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Buffalo Tiger

Monologue #1 "Childhood" 12/9/89



People call me William Buffalo Tiger. I will start at the beginning of the experiences I have when

I was a child. So this is step one. Today is December 9, 1989. I can't remember everything that

happened that particular day, that particular time, but I began to realize I was in the camp. This

happened to be in the glades. We called this particular camp, our Grandfather's Camp. I began

to see things and realize what I heard. To me, it was so beautiful. I feel so wonderful. I see my

grandfather wearing traditional clothes and hats the medicine mans used to wear. He looked

scary to me. Since he's grandfather, I was a little afraid of him. I remember seeing him at this

camp. I remember seeing my grandmother also in that particular camp. She always seemed to be

around a fire cooking something or boiling sofkee, made from corn. We always managed to drink

that, so they have it on the hand always. I remember seeing my mother. She's around the kitchen

cooking [in the] chickee. I remember seeing the other lady, she's an aunt of mine. I can't

remember seeing other children my age to play with. This happened to be an afternoon, but I

remember clear the birds making noise. Beautiful red birds, cardinals, sitting on top a tree up in

the southwest. There's a tree standing there and [a bird] sitting up there singing, singing and I

keep looking at him and he's so red and so beautiful. I remember that clearly. I thought, how the

bird make its noise? Happened to be that same afternoon that the wind blowing from north

southwest and blowing hard and cloud begin to move from southwest. In this particular time, I

felt very, very good. I got all excited because wind blowing and clouds coming closer to us. That

makes me feel so good. It was getting ready to rain. I had a little bow and arrow my dad made


1









for me. I would run and jump because the wind makes me feel so wonderful. I picked up this

bow and arrow, sighted against the wind, and wind was strong enough to carry my arrow back to

camp and finally hit my grand daddy. Almost hit his eye, but hit the head. Then I couldn't say

anything. People don't realize I didn't shoot him. I shoot up in the air against the wind. But the

arrow come down because the wind was blowing hard. It hit my grand daddy making him bleed

and I didn't feel that good. My grandmother and my mother blamed me. I tried to tell them I did

not shoot and hit him, but I got a whipping for that. But I was not feeling bad, because I did not

shoot him. I didn't want hurt him, but that happened. But they have never believe me--my

mother, my grandmother, my grandfather, all of them did not believe me. I was not feeling hurt.

They whipped me and told me never do that again. I didn't accept that because I didn't do it. I

was just having fun, enjoying what nature was doing to me. I did not know what is the nature at

the time. I just felt good at that particular moment. I remember this particular camp because my

grand daddy has store. It was kind of like grocery store. It was made out of wood

frame and they have a bunch of groceries inside. Many Indian people, Miccosukee people, come

and trade with him and take the groceries home with them because they're bringing in all kinds of

hides. Otter skin, racoon skin, alligator skin. They were worth pretty good money at the time, I

suppose. I didn't really know the business. I don't really know what is going on, but I know

that's the kind of thing he was doing. We want to go in his store so many times because he have

cookies. We go in there, he give us a piece of cookies, we come out and eat them. It's hard to

get into his store because he would just keep us away from the store. But we didn't mind that. I

remember that the boat dock area is north from this particular camp and all these Miccosukee men

coming in there with the canoe and spend a day or two. They get what they want and go away









from there. I don't know their names, I don't know who they were, but those were the activities.

But I remember, too, my dad goes out in a canoe and come back with lots of corn for us to eat, a

lot of pumpkins and potatoes and thing like that. He would always bring them back for us to eat

one. We have kind of an outdoor table, it's made just for that. They build outdoor, big enough

for us to put all kinds of corn, pumpkin, potatoes, whatever we want to be in sun, we put them

out and let the sun hits it. Few days, few weeks, make it sweeter. So we always do that, my

dad, my mother and my grandmother. I don't have much surrounding this particular moment

because I can't remember too well because I was little. At night we all sleep in the one chickee.

Chickee is made from palmettoes and cypress frame. Sometimes we can build them to a good

size and some small size. This family chickee will be good size. Children sleep same place [with]

my dad and my mom. We all sleep in the same chickee with the table But I young

enough so they let me sleep with my dad and my mother and my brother. Because we were small,

we were afraid of night. Experience I have at night, I thought I see something. I never

known what it was that did that to me. I could not figure it out. But I woke up at night [when]

everybody sleeps. We always use a gasoline lamp. It's old fashioned lamp, you call it today but

that time, it's just a lamp, give us light. It's cut down so just very little light is coming out. You

could see a shadow. I was so frightened at night anyhow, maybe because of that. I thought I see

something moving. I can squeeze up inside mosquito nets. Our heads facing towards east, it's

what we love to do, we always sleep that way. I look down to my foot, towards west and

mosquito nets, it's inside, sleeping inside. So I can see this little light and little things moving

back and forth and I got real, real afraid just keep moving back and forth, back and

forth. I wonder what it was. I thought maybe some person walking back and forth. So I see that









there wasn't nobody there, no noise, nothing. In maybe twenty minutes, it managed to go away.

But I never told my dad and my mom that. I was just so afraid I couldn't sleep that night, but I

never told anybody that I see that, things moving. I had no idea what it was, but I know I was

afraid. Of course, we were told, at night, it's not supposed to play. Night is something that we

should behave and sit and listen to the story, do what you must do. Sit around the fire.

Sometimes we would lay on a table under the chickees facing sky, looking at the sky, sometimes

it stars. Nighttime story should be told to you. We always do these things. So they told us, our

parents told us, we should never run and we should never go places at night, because night is not

for us to play and be happy. Spirits, from the bodies must enjoy the night, so we should let them

enjoy at night. People who are living, enjoy day. So maybe that was what was bothering me at

that time, but I did not ever find out what that was. It's maybe things happen for us but nothing

serious, no big problem. We just have to know where we be going next hunting time. We do a

lot of hunting. Sometimes falls and sometimes springs. Depends what type of the game we gonna

be hunting. I was too young to know what I should learn that particular time. Nobody told me

anything, yet, but I remember so many mens, Miccosukee mens coming in with Miccosukee

customs and guns. All kinds of guns. They must have it years and years. They sell it to us. I

remember my brothers and my cousin got together. They sell us and they told us what ones used

for the type of games. And they told us the type that soldiers have used to kill people with it. I

remember seeing the guns where you have to make a bullet. It has a big barrel for the powder, I

believe that's what you call it. You have to make explosion, use the powder to make it blow.

They have showed it to us and I don't know what the people used to have. I don't know what

happened to the gun. We lived there for a long time I guess, but I can't remember. But the









Tamiami Trail did not go all the way through. Tamiami Trail goes there where our camp was.

My grandmother and grand daddy's camp. Maybe half a mile, a mile northwest, the highway, the

Tamiami Trail we call it today, was ended. I remember lot offish. All kind offish. All kinds of

birds, all kinds of snakes, all kinds of games. There's just too many sometimes. I remember the

duck, too. I was too little, but I remember my brothers and my cousins we took our canoes out

and we always managed to get fish. Sometimes in deeper water, there was a lot of fish in it. They

would rock the boat, fish start jumping all over place and get in my canoe. We take them back

and our mothers and our grandmother would cook for us. The food was no problem because

there is just so many. That is that particular camp. I did not know to much at that time. Finally,

our grandfather pass away. I shouldn't do that, I should just go ahead and go on with my

experience in the glades. We have visited other places in the glades where people live. More than

Miccosukee people live in this glades, we call it Florida Everglades. To me there was a beautiful

place, lots of water and we travel back and forth to camp to visit this places. But mostly all

Miccosukee camps. We have box of bananas and lot of soup in cans and pumpkin, potatoes and

things like that, so us boys visit another camp. Our folks they live nearby us. We spend time too

in sugar camps. Sometimes people have banana, they enjoy eating them. So in between times we

do a lot of swimming in the water because water looks so good, looks so clean you can see the

bottom. You could see all kinds offish. I enjoy watching fish. Sometimes we lay in the canoe

with nothing to do but enjoy watching fish in the water, all kinds of little fish. Way down in the

bottom, the big, freshwater shrimp, are there and they get their food and go back in the hole.

They have little holes in the mud and they go in there. Then they want a food, they come out and

get their food and go back in. There were a lot of freshwater shrimp and there's lots of little, bitty









shrimp underwater. We used to watch that. Also there's all kinds of small turtles. We used to

watch that, too. You have to spend a little time just waiting, be patient, those things come out

and start swimming and doing things. They play with you. That's how we go watch so many

time. I do anyhow. Some of the boys don't like to do that, but I have did that so many times

because I have imaginations and they entertain to me and I enjoy them so many times. The water

is clean, you can see the bottom, you can see the bass, big ones and little ones. You can see the

mullet, used to be out there and some tarpons, you used to see that. But I was too little to get

those fish. I could only get them, rock the boat, and let them get in. As far as a turtle, it's no

problem for us to get them. We have to learn how to find out what we can kill for the food. We

never taught to kill anything except we should kill what would be good eating and that's it. It

seems to be realized by nighttime stories which taught us so many things. Whatever young men

sees he go back and tell the grandmother or aunt. The aunt or grandmother says, that is the deer,

what you're talking about is a deer, edible. If you kill it, I cook it for you. Then you went hunt

and you got that. Any others he told he saw it. Grandmother or aunt say, it's not edible, don't kill

it. That's the way it goes. We been taught what we should eat, what we should not eat, don't

destroy it and kill it. That's how we have to learn by bedtime story. That's how we grow up.

When you're little, you have a clear mind, very clear mind of what you are. They have no idea for

other lives. When I say other lives, the city lives, we just learn and know ourselves. We so

comfortable with our dad and our grandmother and our people and what they tell us. We don't

have much toys to play with. I remember when I was a little guy and we have one particular

camp we live in. I was old enough to have little pets. Someone got me a white bird. I kept him

for awhile until he flew away. Other times they got me ducks. I kept them for awhile. We have









to let them go. The toy I have always seems to have was bow and arrow. We have a toy like

little canoe made out of little cypress, not very much, but it's something I play with. I enjoy to

have them. But mostly what excite me was nature, what I see, what is around me. When we old

enough to sit around a fire at night, there's so many things people have told us. I don't really

think people are teaching me that time, but that's what our mother and our fathers and our

grandmother's doing to us. That's the reason I would think somebody's teaching you, it makes

you realize something you shouldn't do those things and you have to believe in those things.

When I was little, we have to not kill even little spiders. We don't go on and kill it when we see.

If we kill, then we have to sing something while you did it because our mothers and our

grandmothers says you must do that because there are bigger things that hurt you later if you just

kill it and walk away from it. You must always let them know you didn't mean to do that, but

you did because of some reason, so the bigger things later won't hurt you. Many times we do not

kill those little insects or spiders, particularly. That part, it seems to be a more beautiful way to

see things. There's just so much you can learn. What ourselves have to do if we learn, like going

to bed at night. If we have to go to bed at night, a lot of times we run around barefooted all day,

most of the time we wash our feet. We have to fix our beds. We all have to sleep on the hot

boards, we call it sleeping places. Blanket goes on the hot board, then mosquito nets come down

and go over you.









SEM 211B
Buffalo Tiger Monologue #2 Breathmaker
December 9, 1989


[Speaking in Seminole, switches to English] The people who call theirselves Miccosukee Indians

Florida. The important ones we should think about and be talking about how this

Earth and who responsible for it. We call the one responsible to make this Earth, Breathmaker.

We do not just talk about the state of Florida. We're talking about whole Earth. He had declared

that, and we believe that Miccosukees are a special people. He has made them part of this earth,

so we Then they have to take care of everything for us, continuously doing different

things good for us [like] trees growing and people live on this earth. They begin to know what

they are, what their responsibilities. They help put these animals in all our lives, all the fish, all the

birds. Everything we see around from nature, they have made that for us. They have made this

air, that's the reason we call them Breathmaker. We believe we are part of everything here. It's

fate by Breathmaker. The woman and man, then a children should be come along between man

and woman. They went out to find food, the plants, water. The Breathmaker thought that he

wants them to eat. We must plant. We must take care of it, monthly or when the time to plant

different things. What not to eat, what to eat. This is important for all Miccosukees because here

we're talking about all this. I'm not telling Miccosukee people to believe me or live like that, it's

not that. I'm just passing some things. I heard it before and many other people heard it before. I

know some other people have listened more and learned more. They're not living today.

Everytime some elder person die, it die with it, and we're continuously losing some things. So we

must make it so young people would have it there and [if they] want to learn it, they can learn it.









They always telling us. The grandparents, grandfather, grandmother, aunts, uncles, teach us many

of this type of learning. Sometimes there's a special time. Our mothers, our folks another clan

can come and taught us and let us know what we really are. We must listen and we do. Our

parents always seems to wanted for you to learn as much as you can about our culture, about

everything we have to live with. It's important for us to learn that when we get older, so we

know what to do when we need it. But sometimes, when you're young, you might not be able to

listen to well. So many times I always thought I didn't want to be. I didn't want to know. It's

just taking my time away from me. Those are the kind of things you think when you're younger.

I know I have been young once and I know how I was and I'm still learning. The younger people

feel the same way. It's important. We must listen, we must learn. When we get older, it's useful

for us to live with. So what it is I'm talking about, this developing material for culture--

traditional practice and language and things like that--a lot of it, is gonna have to come from the

people like uncles, grandmother, grandfather or brothers or sisters. They teach each other and

then we have to listen and we must learn from each other. So our Breathmaker have did some

wonderful. [It is a] beautiful life they have provided for us. We must grow different things for

food. We must find the food in the water or anyway we can find. But we all can only eat certain

things to be healthy. One thing we learn when we're younger [is] never hurt anybody, never lie to

anybody. You always be helpful, whoever asks you for help, you must help as much as you can.

Don't promise something that you're not able to keep. So those are things that's important for us

and the people. The clans experience many, many years. We believe that our God for

us, too. The clan is important. The clans, there are not too many. Some of the clan had got

killed during the war and today we probably have six or seven left. Some [are] clans of the









Miccosukee Indians and some clans [are] of the Seminole Tribes. But whatever is left, we must

recognize that [there are] reasons there are clans, a difference. Years ago we used to

have villages, all kinds of different sizes villages and different clans lived in those village. There

still is today, but we don't recognize. Some of them are families we kind of forgot about where

the clan come from. So we should learn that all the clans are important and have respect for their

clans. They have responsibilities when people need it. Some clans used to make good warriors

and some clans, they the spirits of medicines and some other clans cannot take the

medicines. Some clans are like lawyers. Some clans can make peace. Some clans is like uncles

to each other. They were all close together here and then. When I say here and then, I meant

sometimes the clans seems to be a group here and there. That we can learn, too, but we have to

sit down as either uncles or either mothers, either grandmother, or grandfather or someone who

knows. If you want to know yourself, what clan you come from and how you supposed to treat

your cousins, like your brothers. Years ago, in big villages, we're all brothers and sisters even

though we're cousins and uncles and our grandmothers and our mothers. That's the way all clans

were set up at one time. It still is. People used to get married and go to another clan, another

village to marry a woman. If you married to that village, that clan, you have to live with them

until you have two children, three children, then you can establish your own camp, if you wanted

to. Then that clan always kind of look after where they are. If you establish the camp for your

children, that belong to a mother, what clan she is. we just feed our children and love

them and they respect us, but knowing that the particular camp or village belong to your wife or

her clan. Sometimes the parents die. Particularly mother die and children are small, and father

don't take care of them. If they wanted they let the clan took them, like aunts or uncles, someone









whose from same clan. They will take the children and go off and everybody can see their new,_,

uncle take care of them. Or he can go to somebody's house and marry to another woman. But

the children belong to the clan so they have to go back. It's important for us to know

now and try to ask questions of someone who knows about, so they can tell us about

There is only the start. Really, everything I'm doing here now is just a start for you thinking and

ask questions.



Years back, the Miccosukee always each other and live in. The way they live

is go their house, like a big community. This seems to be happen that different village,

different clan, but they are pretty close together, not in one village, but separate villages

that different clan has so they can identify whose village, what clan's village and all that.

[Please clarify] So they have it that way a long time. Our people have taught us sometimes and

said that did not work too well sometimes or sometimes work fine, but that's the way it used to

be. Nothing I ever learned is perfect because there's too many people living close together. This

is years back and I'm sure there was plenty [speaks for awhile in Seminole] That

means Miccosukee people all lived in this camps, so you could identified is different clans, the

villages that they close together. Until such a times that the Europeans attacked them and

destroyed their villages and they killed many of our people. They thought maybe, they better not

live that way again. Then soon after U.S. troops was after then, so they make sure the clan have

their own little camps here and there and that's how we start off. That's the way we are today.

Then all of us know we don't wear what we wear today. We don't wear material clothes. Most

of the time the buckskins people have worn. It's different now because we start using the








material and colorful shirts and dresses and things like that. Until now, [when] we wear

somebody else's clothes, we call it white man's clothes. So we should know that, too.



During this time before the village was destroyed, and people got killed, the Spaniards wanted

a deal with the Miccosukees, pretty much [in the] beginning.' I never dealt with them for long

time before other people like and friends come along and they dealt with them, too,

because wherever they need like furs and buckskins and different things Europeans liked, so they

trade with us. That's what the Spaniards were doing that. So we dealt with Spanish first and we

made agreement with them and they trading things with the Spanish. I'm not taking about

Spanish come from Cuba, they happen to be people from Europe, Spain and places like that.

Later, every European were here. They have to go back because the United States taking over

and Spanish went back. The British have recognized the Miccosukees pretty well and we have

seen some type agreement or treaties we had with them. I didn't see much of that for

Miccosukees and the French, but I did see something about agreement or treaty from England.

But the Spanish, we dealt with them pretty much so when they sold a few places getting ready to

leave, the United States bought the forts. They bought three places. I believe one is in St.

Augustine, other place is West Coast, where they kept the soldiers in like a fort. Then the

Spaniards indicated to them all the rest of the land, Indian country, belonged to the Indians, and

that should be remained recognized. And so I'm sure United States agreed at that, because

United States did not buy from them for that, because Spanish recognized the Miccosukees had

this land, so they much continued using it. It's their land, that's what they were saying. So they

left. Later, the United States claimed all the state of Florida. That's the way it is today, but









sometimes when you looked at it, abstracts and things like that, the Spanish have a lot to do with

the land, with Indians. So you need to ask questions about that, too. I don't believe the elder ...

people know those things too much. Some of the lawyers know some things of that type because

abstract, when you buy property, you supposed to have what they call a clear title. You couldn't

buy something belongs to somebody else. The lawyers usually look at it and then if they thought

every things O.K., then you buy a piece of property. So they're supposed to know that, but they

kept to themselves. We're talking about how the land was in the state of Florida and Miccosukee

calls it We probably have another name for that, you can ask for and find out from

your elders. To me it's important for us to think about it and ask questions, because there were

Indians here, I was told, and we know about it because we heard it before. A different type of

Indians were here and our people called it [speaks for awhile in Seminole] We're

talking about there were people here and Miccosukees recognized them as a people who eat, like

we do, lot offish and lots of turtles. Then they build some high ground, we call it today a island

and hammock. Those people who live on places like that. We call them and that

means something very old and something past. So we have to find what right word to call them,

we just call them .So as I say, anything past, that it was something, so we just have to

find the words for that. [speaks for awhile in Seminole] These people [I am] talking about were

Indians and they have living with Miccosukees around. These people don't like to be around any

type of people, so they went back in the cypress area, big, thick cypress. They're living there and

of course, Miccosukee don't bother them too much. They were living inside the big hammocks

and keep making canoes. They usually make a lot of canoes and put them together and tie it

together and they cut lot of trees and put them on top of the canoe so wind can blow them like









sailboat. They did that and a bunch of these people got in it and then the wind blow more, it

blows them towards west and then continuously blow them away from here. Like very big

hammock, continuously drifting away from land. They went away, so most of these people have

left that time and Miccosukee have realized that, so that is important for our people to know that,

too.









SEM 211C
Buffalo Tiger Monologue #3 'Miccosukee Life'
December 9, 1989

I'll continue talking about the glades and when I was growing up. Miccosukee people have lived

in the glades a lot of years. It's the only life I knew. I don't know any other lives. I don't speak

any other language and I don't think any other ideas [except] my own, Indian and Miccosukee.

That seems to be a happy way to think [about] my childhood. The other boys and girls feel the

same was as I do. We never [had] any other thoughts or somebody else could do better in this

and that. We didn't have that kind of feeling. So the family's good. My family seems closer

together. My dad and my mother and myself and my brothers, we all care for each other. I know

so many times when my mom not feeling good, like she's getting sick, we worried to death.

Sometimes sisters crying away and we were just like that. I, myself, used to wonder about what

would happen to us if my mother passed away. We just had that strong feeling, a family tie we

had then. I know sometimes [when] my brothers or cousins growing up, big boys, have gone

away, hunting trips in the glades and they had been gone maybe a week or two and they are

coming back. When they get back, they always manage to have some things, piece of candy or

something. Either that or they have a little piece material for our cousins or our sisters In our

family, everybody get something because my brothers seems to think other families is of sisters, so

that when they buy or kill something for family, they always have to think about other families.

That is the way we have been brought up. Sometimes someone kill deer or wild hog. If it's

enough meat, we deliver those meat to another family near us. They need it, too. So we supplied

whatever we have on hand. I remember those feelings we got. So when one family get some

poison or little girl or boy got sick, I don't care how late it is, if our family can't take care of it in









our village, they have to go get another person to make medicine for us. I know so many times,

maybe late at night, somebody have to go get in their canoe, go get whoever can make medicine

for that particular sickness. He would never say no. He respect and help all he can. He'll never

say, I'll have to get the money for it. We don't learn that way. We just help one another. So he

would come and make medicine for that boy or that girl and hang around until the boy or girl get

better, then he goes home. That's the way it was in my childhood. Those are places we live, we

call it islands and hammock. Our family, our mothers and dads, uncles told us, the [other] people

were there first. They were there and they live a long time to make those islands higher, putting

more mud, putting different things to make it higher so water won't cover. Even during high

water, it still be dry. Those people, we have to chase them off, or we maybe kill them, and then

they no longer there. That's the way that we were taught. Those islands, they important for us,

to take care of it because the water got so high one time, years and years ago. That's the way it

was and the people have added on those little islands so they'll be a little higher. The water have

to come from north. That's the way it begins and that's the way it always will be. It is fresh

water in the glades and many plants can grow because it's fresh water. There were different types

of birds there and we have to learn some of the birds is used for food and used for the feathers

and used for making medicines, for different purpose. Depends what type of birds and what type

of sickness. Also we were taught, our people can get sick from different things. Animal sick, or

the can make us sick and our medicine works because there is people who know how to

make medicine, experience in that type of sickness [and know] what type of medicine would go

with it. So it works. I know myself, I got sick. My brother, he's younger, he has no English

name, he was just my brother. He and I got sick overnight and he managed to get well in a









couple of day and I didn't get better. I got sick really bad. I remember we were on our way to a

Green Corn Dance and my dad and my mother and my brothers and everybody. They put me in

the canoe and we got there. Quite a ways, it takes a couple of days to get there. I was pretty

sick, I couldn't hardly walk. They put me down on the ground and I was too sick to remember

everything, I was so young. This old lady was touching my stomach. I was lying down on my

back facing the sky. She was rubbing my stomach and I looked at this person. She was an old,

old lady and something wrong with her nose. Her nose is kind of sore all over, but she was so

good. She rubbed my stomach, made me feel good, and talking to me, but I can't understand

what she saying. She was making medicine to me. Then I fall asleep and next day I woke up and

I was better. And afternoon people were eating food on the table and someone want to bring me

food where I was laying on the ground. I want to go to the table and eat, so my mother say, will

you walk? I say, yes. I didn't know I was so weak, but I got up and I was so shaky and weak.

When I started walking, I was shaking when I walked to the table and ate. Food taste not like

food, because I have high fever all the time, just getting better. I remember that lady. I didn't

know who she was. A very, very old lady, but she did make medicine for me and I got better.

But I can't remember any more. That part must be important to me [because] I remember that.

What people have told us, we get sick sometimes from monkeys. We get sick from different type

of animals. We get sick from different type of tree. We get sick from maybe some air.

Sometimes the water, sometimes from fish. Sometimes even from human beings. They have all

kinds of ways making medicine, but everything has to be in place. Even human beings can make

sick each other. Maybe ones not good for other person, that the other one get sick. So those the

kind of things we have to be careful with it. We should learn those things. As far as whether you









should like being sick and laying on the ground, I can't remember too much because I was too

little and I was too sick. But it was day, just like it's afternoon. I see lot of people around, they

come look at me. They had a bath for me. I have a deer hide to sleep on, and I have a little deer

hide pillow they have give to me. I have them to sleep on. The people thought I was gonna die,

being pretty sick, but that lady help me. People have making so much noise, I thought, too,

because we happen to be in Green Corn Dance. People enjoy themself playing ball and dancing

night and eating lot of food, enjoy very much while they were there. But I wasn't that happy, I

didn't enjoy that much. But I got better. The medicine, if you believe in it, will fix it

for you. It works for us. We were taught it did.

Still young, live in the camp, a little older, living in camp with our cousins. My mother

and my aunt and two sisters and husbands and my dad and bunch of sons belong to her. My

mother has sons and daughters, too. Big families. We're living in camps. We have live in the

older men, and our aunts, they live in the like that, at camp. We always have beautiful

camp. Our aunt, this older aunt we call her, and the husband we call grand daddy, but he's a

different clan. He's real nice. He works hard. They had no boys and they had no girls, it's just

him and her. She's my mother's older sister. At camp they always have lots of bananas and lot of

sugar canes, beautiful chickees, beautiful camp, I thought. She always so sweet lady. She always

have a food for you to eat and he always will some nice things for her. Nice things,

nice chickee, nice tables to sleep on and nice place to canoe in there. He is one man [who] can

make good medicine, too, and she always strict lady. We live in this camp so many times. He can

cut the cypress. He can put up chickee. He can do just about anything with ax and with his hands.

I remember I wanted to be like him. He's not a big man, he's a little guy. He can carry a big


1









cypress on his shoulder. That, I can't do. They were doing well. It's in the glades and we always

go there with the canoes and they always have another family there. There are cousins. There

always seems to be clans in that area where we visit. My mother's brother has a camp. He has a

family. He has a nice camp. When I was little, he's not too nice to me. He's kind of mean, but

he's my uncle. His wife was so nice to me. I was so little, but I remember she always wanted to

keep me. She always wanted to take me and keep me and she always give me different things.

She always bring some syrup, something she make. She live in her own camp away from us, but

she always come see me and see my mother and dad because she's kin to my dad and I was so

this son. She have a daughter, but she didn't have a son then. She really likes me. She

used to make little shirts for me to wear and she give me different type of food to eat and

something I can use later. I always love her in that way, but I was afraid to go live with her. She

had a beautiful camp, too. I have gone to many camps I like and some I don't really care. But

different clans would have to visit them, too. Every clan has different ways to live. Some are real

neat and some are not so neat, but [at] all the camps we visited when we were little, the food's

free and they always giving us water the minute we walk into camp. Giving us the water, that

means you wash your hand; you rinse out your mouth and they give you a place to sit. You sit

for awhile, food's ready, have coffee or drink sofkee, whatever. They offer [this] to you,

everyplace you go. Every Miccosukee camp is like that. Make you feel home. Some families,

you stop and visit them [and as] you leaving, they give you something you can eat. Either they

give you boiled potatoes, sweet potatoes. They give you a little bananas or they give you sofkee

to drink. Some food you can eat on the way home. That always happen. That's the way my

folks do that to us when we were little. I had never seen much of people drinking, except few are









drinking. I didn't know what my mother told me, they were drunk. So really, drunk, it means

nothing to us when I was growing up. People, my dad, my brothers, my uncle, getting together

and talking about different things they going to do. Talking about the way they gonna farm and

where they gonna plant and when they gonna go hunt and what they gonna hunt. They had never

talking about anything, except those things. They talking about where they gonna build chickee

for the families and where next farms gonna be and those kind of things. We know we not many

Miccosukee people in the glades, but there were some people live around Lake Okeechobee that

we call them We know some people live in the west coast. They live around dry

places and sand, we call them different names. We have another name. We call ourselves

__. People who speak plain either died or have no language. people call in

Creek. We are taught, too, we all together at one time, but for some reason we got away from

them and they speaking traditional Creek language. Our's, new type of language. It's been that

way years and years. During the time people have talked to us about why it's important to be

Miccosukee or Indian. We were killed. So many of us were killed. Many white soldiers after us

and kill us and kept a lot of our people, and sent them to Oklahoma. Many of those Indians have

returned back to us. [They] tried to get them to go to Oklahoma and give it up, the land we love.

We call it it's our land there. A lot of people don't want to go and run away from

soldiers and they get killed and some people wanted to go Creek Those people go

and get paid. I can't remember exactly how much. They left state of Florida to Oklahoma. A lot

of Miccosukee die on the way, never make it. Some did make it. They were continuously trying

to make us go to Oklahoma because that's what soldiers wanted at one time. So we have to be

careful not to really accept white man's way too much. Accepting too much white man's way, we









lost ourself and sooner or later we might end up in Oklahoma. So to Miccosukees, Oklahoma is

the bad place to be and it's always been that way. I'm always afraid that's where we might have

to go. The way they teaching us, that's the way it happened. So it might happen again.

The people who understand that problem, what happened to us before and what will

happen again, are the people who knew, particularly those medicine people, people call them

Medicine Mens. Those are people [who] know and others don't really care because they just

never get involved in what might happen tomorrow. They just live and enjoy as much as they can.

I remember, everybody [was] afraid of white man. I remember before this I was going

through, there's a lot of people have gone out, come out shooting guns. It look like everyone had

a gun to shoot something. There was plenty to shoot at, so they must be shooting at anything

they see. So we have to be careful all the time. When we see people, white guys, we have to stay

behind bushes so we won't come out in open. I remember that. That, still remain when people

have to do another step like, for some reason something happened when we were growing up and

getting to be bigger guys [or] boys. People, our mothers and our dad and other people start

moving around. Not all of them. Some of the people stay back in the glades, but some of them

start moving around, particularly our family. I know one time, the Tamiami Trail ran up to

Pinecrest. It's a loop road, but the road goes up there and people started building houses back in

there. I am talking about white people building houses. Some people was talking about working

there and making a little money. Some people don't want to work for money, but for some

reason my dad [was] influenced by someone, so we all went. My dad's working and other people

working and I believe they're getting paid very little. Maybe like twenty-five cents a day or fifty

cents a day. Something like that. It's not real money. It's like piece of coin or something, but









it's not real money, but it's money there. They work all day, give them the money and they buy

food with it. This time they buying crackers and candies and things like that. My dad didn't stay

too long and we have to come home because I don't think the job was good and things not going

too good for us, because people start drinking alcohol there and things just not good. We have to

move away. We come back to camps, then we grow up a little. For some reason we have to go

in city. I can't remember exactly how we managed to go to city. A few places Indians used to go

camp [in] back yards of some of their white friends. We got spending They got some

what they call My mother and our people would like to eat some of that, so we used

to go find those things in where the sand places are and we dug them out like potatoes. Then we

asked our friends to take us back in the glades and bring it back and our mothers and our fathers,

everybody get together and make You grind them and let them get kind of like

spoiled and rotten and you wash them through with cloth and the water goes through. You take

the water and then on the bottom, in a couple days you find that there be very little grounds,

sitting there. It's the contun. You could wash it off and use it for making bread or you could

make a drink out of it. You could do a lot of things with it, but that's what the Indians used to

eat. It's a lot of work to do that, but we used to do that. So we did have some friends in Miami

area. We used to come, let us spend the night, day too, in back yard. We didn't never try to

make any kind of deal or anything like that. It just trade, buy a few groceries, and they can take

us back with some pickups. But I remember one time, my dad and my mother and I and aunts

wanted different things. We were living in the glades and I can't remember everything. I can't

remember how we managed to get there, but Indian people used to smoke a lot of tobacco and

pipes before we took off in white cities. I am talking about little cities where not many people









live. They believe those smoking pipe and things like that is protection for Indians to have

because that's the way it's done all the time. Then my dad and I coming in canoe. I can't tell you

exactly where it is, but I think it's either Flagler Street, one of those bridge across Miami River.

Dad and I paddled canoe all the way up and down. We got there and this friend, I guess they

must be friend to Indians, Miccosukees, let us sleep in their front porch. Myself and my dad went

to buy groceries. A lot of horses pulling buggy around and some cars running, but not too many

cars. So buggies still pulling wagons around. Anyhow, I didn't go with my dad, he told me to

stay. He was gonna go buy different things when he went. We got up in the morning, and he left

and these people kind of looking at me, watching me and I was very little. We were almost under

the bridge [where] the cars supposed to go across. They has a house on the east side that has a

big porch. That's where we were. We put our canoe next to that. This lady come asking me

something, [but] I couldn't understand any English. I was also afraid. Later she give me some

food, I think she give me some shrimp. That time, I didn't like it. So she give me a hamburger,

has onion on it. I want a hamburger, but no onion. I can't eat it; it smell so bad. I didn't eat that.

So she give me tea, and I couldn't drink that because the food taste so bad. So I didn't eat and

they couldn't understand why I didn't eat, but I can't. Anyhow, we slept one more night and my

dad get what he want, I guess, so we get back out in the glade. I can't remember how we

managed to get back, but I remember that. That experience was new for me at the time. And

later, we come in town here and there, like is one. A lot of people were there. Later,

my uncle Willie Willie, son of Charlie Willie, established camp in Hialeah. It was 1925 or 1926. I

thought it was nice and people were there. Uncle has, supposed to be white woman, I can't

remember what the woman like, but I was little. I was experiencing so many things. It's got a









cold drink box. You put money in it, push it down, bottle come through, and you pick it up. I

remember he has beer. They call it brewery at time. I guess it's beer. I like it looks goos, so I

grab it and open up and drink it and you can't drink it. It's bad, bad. He had a lot of things in

Hialeah. The first airplane I saw, it's there in Hialeah. Different types of planes and people were

telling me at that time, world's finished, so world's over. At that time I remember our aunt,

Willie McKinley and his wife, the older aunts there, too and my mother. We live there. I

remember Hialeah racetrack start open up. Uncle Willie Willie has something to do with that.

Lot of Miccosukee people went there and I see the track and get to be pretty friendly with the

people who runs the racetrack. From there, Willie Willie was doing pretty well. For some reason

we come back [to] the glades during hunting times. Our family and about three more families got

together. We went to hunting trips. We did hunting trips in canoe. One afternoon it was so

windy. It was windy all day, but it gets worse in afternoon and our people must have felt

something was gonna happen, so we went into a big hammock and hide in there. We went there

and people fix the supper, a overnight camp, and people ate it and enjoy it and the wind blowing

so hard. We can see the moon rising, the clouds just coming by so fast but no rain. So we went

to bed. About ten o'clock it start raining, windy. Eleven o'clock, it windy still, stronger,

stronger. We couldn't put no tents up. It would blow down everything. So people have decided

at this time it's hurricane gonna hit us. So they throwed everything down and put canvas together

and did something around a big tree there. This time we crawl under that and we all got wet and

nothing is comfortable. Everything is wet and we just sit and the wind blow and blow and blow

all night. Morning comes and you can see wind blowing, but you can't stand up because the wind

so strong. Water just come up and it like ocean all the way around. No more trees, everything









blown down. Afternoon, about two o'clock, it died down a little bit. Later, hurricane was over.

I remember that. How we survived, I don't know. People didn't tell us what to do, but they

know how to take care of us. We all got wet, our blanket. Everything was wet. We all, our

brothers and sisters and everybody pulled together and sitting close together to keep ourselves

warm even though wind blowing like ice to us. But our bodies warm to keep us alive and we

have all we really need till time when wind blow over. We find wood, build fire and cook the food

and we ate it and go to bed. Next morning, we got up and every place we look, it like oceans

around us. No trees. Every tree we saw is laying in the water. We went home. We finally got

home because the water so high, we just float right in it, so we did that. Where we used to live,

it's underwater, but chickees still up. So we went home, sleep bed and eat and stay there for

awhile. Finally, our cousins come from the village I was talking about, Willie Willie's camp [in]

Hialeah. It tore down and one person almost got killed, but he didn't get killed. Uncle's not

going to build that again. He's going to move. So we didn't know where he's gonna go. This

hurricane, it was pretty bad we were told. It killed lots and lots of people in Miami area and

Hialeah area. Everywhere it kill so many people. We have to stay there at that camp because

water's going down and fix it up better. We stay and our cousins stay and we hunt, but we have

to hunt and try to get a little money out of it. This time, we thinking to buy groceries. We did

that. I guess later, we have decided we gonna move in town, the village in town. Our dad and

our mother did that, so we went spend some time in one of those commercial village. Mother's

saving her money to buy groceries, enough to last six months. So we come back and hunt, living

like that. The way it happened in the life I live, it's not easy life and it's not real bad, but I begin

to see some changes, because we have to look for money to buy groceries, so that means only









way we can get the money, we have to get involved. We got to be friendly with a lot of people.

Then later, I began to start playing with white children even though we don't speak any English,

we play with them, and they play with us. The kids that we play with, they really like Indians.

We found a lot of kids who like us. After they go to school, after they go home, they come, ready

to play. We play with them, and they play with us. Even though our dad says no, don't play

them, and our mother says same thing. They have talked to our uncles to not to play with white

kids and we get whipping. I get whipping, but we still play because a lot of time our dad and our

mother don't see us. So we play and get caught, whipping, we play again, we get caught,

whipping and that kind of thing goes on. I could hate white people the way I been taught, but I

have never hate them. To me, they are O.K. They're friends. The kids played and they treat us

good. Things like that, I thought they're O.K. I had never had strong feelings against them. But

a lot of Miccosukee people did and they just don't like the way we play with them. We accept

them and that goes on. Then we get little bit bigger and we start working with people now.

White people we call it. Again now, we play football, baseball and this happen to be at Musa Isle.

Musa Isle's a big tourist trade at one time. There were a lot of Indians there. A lot of people

were drinking, lot of alcohol at that time. After that, drinking is over, we start live,

kind of like changing our lives. We don't really drink that heavy. We were old enough to play

and work. We get a little older and we start drinking a little beer, but not very bad. Then we

start making friends with non-Indian people. Start making friends and we get to know them

more. Then we have a cousin who wanted to go to school and the dad was Willie McKinley

Osceola. Maybe he said go to school so he can help Indian people some day. Maybe he can be

the spokesman one day. So he went to school and he did well. He did play football and finished









school and go from there. He was led to have fun. He have a lot of friends. We make a lot of

friends. We did cause any big harm for ourselves, but that big problem for other people. Just like

a bad boys. That's what we were when we were growing up that time. Finally my cousin finish

high school and myself and he went to work during the war at aircraft factory. He started to

work because he was going to school. After he got out, he started that job, so he went at the

aircraft factory. Later, my cousin, myself, Osceola and Mike Osceola have gone to

school for a little while to get a job. So we did that. We got a job and go to work. That time it

look like we making lots of money and we feel pretty good about it. We did well for awhile.

Then the war's over, then the factory is shut down and have to learn to go do something else. We

did and I got into painting. I started painting signs and I started painting houses and I have work

on the beach. I work in nightclubs and painting and goes on like that. Get to meet lot of many

new people. I really accept them and they really kind of accept me. I don't feel any different

from other people and it goes on from there. I speaks pretty well English. I have very little

schooling, not like my cousin. But learning so much by talking and playing with him. This time,

I'm going to night school, trade school, so we learn quite a bit. This particular time, I'm not sure

which ones first, but there is one year in Musa Isle, when we working there. I didn't do very

much, just painting. I like to paint. I used to paint different things, draw little pictures and things

like that in that particular place. Sometimes we have a chance selling craft in stores. One day, in

1939, it's going to be a big fair there. Someone told us about it, but we didn't think we have

nothing to do with it, but we know about it. First thing we know about is they want us to go up

there. So they gonna take Indians. O.K., they're gonna take my mother and my family. They're

gonna take about three families up there. So everybody's going so we being prepared for that.









[In] 1939, the World's Fair they called it. So they put us on the train and took us to New York

and put us in New York. Then we finished the fair, but we were there about six to eight months

and we have a lot of experience with that. That experience, I learned, it's different of what we

learned in Miami. I see fast living, city people. I see fast life, subways and automobiles and

things like that and people who live high stories. Big buildings, big sidewalks and so many

people, but I wasn't afraid of them. We young enough, must been about nineteen then. We were

looking around, just have a good time, drinking beer, shoot pool and go to movies and things like

that. We have met a lot of friends and we travel and go out at night. People tell us not to do that,

but we did it anyhow. We got back then.




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