Title: Jean Chaudhuri
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SOUTHEASTERN INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


In cooperation with The Seminole Tribe of Florida



JEAN CHAUDHURI MONOLOGUE














INDEX




Brighton Indian Reservation, 1

Bowlegs, Billy, 4

Huff, Mary, 3

Language
Creek [Muskogee], 1,3
Miccosukee, 1, 3

Oral Traditions
Indian women raped by whites, 3-4
whites killing Indians for sport, 4

Story of "The Hearts Which Were Stolen", 1-2



















This story was told to me by a Miccosukee lady. She is
about fifty years old, and she belongs to the Bird Clan. She
speaks only Miccosukee, but understands the Seminole-Creek lan-
guage. Her story was translated to me by her daughter. Mrs.
B. makes her living by selling palmetto dolls and making beauti-
ful Seminole shirts and skirts. Her husband is deceased, and
she lives with her children. She lives on the Brighton Indian
Reservation, and she told me this folktale, which is a Miccosukee
story. The title: "The Hearts Which Were Stolen."
Once, a long time ago, there were two sisters on earth, and
they were the perfect example of what good virtues Miccosukee
Indian women have to have. They tilled the garden, and were very
hospitable to guests and relatives. They made sure there was
ample food on hand for their visitors and relatives.
Also, there were people of the sky. There were two young
girls of the sky who desired to have the hearts of the two earth
girls, so they plotted to go to earth and take the hearts
of these two girls. The two sky girls thought if they took
the hearts of the earth girls, they too would have good virtues.
The two earth girls were in perfect health, but one day they
both fell ill at the same time. While they laid sleeping, the
maidens from the sky came down and stole their hearts. The
two earth girls were overcome by deep sleep, never to wake up
again. The villagers called for the medicine man, but the power
of the medicine could not restore life back to the two girls.
Great sadness filled the camp. The women were weeping for the
two girls, and the rest of the village was very sad. They de-
cided to bury the two girls and let life go on as it had been
before.
While the camp was making preparation for the burial, they
suddenly heard a strange, squeaky little voice saying, "I can
get the hearts back for you. I can get the hearts back for
you." The people were startled, and they looked all over the
place, trying to find the voice. They discovered that the
tiny, squeaky voice belonged to a little rat with a long,pointed
nose and whiskers that sproiled up, out. With his squinting
eyes, he looked at the people. With a pleading look, the little
rat asked if they would consider him going to the sky; if they
would, he would get the hearts and return them back to the
little girls, and they would live again.
The people only laughed at him and asked him what could he
do? How could he go to the sky? He was so small. The sky
people surely would squash him, if they saw him.














The little rat answered, "That is exactly the reason why
you should let me go to the sky and bring back the hearts. The
people of the sky will not notice me because of my size. It would
be far easier for me to hide than a big, grown man, and besides,
the only reward I want is to be provided with food for the rest
of my life."
The people told the little rat that they would have to think
it over. After much discussion, the people finally decided
perhaps it was a good idea to let the little rat go up to
the sky instead of a man. Besides, no one seemed too anxious
to go to a strange place. Anyway, what did they have to lose
if the rat lost his way? Then it would be his own fault, but
if he returned with the two hearts, the villagers would be
happy. So they gave him their consent.
Many days went by, and the little rat was finally pre-
pared to make his long journey toward the sky. He followed a
trail that led into the sky. Running as fast as he could, he
followed the trail that led into the sky,past small clouds
medium clouds and big clouds. Finally making his way nearer
to his destination, he faintly could hear people laughing
and singing. The closer he came near the sky, he fully realized
that somecelebration was going on. The laughing and singing be-
came louder and clearer. With his little beady eyes, he looked
all around him, and he saw people singing, laughing, playing
and dancing. He thought to himself, "This is really a good
day to have come and look for the hearts, since the people
seem to be really involved in enjoying the festivities."
Then without anyone noticing him, he immediately set out to
look for the two hearts.
He saw the hearts being prepared to cook. Without hesitation,
the little animal went forth to get the hearts. At each step
he took, he felt that the eyes of the sky people were right
upon him. He waited for a little while; while everyone was
busy with the ceremonies, he quickly grabbed the two hearts
and made his way back to the earth people. The earth people
were so happy that he had brought back the hearts of the two
girls, they had a big feast and told the little rat, "From
this day onward you will have whatever you want, and all the
food you can eat." The little rat was very pleased.
The people returned the hearts back to the young girls.
They woke up from their dead sleep, without realizing they had
been dead for several days. And as the two girls yawned and
saw all the happy faces, they were curious--why were all these
people around them? This was the first time that they had ever














seen the whole village quite happy to see them. Then they
were told that they had been asleep, dead sleep. Actually,
they were dead for a little while, but thanks to good for-
tune, they were alive.
The young maidens, being curious, asked, "What do you mean
we've been dead? We have been sleeping, haven't we?"
The parents said, "No. The sky people sent down two young
maidens like you to steal your hearts, and if they had succeeded
in cooking your hearts and ate it, you could be dead right now?
But someone in the village here went to the sky and brought
back your heart."
The young maiden asked, "Who would be willing to sacrifice
their lives to go to a strange place and bring our hearts back?"
The father pointed to the rat and said, "Do you see
that ugly little rat there with the long, pointed nose and
the beady eyes and the ragged whiskers? He is the one who dared
to go to the strange people of the sky, and it is he who
brought back your hearts."
The two little girls looked at the ugly little rat and
couldn't hardly believe it. But they told him that they were
eternally grateful to him for getting their hearts back.
During the following night, the village had a big feast and dance
and everyone was happy.
For almost every story I would hear, I would in turn trans-
late it into Creek, because there were Creek-speaking people
there who neither understood the Miccosukee or the English
language.

(Creek)

There was a lady who I enjoyed talking to a great deal,
and that was Mary Huff. She told me a lot of stories, legends,
and historical events that happened many years ago. I had
asked her to tell me anything that would pop into her mind, and
she told another historical event to me. She said, "It has
been told to me that when the white soldiers would come to a
village, finding only women and children, they would kill most
of the people, all except the young girls, and they would
rape them, leaving them to die."
One story she related to me was:
One pleasant day, a long time ago, when the men went out
to hunt, the village was left with only women, and some of the
women decided to go to the river to swim. While they were swimming,
suddenly out of nowhere, white men stepped out from behind trees.
The poor, unfortunate young women did not have a chance to flee.
The men immediately took advantage of them, knocking them down
to the ground and stripping them and taking turns raping them.
They say blood flowed freely from these young women.















One of the young women managed to get away. She swam
further down the river. Being out of reach of the barbarians,
she made her way back to the village. She waited until the
men returned to tell her story. When the men returned, she
told them what had happened. Without hesitation, they took
out after the white men. They went to the scene where the rape
took place, and a girl was floating on the river and two others
were found lying on the ground, dead of knife wounds. Further
down the river, near some thickets, they found another girl who
was barely breathing. She was talking incoherently, and they
took her back to the village, and she died, still remaining
unconscious This is one incident of many that happened.
In the days of Billy Bowlegs, everything and anything could
happen to our people. Those were the days when the white men
have not yet learned how to be human. He would kill anything in
sight; he had only one thing on his mind, and that was to kill
the Seminoles--to kill them on sight, kill them, don't let
any of them live. As a result, we lived like animals and
were hunted like animals.
She also told me a short one about an old man, how he was
shot:
Once there was a camp, and only an old man and his grandchildren
were there. The rest of the people went to look for berries or
to hunt. This old man was tending to his hogs when a white man
crept up on him and shot him through the chest, and he fell dead.
His grandchildren scattered into different directions. The
beastly white man pursued them, but they managed to get away
from him.
During that time, there was never a moment of relaxation
when the white man was near. When he was near, death was near,
and when death was near, the white man was there. My grandfather
told me many times, this was the way of life with the white man.
The white man was obsessed with killing, and he had to kill us.
He thought he needed our land. My grandfather used to say it
was better to kill one of our own when there was no other alter-
native, because the white man would make a sport of killing one
of our own, and it was better for our people to die at our hands.




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