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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida.
Miss Choc 57A
Sub: Karen Lilly
Int: Nanih Waiya Staff
I: Today is October the first, 1979. We are interviewing Karen Lilly, the 1979-80
Prin.... Choctaw Princess. The interviewers are Annette Convey and Joanne
Thompson. How were you chose as the princess contestant?
K: O.K. to start off with we had to be sponsored by somebody and
sponsored me this year. Their duties as sponsors were to see that I get
all the materials that I'll need, my dress, things to wear, and ......(chuckle)
shoes and jewelry, anything I need. To make a slide for me, to get a car for
me in the parade, and to help me during the night of the pageant. First
of all, we were ..... The sponsor chose us by ...... by the 6OO1 ,
how they personality and our ability to write
an orally present an essay. The essay covers three major topics; one on
women's rights, the advantages and disadvantages of living on
the Indian reservation, and the third was...... the third was on preserving
our Choctaw culture. I chose to write mine on preserving Choctaw culture
cause I felt that was the most important thing that needed to be talked about
now. You had to write..... and have our essay typed and presented to the .....
judges on..... What was Wednesday morning. O.K.
Wednesday morning we were.... we got into a Straight dress and went down to
the travel office, me and nine other people and we went to..... went down to
the Colonial where we had a brunch and met the judges and talked for a little
while. Then we came back and at 2:00 we started our interviews. They asked
specific questions concerning school, after we get out of school, college, uh
Miss Choc 57A -2-
K: activities in school, being considered and then afterwards, after we
left, we came back at 6:00 in the evening and we started getting ready to
be judged in our street dress. After we were judged in a street dress
we put on our Choctaw dress and we went out and were judged on that. And
then we had to ..... present our essay orally that night the night of the
I: How do you.... How do you (laugh) (tape cuts off and comes back on again)
How do you feel about being the princess?
K: Well that night I was surprised. I didn't really think that I
was hoping for at least second alternate and I got it and I....I don't know.
I didn't know what to think but now.... really I don't think about it all
the time. Just like when you have to appear for something. Just
I don't hardly think about it.
I: Were you nervous?
K: Not really, no. Well when I had to give my essay it was taking me kinda long
time for me to get up there, but when I got up there I_
I: Who were your alternates?
K: First alternate was Jessie Bacon from second alternate was
Sherry Robinson from
I: How did your family feel about it. How'd they feel when they.... they ?
K: Well my brother, Tony, and Sherry, they were in Alabama at the time so they
came down to see me cause I think they felt that I My
mother told me she went into shock. She didn't know what to
think. She was surprised.
I: Do you do a lot of traveling now?
K: I've.... supposed to have went to Louisiana........ to Memphis and to
Green..... Greenwood but all those were on the third of August and on the
Miss Choc 57A -3-
K: same day/as coming in from Nashville where I attended a youth seminar
for two weeks so I didn't get to go on any of them. Memphis
to some kind of boating event that I'm supposed to go to and
Louisiana I'm supposed to go down there in a couple of weeks. And so far
they haven't let me ya know.... too much about what I'm supposed to be
doing as far as traveling
I: Do you..... Do you feel like you can help the Choctaws in any way as far
as being an
K: Well, I don't know about being a princess but I ya know could help the
Choctaws by representing them, giving other people a good outlook on what
the Choctaw people are, explaining to ise people about what happens here and
about the Choctaw Tribe itself. I would like to see the.......... I would
like to see the Choctaws have a better..... get a better understanding of
themselves and to try andand ...... their culture. I think the Choctaws
should try and strengthen their culture more geared to areas and if I could
I'd someway ...... I could start.
I: Where are..... Where are you originally from?
K: I was born in Meridian, Mississippi. I lived there in Meridian for one year,
then I moved to ___ ,Alabama where my father worked as a mechanical
engineer on So I stayed up there for fifteen years before
coming here to Philadelphia where I now live in Community with my
mother, sister, two younger brothers, and me.
I: Where did you go..... Where did you attend school at?
K: I went.... I started in kindergarten. I went to McDonald Elementary School,
then I went to __Junior High School and I went my first year
at Butler........ High School. Before coming here my
sophomore year at Choctaw.
Miss Choc 57A -4-
I: Do you plan to furt.a your education? Which college would are you planning
to attend and what are your plans to major.?
K: Right now I've been thinking about going into the health field. \VY TXU
eOlike go into something more than social work. Maybe psychiatry, child
psychiatry, or something like that. And I'm planning to go to Arizona
State for school. I'm planning to go as long as I can
I: Hat your friends um changed jaa way since you've gotten princess?
K: Not really. I've got a lot more friends but -nt-h41-MRta4would have
To ."hanger I try myself not to change so my friends don't have to change 0
I: Were there..... Did you have to make any of A beads by yourself.... for
K: As far as judging goes, it would helpeR a lot if you did make your own beads
If you made beads they preferred you to wear em I myself
don't make beads and I had made a few I didn't make
any of the jewels that I wore that night.
I: Did you make your own dress or did somebody else make it for you?
K: arts and crafts made my dress. It took her/7t months, two
months to make my dress. It was maroon with white trim. My jewelry was
made by Marion and she spent a long time making the belt.
K: And then I had earrings ._ '
I: In the parade, do you uh...... did you feel scared or4different riding=g sB'
all over the streets and everything?
K: Um usually it's great. (chuckle)
I: What kind of questions did the judges ask you?
K: Well they asked me about my future plans, if I was gonna go to college, and
Miss Choc 57A -5-
K: why I chose to be .... to go on to some kinda They asked
me about being in the dance and my practicing hours (chuckle)
They asked me about ...... what I thought the difference was between the
public school that I went to and the school over here at Choctaw Central.
They asked me questions like being a senior, what would/most like.... want
to accomplish in this year.
I: If you had a choice between going uh to a public school and a Indian school,
which one would you prefer ?
K: Well, when I went to a public school..... Well where I was from public
school, when I came down here to .4,. Q and just visited
SI didn't know too much about the school or too much about
anybody down here. I'm afraid most
Going to a public school, ya know I didn't...... I didn't
really think there was gonna be any difference about coming here to Choctaw
Central)but when I came I was scared to death. I thought the teachers and
everybody was gonna be teaching in Choctaw and see I just didn't know what
to expect. But in a public school, the education was a lot more better, the
subjects weresubjects, more
X dov\t C -
education level the public school is high and/)aew the reason why the..... the
educational level couldn't be met by Choctaw Central.
The people here ....... everybody knows everybody dama-here and I guess
everybody get along good. In public schools ya know
you got your groups you hang around with and you don't really get to know
I: What kind of advice would you give a person that was um.......
enter that pageant?
Miss Choc 57A -6-
K: Well, first of all, to pick out any..... like the requirements for the essay,
get it done and this year, having my essay memorized helped me the most in
winning the pageant. A few of the girls were when they got up there they
were....... (End side one)
(End of interview)