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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
Interviewee: Wanda Locklear
Interviewer: Janie Maynor Locklear
Date: May 23, 1973
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
Interviewee: Wanda Locklear
Interviewer: Janie Maynor Locklear
Date: May 23, 1973
As the reigning Miss North Carolina Blueberry Queen, Wanda
Locklear used the opportunity in her travels to make the nation
aware of the Lumbee Indian. Her continuing efforts to enlighten
others makes her an excellent ambassador to the Lumbee. The
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Locklear graduated from Pembroke
State University at nineteen. Her future plans include the
possibility of a career as a stewardess and hopefully the title
of Miss North Carolina, which would enable her to continue her
work as representative of the Lumbee Indian.
J: This is Janie Maynor Locklear with the Doris Duke Foundation
American Indian Oral History Program, under the auspices of
the University of Florida. Today is May 23, 1973. I am at
the home of Miss Wanda Kay Locklear. She lives about three
miles west of Pembroke on Highway 17. Miss Locklear is one
of the beauty queens among the Lumbee and I must say she is
one of the loveliest girls around at this time. Miss
Locklear, can you tell me a little bit about yourself? How
old you are and who you work for?
L: Thank you Janie for those comments. I am twenty years old.
I graduated from Pembroke State University, May 1972, with a
B.S. degree in Elementary Education. I am the daughter of
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Locklear.
J: How many brothers and sisters do you have?
L: None, I am an only child.
J: Tell me where were you born, Miss Locklear?
L: I was born here in Pembroke. Mother and daddy were born
into large families. I guess we had to travel more to make
money. We lived in Baltimore for ten years. After living
in the big city for so long they decided to move back home.
Life here is much more simple.
J: How old were you when you came to Robeson County?
L: I was ten.
J: At the time did you notice a big difference between life
here in Robeson County and what you were accustomed to in
L: Yes, I did. Living in Maryland, when one mentioned the word
Indian, everyone was so excited, "This is really great. I
met a real live Indian." It made you feel really good.
When we returned to Robeson County, I was cut down because I
was an Indian. I was not used to this. People say, "Well,
you cannot use this bathroom, because we have one for whites
and one for colored. We do not have one for Indians."
J: Did you enter school here in Pembroke?
L: Yes. I entered Pembroke Elementary School which was a lot
different, because I had gone to a private parochial school.
As we know, private schools do have lot more to offer.
Especially the parochial schools, because we get a lot more
discipline there and you learn or else. But it was quite an
adjustment for me to make.
J: Did you finish high school here in Pembroke?
L: Yes. I finished high school at Pembroke Senior High. Our
class, as a matter of fact, was the first one to graduate
from the new high school.
J: What year was that?
J: Later you went on and decided to further your education at
Pembroke State University. This, then, was important in
your family. Did your parents teach and encouraged you, as
a child, to further your education on the college level?
L: No. I guess I grew up with the idea that I was going to
college. I cannot remember any time thinking that I would
not go to college. It was something of an automatic
reaction that I understood.
J: Life at Pembroke State College, which is now a regional
university, has changed quite a bit since I was there. I
have interviewed other Indian students who felt like they
were not readily accepted there. Do you think this is the
feeling among the majority of Indian students?
L: Well, there you have to realize that not all of our Indian
students go out and mix with other students at school.
J: What do you attribute that to Miss Locklear? I know this is
L: I think a lot of them, having graduated from high school
with this little group, have a tendency to want to stay with
their own group.
J: Sort of like clans.
L: Yes, like clans. I think a lot of it might be attributed to
the fact that we have not always lived around here. When I
went to college, I wanted more from college than just an
education. I wanted to meet different people so I could
learn about all aspects of life.
J: Do you feel that the sheltered life, the inward feeling of
discrimination among Lumbee students who have never lived
away from home, do you think they carry that with them into
college life and that this prevents them from joining the
L: Yes. I think it has a lot to do with it. I can really say
that I was prejudiced against white people--white people
from Robeson County.
J: Tell me some of the activities that you were engaged in
while you were a student at Pembroke.
L: I went there and decided that I was going to be a majorette
(I will get to meet more people that way). Then, that
spring, I decided to pledge a sorority (This was all my
freshman year), which has helped me a great deal. Because
there is unity in sororities, a sisterhood, you know. I met
so many people this way.
Our sorority was Theta Kappa, which is now known nationally
as Kappa Delta. It was the oldest sorority on campus and
has always been and always will be number one. We were
always looked up to. If you wanted to get anything done on
campus, just go to Theta Kappa. It helped me a great deal.
J: Have you seem many other Indian girls in sorority life on
the Pembroke campus?
L: At one time, very few. But this year we had two Indians
from Pembroke pledge our sorority. I can honestly say,
there is no prejudice within the sorority. When I went into
the sorority, I was known as Loretta Lumbee. I was proud of
the name and everybody on campus called me that. As a
matter of fact, some people did not even know my real name.
So, the sororities were really happy to have Indians. We had
no prejudice whatsoever. As a matter of fact, one black
girl did start pledging in my pledge class, but had to quit.
It does take up a lot of time.
J: How are people selected for this particular sorority?
L: When I pledged, we got bids. We were invited to sign up,
which is called 'rush.' Then, we attend teas and parties.
After they give you a bid to pledge, at the end of two
weeks, they vote on you. If you are still in, they invite
you to pledge again if they want you. But now it is a
standard procedure, under the Panhellenic Council which
governs the sororities at school, that we set up tables in
the Student Center during Rush Week. Girls can just come
and sign up to pledge, rather than be given bids to pledge.
J: Perhaps, the lack of Indian participation could be
attributed to the Indian student's fear of reaching out to
L: Yes, I really think so. This year we have gone out more.
As a matter of fact, we had three Indian Senators on the
Student Government, which could have been done a long time
J: So, you are beginning to see a change, then?
L: Yes, there is a great deal of change. No longer are they
standing outside of the Student. Now they are coming inside
and sitting down and mixing.
J: Are you saying that at one time the Indian student did not
feel free to become a part of the Student Center crowd?
L: I do not think so, they stood outside. I think it was they
just did not care to take part.
J: You said that you were a majorette, in regard to your
activities on campus.
L: I was the only Indian majorette. We walked in parades and
everything--the other majorettes with blonde hair--and soon
they would say, "Now that one is Indian. I know." Because
I was the only one with dark hair. It helped a lot. I
worked with Student Government at school on various
J: You also received the title as a queen there, was it not?
L: Yes. Miss Pembroke State University, which is the first
pageant we have had since we became a regional university.
J: So, you were selected Miss Pembroke State University, what
year was that?
L: 1971-1972, academic year.
J: How was this title selected?
L: Through judging, completely. You entered a pageant through
a sponsoring organization. I was sponsored by the sorority.
J: Getting back a little bit to your long list of titles as a
beauty queen, what was your first real experience in a
L: In high school I was in a pageant. I was in the ninth grade
and like all freshmen I did not really know what I was
doing. I knew we got out of class to practice, so this was
a pretty good reason to enter. I was kind of lost in a
crowd. I got interested in it and my mother did too, at
that time. There was a Home Economics teacher at the
college who had been in the Miss Universe Pageant,
representing the Philippines. Mother talked with her and
she said, "Well, what Wanda needs is modeling lessons." So,
I took modeling lessons from her. The next year I went back
and entered the pageant and won.
J: Was that your sophomore year?
J: Where did you go from there?
L: From there I went to the Miss Lumbee Pageant and won that.
J: What year was that?
J: How was Miss Lumbee selected that year?
L: Miss Lumbee was also selected through a sponsorship. I was
sponsored by the Pembroke Jaycees. It was judging with
swimsuits, evening gowns, and oral speaking.
J: What was one of the most memorable activities that you have
done as Miss Lumbee?
L: Probably traveling to Sheridan, Wyoming where I entered the
Miss Indian America pageant. I learned a lot more about
Indians, because at that time I had not traveled very much
among Indian tribes--probably the only one was the Cherokee
reservation in North Carolina. It has become commercial,
not through the Cherokees, though. I guess they do not want
it that much, but white people come in all the time.
J: Tell me about that particular pageant. How is the queen
chosen and what were some of the things you did during the
course of the pageant?
L: Well, the funny thing was, not living on a reservation, I
was kind of cast out by the girls. They could not
understand that I never lived on a reservation; that we had
our own house; we had our own car; I even had my own car.
But yet, the other people, the white people in town, they
made so much over me. We went to a lot of dinners and I was
always sitting at the head table and they would ask me to
stand up and speak. Which really shocked me and I could
understand why the girls would have felt bad about this. If
I had been in their place I would have felt bad too. There
was very little that I could do about it, because I wanted
everyone there to know about the Lumbee and this was my big
J: Was this the first time that the Lumbee had ever had someone
in this pageant?
L: Yes, it was. It was really good because I was able to tell
so many people about the Lumbee; that knew very little about
them. Each night we went to this big arena, such as the
place you would have a rodeo. We walked across this ramp
and each night they would ask me to stop and speak and tell
them about the Lumbee. Also, I had a southern accent, which
was very funny because most Indians do not have southern
accents. So, they thought this was very odd and I was
unique in that aspect.
J: On what grounds did they judge the participants in the Miss
Indian America Pageant?
L: Really, I have never seen a beauty pageant like it. I think
the only thing they could possibly judge the girls on was
the interviews. Supposedly, they are judged on poise. This
would seem very hard, because I do not think any of the
girls had had modeling lessons and knew very little about
it. Yet, they want a girl that is very stereotypical. So
she can go out and they will say, "Oh, yes, she looks just
like the Indians that we see on the cowboy and Indian
J: Was there reference to tribal customs and languages and this
type of thing?
L: Yes, there was. Each time I would have to explain "that
since we had intermarried with the whites during the Lost
Colony, our language had been lost during that time." They
kept saying, "Well, why?" I said, "How can you ask me why,
this happened hundreds of years ago? Through intermarriage
there was no way to keep up the tribal language through the
J: I think you were asked a question, one time, that sort of
went down in history with the news media, can you tell me
L: Yes, they were asking me about my dress. "Well, why this,
if everything was lost. Where did you get your dress?" I
said, "I designed it." They said, "Well, you have no idea
what Indian women wore during those years." I said, "No, I
really do not." Someone spoke up. As a matter of fact, it
was the girl that won that year and she said, "Oh, I met a
Lumbee and she said that the Indian women wore long skirts
with no top." Which shocked me and it was dropped right
Well, the next morning they bring me a paper and it is all
over that I said this. It was in Pennsylvania newspapers
and Detroit's. One of my friends who was stationed in the
navy in California found it in a paper out there. My cousin
who was in Kansas, in the army, it was in the paper out
there. I was glad that the Lumbee name got all over, but I
wish it had been the truth.
J: You said that the girls entered in the pageant did not
readily accept you, do you think they questioned your
L: Yes, they did. Because I tried to explain to them that
although I am full-blooded Lumbee, I am not full-blooded
Indian, due to the mixing of the tribes. They said, "Well,
how can you verify how much Indian blood you have?" I said,
"Well, as far back as we can trace, after all of the mixed
marriages and whatever, all of my ancestors have been
J: I think at that time the Lumbee were really finding their
place in what is the so-called 'Indian world.' I think we
have a place there. It is our story in time and I think we
are making strides in that area; to becoming accepted by
American Indians across the country. Perhaps queens in the
future will have an easier task, without all of the
explanations of "what is a Lumbee?" Did you find the Indian
girl's stereotype was that "being an Indian is being a
L: Yes. An Indian is a reservation Indian and Indians do not
mix with non-Indians. When I told them I did go to college
with non-Indians and that I did mix with them, that I had
dated non-Indians, they were appalled. I tried to explain
to them that we have to learn new ideas to help ourselves.
J: Let's explore further your titles as beauty queen.
L: Next was the North Carolina Blueberry Queen. I entered this
because a year before I had been a bat girl for the baseball
J: That is at Pembroke State University?
L: Yes. I just fell in love with baseball and the baseball
team. I just enjoyed it. I was nineteen years old,
graduating from college, and what was I going to do? I was
not ready for graduate school, and yet, I knew that I was
not ready to teach or work. I really felt that I was too
So, someone came up and said, "Well, why do you not enter
this one. You get a scholarship and you are so busy that
you cannot work or go to school. This will be really good
for you." So, I entered it with no thought of ever winning.
I hoped that I would place in at least the top five. But I
won, which was just a real shock, I was real excited. They
have been very good to me. They sent me to California,
where I was on the Dating Game and the name Lumbee Indian
went all over the nation. I was the first Indian who had
ever been on the show.
J: Before we go into that further, tell me a little bit about
the Blueberry Festival, the Blueberry Queen title and just
what it holds.
L: The North Carolina Blueberry is the second largest festival
in the state. It was started because blueberries have a
large economic value to the state of North Carolina. It is
the second largest fruit crop in the state. North Carolina
is ranked third as producers of blueberries. The festival
was started in Elizabethtown and Whitelake because this was
a good area, because down at the lake there is a lot of
Each year they have a celebrity and they have queens from
all over the state, big dignitaries. It is a very large
festival with things going on all of the time. This year,
as a matter of fact, we had a young man that had won two
gold medals at the Olympics in Germany, for skiing. So it
is a very large festival. The girl that wins is selected
from thirteen southeastern counties in the state, these are
blueberry producing counties. She receives a car for the
year, all of her traveling expenses, and a scholarship. She
is the second most traveled queen in the United States. She
travels more than our own Miss North Carolina, because she
travels out of the state so much.
J: You said the Blueberry Festival is held in Elizabethtown and
White Lake, how far is that from Pembroke?
L: Approximately forty miles.
J: You gave your reasons for entering the Blueberry Pageant,
how did you go about applying and entering?
L: Well, it was funny. I was sitting at home one night and
somebody called and said, "We want you to enter the North
Carolina Blueberry Festival Pageant as Robeson County's
entry." I had heard very little about it and had seen her
once or twice. I had never attended a festival and I did
not know how large it was. I said, "No." My father said
that "it would be good experience, you do not want to go to
work and you do not want to go to graduate school." So, I
said yes and I went down there. I thoroughly enjoyed
After winning, I was so shocked. My parents were sitting
there--as a matter of fact, your mother was there that
night, Janie. She was the first person I saw when I walked
out on stage. When I was being interviewed that night (I
was so nervous), I could not speak with the reporter. Since
we are so close as neighbor, your mother said, "I will tell
you everything you need to know about her."
J: Tell me, at that time, had there been any other Indian that
had entered this particular pageant?
L: No, I was the first Indian to enter. There are a lot of
people down there who attend Pembroke State. We were
rehearsing that night. As a matter of fact, for my talent I
did an Indian song and dance. One of the guys came up and
said, "I go to school with Wanda and she had better win. If
she does not win, the whole tribe is going to be sitting
down there with their tomahawks and their bows and arrows."
I figured with all of these girls up there, with these
gorgeous voices and beautiful ballet numbers and everything,
I have no chance. We had our judge's interviews the next
day. We went in there and one of the judges happened to be
part Indian. We sat there and talked about everything under
the sun, a lot about Indians. Since I was the only girl in
the pageant that had graduated from college (I was not the
oldest, but they were kind of shocked that I had graduated
at nineteen) gave me a better chance; having graduated and
J: So, when was this that you won the North Carolina Blueberry
L: May of 1972, exactly five days after I graduated from
J: So, this was really an exciting experience, not only for
yourself, but for the whole Lumbee people. Most people were
pleased and excited and they have been very proud of you.
You were talking about the Dating Game and your trip to
California. Can you tell me a little more about your
experience on national TV?
L: Well, it was the first time that I had been on national
television. I was a bit nervous and some of my questions
dealt with Indians; others dealt with blueberries. When Jim
Lange (who is the MC for the show) introduced me, he says,
"Today we have Wanda Locklear who is the North Carolina
Blueberry Queen and a Lumbee Indian from Pembroke, North
Carolina and a graduate from Pembroke State University.
Which really helped the tribe, since, they did announce the
fact that I was a Lumbee Indian. They make up the questions
for you and they asked if I would mind if they put some in
there about Indians. I said, "Well, no. I would be very
happy if you would," and they did. Everyone came up and
they would say, "Oh, you are an Indian. That is really
great." They were all talking to me and I think it was
The trip I won was a seven day cruise to the Caribbean where
I got to meet a lot of people--from Italy, Sweden,
Australia, Canada, and all over the United States. There
were lots of Puerto Ricans on the ship and because I am dark
and have dark hair, they would come up and want to know
"what are you?", you know, through their broken language.
Then I would try to explain and the only way that I could
get it across was 'cowboys and Indians.' Then they knew
what I was talking about. "With the feather?" and I would
say, "Yes." Then they would show me the bow and arrow and I
would say, "Yes." Then they would say, "Oh, real Indian."
I would say, "Yes, I am." They would say, "Can I have your
autograph, you are a real Indian?"
J: Tell me about your trip. I guess the most exciting thing
was the people that you met?
L: We also went to Las Vegas which is a city all in itself.
There I would meet people that would come up and say, "Are
you Indian?" I would say, "Yes." They would say, "Here,
Honey, here is fifty dollars worth of chips. I want you to
sit down and play, because I like Indians." I also met a
guy there who had an honorary membership into the Cherokee
tribe. Through the year I traveled to New Jersey, to their
Blueberry Festival, where I got up and spoke. In that area
a lot of the people there are Italian or Puerto Rican. They
announced that I was Indian, so this was what they asked me
to speak on, rather than North Carolina's Blueberry
Festival. So, wherever I went this year, that is what I was
asked to speak on, rather than something about the festival;
Which I was very happy about.
J: You met some celebrities when you were in Las Vegas. Who
was the most noted one?
L: Probably Elvis Presley, the 'King' as he is noted. We were
sitting in the Hilton and we did not have tickets. I walked
up and said, "Can we get tickets for the show?" The
maitre'd said, "I am sorry we are closed." I said, "Okay."
Well, the maitre'd wanted to know where I was from. I said,
"Well, Pembroke." He said, "Well, I know you are Indian, so
you come back as my special guest."
So, we did and they had a special seat for us at the end of
the ramp. They had already told Elvis that I was there at
the show and that I was Indian and the North Carolina
Blueberry Queen. So, during one of his numbers he came down
(he wears these scarves around his neck). So, he took his
scarf off and wiped his sweaty brow and tied it around my
neck. Well, most of the girls jump up and down and scream
and kiss him and all of this. Well, I was not going to do
this. So, he stood there for awhile and he watched and he
just kept looking at me and wondering, "What is wrong, why
are you not doing this." When I made my move to get up, he
bent down and picked up my hand and kissed me on the hand.
Everyone in there just watched me. "Well, what is wrong
with this girl, why can she not jump up and kiss him?"
Well, I felt a little special, because I was not going to
jump up and show that I was just awed (although I was just
sitting there with my mouth hanging open).
J: So, after you left Las Vegas did you journey on home, or did
you have special stops between here and there?
L: No, we came back home, very tired. We had to stop by
Raleigh, so that the Commissioner of the Department of
Agriculture could talk with me about my trip and take
pictures. I stayed home for about two or three days, then I
started traveling all over the state again. It was in April
that I took my cruise.
J: Do you know how many miles you have traveled this year,
L: Well, it was over a 100,000 miles.
J: On your trips did you have a special chaperons that traveled
L: Yes, I did. My chaperon, Mrs. Eleanor Andrews, who is
affectionately know as 'Big Mama' all over the United
States. As a matter of fact, I might say that she had
judged many beauty queens, Miss North Carolina, North
Carolina Blueberry Queen, North Carolina Rhododendron Queen
and was asked to judge Miss America. 'Big Daddy' who is her
husband, said no.
Well, she is so well known that they have written a book and
a chapter in the book is dedicated to Big Mama and her gang.
Which is was written by Frank Deford. The name of the book
is There She Is, which is about all of the Miss Americas in
the Miss America beauty pageant going all the way down to
the state and local level pageants. She was a special guest
on the David Frost show in New York where she talked about
herself in the book and how she became involved with beauty
She travels with me quite frequently. Wherever Big Mama
goes, she meets people. People just readily fall in love
with her. She is one of these people, she tells you like it
is. She has no false faces.
So, we arrive in California about five o'clock on Tuesday.
She says, "Well, let me call up one of the executives from
CBS." I thought she was joking. She picked up the phone
and she dials and she says, "Well, hi Bill, this is Big
Mama." He says, "Well, wait right there and I will be over
in ten minutes and pick you up." I was sitting there with
my mouth open, I do not believe this. So, he drives up in a
Rolls Royce to pick us up. You know, "Where am I supposed
to sit, do I sit on the floor?"
We went out to a very exclusive nightclub in Hollywood,
called the La Strada. I was introduced there. By the way,
the La Strada is an opera house. They are all opera singers
and they are Italian. They wanted to know "what are you?"
So, when they announced that I was North Carolina Blueberry
Queen, they announced that I was Indian. This went on all
over California. Each night we went someplace different.
We were even given the VIP tour of Universal Studios.
Instead of taking a tour with everyone else, we were
chauffeured around in a limousine. We went behind the sets
and I met Raymond Burr, I sat in his wheelchair and wheeled
myself all over. I met Robert Wagner, Doris Day. I did not
get to meet Burt Reynolds, but I met his other half, I guess
you would say, Dinah Shore. So, it was very nice. Dinah
Shore and I talked for awhile, you know, she is part Indian,
J: Well, it appears that you have had a very exciting year.
When did you give up your title as North Carolina Blueberry
L: Last Friday night. I gave it up and said goodbye to
everybody. It was really sweet, they did something that
they have never done before. They toasted me and afterwards
at the pageant, when I said my farewell, everybody stood up
for me. Which really made me feel good. Then they got up
and they turned around and looked at the girls and said,
"Well, I do not see a girl up here that could possibly fill
Wanda's shoes." Which, you know, made me feel just great.
They had never said that about any of the other Blueberry
Queens. They were all sitting there and they said, "Wanda,
they never did that for us." I was just really happy.
J: How many previous Blueberry queens have there been?
L: Well, this year was the seventh festival.
J: So, who is the new North Carolina Blueberry Queen that will
try to fill your shoes?
L: Her name is Pam Norris and she is from Clinton, North
Carolina, representing Sampson County. She is a very pretty
J: What are your plans now? You have your degree in elementary
education and your past beauty titles and experiences. What
do you plan on doing for the next year or so?
L: Well, it is either work or graduate school. But I have been
asked to enter the Miss North Carolina Pageant. So,
possibly I will work for a year. During the year I will
work toward this, entering the local pageant and winning.
J: Has there ever been an Indian that has ever entered a Miss
North Carolina Beauty Pageant.
L: No, we have never had an Indian enter the pageant. It think
that is one reason why everyone wants me to enter. It would
be very good publicity for the Indians, also. I think I will
enjoy it myself.
J: You are still one of the bat girls at Pembroke State
University, how do you manage that, Wanda?
L: Well, I decided to go back to school this year when I had a
bit of spare time. I explained to my professors that I
would not be there all of the time. Since I loved baseball
so much, I took coaching baseball as my course; so I could
be a bat girl. We are now playing in the area class and
hope to be going to Phoenix, Arizona next week.
J: That is area seven?
L: Yes, we are playing area seven and possibly next week we
will be in Phoenix for the nationals.
J: What do you see as a future for your people?
L: Well, the Indians have really come up within the last three
or four years. As the saying goes, "We've come a long way
baby," and we really have. I feel that the Lumbee are
really going to become more well known than any of the other
tribes. You know, now you meet somebody and they say, "Oh,
I have a little bit of Indian blood in me." They say this
and the only name they can think of is Cherokee.
L: Well, I think that in the years to come the Lumbee are going
to become a household word. Wherever you turn, you are
going to hear more and more about the Lumbee people, because
we really are becoming more well known. We have got a major
league baseball player, for one. We have got two people
working in the Bureau of Indian Affairs. We have got
someone working in the State House. We have got Indian
lawyers, I think in a few months we will have four Lumbee
J: We have four that graduated last week or so. One from Duke
and three from North Carolina Central. We, also, already
have one practicing.
L: Yes, so we are really coming a long way. I expect to see
more. We even have a Lumbee who is a recording artist, in
J: Who is he?
L: Freddy Locklear.
J: He is just beginning to try the circuit, right?
J: So, you feel, very definitely, the future for the Lumbee
people is going to be a bright one?
L: Yes, because I think a lot of it has to do with our
background. It is so unique that people just want to hear
our story over and over again. It is like a fairy tale to
them, I guess. It is something that you never get tired of.
You can listen to it over and over again, because it is so
J: In all of your travels and experiences, do you feel that
your identity as an Indian person has been an asset or a
hinderance to you?
L: Definitely it has been an asset because when people find out
that I am Indian, they want to know, "Well, what tribe?" I
say, "Lumbee." They say, "Well, I have heard of them, but I
do not know much." So, this opens up the door for me to
stand there and talk with them for about an hour or so and
tell them about the Lumbee people. Wherever I go somebody
says, "Well, I heard about you from so and so. And I want
to hear your story about your tribe. Because they told me
about it and I just want to hear about it from you." So it
has definitely been an asset for me.
J: In your past year as North Carolina Blueberry Queen, have
you ever felt any discrimination, due to the fact that you
L: No, I have not. In fact, lots of times I have been given
more recognition than Miss North Carolina, herself.
J: You said you feel like the future for our people is a bright
one. What role do plan to play in seeing that it becomes a
L: I enjoy going out and meeting people rather than having a
stationary job where I have to sit at a desk all day. So, I
had to get into some field of traveling. I have been
accepted with TWA as an airline stewardess and possibly with
Pan American. I have not decided yet, but if I take this,
that will be a good way of meeting people and telling them
about my people. Also, I have been asked to be a bat girl
for the Atlanta Braves, who already have a full-blooded
Indian that works with them. He works as a manager, but
each time someone hits a homerun, he gets out on a pony and
runs around the field, which people like to see.
Everybody has become aware of the fact that Indians have
been put aside. Although they took our lands, they are
going to be real nice to us. They are going to put us on
reservations. They are going to give us a little bit of
money. They are going to tell us how we can spend our
money. And they are going to tell us what we can do and
cannot do. Well, people are becoming tired of this. They
are realizing what a rotten deal the Indians have been
given. I think a lot of people are out to help the Indians
now. They want to see the Indians come up.
J: Locally, here in Robeson County, what steps do you think
need to be taken in order to see that the Indian people
continue to progress?
L: Well, I would definitely like to see a lot more Indians in
politics, which would help us a great deal. A lot more
Indians on our Board of Education, County Commissioners; we
already have two. All of these things that are going to put
the Indian more in the public eye. So, our story can be
J: What are your feelings about old Main?
L: I am very upset about the building being burned. I
definitely would like to know who did it. I think they
should receive a great deal of public abuse and I would like
to be right there to help with it. I hope that the building
will be restored. Because this building, in itself, has a
great deal of history. Not only for our people, but for all
Indians alike. I think that one day people will be coming
to Pembroke just to see Old Main.
J: You said that you would like to see it restored, how would
you like to see it used?
L: As an Indian museum. And I would like to see it eventually
grow up as one of the largest in the United States, which I
think we could easily do.
J: So, you feel like the Lumbee definitely have a place as an
Indian education center for the eastern United States, east
of the Mississippi? It seems as if most people that want to
study Indian history must go out west.
L: Well, at the moment this is true. I hope that in the next
few years a lot of people that want Indian studies will be
coming to Pembroke. Because, as you know, we started our
Indian studies program. I myself think it is a very good
one. We have had professors writing books about the Lumbee
Indians. We are namely in the process of having an Indian
Pageant: the Lost Colony, which also will bring more people
to Pembroke to learn about the Indians. And as they learn
more about the Indians they will want to come here and study
J: Well, I am sure that once the Indian history is told, and
the history of the Lumbee people, you will have already made
your place in the history of Lumbee people. Your own
people, Wanda, how have they received you as a queen in the
state of North Carolina?
L: I hope that they have been very proud of me. I have tried
this year to make them very proud of me. Although I was
named North Carolina Blueberry Queen, I was really
representing the Lumbee Indians, I feel like. I wanted that
more than "here I am North Carolina Blueberry Queen." First
of all, I am a Lumbee Indian.
J: Wanda, I know that your mother and father have been a real
asset to you in your quest for the beauty titles that you
have won. Tell me a little about them and what they do.
L: My father is now employed with Libby Owens Ford, which is a
new floating glass plant located between Laurinburg and
Maxton, North Carolina, which is supposed to be one of the
largest of its kind in the United States. And then my
mother is employed at Pembroke State University as a
secretary to the business manager. They have been an asset
to me because there are times that you get tired of smiling
and putting a crown on your head, getting up at six o'clock
in the morning to go to a parade (you want to sit and rest).
Or maybe you have some friends that are having a party that
night and you want to go to the party, but instead you have
got an appearance to make. They really helped me when I got
depressed. They were there when I needed them. They sat
down with me and made me see that I was representing people
and that I could not think of myself and what I wanted to
do. I had taken on a responsibility that I had to uphold.
J: Who were your grandparents, Wanda?
L: Both of my father's parents have died within the past three
years. Their names were Mr. and Mrs. Junie Locklear of
Prospect Community, which is located about three or four
miles west of here. My mother's mother is Mrs. Nanie
Jacobs, who lives about a fourth of a mile from our house
(whom I see everyday). My grandmother has helped me a lot.
You know, she was one of those people "beauty queens, this
is jick for jack, nothing." She did not care about that.
But when I won she was all excited.
That Saturday after I won I had to walk around with these
guards. Because lots of people have tried to kidnap beauty
queens (because they think they can get money). They do not
let people come near you. My grandmother walked up to where
I was and the guard stopped her and said, "I am sorry, but
you cannot go over there." My grand mother says, "Well
listen, you had better move, that is my granddaughter and I
am going over there whether you like it or not." So she has
helped a lot this year. She has helped me get ready, help
me pack clothes and unpack clothes, wash clothes.
J: Wanda, it has been said that our people have been a little
bit of a jealous people, have you detected this?
L: Yes we have. But other groups are jealous, too. I think
so, I have found this with other groups, too. I think we
have grown out of this a lot. There was a time when, if
anyone got ahead of the other, there was a tendency to try
and pull them back down, with us. But we are growing out of
this. We realize that in order to get ahead we have to push
individuals ahead. Our smartest of the group, we want them
on top, we are going to try and help push them ahead. We
have learned this through hard lessons. I think we are
growing out of this a lot.
J: Wanda, it has been nice talking to you. I know you have a
busy schedule and I think you have a ball game that you have
to go to. Is there anything else that you would like to add
to your place in history?
L: Well, whoever listens to this years from now, I hope that,
at that time, you are still striving to make the Lumbee
number one, because I think that is where the Lumbee's place
J: Thank you, Wanda.