Title: Interview with Karen Lilly (October 1, 1979)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007879/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Karen Lilly (October 1, 1979)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: October 1, 1979
Subject: Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
Mississippi Choctaw.
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00007879
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Mississippi Choctaw' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: MC 57

Table of Contents
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
Full Text

This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.

This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
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Fair use limits the amount of materials that may be

For all other permissions and requests, contacat the
the University of Florida.

Miss Choc 57A

Sub: Karen Lilly

Int: Nanih Waiya Staff



Page -1-

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

that pageant?

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?
caoouA C^.
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.

I: ?

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 were
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

everybody until

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)

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