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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
L: This is Janie Maynor Locklear with the Doris Duke Foundation Oral
History Program under the auspices of the University of Florida.
Today I am at the Lumbee Regional Development Association Offices
here in Pembroke. Today is May 21, 1973, and I am talking with
Mr. Arlie Jacobs. Mr. Jacobs tell me a little bit about yourself
and your position here at LRDA.
J: First let me say that I am a Lumbee Indian and I am proud of
being one. I call myself a Lumbee Indian everywhere I go. My
position down here at the Lumbee Regional Development Association
is right now twofold. I am working with Cooperative and Housing
as of last week.
L: What was your position prior to last week?
J: Well, I was full Coordinator of Cooperatives. Now, I am down to
half. That is Cooperatives and Housing.
L: Tell me a little bit about the Lumbee Regional Development
Association, some of the programs that they have here.
J: Well, Lumbee Regional Development Association has four different
components. One, being the Neighborhood Youth Corporation, that
is NYC, one, Adult Basic Education, that is ABE, and another is
Talent Search. It is the one I am working on, Economic
L: How long have you been employed here?
J: I have been employed here since October 12, 1972.
L: You said that you were working with cooperatives. Can you tell
me a little bit about what your initial project was or what you
began doing when you started?
J: Well, when I came to work here there was a need impressed upon
me. That was some type of organization to promote and display
Lumbee Indian Arts and Crafts. Because our people were being
assimilated as far as their arts and crafts are concerned (most
of their culture has been assimilated), we felt through
identification with some type of arts and crafts they would feel
more organized and come together under one basic culture.
L: What types of crafts have you ran upon that peem to be located in
J: Well we have quite a bit of pottery and basketry which they use.
The baskets are not made for artistic purposes, they are made
for use as tools in agriculture. We have quite a bit of carving
L: Can you tell me some of the local people who have been leaders in
establishing craft traditions in their families?
J: Well, I am proud to say that I have an uncle and he is one of the
better known basket weavers among the Lumbee Indians.
L: Give us his name.
J: Cleveland Jacobs.
L: You said the basketry was used for some type of tool and so
forth. What type of basketry are you speaking of?
J: Well, white oak is a hard wood and it has a long life as far as
use is concerned. The baskets are made to gather at harvest time
and to transport any type of material that you can think of.
They can be readily counted by hand.
L: Now, what process does he go about in getting the white oak?
J: Well, my uncle is blind, but he must go into the woods and find
this white oak. There are two types of oak, one you can use and
one you cannot, it is too coarse of a grain to use. But we have
to use the white oak. It is smooth grain and it can be readily
stripped to make the cane and ribbing for baskets.
L: And he does do this himself?
J: He does it himself.
L: Is this a family tradition that he learned from someone in a past
J: Well, it was my understanding it was prevalent among quite a few
families. Whereas now, being blind and handicapped he can do it
as a means of income. This is one reason that he kept up the
tradition. I understand it is in the community that I am from.
There are quite a few that at one time did make baskets and some
type of woodwork using white oak.
L: Well you talked about basketry. Now, you mentioned woodcarving
and some of the other crafts. Can you tell me a little bit about
what type of crafts you are speaking of?
J: Well, there is a little of the woodcarving. That is making some
type of animals possibly used in some type of Indian game. Some
of the older people still make the animals that they see in
nature. There are quite a few Indians who carve animals that
they see in books that do not exist around here. Also in the
wood line there is quite a bit of handmade furniture that is made
in the area. But is is not fully promoted to get maximum
publicity from it.
L: What about in the line of pottery. Do you find that there are
potters who sort of inherited the trade, or are these people that
went to school and learned the trade?
J: There are quite a few who have inherited it and quite a few that
have went to school to learn it. But still, in pottery you see
the same thing that you do in any other type of Lumbee Indian
craft or art. That is, the sole purpose is for use. It is not
artistic. Like the pottery, it is primitive. But yet it is
useful. Also if you look at it in the sense of being artistic,
it can be such.
L: What about in the line of paintings?
J: We definitely have some outstanding artists. They capture what
they feel as being a Lumbee Indian and some of the existence
structures that the Lumbee Indians relates to.
L: Your organization just recently sponsored a show.
J: With the Lumbee Indian Arts and Crafts Association.
L: Right. Could you tell me a little about that and how it was
funded and who the artists were?
J: Well, the Lumbee Indian Arts and Crafts Association was organized
approximately two months ago. For the purpose of promoting Lumbee
Indian Arts and Crafts and to provide any type of services deemed
necessary for its members. The first venture was to display the
work of our best artist and president, Mr. Gene Locklear. He is
a professional baseball player with the Cincinnati Reds. To
carry off this exhibit the Association applied to the Native
American Save the Children Federation in Albuquerque, New Mexico
for a $500.00 grant to take care of expenses, which they gladly
gave. And we are very thankful for that to carry the exhibit
L: This exhibit was paintings by who?
J: Gene Locklear.
L: When was it held?
J: It was held April 21 through May 1.
L: What kind of response did you receive locally from the Indian
community, the white community, and the black community at this
first exhibition you produced?
J: Let me make a correction on that date for the exhibit, that was
April 30th through May 12th.
L: That is 1973.
J: Now the response, from my understanding, was tremendous. We had
3,000 brochures printed up to give to viewers and the general
public and all 3,000 brochures are gone. We sent out 500
invitations for the opening and each invitation was sent out and
we had about 50 percent response from the invitations. In other
words, on the opening day we had at least 250 of the ones that
received invitations come. But on opening day we had
approximately 700 additional viewing public to come in.
L: At the exhibition, how was Mr. Locklear's work received by the
public? Was it favorable or superior? Were people pleased?
J: Mr. Locklear has quite a few different styles. He seems to try
and please the general public. He can paint for the pleasure of
the young. He can paint for the pleasure of the old and he can
paint for the pleasure of the middle aged. So, at the the show
he definitely had some paintings that were characteristic of each
L: What about participation from the white community and black
community? Did you notice in numbers, people from these two
races viewing the work?
J: Well, on the opening day the majority were Indian. Indians that
were interested in the Lumbee arts and crafts. I think this held
true throughout the exhibition. But there were some blacks and
whites that were favorable.
L: What about your response in advertising the showing from local
news media and so forth?
J: Two newspapers carried a full page coverage of it and evidently
they thought it was something great or they would not have put a
full page coverage on it.
L: What papers were these?
J: The Robesonian.
L: And Lumberton?
J: The local paper, the Carolina Indian Voice. Today I received a
clipping from one of my friends. It was carried in the
Greensboro Times. It has been in the Raleigh paper, Charlotte,
Laurinburg, Fayetteville, and it has really made the news in the
L: Were the paintings for sale or just for exhibit?
J: They were for sale.
L: What kind of response did you get there?
J: Well, most of the comments were that our people are not good with
money and Gene's work is quality. To sell quality at a low
price, you would be saying that it would be off quality. Being
quality, his price was a little higher than the public would
anticipate at that time. Because it was his first showing and
all. They did not really know how to price a painting or what
you should do in pricing a painting. But they did feel that it
was a little high for their income. But we have had responses as
far as the price is concerned. Today I received a check from a
gentleman in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He bought a painting that he had
never seen before--one of Gene's paintings. Right now one of my
co-workers has gone to pick up the painting so we could pack it
and ship it to them. Also he is interested in seeing that we get
publicity. He has a friend in Tulsa, Oklahoma who is wanting to
run a two or three page story in an Indian Arts and Crafts
magazine that he publishes. He was requesting the information
from the association.
L: Give me a little bit of an idea about what price ranges of the
J: The medium price ranges approximately $150.00; from a low of
$95.00 to a high of $400.00.
L: What was Mr. Locklear's response to the fact that you had taken
the initiative to produce the show?
J: Mr. Locklear was very much pleased. Being that he makes his
income from baseball and it has more prestige, he enjoys that.
But from what Mr. Locklear told me, he enjoys painting and being
an artist and would rather be associated as an artist, rather
than a baseball player. But compared right now, the two incomes,
baseball will have to come first.
L: Have you found other crafts, for instance, silversmith and
beadwork in this community?
J: We have not had that much jewelry being made. That is one thing
that our Lumbee Indians around here and most of the ladies did
not have, that much jewelry, especially when I was a small kid.
But when a woman had quite a bit of jewelry, she was looked down
upon. So, it would be against the ladies and the gentlemen
beliefs to make jewelry.
L: Were you speaking of their religious beliefs or their cultural
J: It was more of a mixture of culture and religion. The older
people go by the Bible as a guidance. This is, you know, English
heritage. They say in the Bible, when a woman has all these
ornaments that is being of the world. It is worldly and they
look down upon that.
L: So this is your reasoning in the fact that these two particular
crafts, beadwork and silversmith, are not generally found among
J: That is it. That is one of the main things about it that I have
seen among our people. That is in their arts and crafts it was
mainly for use. Because our people settled and they had to
depend on the land and they had to use tools as labor saving
devices. So, actually our crafts, what we now consider a craft,
at one time it was a tool.
L: In organizing the Lumbee arts and crafts what type of an
organizational structure do you have?
J: It is a mutual association basis where there are two types of
stock in it. That is a common stock and preferred stock. The
controlling interest in it is the common stock. That is the less
expensive of the stock. The common stock, the requirements to
purchase, is that you must be a native American of this area.
Those are the only people that have voting power in the
association. Any race or creed can buy the preferred stock and
that is $20.00 a share.
L: How much is the common stock?
J: The common stock is two dollars a share.
L: How many shares of each?
J: We have five thousand shares of common stock and ten thousand
shares of preferred stock.
L: Have you had meetings with your stockholders or have you gotten
J: We have a Board of Directors meeting and we have our annual
meetings of the common stockholders.
L: Can you tell me who some of the people who belong to the Board of
J: The board is composed of three women and two men. I guess you
would say the women overpower the board as far as representation.
But where arts and crafts are, the women carry the burden. The
Lumbee Indians, as far as arts and crafts are concerned, they do
different types of crafts with their hands using materials like
cloth or anything. They make very exquisite arts and crafts--the
ladies do. They are also the ones who have knowledge of recipes
for Indian foods. Basically all the men do is work. He is the
one that sweats in the brow. He utilizes the arts and crafts
that the ladies make.
L: You mentioned work with crafts or your work with cloth. Are you
speaking of the superior quilting and this type thing that is
J: Yes, we have very exquisite quilt making in this area. Just like
any other area there is off quality and we have quite a lot of
L: What promoted your interest in the craft? Were you ever
interested in this prior to coming to the Lumbee Regional
J: Well, when I was a small kid I had to make all my toys and a lot
of tools that we used to work with; like baskets that we used to
gather some of the crops. I had to make those. I know how to
I made two toys to play with, I was not fortunate enough. My
mother and father did not have the income to go and buy toys
because I came from a large family which is representative of the
Lumbee Indians. Or it was in the past, a large family being in
agriculture, it being the basis of their income. They had to
have the labor at home.
L: Right. So, you grew up in what community, Mr. Locklear?
J: I grew up in the Walchula and Cherokee communities.
L: You said you came from a large family, how large?
J: There were nine children in the family.
L: Where are your brothers and sisters? Tell me a little bit about
J: Well, I have two brothers and a sister that have completed
college. I have, right now, three enrolled in college, and one
who is planning on attending this fall and have two brothers in
high school. I have seven brothers and one sister and myself,
makes nine in the family.
L: Where did you attend school?
J: I attended all my schooling, high school and elementary, at
L: And what about your college work?
J: At Pembroke State University.
L: Now you stated that you had two brothers and a sister who have
finished college, where did they attend school?
J: My two brothers and my sister finished at Pembroke State
L: And those that are now enrolled in college?
J: I have one enrolled in the University of North Carolina and one
at the state university, that is North Carolina State University.
I have one who plans to go to North Carolina State University
L: Are your mother and father living?
J: Yes, they are.
L: What are their names?
J: Gladys Jacobs and Paul Reed Chavess Jacobs.
L: Now you have brothers attending colleges and you say one is at
State and the other at Carolina?
J: That is right.
L: Are they financing their education?
J: They work and get some small scholarships. But it is nothing
much. It is not very helpful.
L: What enticed them to leave Pembroke schools and seek education
J: They wanted to get into a technical field, like engineering or a
doctor or something of this nature rather than an academic
profession, like teaching.
L: Did they have any problems being admitted into the university?
Had they any problems entering the main stream of college life
due to their racial background?
J: Well, they have problems associating with the whites more so than
the blacks. I know of one incident my brother had. There are
quite a few whites from this area that go to Raleigh for their
education. My brother knows some of the whites from this area,
but the whites do not associate with them at Raleigh. They do
not seem to know my brothers when they are off from home.
L: What do they plan to do once they complete their education? How
far are they in school?
J: Well, one is in his second year of civil engineering. He plans
to work with the state of North Carolina, hopefully.
L: And the other?
J: He is planning on some type of dentistry. He is taking chemistry
as his major for his undergraduate study. He is planning on
going to some type of graduate school if his grades are good
L: Does he have a desire to come back home and work amongst his
J: Right now he does.
L: You said that you grew up on a farm. Undoubtedly from looking at
your family's educational record, it was instilled in you that
education was important. Was it important to obtain an
J: Well, let me say this, it was impressed upon me that an education
was a plus factor. But the best knowledge that you can learn is
to not disobey common sense rules. That was one of the things
that I was proud of my mother and father of instilling in me;
some of the things that you should know if you had common sense.
That is what you make in life. Just the common knowledge of
everyday can make or break you. And the college education is
just a plus factor of insurance the you have to make a decent
success in life.
L: The other two that have finished college, what do they do?
J: One is an assistant plant manager at a knitting mill here in the
county and the other sister is a teacher at Pembroke Grade
L: Are you satisfied with the Lumbee name?
J: I am pretty much so.
L: What is your feeling when you are out in the Indian community?
What have you found to be the dominant feeling about the Lumbee
J: There is not much hassle about the Lumbee name, it is the hassle
of splinter groups trying to associate with another name. I
mean, it is prevalent among our people to want to have status
quo. They have hustled, they have strived to attain a level that
is still, on the average, poverty. It is at the poverty level,
but it is still not as bad as some situations in the state. But
it is still bad. They realize this and they do not want to
jeopardize the position and their status for a name change or
something of this nature.
L: So then, your feeling is most Indian people are satisfied with
the name Lumbee?
J: Yes, that is it.
L: You said you were proud of the Lumbee name. Can you tell me why?
Why are you proud of your people?
J: Well, My mother and father never did say much about the Lumbee.
They were proud to be an Indian. They instilled in all of the
children that they were Indians and that when anyone said
anything different, they were wrong. But it is having been to
school and had teachings. I have been able to read--something
that my father did not learn to do until his adult age. My
mother fortunately finished college. She is a teacher, by the
An Indian name was pressed upon me as a kid. There was something
that I have read a lot about and I have listened to the pro and
con. I have evaluated it and it suits the purpose. Because any
type name that an Indian has it is given to him by a white man.
I do not care what Indian he is, the first history that was ever
recorded was by the dominant race which was white. Therefore, if
the white recorded the history he was given a white name.
L: In being proud of your people, what generalities have you
gathered in your own mind that gives you pride in the Indian
people here in Robeson county?
J: Well, what really makes me proud of my people is, compared to any
other race in the county, they are more adapted to change but
they are not willing for change. In different areas they are
alike. Some of them want change politically, but they do not
want change around home or anything that is around their home.
But again one of the major things that I see in my people is that
they pick up different type things, vocations or instructions
that are very readily picked up. Especially if it is something
to do with your hands and very straightforward, they are very
L: Have you seen much change in Robeson County in the last couple of
years? You speak about change, how?
J: Well, there is more awareness, and there is a little change. But
for right now, I would not trade the change for the awareness.
We have got to have the awareness before there is profound
change. And we have the awareness, so now I am looking for a
L: What do you see as your role in bringing about the change?
J: Well, I am right in the middle of it. My age group, twenty-six
up to thirty-two, they are in the middle of the change. They
have a taste of the old and they have a taste of the new. They
are ready for change. They can see the benefits of it. They do
not want their kids brought up in some of the situations that we
had to walk through and some of the hazards that a Lumbee Indian
could have fallen into.
L: Do you see the Lumbee people as being a determined people at this
J: They are definitely determined. They know what they want. It is
just a matter of learning the systems of the white man to achieve
L: What are some of the things that you would like to see changed?
J: I would like to see the Indian with a larger voice, in the
future, in controlling the county. We have the numbers to see
this change come about. It is just a matter of putting our
forces to work.
L: Are you determined to give your efforts to them at this time?
J: I have always been determined to see change.
L: What about the double voting issue that is prominent now in the
Indian community? Of course it has existed, the violation, for
years and years. But now Indian people are working to bring
about change. How do you feel about this particular issue?
J: Well, I see double voting as being wrong. It definitely gives
one race, which is the white race, too much control. Too much
voting power. The whites are concentrated in the cities and the
Indians in the rural areas. The population is pretty much the
same. It is not that much different in the numbers as far as
population is concerned. But if you give the whites two votes
and give the Indian one, (the Indian is heavily populated in the
rural areas, while cities have two votes) that is double voting.
L: Can you foresee that once the double-voting system is changed
within our educational system, can you see that really as being
important in helping to bring our people from under the bonds
that they have lived for several years?
J: Yes, I can foresee that. I would like the Indians to have more
of a voice in how he wants his kid educated. By this he can have
his child educated into what values he thinks are most suitable
for his child. And in turn, some of the other systems that the
kids need to be educated about--the processes he must go through,
the way the system functions. Once he learns this he can then
bring about change in the other areas.
L: Do you think the people in Robeson County are qualified to do
J: I definitely think they are qualified. It is just a matter of
being energetic, Lumbee Indian people getting everyone involved
and really telling them the truth and bring about the changes
that are deemed necessary.
L: What do the Indian people say has changed and do Indian people
have control of their school systems? What kind of changes would
you make in the local school system? Would you inform people on
citizenship training? Would you let them know about county
government? Would you enter some of your arts and crafts into
the curriculum? Indian history? Black history?
J: Well, there definitely needs to be more cultural education taught
in the schools. The kids need to be instilled to be creative.
They are not being taught to be creative. When a young kid is
not taught to be creative his mind is left open for him to be
destructive. This is why I would like to see more creative arts
and crafts taught in schools. It entertains his mind. It
teaches them that there is more to life than being destructive,
letting his mind run loose.
L: To what extent do you think Indian people are becoming aware
politically? Do you think Indian people at one time saw no place
for them in politics? Do you think this is beginning to change
and they see a need to become involved in the political system?
J: Well, let me give my personal point of view about this. As long
as I can remember, and as long as I think my parents can
remember, and as long as they have been talking to me, I can pick
up their conversation where there has been someone of the Indian
community that was interested in some type of political changes
that had a slight working knowledge of what was going on. But he
just could not muster the Indian populace behind his beliefs.
Now we are seeing a change from this. We are seeing the Indian
populace getting behind their Indian leaders and behind their
beliefs. They are beginning to believe what the Indian leaders
are telling them.
L: Then you generally feel that sometime ago Indian people could see
no need for political involvement in voting.
J: Let me say this, it is still a personal view. They are pretty
sure. I am not saying that my people were very smart and I am
definitely not saying that they were dumb. From my recollection
I have never had any dumb ancestors. But they can see the need,
they weighed two factors. It was not economical for them to get
up and push politics. Because they were leaning very heavily, at
one time, on the white man. That is where their bread and butter
came from and you had to feed the cows to get bread and butter.
That is what they had to do until they could become independent,
or very much so. That is where we are right now. Our people
have become sort of independent of the white man. Therefore,
they are demanding part of the action. They want to say what
they believe in. Because they have a lot now. They are saying,
"Look, we have fed you and clothed you for a long time and now we
have become economically able to voice our opinions without your
hurting us that much. Putting a pinch on us. So, I can tell you
what some of the things are that you can do."
L: Then, that perhaps can be one of the LRDA's role in their economic
development program by upgrading the economy of the people. It
gives them an opportunity to not be tied.
J: Yes, that is the basics of the Lumbee Regional Development
Association, to educate the Indian. To educate him to depend
on himself, become independent. Drive with his own, strive
within the economy to build a little low economy within itself.
L: Do you feel then that the educated people in Robeson County, who
the majority are school teachers, have been sort of held in an
economic bondage because they were afraid of economic reprisals?
Do you feel like this has been more recent, and Indian people were
so complacent and passive for such a long time, because this was
their only means at that time for educated Indian people to make
J: That is very much true. Now what I was talking about, Indian
people in the sixties, if they had a decent job they were
depending on the white man to put them in that position. The
white man is in the governing [position]. He has the majority of
all the governing bodies for any type staff position that was
very important in the educational process and the political
process throughout the county. If an Indian was placed in a
position he did gain another status. His economic base was a
little broader. To play against the manager, at this time, the
game was a little early for the game plan. So he had to wait and
there are quite a few that still look towards this as being an
excuse. If they are going to play ball, you might as well put
them in the ballgame and tell him he is a pinch hitter, but still
making a decent living pinch hitting. He is not going to get out
there and hire somebody if he is one of the main stars of the
game. If he is making it he will keep pinch hitting.
L: Then that is another reason why changing the double voting
situation is so important. The fact that it will release
educated Indian people to bring them from under the economic
J: Yes, it would definitely improve our educational system to see
that our teachers become more relaxed in their position; to
really bring out what they feel in the classroom. If teachers
cannot do this the pupil can very easily sense that the teacher
is holding something back. He is hiding something. And I think
this is becoming very prevalent in our classrooms and the kids
L: What year did you graduate from Pembroke State University?
J: I graduated in 1968.
L: What type of atmosphere did you find at that time on the campus
of Pembroke State University toward the Indian student?
J: Well, it was sort of a pseudo-type atmosphere. It was supposed
to be there, but really the student could see through the thin
curtain. He knew that the feeling was not there. That it was
just a part of some other type activity.
L: Do you think that still exists there today?
J: Very much so. But I think they are changing too.
L: What do you attribute that type of feeling toward the Indian on
the campus of Pembroke State University?
J: Again, let me say that the Indian communities were independent.
The university was depending on the government funds. The Indian
awareness was not great in the nation yet. But yet, they could
not just throw away the Indian populace and say it was not there.
But to get more government monies--more federal monies, state
monies--they had to build up the enrollment. And they appealed
to the whites rather than recruiting in the Indian community.
They were saying that--from what I was getting from it--if we
want to upgrade this university we have got to bring in some
white students. But to me, they could have just as well brought
in Indian students and upgraded it more so.
J: They could have had a more diversified curriculum at the
university. In 1968, when I started, there were sixty-four.
L: Does this make you bitter, that the Indianness is gone from
Pembroke State University?
J: No, I am proud of the university being there, it is the
administrators' fault. Not one, not two, it was all. They did
not evaluate the situation. They had an important role and there
were just the wrong people there at the wrong time.
L: What is your feeling about Old Main?
J: Well, I can relate to any type of structure if it has
significance to an Indian or any group. If a structure has
significance and they want to retain it, that is the way I feel
about Old Main. It has significance to me.
L: Does it have significance to many Indian people, do you think?
J: I think it does. Again, this is awareness of our Indian people.
They did not, the general population, they did not really see Old
Main as being something that they related to. But there were
quite a few uneducated families that had students or kids attend
this university. When the thing about Old Main started coming
out, say ninety percent of our people were uneducated. The old
people were uneducated and there is probably more than that. Say
ten to five percent that were educated and had sent their kids to
the university to further their education. It took quite a bit
of talking among them to instill in their neighbors, who had no
education, the significance of the building to them and their
sons and daughters.
L: Do you think that most people had that awareness in relation to
J: I think that the general populace understands now the protest
movement and everything about the destruction of Old Main.
L: What would you like to see happen to Old Main?
J: It might be way in the future, but, I would like to see some type
of Lumbee Indian Culture Center or a Native American Culture
Center on the campus. If it needs to be forced on the campus.
L: Would you like to see it within the walls of Old Main?
J: If the walls of Old Main could hold it, if it is large enough, it
will be just fine and dandy. If they had funds to build a larger
building, an ultra-modern building, it would be just fine and
L: But you would like to see Old Main reconstructed?
L: Would you like to see a museum housed there?
J: That is one thing that the county is lacking, not just Pembroke
State University. It is a regional university, yet, it has no
quality display for any arts, crafts or dissemination of
L: You said you would like to see Old Main be reconstructed as in,
change the interior, leave the walls, leave the outside as is.
What is your feeling there?
J: Save as much as possible. That might be hard and it might be
relatively simple. I am not an engineer, but what I can see,
there is quite a bit that can be saved.
L: Would you like to see the American Indian Study Program expanded
at Pembroke State University?
J: It needs very much so to be expanded and to become more detailed
and technical. This past year, from my understanding, (I did not
attend the Indian courses and was not enrolled in any classes) as
I see it, the base for it needs to be narrowed down.
L: Speaking again about Pembroke State University, the students who
are attending school there now, do you think they feel a part of
the university life that is indicative there?
J: Well, they do not feel that much a part. But they are making
their presence known. They want to feel a part. But, the
university system accepted them on an equal basis as any other
L: Would you have liked to have seen the university remain all
J: Well, that is hard to say. In my life span I do not recollect
ever knowing that it was all Indian. But, I think if it had been
administered right, being an all Indian university, there would
have been pluses and minuses. But I think the pluses would
outweigh the minuses if it would have remained all Indian. If
being administered properly.
L: Do you think that something has been taken from the Indian
community then? Do you feel like we have been robbed so to
J: I would not say that the university has taken anything from the
community. But the university has definitely not given the
community anything. And that is what I look at any type of
educational institution as doing, as participating in the
community, being a plus factor, adding something. It is very
hard for them to take something away. But it is very easy for
them to add something. It is very easy for them to be status
quo, easier than to do the other two. But it has been a lot
easier for them to add something than to take something away.
But being that they did not add anything, they would as soon the
general public assume that they had taken something away. But I
do not feel that they have taken anything away. It is just that
they did not add anything. Well, what they added did not have
any profound effect.
L: Do you think Indian students nowadays are reluctant to attend
school there if they have the opportunity to go elsewhere?
J: I do not think that they are reluctant. But comparing the
prices--the economy and education--they think they can get a
better education at a larger institution, and at basically the
same prices. Whereas, a large institution would be more willing
to give financial aid. This is one thing that I look down on the
university for. The university administrators are not our
recruiting the Indian populace--the resources they have right at
their back door, that they have not picked up. They have
talented Lumbee Indians in all areas, sports, you name it, we
have the talent. That is all they have to do is make a couple
three mile trips and they have recruited an Indian, which will be
an asset to the university. But no, they have to shop thousands
of miles--all this expense--to recruit someone who is less
qualified in this area they are recruiting for.
L: In bringing about change at Pembroke State University, do you
feel that the Indian people, the Indian community should demand
that changes be made there?
J: I have never read the charter for the institution, or the by laws
we go by, or anything. But with my understanding of the purpose
of the institution, if the Indian people knew the purpose of the
institution, they would definitely demand that the institution
get more in line with the purpose.
L: In other words you feel like there is sort of a divorce between
the community and the university.
J: Generally speaking, but I do not know what has taken place to
cause the change. My general idea has been probably the
political change in the state and it seems like the university
has started to participate more in community based projects.
L: What type of participation has there been between your Lumbee
Arts and Crafts Association and Pembroke State University, or
LRDA in general? Has there been a new trend?
J: Just this year the university started participating in projects
that our agency is trying to carry out. That is just this year.
The agency has been functioning for six months, and the
university should have taken up with the agency, to carry out
projects. But just this year the institution has started
offering their services to help render what the agency is
supposed to do. The University has provided space and publicity
for the Lumbee Arts and Crafts Association, but it was a hassle
to get them to agree to do this. It does not come easy, yet, the
thing about it I would like to see them participate with more
L: You said you had a new role in housing, would you define some
objectives or anything like that?
J: We would like to see the Indian people's housing upgraded. We
would like to see them move into better homes.
L: What will the LRDA's role be in this?
J: Counseling as to how to apply for a loan, where to apply, and
what would be basically a good deal. Also home improvement loans
and basically what the family needs to make for home improvements
and just general counseling for home improvement and loans.
L: And this project is being funded through what source?
J: It is from the OEO (Office of Economic Opportunity).
L: What other co-ops do you have in mind to organize?
J: Well, we have been working with a group of farmer. Each
interested in establishing a grain elevator cooperative. We had
approximately eighteen Lumbee Indian farmers who felt that
working through a cooperative basis they could provide services
for themselves at a savings, to a degree, in marketing their
L: How far have you gone with this?
J: We have laid the base for it, but the truck-produce project
probably will be completed next year. That is the structure for
the grain elevator co-op will be up by next year.
L: In your work here at LRDA, how have you found that the Indian
community receives you as a person from the organization? How do
people feel about the Lumbee Regional Development Association,
that you have come in contact with?
J: Well, an uneducated person, seeing a person is needed, and if he
seems to be not working as he would call working--that is
"sweating to the brow"--he looks down on you for this. But a
person who has common sense and can understand the position that
I am in, can note that I am trying to bring about some change
that is help to the person who cannot foresee what I am doing.
L: How do you plan to overcome this?
J: Well, basically, it is a matter of our good public relations.
Knowing what to say, when to say it, and where to say it. This
is the only way that I feel a feeling of this nature can be
overcome, through a sense of accomplishment and a building of
L: Do you think the LRDS is going to be hurt because of the money
cut from OEO at the national level?
J: Oh definitely, very much so. We have been hurt already. But by
no means have we been cut in the purposes that we propose to do.
It is just that our funding level is not as much, right now.
L: Can you foresee the organization here branching out beyond
federal funding into foundation grants and this type of thing?
J: I can definitely foresee it if the participating agency could get
on the ball and really push for this. They might be hesitant,
there may be some changes that need to be made in the articles of
incorporation. I do not know the basic structure of the articles
of incorporation. I do know the by-laws are pretty much a case
for this foundation thing, but the association is formed,
basically, to receive money from the federal agencies. But a
private foundation might look down on a charter that is written,
or leans toward federal agencies for money.
L: Has there been any effort in this area to your knowledge?
J: I was in on a board meeting where some of this was being
L: Do you feel there is more awareness now than there has previously
been? Do you think there has been established more pride in
Indianness, than ever before? Are your people here becoming more
involved in the Indian world across the Nation? Do you think
there is a place for the Lumbee in the Indian world?
J: I definitely know there is a place. I would be willing to bet
that we found our place. It is just a matter of expanding on
what we have already got. It is just a matter of our letting
other people know that we are here. We have been silent and no
one listens to the silent majority, because we never say
anything. They just take what comes and let do what may. But
now, since all the awareness has come about, we have had our
place all along, but we just developed. We are just going to let
the people know that we are not a road to cross anymore, that we
are a mountain to climb.
L: You mentioned your age group within the Indian community, is it
that this is the era where people of your age group are
determined to put forth their effort in seeing that the people
J: I definitely think so. When you educate, or when you make an
Indian aware of the system and how it works and he sees where
they are working against him and he knows what he is up against
he will remain silent. I think that is the main reason why our
people remain silent. They did not know what they were up
against. They were just waiting to find out what they did have
to fight. Instead of being silent, they fight a gorilla or a
whole herd of elephants. They are lost to start with and it is
just a matter of having an arsenal to fight a gorilla. But what
they are doing is waiting to see what they are actually up
against. They did this by being patient, educating their young.
They instilled in their young to be on the look-out, you know,
try to figure out how everything works, how the system works. To
try and figure out ways to work in the system and to get the
system to work for you.
L: Do you expect to find discrimination in the judicial system in
J: A blind man could find discrimination in the judicial system of
L: Do you foresee any possible ways of rectifying this?
J: Yes, I do. This is something that I have been thinking about for
quite some time and we have just started coming around to it. As
you know we had, in the past week, four Lumbee Indians that
completed law school. We have one in practice. The figures that
I can come up with, we need fifteen, approximately ten to fifteen
Lumbee Indians who know the legal profession, to come back to
Robeson County and be willing to research, hustle, and just come
up with the facts and figures to show the Indian people where
this discrimination is. But I would like to see ten to fifteen
lawyers to come back within five years. Have fifteen in the
county and we could have five at all time doing some type of
research into this judicial system in Robeson County. I do not
know where we will get the money. But right now I would be
willing to bet that what lawyers are in this county, sixty
percent of them depend on seventy-five percent of their business
from the Indian. Because they always find some Lumbee Indian in
some kind of trouble.
L: What do you attribute that to?
J: Real smart law enforcement system. They know who to look for,
they know what race to look for.
L: You think the Indian people should try to take the position of
J: That might be hard to do, but if and only if, that is the
way the Indians can do it. The best way is to get ten to fifteen
lawyers in there and tell these lawyers that they would have a
whole handful of resources, as far as something to plug into the
political system. Let me make this comment, I was looking at the
paper one day, and every case that was tried in Maxton was an
Indian. As you know, the Indian population in the county is
about one third. That is 100 percent that the Indians are paying
on court costs. The blacks are human and the whites are human.
It is not so much that blacks are not caught either, but the
whites are human and they are committing the same offenses and
crimes as the Lumbee Indians are.
L: Then what the establishment is trying to say to their public is
that only Indian people commit crimes and some black people?
J: The Indian people are the only ones in the county that are stupid
enough to get caught. The whites are very intelligent, they do
not get caught. They may do it, but they do not get caught.
L: Think this is because those who are supposed to catch them do not
want to catch them?
J: We have a lot of blind law enforcement officers in the county
when it comes to....
J: Writing tickets on their pal and friends. Let me say this, that
we have, do not get me wrong, we have Indian law enforcement
officers too. But they have been so drilled in this orientation
of the law enforcement officials of the county that they just
about do what the white man does when it comes to arrest, they
look for the Lumbee Indian.
L: Then you feel like the whole judicial system needs to be changed?
J: There are a few courts in the system that the administration
needs to change. I guess the judicial system is the same here as
it is anywhere else, but the administrators are the people that
come up with the opinion that the ones with power are using the
power to squash a movement that they know will be detrimental to
their race, as far as economics is concerned.
L: How do you think the white lawyer has treated Indian people when
they engaged him for his services, in general?
J: The white lawyer, as far as the Indian is concerned has always
been the man with the halo around his head. He could not do
anything wrong. And when he gave an Indian advice, if he told
him to, it would be best for him to pay $2,000, then he would go
and pay $2,000. He would have to write-off his land to pay the
$2,000, if the lawyer went and told him to pay it.
L: Now then, you do foresee the need for Indian legal talent?
J: I definitely see the need for legal counsel, that is more apt, or
more suited to the needs of Indian people. They know how the
Indian thinks, knows what the Indian feels.
L: Do you think this is possible?
J: I know it is. And we will see it within five to six years. Like
now, you have these four students that finished law school.
Well, there is going to be a tendency for our people, the Lumbee
Indians (some of the students) not to want to go to law school.
But I would heavily recommend at least ten more apply and try and
finish and come back to the county. Because they might not make
a big, rich living, but they could survive and they could help
their people. This is something that I have been looking into
and that I would like to do, see my people be more well advised,
instead of ill-advised. Then [they can] retain more of what they
have and gain more, rather than give-up what they have on white
information, false advice.
L: Then do you feel like your generation has the inward desire to
drive a person to get out and do something to help these people?
Do you think that it is important to your generation?
J: I think it is very much important. Let me go back to a little of
what I think the true Indian feeling is, the true values. I
think an Indian's true value is that he does not value material
things in life. It is the feeling of being free to express
himself, free to go where he wants, free to do what he wants, and
not so dependent on any type of society. It is enjoying the
environment and adding to it rather than trying to take away.
And this is what I see coming about again in our people. At one
time all the people were wanting to accumulate material things.
This is the only way to make it in life. I see this too, in the
white and black [communities]. They are not that much interested
in material things. They see a way of life, of being free,
living an easy life, working and still at the same time not being
so dependent on material things in life and getting pleasure from
it. This is one thing that I would say, within the next ten to
fifteen years, I would say fifty percent of our people will be
feeling this way.
L: Do you feel that Indianness is really a lifestyle, a way of life,
so to speak?
J: I know it is. It is something separate in itself. The white
[man], when he came here, he wanted material things. He wanted
possession, he wanted territorial rights. He wanted this so that
he could say it was his. But the Indian did not feel this way
before. He did not know what type of society it was. He guessed
these people were fools to be this crazy over material things.
But then the Indian saw that this feeling the white man has--
taking material things so that he can become the ruler--lets him
become dominant. So the Indian tried to take it this way,
especially in this area. But it did not work for the Indian. It
has helped them to come up the ladder a ways, but as far as being
a true asset in the community, and feeling a sense of
accomplishment, the Indian never did do it. He never did feel
it, because this was not his way of life. This was a different
feeling than he ever had before.
L: Then you feel like the new Indian, so to speak in this area, even
though he has to make sacrifices, has to have something to gain
other than materialistic things, he must have a desire to help
other human beings?
J: Yes. This is something that is prevalent in all Indian families.
Every Indian family I know, the mother and the father would say,
"I do not want you to have it as hard as I did." I would not. I
am pretty sure this is said in the white and in the black
families. But I want you to feel different about your
surroundings than the way I feel. I do not want you to lean on
me, be independent. You be your own man. Do not let anyone else
be your man. Here I am, I got to work for this man. I know I
am, so I am giving of myself to see that you do not have to do
L: Now, the generation behind you, what do you foresee there? What
qualities have you detected in these people?
J: Well, right now our generation has tried so hard to relay this
sense of being independent, to not depend on nature. But at the
same time, the failure to bring up the younger generation that is
looking at us for some type of leadership--they want to follow in
our footsteps. We have not provided them adequate instruction as
to how to make it. Now I have a little nephew that lives with me
and he is constantly making me aware of the things that I tell
him, that my mother and father taught me, how to survive and the
different facets of life. And yet I find myself neglecting him
in this area, and that is something that I feel is present among
our age group.
L: One thing has disturbed me, you spoke about new Indian awareness.
One thing that has really bothered me is this awareness reaching
down below to the grammar students, to the high school student?
It appears to me that this awareness has not hit them yet.
J: It is getting there, but maybe you have overlooked it. But again
my little nephew, he is in the third grade and he goes to a
predominantly white school, but he is proud to associate himself
as being an Indian, with this new awareness that has come about.
He is even wanting to dress as an Indian is portrayed. He is
feeling a sense of going back and picking up the trend. I have
seen quite a few young Indian kids trying to pick up the Indian
dress. Trying to pick up a way of life that they seem to trade
and that they heard fantasies about and tales about a life that
is so easy, with no worries and no sweat. They want to pick this
up, and we might help them by working with them, maybe through
this Lumbee Indian Arts and Crafts Association and really showing
them some of the things that they are missing out on.
L: Perhaps I used the wrong term there, Indian awareness. Perhaps I
should have said determination for the betterment of our people
as a whole. Determination to take pride in being a part to bring
about change. Do you think that we have overlooked the younger
people and encourage them to play a role?
J: Well, I can see where it would be a deterring factor if we
started with the younger generation and tried to press upon them
the object of the system. I see it more beneficial to telling
them to be proud of their heritage of what they are and whom they
are and then at a certain age level to start adding in some of
the systems of the bureaucracy. The things that they have to
look forward to, some of the hazards they are going to meet in
life, in the system. Especially if they are going to remain here
in the county.
L: Do you think more people are tending to keep their roots here.
You know, one time we went through a tremendous period where many
of the Indian people here were leaving the community, perhaps for
economic reasons, but it has been tradition that they come back.
Do you think this is beginning to change somewhat? Where people
are beginning to leave their roots here rather than assimilate
J: Yes, I think that the majority of the people now, that had an
inclination to leave the area--due to the new awareness and the
pride that is being instilled in the people to be proud of being
a Lumbee Indian--that they are forwarding the state and striving
to attain some type of leadership role in the various
communities. Also there are quite a few that have been away,
that are coming back due to the new Indian awareness and they can
find a place here in the county among their own kin to produce
and live the life that they have always dreamed about.
L: Mr. Jacobs I have heard in the last year or so since you are from
the Wachula section, that many of the Indian leaders in the
Pembroke area, so to speak, have neglected Indian leaders in
other areas of the community. Do you have this feeling? Have
you seen it? Do you agree with it?
J: Well I do not know. They have been neglected, but I do not think
purposely. Indian people who were trying to collect some build
some type of power structure, they were wanting to congregate
where the money was, where the economics was, and this is the
reason I feel they tried to deface Pembroke. The outlying
communities were a lot poorer than the community in Pembroke.
But to have any successful movement it has got to have some kind
of financial backing. That is the reason I think it was starting
here in Pembroke. Not that these other areas were elite because
L: Well, we have really had a good interview and do you have
anything else you would like to add or contribute before we sign
J: Well, I enjoyed it. It just was not long enough to get on the
subject though. Maybe you can come back at another time and I
can answer any kind of question you might bring up.
L: Thank you, Mr. Jacobs.