think that some of the Indian students and white
students resent this.
I: Uh, hum. So. .it's a two-way street.
S: Yes. The personalities that too has a lot to do with it,two people
I: This is only couple you've been seeing.
S: That I've really observed, that I've paid any attention to.
I: Um, hum. And, can you think of anything if you had your. .if you
had an opportunity to be. .the chancellor for a day or to be head
of the board for a day, the board of trustees or governor of this
state, or some other place of power where you could change things
and so they can do it that readily. But if you're. let me phrase
my question differently. If you had the power to change anything
in P.S.U. what would, uh, what do you think you would change--
first of all?
S: I think I would try to get more Indian teachers on campus.
I: I've heard it said there were about three or four Indianprofessors
and, uh, we never said, settle on whether it was three or four
completely. But, uh, is this somewhat around this area, do you
S: Yes, it's definitely three or four, I know three definitely are
Indian. And the fourth one--I don't know whether it goes to Indian
I: Um, hum. How about your other courses, do you find it difficult
to take certain courses and. .very. .find it more easy to take
others. I know that this happens to most students. But do you
think--can you think of any courses which are difficult because
of your background? Would you say as an Indian student?
S: Uh, right now, all of my courses are easy to me. But for some of
other Indian-students that are taking the courses with me--it's
not quite so easy. Especially English, they find it difficult.
They really have to work hard at it.
I: Do you remembertyour score on the S.A.T. test was?
S: I believe my score was just 800.
I: And many Indian students can't even. .can't make 800 at all, can
I: And the lowest passing level is what--700?
S: The lowest, I believe, that you can get on is 700 or 750.
I: Uh, huh. Uh, there is, uh, there seems to be a tendency to
be sensitive toward Indian problems, particularly now that the Old
Main issues has--have been solved or at least in the process of
being solved. Do you think. .have you noticed any resentment
because of. ...that you could attribute to this or do you think
maybe it's just part of the general attitude of indifference
S: Well, the white students question why the old building still
standing there--why don't the Indians do something to it?
They've got it there, now, iy not do something to it?
S: That's the question the white students ask and some of the Indian
I: Yes, that's a good question and I'm it will be answered in due
time. Something definite will be done. Uh, particularly when
the general assembly meets because, uh, I understand that it will
j Ae cI\V o rce$ of
be taken ------. .--- ----preliminary sup-
port and so forth.
S: That the view concerning Old Main, I think that the administration
is glad that it did say that now.
I: It's become a great asset, ashn't it?
S: Yes, especially since they're going to have this drama,ou door
drama, Old Main will bring more students into Pembroke State University.
I: The student body now consists of about 2,000 or so?
I: So you think that, uh, the fact that there was an Old Main issue
and that, uh, this, you see, is such enormous publicity and became
the national controversy that this will not help--help the enrolment.
S: Yes, the University's going to benefit from it, definitely.
I never realized it.
I: But, they're not saying too much.
S: No. They want to make it an Indian museum, hopefully.
I: Well, then I don't know if you're familiar with the American Indian
Movement so I won't ask you about that--that's going on right now.
Uh, how about. .I'm sorry for the interruption, uh the telephone
I should have taken it off the hook before we started this inter-
view. Uh, do you think, uh, the policy for young people is the
liberal one or very strict one? What is your idea about that?
In other words, do you have any ideas along such lines?
S: On campus?
I: Uh, huh.
S: I think it's rather liberal.
I: Um, hum. Do you think P.S.U. generally follows in the general
direction of other universities in this respect?
S: Of letting students being able to express themselves?
I: Uh,yes. I'm talking also about life in the dorms and, uh, the
relationship between boys and girls, the whole bit.
S: Well, Pembroke State University is rather strict about boy and girl
relationships on campus. As far as this co-ed dorms, I don't
think we'll be seeing any of them soon on campus.
I: (Laugh) I think you're right. Uh, do you think, uh, do you tdink
it's rather strict about dress? Is there a certain way you have
to dress and a certain length boys have to wear their hair and
this sort of thing?
S: No, there's no limit on that.
I: Uh, hum. How about minis and microminis is there a certain
length your dress has to be and this sort of thing?
S: If there is, they're not stressing it.
I: Uh, huh. I was just wondering because, uh, there has been some
things like this at other institutions amd I was hoping to make
some kind of comparison there. Uh, I. .do you think. uh, the
Lumbee Indian students who is in college. Uh, do you think, uh,
they're pretty well informed in matters regarding boy and girl
relationships? Do you think Indian schools generally, uh, are
informing the students well in this respect? Well, if you want
to come right down and call it that--we'll just call it sex ed-
ucation which is being taught in most schools throughout the
nation, you know. And you having come through high school
recently and you are now in college. I'm wondering if these
things are stressed or if they're passed over very lightly, or
S: They're being discussed in the high schools.
I: Uh, huh.
S: On sex education. They can't come right out and say sex education
but they do teach it.
I: They call it hygiene or something like that. Don't they?
S: Right, they cover it over in the P.E. classes and biology classes.
I: And this is usually in separate groups, .uh, the two subjects
are generally separated for this kind of teaching in the high
S: Well, now in the P.E. classes, the girls and boys are separated.
But in biology class, it's taught with the boys and girls in
there together and it's taught with the proper terms to be used.
I: Right. Well, I was just wondering about this because here in
my own time in high schoolof course, it wasn't taught at all and
we know it's being taught and accepted on this university now.
I was just wondering if we're up to par in this particular thing,
if we're keeping pace with the progress that has been made along
these lines. I guess I can call it progress. Uh, I. .do you
personally, if this is artif this is too personal--we'll just type
over it. But, you being a young person, what you think is
very important I think now to other young people who will be
reading this. .the transcript of this. Do you think the attitude,
uh, today's attitude towards young people is too liberal or too
strict or. .I'm talking about the over-all attitude nmt just
school, but I'm talking about home environment, school, everything.
Do you think Lumbee Indians, our people, have a tendency to hold
back in these things whereas other people may be more liberal in
terms of these things.
S: Well, the Lumbee can't enjoy, I believe, are more strict .than
white parents are, simply because they know the stern the whites
have had toward the Indians. The children are taught to be reserved;
they're taught to try and get an education. And the parents try
to lay down a guard for their children, to protect them. Tey are
more restrictive than the white parents are.
I: Uh, hum. You think Indian parents are generally more restrictive *
p I see. And interestingly enough, I met a o afa girl
in Polk County recently and she feels the same way. And she does
not feel that her parents are too strict by any means and you
know, and the parents tell me that they are rather strict
because of the ministry. She was not resentful of this in any
way. She did not feel that they were too strict. And she agreed
with the parents. And I was wondering if this was because this
love for her parents that she felt she had to agree with them.
And I don't think you would feel that you had to agree about any-
thing, do you?
S: No, I don't have to agree with anything.
I: Right. But these things are interesting. And I certainly believe
in our young people and idealism and also their liberal tendencies
in the direction of better information along these lines. And, uh,
I shouldn't be injecting my opinion at all here but this is something
interesting to young people everywhere. And, if you'd rather we move
on to some other subject, we can or I'd like anything you have to
say along these lines because, uh. .
S: One thing that I've observed on campus between the Lumbee Indian
students and the white studentstthat the Lumbee Indian students
are more conservative than the average white student on campus.
The dress is more conservative; their actions are even more con-
servative than whites. Well, if we're put under pressure, we
feel as if we're setting. .we're ambassadors on campus and among
the rest of our people.
I: Uh, huh. You 're sort of put on the spot, aren't you?
I: And I don't know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, what
about you? Do you think. ..
S: I think it has its merits. And then they are. like you say,
you're put under pressure. Because we misbehave or we break
some of the laws and a white student or somebody sees it, well,
then naturally we're going to feel like they're saying, "well,
there goes a dum Indian'! you know. And, we're sick of that;
we don't want to have anybody say anything about us, especially
at the college that was originally for us.
I: Right, uh, but it's true that generally, though, isn't it that
Indian girls are supposed to be a bit shy. Do you think Indian
girls in college are a big shy?
S: They are.
I: And,. I think. .at least, it's been said that this is characteristic
of Indian girls and whether this is because of home environment
or whatever, uh. I think it's a beautiful trait, myself. But
then I'm prejudiced. Uh, how about opportunities in various fields
on campus, you have to have a wider choice now perhaps, then you
could when I was coming along. There are more fields in which you
could specilize and..
S: I imagine you had business administration, did't you?
I: Yes, we had some business courses. I'm just wondering if it has
expanded, uh. Well, there's one thing I wanted to ask you about and
you don't have to answer unless you want. You don't have to answer
of this, unless you want, just say no comment. and we'll tdak about
something else. I will certainly understand. But, do you feel
restricted in expressing yourself in any way at all on campus or
do you think the freedom of speech may be encumbered by certain
unspoken things, or certain attitudes or maybe even vocal things
in some instances?
S: Well, I know that in the archaeology class, certain things may be
motioned about the Lost Colony of Lumbee Indians. You know some-
body in there, might say, "Well, how do we know there's a Lost
Colony?" They'll come up with some wild theory, It just doesn't
make sense, you know, and if I stand up andsay well, I try to
defend it. They're going to look at her.#ow does she know, he's
I: Uh, huh. But you're not restricted in expressing whatever your
opinion happens to be? Are you?
I: They would listen respectfully to whatever you had to say.
S: They would listen.
I: Uh, well, this is--this is the thing I was asking. Uh, how about
your uh, your physical ed courses and things like this? Do you
think the Indians athlete is generally on equal par with the
athletes from other ethnic groups?
S: I think so.
I: The Indians have a reputation for being good in athletics and do
you think we're holding our own in that respect at P.S.U.?
S: I would say so, cause there's Ronnie Chavis and Victor Ellis--
they're all fine athletes.
I: Um, hum. Yes, they certainly are, and, uh, they do give good
account of themselves even though they are in the minority, don't
S: We're well representative--rtcntafiP 7I
I: How about religious--religious activities on campus, do you
have much of that?
S: Well, there's a Baptist Union and quite a few of the Indian
students associate with it, attend the meetings. They're all
active, I would say.
I: Uh, how about your drama department? Do you have any connection
at all with the department?
S: No, I have no connection at all with the department.
I: How about--do you circulate enough that you, uh, you know, you
hear what people call scuttle-butt or or what people are talking
about, you know, and how they feel. Students generally--uh, I
was going to ask you did the idea of the Indian pageant appeal
to students generally at P.S.U. Do you think they think it's
a good thing or they're indifferent or is there another attitude
do you think?
S: Surprisingly enough, I've never heard this subject mentioned;
it's never been discussed on campus--not the groups that I've
I: Uh, huh, and yet this is a major project in this county, isn't
it? I mean, among all three races, uh, that's been in the news
very, very often and many, many public meetings for the last
three years. And so it's a little surprising, uh, do you remember
seeing it mentioned at all in the P.S.U. newspapers I mean, student
newspaper. Uh, are there any Indians, have there been any Indians
connected with newspapers since you've been thereAe remember?
I: Do Indians get mentioned pretty often in fhe Pineneedle. By the
way, that's the name of it, Pineneedle. Or would you say they
get mentioned in proportion to the number of them on campus.
What I'm trying to say is. .do you think. I might as well
just come right out and say it--do you think they get fair
coverage by the student newspaper?
S:No, they don't.
I: Uh, can you think of some things that P.S.U. could do to help
S: Perhaps, they could give more support to The Lumbee Organization.
I: Hum, huh.
S: On campus.
I: Is this organization usually given a cold shoulder. .sound of
disapproval of the sale of something along these lines? Or some-
thing that simply tolerated?
S: I would say it's simply tolerated.
I: Uh, huh. Mr. Ed Chavis is very active in that group and his
Indianess is very conspicuous. Have you noticed the reaction
to Ed on campus? Uh, Ed is very proud of his Indianess and, uh.
S: Yes, he is.
I: And I'm wondering if other students react one way or another to
this. Is Ed generally liked on campus?
S: YesV/Ed's got the personality I think that sort of draws people
I: Ed could probably pull anything off and, you know.
S: I think so.
I: Yes, he certainly has a marvelous personality and, uh, and
so do you by the way.
S: Well, thanks.
I: And the student which lacks, you know, dynamic personality is
at a sad disadvantage at P.S.U., would you think?
S: I would say so.
I: You have to have a little extra.
S:t Yes, We have got to try and meet people.
I: Do you think they meet you half way when you do try?
S: Yes, some of them.
I: Do you feel that P.S.U. owes something tee? The Indian students
because of the fact that their forefathers established the in-
atitution or do you think they think this is not relevant?
I'm talking about attitudes.
S: Everyone on campus should be treated equal there. Especially
the whites do--they're there to get an education. E-ertet all
on the same scale. And, uh, I would say that there's no--
I wouldn't say that the white students feel that the Ind an
children should get any sort of special treatment simply because
I: We know that many white institutions--many white universities
are actively recruiting Indian students and are very happy to
have them because this is a mark of distinction. Do you find
this sort of program missing at P.S.U.. Do you think they
actively engage at recruiting Indian students?
S: No, I don't. I don't think Indian student) in this community
is encouraged to attend public state universities as much as
they should be.
I: Uh, huh. Many, iany universities and colleges throughout the
nation have active recruiting programs for Indian and black
students and they want them represented at their institution
of higher learning and they often secure scholarships for them
and this sort of thing. Do you think the Indians are given any
special preference in regard to, uh, to scholarships or student
helps and this sort of things-above other students or about the
same-or not as good or how?
S: I would say it's about the same.
I: I would gather from this then that they don't seem to take into
account the fact that the Indian student has at a disadvantage
for a long time. A disadvantage which the white students have
not had. And Of course this would be generally true of the black
students I suppose. They don't seem to recognize this difference,
do they? They really don't--well Uh, last year I believe I
went on campus and I encountered a phrase, "the Indianizatien of
Pembroke State University". And of course that's very controversial
and, uh, but I thought the need for raising questions about this
was certainly very legitimate and desirable and I raised this
question and among those questions emerged the issue of Old Main.
And, uh, and I've been--I had been sort of made by newsman that
precipitated the Old Main Movement by this article. Do you feel
pattern which you could--you would identify as the Indianization?
Do you think we're gaining strength in other words, or do you think
we're going downhill instead of up? That cat is rather distracting.
6t me see if I can get rid of her. I apologize for e unwelcome
guest. We have a Simese cat who sounds very human like a child
-Wien she starts crying or sometingp-4u don't see a pattern then,
that you would identify the Indianization--playing the Indian element
instead of up.
S: No, not since I've been on campus.
I: Uh, huh. O.K. And, what do you think the Indians do to bring about
Indian awareness as in the State University. Do you have any ideas
along those lines? An Indian need.
S: Indian awareness. Well, in this community,there has never been any
Indian past--any Indian background like that. So I suggest that the
students be able to take some sort of course in Indian past, of Indian
literature--we say about the culture--it's terrific.
I: Yes, we've been at least partially cultured and we face the need, don't
we? --to renew our Indian culture?
S: Yes, like everybody trying to find something to relate to, to identify
to. And that's what we need.
I: Well, today and this week particular, you may have heard some radio,
television, newspapers and this sort of thing that the American Indian
Movement is here in the county. And people have been here from all over
the United States, Indian people who. .
END SIDE ONE
I: Uh, the interview with Miss Lowery of P.S.U. student body. And I was
asking a question when I was interrupted. Do you recall what the question
S: Uh, Is there action on campus to--------------I forgot the question.
I: To establish better rapport between P.S.U. and the Indian community
which they're on.
S: Yes, I would say, no, there isn't. The university doesn't associate
that much with the community and the community doesn't associate very
much with the university.
I: Uh, huh. I've heard it said, for example, that Indian students come
to Pembroke State University and get their education and proceed to go
back to their respective home and they don't buy anything while they're
in town. They don't take advantage of the Lumbee Recreation Center, which
is very excellent recreation center. They don't take advantage of church
services and we're the most church-going people perhaps in the nation.
Uh, many of these things and I'm wondering, uh, if perhaps some of this
----------- on the part of white students and white professors could'
e+ ;r4 L4t4U
be, appear that they might ad ------ ------on the part of the Indian
people or as you said a while ago, discrimination by Indian people.
S: Yes, somebody said that they cannot be discriminated against because
of the closeness of the Lumbee students on campus. You know, they only
associate with each other and I know a few of us are extroverts--we get
out and associate with some of theyhiites. They feel that the Indians
doesn't of the Indians--don't want them to associate with them and the
community on the whole is the same way.
I: Uh, huh. I think this is very sad. Uh, for example, the VISTA workers
who come here are in training and this is part of their education.
And they, to them it is an aggressive--it's a progressive thing.
And they go out and meet people regardless of attitudes and they
learn in doing this. And, also. perhaps, better develop their
personalities and their ability to get along with people. But,
uh, you can't expect, I suppose, the average person to do this,
I mean, to me human relations is a great adventure and I will venture
into a black community or a white community at times and deliberately
seek out relationships because I wans to know about other people
as well as my own people. But, not all students and professors are
that outgoing, are they?
S: No, they're not.
I: And I suppose there's not anything we can do to change that, perhaps
we could mention some of these things in print and encourage people to
come to know each other better, one way or another. Do you think the
establishment of a club or some kind of organization, say a tri-racial
organization to encourage people to know each other better would be a
S: It would be very worthy.
I: That's certainly a good idea. Maybe we can establish something like
this for the future. Because afterall we still have to inhabit the same
county and, uh, can you think os something--anything else that we might
do to improve relations in the various groups?
S: Uh, I don't know whether this would be acceptable or not, but I feel
like the allege should be willing to lend some of its facilities to
the high school, such as more auditoriums for our pageants. We haven't
been able to have a pageant or a concert. And, uh, the high schools
and the colleges should work closer together.
I: I see. Well, uh, I recall that in 1954 such an attempt was made by
Dr.--by the late Dr. Herbert G. Oxiendine who asked for a leave of
absence from Pembroke State College and who offered to become principal
of Pembroke High School for a period to try to raise the standards of
Indian students because he wanted them to be able to enter Pembroke, but
the County Board of Education turned him down although he had a Ph.D.
and although the local board had voted overwhelmingly to accept him.
Yet, the County Board of Education vetoed the whole thing. And it
didn't work out that way. They just didn't seem to understand or
something at least it didn't work out. So perhaps there is bad
rapport between the county school system or systems, perhaps we might
say and P.S.U. Perhaps, that should be improved. As you and I know,
uh, the county system is comprised of about 65% Indian student and this
particular school district in particular could certainly use federal
rapport with P.S.U. and vice versa because the institution is always
going to be hampered if the political structure among the Indians is
counter to P.S.U. then P.S.U.'s going to have one heck of a time, you
know, in accomplishing anything and I think if both sides recognize this,
uh, that perhaps we'll eventually see the need of better rapport. And
until we see the need of better rapport, then nothing's going to be done.
S: There needs to be more cooperation between the university and our high
aC r f4( e. +,
school. The university could publish a lt ri but high school
magazine that they've started along with the.. .the University refused
to do it. Whereas, other universities like Western Carolina University?
Uh, It would print the high school's literature thing.
I: Which would simply be a printing project and nothing else, right?
S: It was simply a matter of them being considerate enough to help out
and they wouldn't, because I made the request myself that they print
something for the high school and they wouldn't.
I: Uh, huh. And of course, uh, they wouldn't--the printing cost would be
paid in that case? Or you have to. .
S: Well, assistance to finish the papers and everything. There woukh't
be anybody losing4--f anything, they'd be gaining.
I: Uh, huh. Be gaining by the interchange?
I: Well, this is something to be regretted. I don't know what can be done
about it. It seems that things are going to get worse before they get
better. Uh, but we do know that the University is duty bound to serve
not only whites, not only Indians, not only blacks, but all and does it
seem to you that they're falling down on their responsibility to the
S: Yes, they have.
I: And, well, this is very sad. And, uh, we'll just have to keep trying
to, if they don't do it willing then we're going to twist their arm a
little more and we're going to keep twisting their arm tl. they do give
us more as we had to do in the case of the Indian study courses and
as we had to do in the case of saving Old Main, which they were deter-
mined to destroy. And, uh, I don't see any other alternatives, do you?
I: I sort of put you on the spot with that question, it wasn't a fair
question, really. Uh, do you encounter any other problems on campus
other than the fact that you are an Indian student? Can you tlink of
any kind of problem might come as a result of being an Indian student?
S: Of course, I've already mentioned we have to, uh, we're not able to
associate or make friends as easily as if we'd been white. We can't
make as many friends because we're Indian. We aren't readily accepted
by a lot of them.
I: Uh, huh. In other words, mostly you can make friends only among the
I: And, uh, do you think, uh, we've talked about that the Indians were a
little reluctant to the Indian students. Uh, do you know, of course,
you can't look at this as objectively perhaps as some people could.
But do you think there's more reluctance on the Indian part of more
reluctance on the black students' part?
S: That would be hard to answer, because it depends on the individual and
the attitudes they've got out there. I know it's hard for some of the
white students to meet some of the Indian students. But I would think
it harder for the Indian students to try to get know the whites.
I: Well, it seems very sad and I do hope that progress can be made in this
direction. I remember that I visited Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee
last year with Professor Adolf Dial and they were definitely in control
of that black institution. I mean, uh, black people had the favored position
as always. They had not been demoted; they had not been de-anything.
And they were still holding their own. -------------. o you think we've
been soldori river, so to speak, by some of own people who were in key
positions and should have looked out for our answers but didn't?
S: I think so.
I: And its certainly a bleak-looking picture at the moment although we
have made some progress was made. .marvelous progress really. And, uh,
I certainly hope we continue to make progress. However, there was a
complaint which came to my ears several weeks ago about a professor
who had the habit to referring to Miss Lumbee in derogatory terms like
Miss Firehouse or something like--of this nature. Did you hear anything
like this or shouldn't--wouldn't you like to comment at all?
S: I just casually--I just overheard some comment about Miss Firehouse
and at the time, I didn't know they was talking about Miss Lumbee--
I was surprised when I heard the name Miss Firehouse.
I; Well, I remember this occasion and on this occasion, uh, when this
complaint came to me, I immediately got on the telephone and I talked
to a white student who knew the professor very well and asked the
white student, you know, about this man personally. But, somehow,
the message got to him before I could ever even get on the phone to
get to him. A friend of his, an Indian friend of his, was getting
back to me and pleading for this professor that he was being misunder-
stood and this man who has been a professor at P.S.U. d u".ed in
the past, said, Lew, if you don't, uh, if you don't talk to this man,
this professor and tell him that, uh, this isn't resented and people
know that this is a mistake and so birth and assure him that he won't
sleep a wink tonight if you take this to the paper, this man won't
sleep a wink tonight and the theory here was that I would publish this
in a newspaper _aa and. .soon as I got off the phone, he asked me
if I would talk to this manpAnd of course I told him certainly I would.
And I would like to talk to him very much. And, of course, the
professor called me then and he said he misunderstood and he apologized
profusely to me and I told him I didn't see why he should apologize
to me but that it seemed that the student and professor was the logical
nne. And, then he pointed out that if he did apologize before the class
then he would lose control of the class in some respect that the class
would not respect him as much. And so, you know..
S: I think they would respect him9ore especially)the Indian students.
I: But anyway, I didn't publish that because I wasn't clear if it had been
clear-cut case and it has happened a number of times as some of the
students said it had then I could have gotten clear evidence I would
have published it. And, you know, regardless of the outcome, I would
have published it--a report and tell people as a news reporter but,
uh, do you think this sort of thing if it happens at all--happens
rarely or that most professors aren't this bold to throw Jrsitevl r
on Indian students especially an Indian student who represents the
entire Lumbee people is the horror of the situation to me. And, of
course, I pointed out to him, if you don't respect the symbol of the
Lumbee Indian, you don't respect Lumbee Indian, and I couldn't see
if any other way. Uh, but do you think this is perhaps a singular
case and that this sort of thing doesn't usually go on?
S: That sort of thing doesn't usually go on. I mean, if a professor
a student in class can sense whether or not that professor is
prejudiced and once is enough. They're all prejudiced that's the
reason I said, that we need more Indian teachers than what we've got
because I think that the students would feel a whole lot better sitting
in a class up there with an Indian teacher before them than going to
every class and everyone of the teachers being white.
I: Um, huh. But an Indian student goes to a white school, you know,to
a traditionally white or to a college that was traditionally Indian but
which now is, in fact, white, or largely white. This student, you think,
has a handicap because of conforming patterns outside his own sphere of
life and his own social sphere.
S: Right. I think that the Indian professor can understand Indian students
more so than the white professor could because he's been raised in this
community more than likely. He's been raised in this community and he
understands the problems of the Indian student on campus.
I: Um, huh. Well, uh, we certainly hope that these things all turn out for
the best for all of us and, uh, I certainly want to thank you for your
courtesy in giving us this interview. Is there anyding else you would like
to add to this?
S: I would like to see Pembroke State University the best Indian. .the
best college offering Indian courses to Indians. I fink thistg.hat 1+t
should 4e the nation since it was originally the first Indian college.
I: And all groups of American Indians throughout the United States are
very proud of Pembroke State University and Indian schools, wouldn't
you think? Uh, from the reaction we've had, you know, during the Old
Main Movement and during the present movement..
S: Yes. Pembroke State University is more or less assembled to the Indians,
especially Old Main. It's something they had to fight for and it's some-
thing that they find wrong.
I: What would you say to a young Indian person who iant rtd coming here
to school but had a choice of going elsewhere and financial ability
to go elsewhere? Would you say that they should come and accept
the challenge whatever it was or, just try to get out of the whole
thing and try to live somewhere else where they would be treated
S: No, tell 'em to come to Pembroke State University. Uh, the reason for
this--I had the chance to go to Chapel Hill but I changed my mind and
decided I would rather come out here to Pembroke simply because it
had been the school that my grandfather and my parents and everybody
else who would fight so hard for us to maintainI.I felt like it's
something I could learn--it's. .it makes you feel proud to walk by Old
Main out there to see it's still standing.
I: Yes, it's still standing. Uh, for example the American Indian Movement;
there were so many Indians from other parts of the United States here this
week and the building which the Robedson County Board of Education has
erected at. .uh. .near Lumberton at the Board of Education is an Indian
school and they say that this is. .should be marked as an Indian school
hnd, uh, they're talking about taking drastic action and this is. .
may mean even occupying the building. Matter of fact, Bome-of them did
sleep there the other night and.
S: I think that they should keep the building or the building should have
one that this was an Indian school.
I: Well, it does have on it actual "The Old Be School" because .
what it does actually have it is "this is a typical school" of,
you know, the beginning of the 19th. .. of the 20th century. Uh,
do you think this is misrepresented?
S: I think so. I think the Indians are being misrepresented by that.
I think they should have Indian on it.
I: Um, huh. Uh, is there anything you would like to add to this?
I: I certainly have enjoyed interviewing you and what you've said has
been most helpful, I'm sure and I want to thank youagain for the
Doris Duke Foundation for the University of Florida and its history
department. You've been very helpful, thank you so much.
S: Your welcome.