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LUM-55A Transcribed: 2 75-
INTERVIEWER: Lew Barton
INTERVIEWEE: Katherine Weber
B: ...23rd, 1973. I'm Lew Barton, interviewing for the Doris Duke Foundation
American Indian Oral History Program, under the auspices of the University
of Florida History Department, Dr. Samuel L. Proctor, Director. This after-
noon we are in the home of Mrs. Marilyn Taylor, in Pembroke, North Carolina,
and Mrs. Weber, the wife of Colonel Weber, who is head of the Republican
Party in Reoberen County, North Carolina, has favored us with an interview.
We are so r t to talk with you, Mrs Weber. Would you give us your
full name, please?
W: I'm Katherine Kingland Weber, Mrs. F.R. I was born in Savannah, Georgia,
I studied here at Pembroke University, and I also taught math here. We have
gotten late into politics because our thirty-seven years of survival activities
were spent in the Army. As an Army girl I realized that I was brought up on
thetheory by a father who was a colonel and by two grandfathers who were
.generals that an Army officer did not participate in politics. They supported
the country, the President was their Commander-in-Chief, and regardless of
his being either a Democrat or a Republican, he was their Chief, and they
didn't try to vote for him or against him or have anything to do with his
situation. It was do or die for the country; so we did come late. I think
my leanings were toward being a Democrat because I did spend that much time
in Savannah, Georgia, and at the University of Georgia when I was a girl in
B: Did you give it much thought when you were deciding?
W: Actually, not. When we registered here in North Carolina we were immediately
told that we could be either Democrats or Republicans, but if we were Republi-
cans, we couldn't vote except every four years for the President, that there
W: were no primaries. If you buy a home and decide to live the rest of your life
in a country,you feel that you would like to be involved in its government,
so I became a Democrat and I have been a Democrat...I had been a Democrat for
fifteen years when Colonel Weber ran for United States Congress, and then he
said to me, "Kate, I don't think you should be a Democrat when I'm running as
a Republican," so I said very well and I registered as a Republican just two
years ago. Since then I ran, as you perhaps know as the Republican, the only
Republican on the Board of Education in Reber o County, and I got over two
thousand votes, which I thought was perfectly marvelous.
B: Oh, it certainly was.
W: There were eight Democrats running...
B: I voted for you, I want you to know that.
W: Thank you sir, I really appreciate it. If you have a baby I will kiss it.
B: I'm wondering if you mind telling us what you think the Republican Party has
done, what it has done' I the past few years. As you know, this has been a
one-party county for a long time, and it's been referred to as the Democratic
stronghold, and yet we are making some inroads, are we not?
W: I certainly think we are, having gotten a Republican, Jim Holshauser; elected
after...as a first in seventy years. We could say that as Republicans we've
made great steps forward. Of course, what we've done is to have discontented
Democrats decide that change is necessary, and we know as just residents of
North Carolina that change is necessary, because we're so low in so many areas.
Our education, like we're 49th, 48th, 47th, in all sorts of things, and we
shouldn't be because we're one of the oldest colonies, oldest states. We're
in a beautiful location in the central coastland, where we have people coming
through us from North Carolina to New York tourist trade, and we're accessible
to everywhere, accessible to the north and to the west and to the south. We
W: have beautiful everything. We have gorgeous mountains and wonderful sea
coast and the land is so beautiful, and the people who are here are so
wonderful. I've always liked North Carolinians, whenever I met them around
the world, and I certainly feel that it's a wonderful place to live. We
elected to come.
B: And now you're a North Carolinian.
6:** 1i fla /t
W: Now I am...I certainly am.
B: How does it feel? You fit in so well. Could you tell us something about
your experiences as you campaigned? Did you get around and talk to a lot
W: Wll, I was awfully interested in it because I got into education late in
life. I was asked here in Robeso County to teach...teach French because
we had come back from Paris, stationed in Paris. Well, of course if you
live in Paris you can teach French, so I did teach at St. Paul's, but it was
my first year of teaching after I had gotten my degree from Flo O-
13. oh IZ co,,, -...h/
McDonald College, the beautiful little college that's been absorbed by St.
B: A very historic college, the most historic in the area, I'm sure. Or it was.
The building's still standing, by the way. What are they doing?
W: Oh, it's a very expensive girls' private school now, and I think quite a
good one, with good possibilities. We taught there the first year they opened
it as Vardell Hall. I taught geometry and English. Well, my first year of
teaching was a mixture of history. I studied enough, been an American History
teacher in an American dependents school in Frankfurt, Germany, and also here
in St. Paul's, so I studied the history of our two parties and they've
changed the names, you know, from Whigs to Republicans to Democrats, to this,
to that, to Tories, and so forth, and of course we have the question of the
W: Left and the Right, and which we mean by what we say, and people change and
a name gets to be a question...the labels change and get to be a matter of
semantics. I think, actually, it's a question of perhaps older people, I
think a great many older people feel more conservative than younger people
do. I think younger people are full of get up and get and violently anxious
to doA greater things, but as they get older and more settled in life they
realize the sensibleness of conservativeness.
B: Yes, they are so idealistic, but we need this too, I guess.
W: Oh we do. We certainly do.
B: Would you give us your impressions of this area, since you've been here? I've
often...I've alwfis taken pride in the fact that our people are very hospitable
people, very kind people, easy-going...
W: No question about that.
B: I'm wondering about your impressions, because this helps us, helps all of us
to see ourselves here through your eyes when you came here new and fresh. Of
course, we've lived here so long that we take many things for granted, and we
don't even know what's different from other parts of the country oftentimes.
W: Well, I did come in with new and fresh eyes, I believe, because I had lived all
my life as an Army dependent--a word I'm not too fond of, but--daughter and
wife...as a daughter and wife I've lived all over the world, in foreign coun-
tries and all over the United States, and I've gotten along wherever I happened
to be, but the Army takes care of its own. It hasn't been difficult. This
ts the first time that we lived...were out on our own, and I must say that
we were received with open arms and open hearts by the people who are our
neighbors and the people that we've met in the schools where we've been and
where we've worked. They did elect my husband Mayor of the town before he
retired from the Army, which you can't do, but he told them he couldn't be
W: it but they said, well, we won't have the meeting till after you're retired
and then you'll be it. So he did, and that's how he got into politics, more
or less. They didn't ask him he was a Democrt or a Republican. They
just knew he was a good man.AMy feeling about politics here is that it needs
good people in it. Terry Sarford, who is an outstanding Democrat in these
parts made a speech at the college, Flora McDonald, one time, and said, we
want you ladies to get into politics, and if you say that politics is dirty,
then you should get into it and clean it up. Which is pretty good sense.
They said that a long time ago. I thought about it myself...when I did get
into it I thought of that. If I am an honorable person, if I do have the
good of my country at heart, which I feel sure I do, with father and sons,
and husband and brothers, and grandfathers West Pointers, I feel very strongly
that duty, honor, country are of vital importance. My grandfather on the
northern side married a southern girl from St. Augustine, Florida, and they
had great experiences there with the Seminole Indians. He helped, interceding
with the president. Later McKinley...I think it was not McKinley the first
time, I'm not exactly sure of the dates or the time. He did come to St.
Augustine in 1836, and it was ik that time of the Seminole uprisings that
he was involved with it. That's the wrong grandfather--I've mixed up my
grandfathers. My other grandfather--that's the great-grandfather on my
mother's side--my mother's father--was my mother's grand-father--my mother's
father was captured at Chickamauga Park as a Union captain and was in 'iy1
Prison for sixteen months, and then was out west on the...in the fighting of
Indians. Mother wrote a book about...grand-mother wrote a book about it
which is extremely interesting to me, and would be, I think, to Indian cul-
ture. They were at Ft. Apache and te troops, the company was out and the
troops for wives and children were left at the fort. This is a thing that
W: frequently happened. Grandfather got back and went down on a dam...they had
"a dam holding back the water for making the...keeping the fort going...and
"a young group of Indian chiefs galloped across on their horses with their
rifles drawn, and they saluted to him, waved to him, and he waved to them,
but it was kind of at the time of an attack and the next day one of the
Indian women said to grandmother, you know the captain was perfectly safe--
or the colonel, I don't know what he was at that time--was perfectly safe
because we know he is our friend and we know that he's not the one, not
among the people that the young chiefs would hurt, that anyone would kill in
an uprising. So I thought that was more...then there are stories about the
blankets, having to move them from reservation to reservation, or south, I
guess, bringing them south for the winter, making them go south. Dreadful,
dreadful things. Of course, I was brought up scared of Indians. I have to
admit that. My mother and grandmother were very frightened of Indian attacks,
and an Indian was a scarey thing to me, as an automobile is today, or an
airplane, although I'm a pilot and love it when I'm flying,Ay myself I don't
like to dri4e with other people driving.
B: When did you learn that Indians were not all that bad?
W: Well, here at Pembroke. I think this is the first time since we moved into
Robefson County it was the first time...well, I had an Indian nurse in
Alaska when I was a small child, but I didn't know the difference between
an Eskimo then, or an Indian. There was...tfe were Indians.
B: The knowledge we get about Indians, unless we actually come into contact with
them, we get it from movies and-seo-on, and television, and so forth.
W: Yes definitely. My movie...of course, when I was a child...I'm rather old,
I'm up in my sixties..when the movies came out the Indians were all the bad
Indians, there was no question about it. And then suddenly, on T.V. recently
W: they began to be good. And of course, we've got Tonto, good Tonto, and the
good one with Daniel Boone, but I don't know whether there really was a good
one with Daniel Boone. I don't know whether he was friendly with them or not.
B: You know, there was a little girl in Charlotte several years ago when I was
visiting my sister over there and she said to her mother, "Those Indians will
kill you." And the mother says,/4 in the world i/ \/Vc frT Indians, what
makes you think that? She says, "I've seen them on television. I know they
will." And so these stereotypes do hurt, you know, they give the wrong impres-
sion very often, but of course the Indians are not the only scapegoats, Lit-
erature has to have scapegoats, and newspapers and so on, but I think we're
living in the most benevolent period for the American Indian ever, and I am
so proud of the things that President Nixon has done for the Indians. His
Indian program is so far-reaching, and I'm very thrilled about this and I
know you are. Maybe at last we're on the right path.
W: I have a question to ask you about Indians. We were stationed at Ft. Sill,
Oklahoma, in the late 30s and Lawton, the town there, is among an Indian
reservation. It' an old Indian area, and there were always Indians on the
streets that we saw when we went into town, which was not often. But some
of them had blankets around their shoulders, and then there were other Indians
who drove in to market in their Cadillacs, who were richer, so much richer
than any of us were, that they were, you know, millionaires from the oil
fields, from oil that had come in on their land. And so, we've always known
that there were milXioiaire Indians, whose daughters went to college and
B: Very few.
W: ...lost being Indians, maybe? Or the ones who stayed on being Indians, and
I've heard people say that people o are on the reservations are the Indians
W: who really prefer to be Indians, who want to live in the wilds--as wild as
they can get--of course, you don't have a buffalo herd anymore. You don't
have the good economy you had. But I agree with that a hundred percent.
To me, my dream is not to go to Holiday Inn but to go to a cabin in the
mountains with no electricity, but with a bubbling stream down the side of
it, and a beautiful view, and starlight, and peace and quiet, and no gas
fumes, and no nothing. Of course, I think I'd have a hard time shooting
a deer or a buffalo if I had to waitrktilPl got that shot to live off, I
would probably want a few modern conveniences. I have to be honest and
admit that this coffee is wonderful, and I like it. I like it hot and
ready! But I was wondering if you aren't so far, as Indians, so far ahead
of us in the important things of life--the spiritual, calm, beautiful, time
to think and time to dream. The words, the vocabulary of the Indian were
so magnificent. The names were so great and wonderful, that that seems to
be so much more important than this rat race we're living now. My kids
going to New York, and living in a hurly-burly of horribleness.
B: Do you remember Henry David Thoreau's Walden Pond?
W: Oh yes.
B: I think he had the right idea, and I think he had,he must have had some
Indian in him. One...the Indian philosophy is -s- h different from that
of the Caucasian, and- the complaint of the Indian is that my white brother
is never satisfied with things as they are. He's always changing something.
If the furniture is perfect in the room, it has to be changed, and the
Indian is more content to leave, especially natural things, as they are,
and live in-harmony with Nature. By the way, the Indian is the one ho
U f' '* I Cc.i.,Y?^ .'6
has preached about preserving our natural resources for so long, and now
finally, at last, we're coming to see this as a nation, and we're coming
B: to see the necessity of it. There is a song out, an Indian song that they
wouldn't listen...I told them if the eagle died...you know, it starts with
the eagle...that there would be no ruler of the land...they wouldn't listen...
they wouldn't listen...they wouldn't listen to me...and then it takes the
story...it's sort of an "I told-you so" song, but it's a simple philosophy of
life they have. The.. Sioux Indians, by the way, are operating a factory
and they run on Indian time, which means that everybody, they own this factory,
and they go over there and each person works as long as he wants to and
quits when he wants to. You wouldn't believe it, but this this is a very
successful and very efficiently run factory, because one person may come and
he feels good and he may work right through the night. He may rest for twelve
or fifteen hours and then come back. I guess you've noticed around here that
when you go to an Indian meeting, it never starts on time and never ends on
time, and when it's over everybody jst stops and talks and sort of acquaints
themselves with the happenings of the day. This is very irritating if you're
used to a rigid schedule, and I'm wondering how you feel about this, being
an Army wife.
W: Well, I was brought up on...my father brought me up to be on time--on time
for a party and on time for dinner. I think after the cocktail hour started
then people could be late for dinner, because if they didn't want to have
a cocktail they could come a little bit later. But it certainly a discourteous
thing to a hostess who's trying to have food ready and hot at a certain time.
I was brought up to feel that way about it. But staying late--the good parties
did stay until two or three o'clock in the morning--people singing and talking
and visiting. I do think that anywhere I've ever been there are always people
who come in late, and as a matter of fact I believe my dear husband is one
of the people who feels that nothing starts until he gets there.
B: And it probably does.
W: And it's a little hard.
B: Well, you have a great husband. I wonder if you've noticed, well, I know
you've noticed some of the problems--could we talk about some of the prob-
lems you've encountered since you've been in the Lumbee Indian...the Lumbee
W: Well, my great sorrow was this firig-old Main, last week, because my husband,
again, Colonel Weber's office was there for four years, and I studied there,
and my daughter studied there in that building, and my grand-daughter studied
there in that building; so our family haq four people who liked it very much,
who felt it was a tradition, who remembered the high ceilings and the big, old,
comfortable lecture halls, and the nice auditorium, where so many graufiations
took place, the stage where we saw some very fine plays on tour, fine Shakespeare.
It was the kind of building that could be done over so easily, I mean, of
waxed polish, resanding the floor, just the plain, beautiful old wood in it
would have been great to do. The wide windows were fine. I think it needed
very little. It didn't need to be redecorated, it was a handsome, strong
structure the way it was. I hope that they will just do it over again.
B: I seem to remember a letter to the editor you wrote when A 54ve O/0 /', r
ag movement was in full swing, and it was so...r=3pyeu ..it was so eloquently
put. I wish we had a copy of that to read on this tape, because it was beau-
tiful, the way you put it.
W: Oh...I think maybe I can remember what the concluding line was, that we should
throw away the Liberty Bell because it had a crack, and we should take down the
Tower of Pisa though it was...because it was leaning, and we should get rid of
Old Main because it was...whatever it was they were complaining about. Of
course, now that we settled the main thing, which was to put the auditorium
4O :. t 4'
W: in a new spot, it would be ridiculousAa new auditorium in that crowded spot,
because there's no parking and the proper facilities...it wasn't the place.
B: Well, you may be interested to know, if you haven't heard yet, that we're
not discouraged at all about renovating Old Main. We have assuracSe that
Old Main will be renovated, and the only thing you can burn about a brick
building is the woodwork. Of course, that has to be torn out anyway, which
would have cost money, so your good friend, United States Indian Claims
Commissioner Brant /Ir (/ told me in a phone call several days ago, Lew,
they did us a favor, he said, they saved us some money. We were going to have
to tear that out anyway, so don't despair, because if it's at all renovatable,
it will be renovated and used On) O r / sc ----
W: Very-Hre...v ey-rtle.
B: You know him personally, don't you?
W: Oh yes, I've met him at the meetings here 6-/ -, I found him very
friendly and understanding and understandable.
B: Could you give us any hints or suggestions or any ideas about improving any-
thing in the county ? This is generally an easy-going, lazy, lacksadaisical
county, all of us in it, I think. We're not...we're not on the move as we
might be if we were in Chicago or some other place like this, Ne ) us
And we do let out problems pile up4 but have you been encouraged by such
changes as have been made since 4.ou -med here?
W: 4Hy.gracious, yes. In eighteen years, unbelievable. I think the housing, of
course, is the most noticeable thing--the lovely houses that are being built
rand lived in
Sby everybody. We have an old house about, going on a hundred years old .qi, I
guess, now, and I find it, like Old Main, something beautiful and old I like
to keep. I do think that new, comfortable, modern houses are wonderful Now,
as having run for the Board, the School Board, I would like to say that I
think one improvement we could make is to go backward, and that is to have
W: small, neighborhood schools that are easily accessible to children. I rode
buses from Ft. Benning, ten miles into Colombus, Georgia, ae-a-girf when I
was in high school, and I found it wearing and exhausting and not particularly
uplifting. If you were terribly in love with somebody, or you have a crush
on somebody, you want to be on the same bus he's riding on, but other than
that, it's not, to me, very worthwhile. You don't study well on a bus, it's
too noisy, you get throwing egg sandwiches up the aisle, and I couldn't eat
an egg for two years after riding a bus and having an egg smeared down the
front of somebody else's sweater, but I do think that I have...did go to
fourteen different grammar schools, so I had convents and private schools
and expensive schools, and schools in beautiful buildings, and I had little
one-room schoolhouses at Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia, during World War I they
put...took a rom 'r J+e bLCk of headquarters and got a young sol-
dier who was a college graduate to teach all the children on the post, and
we were from first grade through high school all together. And it was wonder-
ful. I was about in the second grade, first or second grade, but I had all
these older people doing all these fabulous things, reciting poetry, and
talking about history, and talking about the world, and talking about arith-
metic, that I eventually would have a chance to learn, and I didn't under-
stand, perhaps, then but 1:h'?y could do it, and I thought, well if they can
do it next year I'll be able to do it, because next year I'll be eight years
old, or I'll be nine, or whatever I'll be, and I'll be able to do all these
things. I remember what the teacher said about. .showed us the importance of
a decimal point, and I've never forgotten it. One young man was enthusiastic ,1//
and he said, tomorrowI'm going to show you the most important thing in the
and he said, tomorr6c Ar
world, the thing that you really need to know. It's true if we couldour
Congressmen, either Democrats or Republicans, to understand the importance
of a decimal point, we might not be having all these budget troubles, and all
this business of appropriating millions and billions of dollars--they don't
W: even know what it is. You can't conceive of it. I don't even...it's hard
for me to count to a hundred for my grand-daughter, for my grand-daughter
to count to a hundred and then you talk about thousands and millions and
billions. The human mind can't conceive of that much money any more than
it can understand Cod.
B: Was it a little unsettling to move, you know, from place to place?
W: Unsettling is probably the word., ;i probably was perfectly unsettling ..the
way you use that word, but to me it was always joyful, and after a year I
began to paw the ground, I'd want to go on to the next place, wondering where
we would be later. We were stationed in Washington a lot, and in Boston, and
in Alaska, and Hawaii, and France, and the Phillipines, and Germany...
B: The Phillipines I've been to.
W: San Francisco, thep, treS o 1 San Francisco, which is a beautiful place,
and Ft. Benning, Georgia, nine times, the Infantry Post, I was infantry, or
my father and husband were infantry. BApically, air borne paratroopers.
B: We have a good many problems, but inttime, the Indian$ Ceguk,;V-\ rff"
with other communities throughout the United States. You know, I'm of the
opinion that every community is a unique community, that we shouldn't try
to make old communities reform any more than we can make old people conform
to certain things. It's good to drive across the country in this great land,
and notice that there are differences. Every community should have character.
Do you think we're losing some of that, and everything is tending to be
W: Well, yes, you do. mathematically, you know, you have your ups and downs,
and if you have fewer ups and fewer downs you get a level, straight line going
along, you get mediocrity, so that's what we want to try to avoid. That's the
way I feel about our private schools, our little schools, I mean, our neighbor-
hood schools. If you have your children close in...now that the truth is coming
W: out that money, the size of the lights in the room and the softness of the
chairs has nothing to do with how much children learn, aside from having an
inspired, dedicated, happy teacher--now, you ctn have a teacher who's very
inspired, and if she has forty children, she can't possibly keep them quiet
and teach them. You don't want them quiet. I like a noisy class. I like my
children bubbling over, and going ahead, but the bubbles can get pretty loud
if you don't have a sound-prodf door between you and the next class, or a
sound-proof wall. But I feel that children educate each other,nthat our
schools have reached a terrible low, all our schools, in learning anything.
We were always involved in getting young men into West Point, having them twd;,
GO a 1l examinations. It's a beautiful, $50,000 free education if
you earn it, but you have to be appointed. That gets back to Congressmen
again, or _yi -_ presidential if your father is a military man, or
killed...Medal of Honor winner...died for his country. My brother's son
has just won one. His older son was killed in Viet Nam, shot down flying a
helicopter. His youngest boy, was the one who won the appointment to West
Point for this year, and they're so happy about it. He went to Army schools,
wherever he could go, wherever his father was stationed, and it hasn't hurt
him. I've never heard of moving around from school to school as having hurt
an Army child. There are some who don't do well who weren't going to do well
anywhere. You can put th6m in the finest schools and they don't do well.
B: Do you think people who travel most and who move about most in this country
love it and appreciate it most?
W: Well, I think they do love it and appreciate it, Iut I don't know that they
do more than the people who love it who know a smaller area. I think that
you can't...it's impossible to measure it. W!s just like it's impossible
to me to say whether capital punishment is a deterrent, because the only way
that they can judge it is to say this many people are murderers and they
W: weren't deterred. They can't possibly count all the other millions of people
who aren't murderers who have been deterred, because most people don't come
out and say I would have murdered you last night, but I sure don't want to
get electrocuted myself.
B: This is one of those intangibles, isn't it?
W: Yes. We have certainly loved our houser-we have two acres, and this old
house, and a beautiful garden that keeps blooming in spring, it's beautiful.
See the flowers I have on? Narcissus and camelias, the azaleas are coming
in, and the violets are blooming perfectly, purple violets.
B: After ten years of war I think this country needs beauty. This is why IM
Just so thrilled working with the T011_ "_1_ '. program.
W: Oh, I've read about it and I'm so impressed. I think it's wonderful.
B: We were over at Wilkes High School several weeks ago and we asked for total
participation and my duty as poet-in-resident is to teach kids to write poetry,
and you only have a week to do it in. We had almost a hundred percent parti-
cipation. Everybody we asked to write a poem wrote something, and some of
them were great...some of them were great. Young people have so much potential,
they have so much idealism. They are the ones who are seeing things with fresh
eyes for this country.
B: You know, there was a time when kids-were to be seen, not heard. It isn't that
way anymore, and I think we're better off for it, don't you?
W: To a certain extent I think we've got to have a little bit of strictness, a little
-yo," Coh\ i1
bit of holding down limits, I guess, for our children. Because I was thinking
just yesterday how much I used to be looking forward to bebable to...old enough
to do the things that I couldn't do now because I was too young. Of course with
me, as a girl, mother was saying when you're a young lady you can go to parties
and have beaux, and have orchid corsages and you mustn't have your vaccination
W: on your shoulder because it will leave a scar, that.sort of thing.
W: The poetry, when I was teaching English, I found that if I said to a class,
tIwhen I was a child they didn't tell me I could write poetry, and I thought
poetry was written by old gentlemen with longAbeards--Longfellow and...but
I found out later that"Thanatopsis" was written by William Cullen Bryantwhen
he was seventeen or nineteen, when he was a very young man. So you can write
poetry and I want you to write it, just go ahead and write it. You can do
it as well as anybody else, because the spirit of poetry is the important
thing. It's the feeling you have, the appreciation for beauty. It's not
whether it rhymes and it's not the meter--that's the mechanical thing that
comes in later..
B: It's the expression that counts.
W: ...but it's the words that you're saying. Of course, blank verseAwas intro-
duced as a possibility, I think...opened up great challenge for a great many people.
Because the structure of the old thing was so difficult.
B: There was an expression that came out of l '' program--
"All I have for tenderness are words." I like that. I don't know why,
exactly. Some kid wrote that, some young person.
W: I was working with the Red Cross in greeting the wounded soldiers brought back
from Korea to Japan one time, and in our training they told us that work was
love in action. That,your expression...tenderness...all I have for tenderness
is words, sort of goes along with that., that Cor PaNi J CCec.
B: We are so...we )re living in a scientific age, are we not? When we rush along
pell mell and we never get caught up and we don't have time to pause and medi-
tate, we don't have time to think and feel and enjoy as we once did, when we
were leading a more casual life. But I think this is necessary for our res-
toration, for our renewal, all these things--pause and pray, or think and feel,
B:O, try to get in touch with your subconscious. It's very difficult to do in a
busy city, when everything is going at break-neck speed, but I think t-hat
human beings need this. It's vital to our human, to the things which distin-
guish us from the lower animals. But I'm not supposed to be expressing ideas,
I'm interested in your ideas, and particularly your impressions in the community
here, anything that you have to say, any-suggestions or any recommendations
for change. If you had the opportunity to change anything in Robeson County
that you could change, if you could just wave a magic wand and change anything
in this county you wanted to, what would you=ehange?
W: Well, I've had a little dream about my town, you know, Lumber Bridge is...has
ninety-eight people in it.
W: Ninety-eight people in it. Well no, that's wrong. It had largest increase
in the last census, because it went from ninety-eight to a hundred and sixteen,
which was a tremendous, percentage of increase. But I would like to put a
glass dome over it that would reach about a quarter of a mile--it's just about
that big, it's just a crossroads--and restore everything that's there. Rebuild
the old \school with the old white collins, and put it back just the way It was
1900 or and
in.1905, all the old lovely antique furniture / the families. Of course,
it couldn't be, there...the descendants-have even left now. But just to keep
the old houses with the cupola and the building, and the high tower in the
corner, and the houses built like steamboats that are now deteriorating, you
can see through them. The stores, it's said there was a hotel, an old rail-
road station. The train goes through every day and blows its whistle and I
B: Oh, you've got me dreaming, fro/1y
W: I'd like to make it a museum and open houses, have little velvet cords across
and let everybody come in
and see how people did live. The washing was done in the back yard and the
W: pecans were picked there and the fields were full of cotton, and people in
beautiful...well, when we moved here people were still in beautiful, faded
pastel colors, picking cotton, and the cotton machine came in. You were
talking about meditating a minute ago and I was thinking about the Tibetan
monks...the Llamas, who we study as having been thinkers...but didn't the
Inidian, wasn't smoking the pipe of peace and.... didn't you, or don't you
still sort of sit around the campfire and have thinking and thought.Q'.' ,Ci 'j
B: Yes, I expect this is the idea behind it.
W: ...meditation.. liife.
B: Of course, when the European Americans came to America there was no alcohol
here, so you brought us alcohol...
W: You know...
B: ...we gave you tobacco, and probably lung cancer.
W: I appreciate your apology, however, I don't smoke 5o / a, but I
do like a cocktail before dinner, so I...I'm continuing with my own sin that
was brought in from Europe.
B: I remember a passage I read somewhere...a native from _1bo .\o way
back in 1584 gave some Indians some wine "which they liked-very well."
W: Yeah, I imagine they did.
B: They have been liking it ever since. However, more seriously, there seems to
be something about the Indian personality which cannot tolerate alcohol, and
for this I'm sorry.
W: Well, I didn't know if that was true or not, it's sort of a superstition that
we have, or t'at I was brought up to believe, but I had thought it was something
to do with the 5/rer --are those the people who were on the edge of the
plantation,-the people coming into the reservation as traders that bought
skins and furs and the things that the Indians brought in and traded to them...
they traded them some lousy, rotgut liquor for it, and they'd take it because
W: they'd been out in the plains and were hot and tired and thirsty and they
would enjoy having a good drink. They could rob them.
B: It probably wasn't very good liquor.
W: It's been going for years. Well, it probably was getting a lot of beautiful
skins, too, for practically nothing.
B: )I think it's just about universally accepted that the way to get together on
a business deal or a political deal or anything is to have a little alcohol
W: A little instant relaxation and friendliness.
B: Unfortunately, I can't participate because I'm one of those people who can't
drink, so I don't. I haven't enjoyed alcohol in about twenty-two years...I've
known that I couldn't.
W: Well, that's probably the whole thing in a nutshell. I think there are prob-
ably as many that haven't got anything to do with the way the Indian, or black
or white, or green, or brown, or yellow, or what...if you drink too much it's
not going to be any good.
B: Right. It's the personality, I think, of the individual...that's probably...
W: A policeman Miami was giving a lecture on drugs and he said the difference
between /lcoho and dru was that if you drank enough alcohol you fell off
the stool and couldn't drive home, but you could go on using the drug until
you thought you were flying high andhcould drive your car home and not...you
would be able to drive a car home, to get in the car and start the engine and
drive it but you couldn't do it and you'd go up a tree or down a ditch or
something, or into another car.
B: We seem to be having a new problem in the Lumbee River Valley and that is mari-
juana, which has only reached here within the past four or five years. I
remember doing a story for the newspaper, called "Strange Grass Comes to
B: Lumbee River Valley." It just never got here before, it just didn't, but now
we don't have a great problem yet, but there seems to be a problem in the
making. Does this...does this.
W: 5 sure distress g terrible yes. I have, quickly, a thought of...
a flash of hope comes to my mind and that is, I have a feeling of, it's just
a feeling because I don't have anything to prove it by--my feeling is that
Indian fathers have better control over their families than say, us American
fathers do over teil children, and that you can perhaps influence them to
stop, that perhaps this...the power of the chief hasn't been overthrown yet
among the Indians, and that you can say to your boys when they're young, you
cannot do it and you must not do it because it will ruin us, it will wipe us
out, it's no good, it will wipe you out. We had a son who died of it. And
so I feel...that's why I feel strongly about it. He was very talented and
got to be an actor and was...he had a part in this Bonnie and Clyde movie,
which I didn't think was going to be so fine. He was on television and...
really had the world at his feet. I think he didn't want success and didn't
want to...face up to it, but he was killed on a motorcycle during the New
York __ _----_______ I think he<^ a S/ r/ .
B: That's very bad, I'm very sorry. There are certain advantages in living in
a quiet community and certain disadvantages. Maybe we should think about some
of the disadvantages fVDo you find them very pronounced and very numerous?
W: No, the only one that I can think of instantly is if we have a fuel shortage,
we're going to be out in the country, and have to go a long way to get to the
grocery store. Twenty miles, forty miles round trip. That takes a lot of
gas. Of course, you can make it once a week or once or twice a month and get
a lot at one time if they do ration it as they did sff-Wrld WarII, we're going
to have to start thinking about that. But that was also a good thing, because
W: people got together. If you were going someplace you called two neighbors and
you went as a group, and there weren't half so many cars on the road. A
third as many cars on the road would certainly be an advantage to this
country. I'm very much in favor of not building any more highways. I think
we're soon going to have something like a snowmobile that will go through
fields and over grass and through woods and won't have to go on a muddy road
or a dirt road, and we won't have to have all these highways.
B: Maybe something like the...the little contraption they had on the moon.
W: Yes, little beach buggies, little dune buggy type things, and of course, the
snowmobile, which is for snow, would certainly go well over mud, I should
think, or dirt. And this hovercraft, you know, that sails a little bit above
the ground doesn't even leave any tracks. We've got that and the we've got
the Buck Rogers ,is s --the paratroopers at Ft. Bragg, you know, can
fly with a little jet...
B: I'm very sorry we got interrupted by coming to the end of the tape and I was
so fascinated that I didn't realize that we had gone through one side of this
tape. You're such a fascinating...such a fascinating conversationalist and
so forth. Do you think we can re-cap some of the ground we covered and lost
on the other side?
W: I'm afraid our priceless words have gone off into eternity and won't be cap-
tured,but isn't it wonderful to think there is a way to make them permanent
on a tape? We were talking about the hovercraft and not tearing up the world
for ecology, for highways and bird's nests, =B rooting up the bird's nests
because we think that modern transportation will soon be available for indi-
viduals and we won't need roads, so we don't need to destroy. That was part
of it, and then we were talking...I wonder if we have the part talking about
W: the simple life that we both approve of and like, the beauty of nature and
the sadness of what can happen when modem technology comes in, as the
tourist trade builds up. If they're coming for cultural reasons, for the
beauty of the memory and the history of Indians in this area, through the
pageants and through the beauty of the University cultural side...
B: I think there is great beauty in simplicity, myself. Maybe it's simply
because I'm a simple soul, but I tend to write that way and speak that way,
and I think to be simple...well, if you can be beautifully simple you can
reach a maximum audience this way, or a maximum readership this way.
W: No question about it.
B: I...we were talking about politics and good politics and bad politics, and
I think we mentioned something about one very objectionable practice that
you probably find in any community where people are set at odds with each
other in order to gain some political advantage. I recall that several
years ago a gentleman was running for governor and came to this county, and
there was a fish fry given and the opponent slipped something into the fish
fry, into the fish, so just about all the Indians who came out that night
W: I think I remember hearing some-t-hing-about-it, but I didn't know that it had
been done, I just knew that it...oh, gracious.
B: So it can .degenerate into a low, pretty low level.
B: But I think efe- Republican campaign was a beautiful thing...I don't recall
anything like that at all.
W: I think there's a great thing to be said for the elder statesman type person
in politics. My husband, for instance, has made his mark, he's fought his
battles in war and won them, and he's doing this as a retirement activity,
W: more or less, so that he's not trying to make money, he's not trying to
make any more name for himself. He's able to be dedicated doing what he
feels is the right thing to do and helping people who need his help, and
I admire this phase of it very much. I find it quite an effort, quite a
struggle in lots of ways, but the main object, to me, is rewarding. I
wouldn't like to have to go to live in Washington again. I love it and I
could do it if I did it simply in a hotel room somewhere, but, even going
to Raleigh, ifl-I. had to do -6 I would face it, I would do it, but I'd hate
to have to close up my pretty home and move away, although I have been
doing it all my life and I'd do it again, I'm prepared for it.
B: Can you tell the difference in the air, the very air you breathe here?
W: Oh, heavens yes!
B j'Very invigorating.
W: Flying as we do, you know, we go down over Jacksonville and Charleston
and we go up eOWL Washington and New York and we see this purple cloud of
fog and smog across the earth's surface below the...just above the horizon,
we get above it and then we're all right.
B: Have you ever flown over the Outer Banks area?
W: Yes, yes we he.
B: Around Cape Hatteras?
W: We went out over...about Wilmington, and then out and then up through to
Manteo, and back in to ,. '. .- and we went out the other way, down
and around, so we'vebeen out several times. I landed at Cherry Point one
time; we had a North Carolina Petticoat Pilots meetingand -the-field, that
field is so long and so wide at Cherry Point that you think...I looked down,
and I said, "Is that a bug on the field or an airplane?" It was a /<./6I.
just like ours, that landed ahead of us. The field was ten airplanes wide,
W: and the plane, instead of taking up most of the field takes up a mere tenth
of it. It's three or fours miles long.
B: But it was right in this area, as you know, that the present United States of
America:was born, had its birth, and our people, the Lumbee Indians of North
Carolina, had their births there too because it was there that they came into
contact with- /MffvwJi/- and Barlow, also with the other two colonies
thht came later, and finally they joined w t-fc y called rte Lost Colony and
moved inland fifty miles and kept coming in this direction...the settlement
took place on the coast and moved inland, but our people have allong history
of friendliness with the colonists and with other people as they came. But
you were talking about flying over the Outer Banks--there is a place there
where the Atlantic and the Pacific collide. This is a geographical curiosity
and there's a place where the water shoots into the air. Do you recall this?
W: No, I'm fascinated.
B: And they say that the coast has recessed and moved considerably from the time
that j',;S 2! and Barlow came over here, but I tried to cover some of
this in my book The Most Ironic Story in American History, because I did a
lot of research in that direction and I was proud that our people can identify
with these things and can actually claim "Well, I (r,frp'i a birth &aim
to this country." I think this...I think a certain amount of pride is neces-
sary for any people in order that they may advance, that they may take pride
in themselves, but there's always the danger that when we do this that we may
go to extremes, you know. I think Hitler was an example of extreme...far-
reaching extreme...what something like this can do when it's completely out
W: Yes, because his start was quite good, his was down and hungry and he
united it and got it going. We were there for the 36 Olympics, you know,
W: and at that time it was a joyful place. They were united and happy and all
working together for one thing and he hadn't begun to do the bad things that
he later did. He got caught up in a tide of evilness and wickedness that
swept him, virtually, to destruction. But actually when attacked the
Russians, well, I thought, maybe he's not as bad as we thought he was. It
was such a new thing. I think with -Linburgh trying to help us, if we could
have stayed with him we might not have had that war at all.
B: Right. And the world is really a small place. I remember just a couple of
years ago when he was interviewed by a reporter from the Tokyo News Service-
and he was sitting on the couch with me in my humble home on Barker Street
here in Pembroke and I looked at him and I said, "This is almost amazing.
Just a few years ago we were shooting at each other and r=a here we are
talking together peaceably." And this was not Indian and Caucasian fighting...
this was on a much larger scale. Being a military wife, I hope you won't
object to that description.
when /.: -'
W: Oh No. We had a friend, Colonel Weber's commanders Ser Go n7the Navy
post nearest Japan...nearest Korea in Japan, the Japanese Admiral and
Commander of the Japanese Naval Base had been a Lieutenant...a Captain in
the Embassy in Washington on the night of December 7, December 6...and we
were sitting there at a dinner party at his house on the floor...it was a
small, intimate dinner of eight people, and I said, "I understand you were
in Washington, that you were responsible for bombing us at Pearl Harbor."
We were stationed in Hawaii at the time it happened, and "You almost got
me," and he said, "Oh, I'm glad we didn't." And I said, "Tell me about
it." He said we got messages, well, he told the part about they had tele-
tAc-, tapoa ves ;
graphed it and said what would we do if...what would America do if tfy
went into Singapore and they said nothing at all, and they said what, they
W: do in the Phillipines, if we want into the Phillipines? They said we wouldn't
like it, better not do it. And they said what would they do if we went into
Hawaii? And they said all hell would break loose, don't do that. Then they
got the message to destroy the papers and they were up until two or three o'clock
in the morning of December 7 burning important papers, what they thought were
important papers. Oh, while you were talking about...before that I remembered
that in the 21st Infantry in Hawaii, the regiment we were stationed with, there
was a beautiful Indian, a young man probably twenty-one, who was the drum-
major of the band. He wasn't the musical leader of it: Sgt. Courtney was the
band leader, but he was the one who wore the tall bearskin hat and carried the
stick, and did the march, the beat march for parades, you know, leading the
band. And he was the young man who came to help me out with my domestic
arrangements. The December 5th was our oldest son's birthday, and he came
to do the party. I had the party on Saturday, the 7th, 6th, I guess, before
H69O li- /U.
Pearl Harbor and he was off, had a pass to go off to hunt-a-i-tt4e- and came
back early to do the birthday party. He said, "Oh, Mrs. Weber, I didn't
want to leave you alone, having a birthday party with all these children by
yourself, so I gave up my day's pass and came back, and that was probably the
last day's pass he had for a long time, because after the attack our troops
were out on beach-heads and that was therend of comfortable living for a
year or two.
B: I would imagine. I can remember December 7, 1941 very well because a Lumbee
Indian friend of mine was home and he was in the service and the news came
over the battery powered radio, and I was living in a little shack at the
time, and he turned to me and he said, "How would you feel to be wearing the
uniform of your country and hear this news like this?" and I said, "It's
terrible." And it seemed that I could never be satisfied after hearing the
B: description of what had happened at Pearl Harbor, so I asked my local
draft board to induct me, although I had two children at the time and
was married and...it just seemed so lonesome at home, and that I was
shirking my duty and...I didn't feel good about being left back at home...
it was such a different war from the Asiatic war, you know, which was
a very unpopular war, but World War II.. we were attacked became a very
popular war, and I knew so many people, Indians, who felt this way. I
felt it very definitely myself, I felt a pull, you know, to be involved
in this struggle for the very survival of our country at this time, after
it had been attacked. But those tvo wars have no relationship with each
other at all, do they? I mean as far as popularity is concerned.
W: NOt really, no...noeia4een. Oh, in Hawaii I had another beautiful
Indian friend. Her name was Marian and she was part French
and part Hawaiian and part Cherokee. She was as tall as I am, or slightly
taller, and dark, and beautiful and she had the most lovely, long hands
and long fingernails. She was perfectly lovely. Her husband was in the
class of '36, which is the class of General Westmoreland, our present
General, Westmoreland, was a member of...my brother was in that class.
They came back and were stationed with us at Ft. Benning after the war,
and Connecticut, where he lived, Bridgeport, kept sending for him to come
up and run for Congress, and finally he resigned from the Army and went
up and ran for Congress as a Democrat, and the only way they were able to
beat him, because he was such a war hero--he had gone into the Phillipines
and rescued our prisoners who were in (&,;u?.j, / AVad gone in quickly
and secretly, and gotten there before any massacres could take place, and A/
rescued all the American prisoners who had been held in the Phillipines.
It was a marvelous thing. I remember reading it in the Saturday Evening
W: Post, as well as hearing it later directly. Well, these horrible Republi-
cans--now I'm a horrible Republican myself--but the thing tat they did
at that time was to get a very prominent politician from a very good poli-
tical family, who was respected and credited in Connecticut, named Henry
Cabot Lodge to come down. He's the one who's, I think, illAnow but has
been ambassador to Viet Nam recently under two or three of our recent Pres-
idents. They got him to come down and run against this...my Henry /ALlj i
for Congress...and his wife spoke Italian, there was a large Italian dis-
trict--Henry was of Italian di4 a-tac-ion, /Hf/ name, but couldn't
speak any Italian--I mean, he was the second generation or third generation
American, so...I don't know how much Indian you speak, but he didn't speak
any Italian, but Mrs. Henry Cabot Lodge did...
B: Very little, I'm afraid.
W: ...and she came down and spoke Italian, probably just said a few phrases,
like John Kennedy did when he went to Berlin, he said, "Ich frJ rfin
...Americanich..." or no, 'I am a German',' Iguess...what did he say?
B: I don't remember that actual expression...
W: Well, he said one sentence, it was something like...
B: ...I remember he did have a little German...
W: ...well, he had one sentence, practically, that said...that won the people
over because at least he made the effort to speak their language. Well,
she came down and was credited with winning the election single-handed by
having spoken a few Italian phrases to the Italian voters.
B: I wonder if you've come across any speech peculiarities or dialects, Lumbee
dialects that you'd identify as being distinctly Lumbee? That you've noticed.
W: Well, I certainly don't notice any in you, and I...I was thinking about on
the telephone, you don't even recognize it...if you're looking at people you
W: think about their accent, you just think about their faces. Two girls that
I talked to on the telephone who were Indians--I don't notice one of them,
an English teacher, and her diction is beautiful, and the other one is an
older woman and I don't seem to notice any...I've paid attention to...I
don't have a very good ear, I'm not musical, and I have to define it and
spell it out to myself in order to pick it up.
B: Mrs. Taylor refers often,Awith amusement to the use of bes, you know, the
use of bes, and she quotes a girl as saying something like, "If this test
bes as hard as the last one, I don't know how I can make it." Have you
noticed the use of this? Instead of is, it's bes, or...
W: Yeah, that's possible. We have a great-grand-daughter who's learning to
speak now, tet can walk, but our grand-daughter has been visiting us for
two months and seven days, and she has a few of the childish expressions
that we're tempted to correct, but I hate to correct, but I hate to correct
them because they're so babyish and so characteristic of the child. Our
son had a very hard time with breakfast...breakfast...and she does, too,
she has...and spaghetti...spaghetti and breakfast are two of the words
that our children have trouble with.
B: I think dialects are very colorful. I'm fascinated...we have even different
dialects in different parts of the county, and the Indian communities...I
can usually recognize a person who comes from the Prospect area as speaking
a little bit differently from the person who comes from another area of
the county, say, Fairmont, or a place like this...But I'm conscious of
speech. I've paid a lot of attention to it and I guess that's probably the
reason for this.
W: You know, I've been wishing I could have my grand-mother's book. It was
published in 1898, and its out of prin here are two or three in the
published in 1898, and it's out of print." There are two or three in the
W: family but I don't have one. I made a copy, I borrowed one from somebody
and made the copies of it, but the part...I think you would like to read
the part about theIndians. It's first-hand stuff...she wrote her reaction
to them and her husband's reaction, where they went traveling by wagon with
a troop of infantry, a company of infantry, through the west. They went out
all the way to San Francisco and up to Portland and then up the river and
back in to Montana and Wyoming. My mother was born at Ft. Kio, Montana,
and then they went backnto Ft. Walla Walla, Washington, and then they
went down into Arizona and Ft. Apache., They were traveling not by rail-
road,some of the time by railroad, and some of the time by boat--paddlewheel
and so forth. But a lot of it was just marching, and at the time they
marched they had a wagon, a dougherty wagon, or an ambulance, they called
it--four wheels and pulled by mules that the wife and children rode in.
And of course, they did have these Indian attacks and it was in the 70's
and 80's--it was after the Civil War that it happened, because mother and...
grand-father and grandmother weren't married until after the War.
B: I would like to ask you if you would like to comment on it, if you have an
opinion on Wounded Knee and that is happening there.
W: We went out to Texas, flew out to see our daughter, at Ft. Herd, and she
was reading the massacre at Wounded Knee, and she was so angry about it and
so stirred up and so intensely interested in it, that she wanted to send
us book when she finished...to read me part of it while we were there,
which she did. Of course, during Christmas holidays we didn't have very
much time to get away from the children and read a book, but I did know
the word and I was very interested in it when it first came up in the
paper, the original...I.mean, the original story of Wounded Knee was fresh
in my mind when the present Wounded Knee came up. We went down the morning
W: that the Education Buildingfwas trapped by the Indians, and we were on the
Indian side for that. It just happened to be...perhaps that was Republicans
and Democrats...we felt that the entrenchment...entrenchment is not ever
good. Anybody who gets in power and stays in power for seventy years has
lost a lot of his motivation to do...to do good, to put it mildly. This
has to be true, it's just eternally true. A benevolent despot comes up
once in several hundred years, someone who's really dedicated to doing
good for the peoplA. I think the rest of the time he wants to eat and
hunt and do the least he has to...get somebody else to collect the taxes
that pay for what he wants to pay for. I'm afraid that that's true, and
I'm afraid that it's still true in our government now. I think that peo-
ple are in it for money. The fact that they spend so much tremendous
funds, campaign funds...we spent, I think, about a hundred dollars on this
last campaigg,A running for...my husband was running for Commissioner of
Labor on the state ticket, and got over a half a millioti.votes, which is
terrific, in North Carolina for a Republican. Almost got elected, as a
matter of fact, but we didn't spend ymy money for it. We didn't put any
bumper stickers out, we didn't \' any billfolds on it. All we
did was go on a radio station, which invited us to do it, free, and inter-
viewed...any interview that anyone wanted to make for us that would go in
the paper for free. That reaches the people...but I think that's the way
it should be done. I think people ought to be...it ought to be a whispering
campaign, word-of-mouth. People ought to say,"You know, there's a good man
named Weber, lives up at Lumber Bridge. He's good at heart, if you vote for
him you won't be...you won't be mistaken." And if you trust your friends
who tell you that...I voted for a governor here, recently, as a Democrat,
and I didn't know anything about either Democrat. My next door neighbor
W: said, "Oh, this is a good one, or that's...-h4-s better than the other one."
Actually, I thinkthe one w just went out, Bob Scott, I think I voted for
him but I'm not at all sure, and it was just because my good neighbor next
door said...she's a Democrat and I knew she'd lived here all her life...she
would know more about it than I did, but I'm afraid she really didn't.
B: That's often true, but I think it's great that in this country, even though
minority groups don't have the same opportunities as other people always,
there is, nevertheless, opportunity, you know, for all of us. And I know
this from experience because in my own case, for example, I was listed on
the North Carolina Literary Map, the only known American Indian to appear
on a North Carolina Literary Map. I never thought about trying to acheive
this consciously, yet it happened. This past year I had...I initiated two
of the top ten stories for this area, and this is a Lumbee Indian doing
this. I was mentioned in the International Who's Who in Poetry last year,
s*d I was also included in the Personalities of the South...many recogni-
tions like this. I guess the greatest thrill of all, though, was being
recognized by my people and receiving the Henry Barry Lowry Award,because
was local, but when you stop to think that these things can happen and
they do happen. And just because you're an Indian, this doesn't mean that
there isn't opportunity. Ittakes a lot of hard work, it takes a lot of
dedication...maybe these are not as great achievements as some people see
achievements but to me they mean a lot because my life has been dedicated
to expression and to the promotion of understanding between people, and
just the other week when I was poet-in-residence near Winston-Salem and I
reached all those people and they invited me back, and they wrote me a
letter and said, "We want you back, we're going to set aside two days and
call it Lew Barton Days' so we can get acquainted and just think about
B: peace, and love, and things like this for those two days." And I said to my-
self, "Oh, Lord, if I can just live up to something like this!" you know,
this is beyond my wildest expectations, but what I'm trying to say isthis
is still a great country and this is still the land of opportunity, and it
grieves me when many people fail to see this, and they're so demanding, and
they see all those negative things and they don't see any of the positive
things about our country. I think every group has the problem of prejudice,
I think, it's perhaps a universal thing. I remember when I was in the Navy
when we went in a shipyard at Norfolk, Virginia, anx people didn't like
sailors, at all.
W: And they couldn't have lived without them.
B: Right. Soldiers, okay, Marines, fine, but sailors, no. And I wonder why
this is, and I think it's because there were so many of them, you know?
Where there are large numbers of one particular kind of people, people have
tendencies to eet them, and maybe this wa the reason. I'd like to get
to the root of prejudice, and discover, you know, what the socio-psychological
influences which make prejudice the thing that it is.
W: I think the Navy thing is a little bit practical, that when a crew comes
ashore after months at sea, or six months, or a year, they want what they
want in a hurry and quickly. The waterfront gets to be a tough neighborhood,
and for that reason, the people...the respectable people living further back
from the shore want to isolate them or have a definite prejudice against
them, or against ha their daughters go down to the coast at the moment,
at the time a ship is in. I think that's an eternal thing that's been going
on. You answered my question that Trwas formulating when you were talking,
by saying that you had alway-s been dedicated to helping people understand
each other and to expression...expressing yourself. I wanted to ask you."*
W: ...we started talking about the minorities having a difficult time. Of
course, every minority does, if you want to classify it...you could say,
"Well, rich kids have trouble, because they've had everything and they've
never had to struggle against anything, so they're at a disadvantage..."
and they've. provedit...it's very difficult to find a distinguished son
of a distinguished father. I think the McArthur family is one of the
unusual ones, that the famous general of the Civil War, a good general,
and the next son was, and Douglas was, and they carried on the tradition
without, more or less, skipping a generation. Most families do skip a
generation...the child that has everything doesn't strive for it in con-
nection with a majority...with a minority, a persecuted minority, you
were talking about Indians; it also came to my mind that the Jews at the
time of Christ were a tremendously persecuted, poor, struggling group of
people. They had risen before and they had gone down and they had gone
up and ieme- down at the time that He came along they were very down, but
He had motivation within Him, of, perhaps, to help in addition to being
the Son of God, which I think we're all the children of God, so I think
we really don't have any problem. As long as we all are, we're all bro-
thers and sisters and we don't have anything to overcome. As far as I
can see, we don't really have any problems.
B: Well, I think if everybody could see it that way, it would be a wonderful
world, if we could learn to accept each other a human beings, fellow
human beings, and go on from there andg4t some of the differences...
I think some of the differences ought'to be remembered. It's necessary
for a struggling group, or a group like our group--we've been sort of
underlings for a long time and we need to take pride in ourselves and
this is true of,.many groups, I think. I think it's true of the black
B: community also. I think we've been told that we were inferior by expres-
sion and by action so much that we've actually begun to believe this our-
selves, and this is bad, you know, because if you believe that you're inferior,
then your performance will be an inferior performance. For example, an
extreme in this direction happened a few years ago when my mother-in-law
ordered some kerosene delivered to her trailer,her house trailer, and this
boy came over and instead of connecting the kerosene tank to the kerosene
line he connected it to the water line, and when she turned on .the spigot,
out comes kerosene, you know, and when she chided him.about this, or criti-
cized him about this, he sag, well, I'm just a poor country boy and an
Indian boy at that. I'm not supposed to know anything...you know? Sort
of justifying this horrible mistake. Add it's easy to do this, you know,
if nobody demands or expects anything out of Indians, then the Indians aren't
going to produce very much.
W: Well, that can be reduced to the individual situation, too. In a family,
if a mother expects a child not to, he won't and if she expects a great
deal or treats him...he reacts the way he's treated, I think, and with each
other it's true. If you treat someone as though they're honorable and
smart and good and kind, they'll generally behave in an honorable, smart,
good, and kind way, so it's very true in teaching. If you expect your
students to do something and assuming that they can do it, it's like telling
them they can write poetry, and they write it. That's a beautiful example.
B: And they very definitely can and I've encountered this attitude among our
people too often and it's bad to see. Many times we do take it...this
attitude, or some of us do. We're content, therefore, to go along...
W: Using it as an excuse for not working harder, yes. Well now, do you have
a division among the Indians, or is this just a rumor that is...
B: Yes we do, unfortunately. Indians have always been a little peculiar about
names. In the old days, in the early day-s of colonization, if somebody
in the tribe fell into disgrace, they changed hiname4..or if they were
ridiculed. It's sort of like...I don't know if you know much about the
country--poultry raising and that sort of thing--but there are certain
chickens that if you put your hand in erir nest they'll leave the nest
and go build another nest...and Indians are sort of this way about...for
some reason, about names, so our people are forever arguing back and forth
about names. The name, for a while, was okay, and then somebody comes
along and attaches a derogatory adjective to it, and right away the
name starts losing favor, so we rve been changing names pretty well. We
presently have three groups, really, and of course when a community splits,
I doubt if they've had some help from the outside, but most of them are
not responsible for those things t hataipelled. You have the Lumbee
Indians, and this is the official name of our people by an Act of Congress
and also by an Act of the General Assembly of North Carolina, then you have
the Tuscarora, then you have the ECIO, and you have these three groups.
W: What is thi- ECIO?
B: The Eastern Carolina Indian Organization. But I went to a meeting...
W: Are they east of here, or do they...
B: ...no, it's all, they are from east, the eastern part of North Carolina.
But we are all these things, we're not just one tribe, but we're all these
things really. The nucleus was the Hatteras Indians, then there was the
Tuscarora, and during the Tuscarora War of 1711...yes, 1711...there was a
SecitC of Tuscarora proper which fought on the side of the colonists,
and naturally after the cessation of hostilitiesthey were not received back
into the fold with open arms, so they settled here. Our people here fought ,o a
B: on the side of the colonists; the Tuscaroras who fought on the side of the
colonists were those who fought under Tom B'unt. So they settled here, and
the rest of the defeated Tuscarora removed...they migrated to Niagra Falls,
New York, where they could join the Five Nation Confederacy. But during
that war there were some Indians on the other side, captured, hr ___- C
who were also incorporated into the tribe. Also there were some Cherokee
who fought in that...some of them settled in this area, so we are...we have
these, we have all these, and each...you have even today people who are
strongly in favor of the Cherokee, strongly in favor of the Hatteras, strongly
in favor of this or that, but a few years back Reverend D.F. Lowry and other
people thought that we needed an umbrella name f-G/the people, the Indian pfr,/
people of Indian descent in the Lumbee River Valley, and so they formulated
this bill which was passed by the General Assembly of North Carolina on
April 20, 1953 and by Congress on June 6, 1956, and this Bill states that
we are recognized as American Indians, but it also carries the stipulation
that we shall not receive any special privileges because of our status as
W: Now why < that? Afraid to get taxpayers' money involved?
W: Sounds about like that's wh-at it was.
B: Yes, this was it. And it was passed at a time when termination was the policy
rather than self-determination, as we have under our present President. So,
our people were really, instead of resenting the name Lumbee, they're really
resenting this-Act which is discriminatory, and which has been said to be
discriminatory in an Act in Congress, which hasn't passed as yet. In other
words, we have no special privileges and this law takes it away from us.
It gives it to us in one breath and takes it in the next. And this is
B: what they really resent, and some of our people are so incensed by this.
They just disclaim any association at all with the name Lumbee, and they
hate the name, they've come to hate the name as much as they ever loved
W: Well, can't we have it changed? Can't we get another amendment to the
law and undo the injustice? It seems to me that kind of thing can be done.
B: Well, this is what we attempted to do a'um the Jordan Bill. People were
so upset about it. This law, and it is the law of the land, was read by
a federal julge in a school case in 1970, and the judge who read this
was Judge Al-geen N. Butler, and he read this, he called a recess. He
said, "I've never seen this law before. I want time to study it." And
he did, and he came back and he was very sympathetic towards the Indians,
he SayS, however, this is the law vso he could give no relief.
W: But it can be changed, I mean we put Prohibition on and took it off, and
got income tax on, and here we ought to take that off, that income tax.
B: But the Jordan Bill, which was introduced by Mr. Jordan, seeks to strike
out that discriminatory clause, which is all that's wrong with the law.
But instead of that, there are some, especially our uataught people, who
say, "I hate that name...I hate it."
W: What is the discriminatory statement in the law? That's unfair?
B: The statement which says...the statement which says that we are American
Indians, but in the next breath says that they shall not be entitled to
any special privileges because of their status as Indians.
W: But are they entitled to all the privileges of being an American?
B: Yes, they...
W: Because then, if you're equal to all the rest of us, I should think that
legally, you don't have...
B: Yes, but this is something that our poor people miss, and our uneducated,
some of our uneducated people miss because they've been poor all their
lives, they haven't had the advantage of an education, for whatever rea-
son, they are largely illiterate, and they do desperately need help. I
think this is reall- vterrlre. And so -7 if f ;"4 push the
whole thing out of our minds, like burning down a barn because you expe-t
-tr-os s rodehts inside. But it's so hard to reach the, and explain these
things because so many contradictory statements are made, sometimes by
the press. The press is so mixed up, you know, especially on the subject
of Indians. When you come down to specifics, they know practically nothing
W: Well, if you think it's mixed up now wait till you see how mixed up it
is if they don't have to quote their sources, they can say anything they
wnat to and say, "Oh, I don't have to tell you who told me that, or where
I heard that." They can print...it will be giving them license to print
anything they want, they can't print it. I think it's absolutely...it's
like gossip, you know.io fu can say, have you heard so and so is beating
his wife, or...you don't have to tell who told you or where you heard it,
you can embellish it and flower it, hold everyone spellbound while you
tell anything you want to tell. No strings attached, no sense of responsi-
bility. I think it's dreadful. I don't see how anybody thinks it's good.
B: Yes, it is terrible. The Indians have alway-s been good for headlines, and
all newsmen know this, and they take advantage of it. They don't bother to
be careful simply because there aren't enough Indians to pressure them into
being scholarly or very journalistic or anything...