Interview with Mrs. BettYM. bumper on 6-17-69 W anloe C- i- > -y7
Interviewed by Dr. Harry Kersey, Florida Atlantic University, b-17-69
K: June seventeenth, 1969, -wah Dr. Harry Kersy, Florida Atlantic University.
Today we are interviewing Mrs. Betty Mae Jumper who il.the chairman of the
Tribal Council of the Seminole Tribe? of Florida. Mrs. Jumper, I wish you would
talk to us just a few moments about your early educational experiences here on
the Reservation4 When did you first start attending school here?
K: When didlmove to the Reservation?
J: I think I moved to the Reservation aroundl928.
K: Who was the agent here at that time? Was Mr. Spengerstill here when you first
J: I tIink so.. I -4pIt know for sure.
K: ki'(Scott came a little later.
J: No, Mr. Glenn.
K: Glenn, then.
J:/ inn, anhy,-u came and then Mr. Scott later.
K: Oh, Glenn I didn't realize that.
J:/te Spencer was Mr. Glenn. Yeah, I know them pretty well and Mr. Scott
K: :jlB Was the school in operation when you moved here?
J: No, in 1934 I think that's when they start the school.
K: -TUWS i. How did the parents feel about sending their children to
J: Well, they didn't..actually they take us down there and some of them
sent their children to school but we weren't forced to go. We can go if
we want to and we don 't have to go.
JA /hey didn't tell us to go. IOnce in a whileAcuriosity.git us and weWit
K: aie Do yourso anything about the teachers? Do you recall.2.
J: Yeah, her name was Mrs. Duval/ Prs'Hagins first. 'hen Mrs. Duval.
I think we wene pretty loud but...-..... E. t-:, w- just, in those days
we didn't know what schoolhouse was,and we didn't h4- cooperate, that 's
K: What did they try-and do in school? Do you recall.4W Je A.- ,
J: I remember that they try and make us sit down and teach the books
and all that and Auiof course our grandmother told us to we're not
supposed to go to school and all thatso we would just there and 0 -
hatever vi want to call it, enne leaves and then the other
one comes. Mrs. Duval the last teacher that I know of there. She didn't
stay too- long.
K: About one every year. You think they changed every year?
J: Yeah, I think so.
K: (4egg) Did you learn anything in the school? Did you.A Zl 4 0 A 'I */,, -
J: Not too much. #We didn't stay long enough to know anything. I mean...
kI. *h hrt-i.
----"e didn't know what school was. Indian kids t don't 4--e go
to school--t.y- just OjAF care whether aay go to school or not.
K: Uh huh. Right.
J: -y- rather be out swimming' somewhere or....
K: And the parents t'uuK u.ei.i u. they didn't care either....
J: No, they didn't care. So....
K.r" -, did gany of the children take it seriously? "o you recall any
of them who really wanted to learn and9etdy in school? I know -+4 s hard ~-e-
-yef* to recall..- ---- . *
J: Uh, yeah, I was young the.A No, I @on't 9% o.: 4e would come and gy
-ftre.Wa few hours and then we4di0- just walk out when we feel like it.
K: I noticed in one document I was reading; Captain Spencer's report, he
said he was forcing the Tiger camp to come down from Indianapwn....
J: Yeah, that true. That was my mother's....
K: That was your family, wasn't it?
J: Uh huh.
K: fe said as I recall he was getting them to come down specifically to
get the children in school. This was what he really wanted.
J: Yeah, uh huh. That was ur school. We were supposed to go to school.
K: Uh huh.he wasn't ) successful as he 3 had planned to be, I guess.
J: I went to school ali, but it's just that I didn't stay long enough
to know what it was all about. That's why I didn't know nothing until I
went to school on my own.
K: d ^ ., -- /I'f 7t4 /r.l /4. k
J: That s whenI picked this up. 4 !t '"- -'X
K: Uh huh, in the thirties there....,
:I guess this is true and -s has something to say the other Indian
children until they, really want to do it. Till the^see te value of it,
it's gonna beAhard to force them to do it.
J: The parents now encourage their kids to go to school. They want them to
learn nowadays. MostdIndian young mothers and this generation pu-wu
wn my age, p-t their kids through school. -kA-then the next generation
will really push their kids /cause....
Kh,~ore and more of them are gonna be high school and college graduates.
Why were your, y--ar for :m.ple- ycu, mother and grandmother -hy; m-R
so opposed to education? Did they think that if you went to school you were
gonna be less Indian e.eF--more white?
to e, .-A., .4
J: No, just because Wa% white people were different-aF' -. they weren't
treated right and you know being forced to do things and they just resented
it, that's all.
K: a lot of animosity towards whites 4A A
K:ACourse you were pretty isolated out here. It's hard to think of this
Reservation being isolated now cause it's right in the heart of town.
J: Well the town was in Dania and we had to walk or either catch a ride
Some The government ~iea3 y run every Saturday )ai.
That's esoe of the Indians went to town.
K: Into Dania?
Thispart in the back under water. e used to ride canoes out
K: h(a=g*-Canoes out e where the housing area is?
J: Yes, all those houses was under water. (t ( -/ / L .
K.Where were the homes then I j lae -?
J: Right over (here where the Indian village is and right here '-
;'was like a little island here and the back of it was under water.
K: And the school was over on the corner here.
L A LLAA- / 7 AeCA- r4f.
K: On 441?
J: Near J
K: Near 441. Do you recall the, uh, Mrs. Stranahan was telling nmand I can't
recall iNiih, Q e clearly now, she said uh, she came over one day in the thirties
and the kids were jumping out the windows of the ad -o
K:hof the school and they were really upset about W. .Was this a common
occurrence or i-
J: Oh, yes, we did +hV- crazy things.
K: ag~a couldn't get used to going to school then. eU did they ever
try send any of the children into tania to the public school there?
J: Oh, yes, waeL.s 's f Later on in years, I wanted to go to school
so they tried in Hollywood--I mean Dania school They wouldn't allow
me cause I was an Indian and i un A although Fort Lauderdale,
one school was open for some he Indians that went therebut we didn't
have no transportation to go back and forth, but then still they weren't
too happy about the Indians going to school. iqAd so that's why I left school.
K: 4I talked to or I didn't talk to--one of my peqple-" talked to Dr.
Myron Ashmore who was the principal at Dania when the first group of
from the Reservation y
children/started going and he was telling abovt some of the problems
there, but that was much later. That was in the forties, wasn't it?
J: Yeah, 1945/ or something' like that.
K: 144 or 45. Somewhere in there. '' '
J: )Forty-four, I think.
K: Oce they got started, then there was no real problem.
J: Eugene and Priscilla Doctor, I think Eugene ~e and Priscilla Doctor
were the first ones to go to school out there.
K: I didn't know that.
J: P lo working' for the A, s a secretary now.
K: She finished about the same time you were graduating then, z -
J: I graduated, ~ t 4f4.i
K: Uh, as you look back on your experience up at Cherokee--do you think
this was a good school? Was it the same as most high (
J: Well,._rh of recourse we worked half a day for our--we didn't get as
much schoolin' as they tho in a public school cause we had to- ork half a
day for our board. And going to school half a day--that's the way we did.
Room and Board.
J: And, 4 what we 1 1 uh- to -o on the same leave .cause
lot of kids went on 4biurses training/and some of them went to college
from Cherokee ''. it's the same basis. And some of 'em...it's just the
same school life. -Surely--om o- emwantSto-goof and hang down below ,A-jzr '
-Utt tLLh't t and they don't go to colleges, ad-- -e the same way, %.t_
.... ......S -.-, :- ,-
K: it, it wasn't a vocational school as such ....
It was just an Indian high school.
3J t was just an Indian high school. It was a beginner's, first to
twelfth grade, and that's what it wasand still s. Everybody's still going
K: Uh huh, right. jf^ '- ,- J o
J: But it's a day school now) Therez'. t any -._ .
But it was first to twelfth grade and you had to finish and pass before you
K: Did Mrs. Stranahan have anything to do with your going up there?
J: Yeah, I talked to her and she was the first one that bought my white
clothes to go to school.
K; Uh huh. You had had Indian dress up until then?
J: Yeah, uh huh.
K: ,A-the government, I guess there's so many programs now, I know that if
an Indian child really wants to further his education there's government
money available.' fCPO-ftOr
J: U. h,, h gr 3n -
K: How about then? Was there money available for you at that time?
J: No, ,T'J" -:?: -' /I maney to send me off easee I had to go to
K: Uh huh.
J: cB" that's the way we did. -B t-there was a nurses traininga. I went
on and took one year of nurses training out in Oklahoma because I wanted to
know more about it to come back and work with my people. AI know they need
help real bad down here. And so that's the way I went. I was thinking about
the way I could help my people in those dayV9% I could have gone away just
like my cousin did. She went to school and finished high school the same year
1fdid and went off....
K: was Agnes g e
e #she I the same place I was
J: Yeah,hl k fih m KEixxK th kxsaEa anxx lX.ti and she went off.. I was of-
fered a job to make more money out West -at th Lib bL I came back.
J: Where does she live now?
K: She lives in California. She's a teacher at one of those NY, I mean
S7 0. schools, I mean Headstarth.
K: ifth.a That's interesting.
J: The thing is, she didn't want to come back. She just got her education
osG@-Ch nL4 better herself but I wanted to come back and help my people.
K: I found it rather interesting -t from what I know about the tribe
tah it took so lonV. ell ,' aduated in '45,and then others were
coming out of school I know. Joe Dan graduated in '57 and he was the first
one to come out of a public high school.-the first SEminole to graduate
from a public high school-then it took a long time for the tribe to turn
to you people for leadership. This .h this surprises me in a way. I guess Cr^A^!ui4.
J: Well, it had been lead by older groups before for all these years and they
were still looking' up to that and not for he education But then we/ then
they found out you have to have some education to run the ~A program.
K: We were talking about why it took so long to get an educated leadership
in the tribe. Uh, do you believe there is much resistance to you today
to the type of leadershippyou and Joe Dan and the others are offering2
which seems to be a pretty progressive one in getting things done for the
J: Right now it isn't butiweei there was just a little jealousy in 4he twe
I think.A A lot of old ones didn't want to give up their orh, their uh...
K: Well, the people\controlled it before. Was this still sortthe remnant
of the group that had run it before through the old Tribal Council set-up
before the Tribe was reorganized in '57 or.., --..
J: No, e the ones that got it afterwards.
/4 /t^2 had ideally --?.
K: A~e-ey.. .the people who/came to power after the-reorganizatio These
weren't the old hereditary leaderships or anything' of this....
J: Oh, no. The older ones like my grandfather, Jimmy4-Reper 2) and
T f~ml- ) To,.m. n.-,, '. .! ' _- .' 'o -- , (.:. '.-
a-Le J, Ci /LH'-/J9A C Lr I 1
6they werehk'inda leaders ria feed to interpret for themand they're
the ones that used to sign for the people before we become organized.
And they depended on them. They the ones that chose this land. And so
the older group used to run it,and then '57 came and we organized and these
, 'i ,_'. .. L
K: Were these people who were relatively new to the Reservation? / L 4, ~ e
J: Some of them were new to the Reservation /most of them.a----
K: Well now, the people who were here in the.twent.ies when the Reservation
-w /eb he the -Wm e
was established--let's see, there were the Tommzy' and the Jumpers ; who else
,_ ": --rw..---^ U ai, e. "-' ...., -
^MX' ..-'"^'c( s 77au^ T^ -^^^- *
J: The Fields. .
K: The Fields.-
K:4,Yeah,-uhei these are allppeople who had camp'-s f around the
y- da e--",
Ft. Lauderdale areaqhMrs. Stranahan was telling me about bringing them
out here the first time and looking at the ,land and how they seemed to
J: And then rmy folks was in- +th r'- r p We was around Indian-
K: And then you moved down in the twenties too. L uh,--yu L I-( ..
was just curious because,..~ in these educational programspwe're trying
to start now epwp-y we depend so much on you people and the leadership--
you know how your people react to this and uh, we can no more tell them,
you gotta do this than you can and so we depend on you to really persuade
them, I guess, in a friendly sort of way that these are good things, like,
th, we were somewhat disappointed that,'not more people coming to this
adult program out at Big Cypress. I tend to think that more people will
come to it up at Brighton.
J: You teach / there, didn't you?
K: 'Yn A- yeah: I was out there with that program and su we never
averaged more than five or six peoplecoming out there. And~s, we didn't
know if this was the same sort of resistance we would meet up at Brighton
or not. I don't think so, I think the people up at Brighton probably
want this program.
J: They want it cause they the ones that asked for it,
K: Right. And the reason 'we didn't start up there4ierthe suggestion of
thae/xi^. pepl over iCnO th'-eU 6 tc-1 i .D etA-(.
the people over in the agencylthere was because of the housing program~ o
. e-]but now we're ready to go up and offer the adult literacy up there
Starting in September or whenever they want us to do it there.?hSince
they wanted it, I hope they will be more responsive to it. The people
out on Big Cypress seem to have the bigger probleeg ting their children
through school or....
J: Yeah. .
K: You know there seem to be more adults out there who have had little
schooling. II guess that is because they or i isolated for so long.
J: Yeah, and they didn't have nothing' else to :io but go to school, 4-'e-
K: Right,and the people up at Brighton, they uh,. -
J: They wee -
K: They're a lot different.
J: wYlk, .*IL k .d work until late at night.
K: Up at Brighton?
J: Uh hmm.
K: Are they still engaged primarily in agriculture and cattle and things
of this nature/or are they getting into different areas of interest~zw ?
Where do most of 'em work nowup at Brighton?
J: Some of I work in day-care centers, you know like thy/day-care center
around here; Q O < ,2 Pft They have
that and then they have a--some of-en-still work on farms yet, though.
K: UhP^f^g. y';' c.--th e1---- ll,^'[m noc oing ,.-..3- e -ny nor.-.ofyour
-Jqu sti.n c t eflf-f ly -\,i ut**. *- t.li. sc
e I think the school closed in '36 if I'm not mistaken.
J: Yeah, I thinkWo.
K:- t, I guess this was primarily because the kids wereni t taking advantage
J: No, they not going to school either.
K: 9"hat Can you think of anyone else around here right off hand that
wnnt th~ u there that I might talk to get another opinion about.V4.
J: Mary' Bowers.
J: She 'Pworkft* ait the arts and crafts, and Charlotte, she works at a
concession stand. Charlotte Osceola, she went to school there l6.
K: U m I -we~flike to hear some of their recollectionsno
J: Yeah, those two went to school.
K Aj^.~i hhmAbut there was Qnoe compulsion. You weren't forced to
go to school at all, hey didn't care what you did.
.'AI would go home and tell my mother the teacher was mean to me
Cea woiule get mad at theminstead of getting after me. See that's the way
it was, and so we didn't care.
K: GiSRe4 School was just a lark to you then, you didn't really care.
K: -SiiP~) O.K. Thank you, Mrs.Jumper. I appreciate it.