Buffalo Tiger Monologue SEM 213A "Breathmaker"
Chapter 2 about Breathmaker. Breathmaker did make man and woman, make fish, all the living
things and different type animals. They make plants. They make all the water we drink. We
believe that there have been times when Breathmaker have told us what type of wildlife [or]
animal we can eat, what type offish we can eat, things we can do, things we cannot do. We're
always trying to live with that, even today. Some people believe Breathmaker have made
everything. Even we understand, they have made the other people, too, different type of people.
Because that's how it was. When we get to that, I will point out what else they made. Maybe
this is a good time for me to do that. So many things are done by Breathmaker. We don't believe
we know all of them, but we do remember many things we've been taught. Some of these I'm
telling you now. We're not like the white people [who] write in the books and file them so they
keep forever. Our teaching's not that way. We don't write, so we supposed to pass it on to the
other younger people and learn it from there. We learn sometimes or other families can teach or
help other young people. [Their lessons may] be slightly different while they're meaning the same
thing. We have to understand that. So we always listen to other people [when they] talk about
something, like what the Breathmaker did and so many things it did. We're talking about food we
eat; things we do; we eat something we are not supposed to do; it covers pretty broad.
Breathmaker did this land, this earth we lived on it. In beginning there was no land. It was all
water. He have help from some things to make the different islands. It seems to be because he
wanted to see the people live in separate places. Same goes with people on this earth. There
seems to be a looking difference; skins are different. Wherever they belong, that's where the
Breathmaker have put them there because they make the islands, the land for them to live there
and speak in their language and practice their culture. So they can live the way they want to live
themselves. Breathmaker seems to be for us when he had made us here. I do not know how they
make the other people, but with us, we come out of the earth. He have made us out of the clay,
out of the muck. It happened to be a brown muck, so we come out to be brown person. He have
put us down under the ground and we live there for a long time and time for us to come out and
we did. Imagine it like the different things born underground and they come out. Like they come
out of eggs from this earth. We happened to be the Breathmaker's people. He's the one who
plant us and we come out. Years ago, we about ten clans, maybe more. Probably we only be
about now seven clans left of the Creek people and the Seminoles and the Miccosukees. We
come out the earth because [it was] our time to come out. What makes important for my people
and it always been that way [if] I wanted [it] to or not, that's the way Breathmaker have planned
us to be. They taking Breathmaker to think the animals a clan. Their birth type of clan.
Could be the Snake Clan. All living things on this earth has a clan. They knew that's what the
clan would be. Our blood does not come from there, but that's what he thought we must realize
that those are things we should remember. Wildcat and Panther Clan supposed to come out this
earth first. I cannot say where we come out, but its nearby in North Florida somewhere. The
Panther Clan supposed to come out, and Bird Clan supposed to be next, then other clans
supposed to follow. But that not happen that way because Panther Clan, their heads too big.
When you see animal panther, its head pretty big. So when we come out to the earth, the hole's
very small; it couldn't get out. So they asked the Birds to get out because birds has a little pointy
nose and head is small. So they ask him, so the Birds are coming out. They did come out first.
They helped the others and Panthers come out next. Then the rest of the clans follow. We all
good, close friends, always has to be in the Panther Clan, Bird Clans. Because at the time, Bird
Clan tell them to get out and help me out, so they did. Bird Clan did. Always been that way.
Panther Clan always [go] to Bird Clan to ask for help. The Panther Clan are not the peacemaker.
He will destroy. He will love to see the war. It's in they like. But sometime they want
to see the peace, and they can't make it. Even they can make the peace, but not last long. The
peace they make will be destroyed and there be the war again. So they always ask the Bird Clan
people to make the peace for them. They the one tell us how to do it, when to do it, but they
cannot do it themself. The Panther Clan and other clan can [be] in charge of the spiritual
medicine because they are tough and really believe themselves. [In] other words, they are warriors
for us. That's the way its been all along and that's the way our blood runs. After we got out,
some of the clans know they would be good for something. Let's say the Big City clan, Frog
Clan, [are Big City and Frog clan the same clan?] they are always acting as lawyer for the
other, the people, Indians, Miccosukees or Iipauwnee. Anytime trouble take place, they have to
go to court. We used to have courts and we have punished our people, either death or just
punish. So he'd be the last person to speak. If he have decided which way its gonna go, that's
the way it used to go. Many times we do that and many time we get together yearly at the Green
Corn Dance. The other clan, the Wind Clan is very important in the clan, too. Because when we
come out, it was dark and not much air. The Bird can swing their wings, make little air and clear
out little, but not much. But it started that way, the Bird start onto where you make
the wind move little more and clean little more. Wind the ones that they blow them away. Then
we start getting a lot of air, and a lot of light. So all those important people is supposed to work
together to make things work better for us. Then other clans supposed to follow. Follows,
maybe perhaps the Frog Clan or Big City Clan or the other clans. So that's why there are
different clans. They are set up that way. Not only that, when we get married, we have to marry
other clan, not in our clan, because [they are] our blood. So we have to really protect our blood
and make sure the marriage take place in another clan, in another village. That's the way it
always been. So that's why the Breathmaker have made us and tell us who we are. We'll be
talking about it again, about those things. But this particular time, it's number one on chapter
I'm going into chapter two, number two. The spirits of people I've just finished talking
about is mostly, people. Could be Big City Clan, could be Wind Clan, could be
Panther Clan. Most the time you'll find the Panther Clan's pretty much into that. But not
everybody can be, the spirits in a person, in leaders, how the men born. What happened [to] him
when he was born? That's what our people have to decide. Something happened when he was
born. Something odd or something different. They know this baby, or boy, [when] grown up it's
gonna be different, and we want to make sure he grow up to learn much more, because he'll be
real important. Some spirits of people learn more faster than others. They can learn how to make
medicine quick. They'll protect the other people and help them, and help them take care of their
spirits close by the people. Or they can ask them to make medicine to make them go away.
Those are things, spirits of people, always looking at the people. We don't have too many of that
today. Very few. But they are still learning. The younger people are still interested in learning.
So many times people, even younger Miccosukees or even older, not know too much about
directions. A spirit man or medicine man know directions pretty well and that's what they are
trained. When they're good medicine men or good spiritual man, they study medicine or
in medicine about four years. They don't learn in the city. They never learn anything
from white skinned people. They learn in nature. They have to be with the nature to see things
they understand. That's how they learn. They go back trying to see what the Breathmaker told
us what we supposed to do. That's all they have to think. Not all the time, but when they study
that's what they got to do. So it's real important to be that type of person that they will not listen
to white skinned people or influenced by white skinned people. He only would listen to the
spiritual type or Breathmaker's work. So many, we get away from that, even though we have
studied so much to have spiritual medicine and medicine man The minute we got away from
that, we're like other people--we have nothing. But as long as they have one who holds his place,
hold everything like he's learning, he'll be strong, because Breathmaker make him what he is and
look after those person like that. Then when they die, they have to go back to this earth. I'm on
number two, chapter two. When they die, all of us die, we have to go back to this earth, because
that's where we come from. We wanna go back. Our bodies go back wherever we are. Like we
are in or you go to Florida or Pointed Land, that's where we are. Our bodies
should go back on this land. But the spirits have to go away because it's harmful when the spirits
hang around too long. The have to make medicine to let him go or let she go away. There are
many times they come back to see, but most of the time [they] stay away. Most my people never
did like to go West. Don't believe anything come from West, because the West is not something
we have to be thrilled about it. When someone passed away and die, we have to put them,
wherever we put them we have to put to east, their head goes towards the west. Feet goes east.
The direction we're talking about, it's like that. So the spirits move away toward the West. Now
we're not talking about this land. We're not talking about California and places like that. We're
talking about directions. Directions are pretty big. That's the way we are. We still practice it, so
we are different from other people on that. Maybe perhaps someone do that, too, but they're not,
so far Miccosukees that they do that. So anything come from West, we don't accept it too fast
and we don't believe anything come from West. You take the Oklahoma people. You know
what we say about Oklahoma? It's an important Miccosukee word, oklee. It's city or home.
Home, bitter, bitter city. That's what you're saying in English. The reason my people said that,
when United States troops catch them, put them there, they make a big, big gain in Indian
territories and then put them there. Different tribes, like it or not, they went there and lived there.
A lot of different tribes are there. Miccosukee people have right to go or not to go, but only way
they don't go, we have to run or we have to just move away from the soldiers or the people who
wanna get us and put us in Oklahoma. Those are the things that we always remember, because
we were taught. I was not in the war, but I heard it so many times when I was growing up and I
learn it from my people, my clan. Maybe another man or another boy or another girl can have
same training, but they might be learning slightly different. So those the kind of things that is
important. We always keep them. But direction, I tell you now, maybe I go ahead and finish
here. The West, it's black. In colors, it's black. Luji we call them. But we should start always
in East. East seems to be yellow. Yellow, where the sun rises, and light. So we call it ludnee,
it's yellow. They have a names. Every direction has a name, but I don't have to tell you that.
The north has a name, too, but the color is red. North is [Miccosukee word] we call it red.
South, it's white. White, it seems to be like a beginning, life beginning. It's white, hutkee. All
those four colors, we use it all the time. When people make medicine, they use that. And we live
in it. That's how we believe. We live in it. Those the kind of things, we always have to keep and
Snow not to loose that. [If] we lose, we forget. That's what the Breathmaker have taught us.
But inside those colors I'm talking to you, inside of it, is a lot of things you can learn from it. But
only those people studying Indian medicine or spiritual medicine, those the kind of people knows
the names and everything's there. All different colors. Let me give you a little example. The
East look like anything you find in fruit, almost when they're ripe. Most of the time you find them
in yellow. Then they get a little older, it get a little darker. It's like some places it rot, so that's
the way it, North is like that. West, when something's not good, you cannot eat it, even the fruit,
even the meat that's not good, it's black. It's no good. We're talking about luji, black. So that's
the way we see it and then white, it's just beginning. Beginning of everything. But as I say, those
spirits and people, they learn so much out of that.
Now I'm going into three, chapter two, number two. The names are in Miccosukee. In the
beginning, I told you the kind of clan names we got. The animals names or maybe some Snake
Clan or different clans. But the names we have, it's come from way back. I mentioned some of
the names like mine, Henehache, people call me Henehache. That must be come from way back.
That have come through many men. When man dies, man on it, that's how my folks
got my name. It's very important to know that, too. We don't have too many names, if the old
men, the old folks, they don't die no more, then we're not gonna have names, but if they die, you
have to wait at least three or four years before you can use his name. Then you name the boy, not
the girls. The girls die with baby name. When they're born, they get a baby name. Girls die with
that unless they have English name. Same goes boys, but the boys usually get the name. We go
to that later. I hope to be eighty in two years, but I learn so much from my people, Miccosukee
L or Ilapawnees, the elder people, older people used to speak the way they once speak. I learn it
from them and I learn so much from non-Indian people, so I'm interested in the life I lived in. I
find the Miccosukee or Illapawnee very important people to live from this earth now because they
have had hard times. People have tried to change them and do many things to them, but they
have a spirit. They have experienced people trying to do something wrong, not only one nation,
but many nations have tried to do that. That seems to be still, continuously going on, that same
way, much of it different, but the people have to protect themselves from that. A lot of young
people do not know too much how to protect themselves and why it's so important to live Indian
life. Because they are going to school and learning English, so they think watching TV today is
the way we should go. [They] like to have money. They like eating good food. They think that
eating good food is eating hamburgers and hot dogs and french fries and pie and coca cola and
drinking beer and wine, having a good time. Driving car, have a couple dollars in their pocket.
They think that's the way life should be. But older people know better than that. You're not
always gonna have a dollar in your pocket. You're not always have what you think you're gonna
have forever. It's not like that. We will have a hard time. We come from hard life and we will
run into those life again. So Breathmaker's work is still with us. Be careful what you're doing.
Don't forget me. Always remember what I tried to teach you. That's what we try to say to them.
Today, not too easy for us to teach, but I do know this much. Today, I believe that some of the
younger people like to learn how to sing and dance. Green Corn Dance coming up yearly. They
interested to know more. I believe they interested in learning a little more in making medicines.
But making medicines is something else, too. They have to use the different type of plants.
Different type of trees. Different things they have to do. Here again, when you sit down making
medicine, you are praying. You are praying towards East all the time when you make medicine.
Usually do that in the morning or late afternoon and people either sometimes drink medicine or
/take a bath in it. When they do that, they have to face east. East is important. We always have
to believe that, that's the way we are. The names we have, like animal, many people confuse
because English name, like mine's Buffalo Tiger. They wanna know how come I'm Buffalo
Tiger. I'll get to that later. A lot of Indian names like that. The Indian names some [are] like
that, too. Depends where you get that name. The daddy and mama get it from the other elder
dying, maybe three, four years early, so that's how they name the young people. I'll be talking
about that to you a little later. It is the Miccosukee life. It's very, very important.
I'm gonna move down to A and B and C. We do have many type of stories about
different things, but mostly animal or the birds or different things. We learn it. We learn it [from]
our grandfathers, our grandmothers, our aunts. We learn it and the stories. It seems to be the
same. Maybe the Seminole people or the Creeks can tell stories almost same as we do. We don't
have too many people to tell stories now. I remember when I was younger, we heard that every
night, every night, every night. That's important for us to listen. Those are things we listen, we
raise to be, to learn. Again you can train the children on that. Like training and learning,
experience all together in the way we see. Because sometimes a story would tell us, let's say last
night. I was talking about this one little piece I wanted to use as an example. The one story I
always like: two Miccosukee young men, good friends, agree to go hunt. Maybe two, three days
they want to go away from the village. They're gonna walk, so they get their things they're
gonna use, like little food to eat, a little blanket, little things, spears and things like that. They
carry them off and they walk all day, away from the camp. So they find a hammock, way out
there. The hammock is too big so they find a little place they can spend the night on the ground.
The two friends, one of them says, well, you go ahead and fix the little camp where we're gonna
spend the night, and I'm gonna look for firewood, so we can build fire and fix the food for us to
eat before we go to sleep. The friend start fixing the ground up so they can lie down and sleep on
the ground and the other young man was chopping firewood. While he was doing that, he must
have chop a big tree. There were gallons of water in it, fresh water in that tree. Sometimes that
tree has water in it, so I guess this particular time must have happened. But it's a story. And a
big fish was in it, not bass, but bream. Bream, nice and fat so both can eat. So he find it and was
all excited. Say, look what I find for our supper. His friend says, where'd you get that? He says,
I got it outa wood. When I chop a wood, water come out and fish jump right out. So we got
supper here now, we're gonna eat. His friend said no, you got him outa the wood, outa the
water outa the wood? He says, yes. OK, we're not gonna eat because fish should be in the lake
or in a water, not in the tree. You don't find any fish like that, so if you do find them, we
shouldn't have to eat it. Just throw him away. No, no, we're gonna eat him. So they made an
agreement. I'm gonna go ahead and cook and eat it. His friend says, alright, I'm not gonna eat it.
It's a deal they make. His friend turn out to be snake before morning. So he says, go tell my
people. Go tell my sisters and my brothers and all my people in my clan. Let them come see me
before I make a move. Also, after that you go find me lake. I'll be moving into lake, while you
go about to get my people so they can see me. So he did that. He got up and he was big, big
black snake sitting there. But he was not mean. He's still talking then. So young man look for
lake, and he find them. So he told him he found a lake for him. Said, I'm gonna go to lake from
here and you go tell my people, my clan, particularly my aunts and my mother and my
grandmother. Let them come see me, otherwise they think you did something wrong to me and I
don't want that happen. I want them to see me. I want to talk to them, so you won't get hurt.
So he did. He went back to his people to tell them. My friend ate a fish and he got be snake. He
tell me to come get you so he will talk to you. Right away everybody start accusing him, says you
did something wrong to him, you killed him. He says, no I don't. He tell me to get you, so he
can talk to you. I want you go with me and I'll show you where he would be. They don't wanna
go, but some of them says, let's go find out. Let's see [if] he's telling truth. Meantime, when
snake was talking to his friend, he went to get his family and the clan, said, when you come to
lake, stomp the ground four times and holler four times and I will let the big bubbles come out
four times. That means I'm gonna come up. So he took his people out the lake. It's long way to
walk, but they finally get there. They can see big snake been crawling around, they can tell that.
They didn't see it, so he did what he tell him. He stomp the ground four time and holler four
times. He let the four bubbles come up, so then he knows he's gonna come out. He did come
out, a big, big, black snake. His tongue sticks out like a snake's when he gets angry. He comes
towards his people, his mother and grandmother and one of his aunts couldn't take it. She get
weak and fall, almost fall in the water, but she did not. He come up [and] lay on his lap. Tell
them the one did it. My friend told me not to eat fish, but I did it because I thought I could do it.
I shouldn't do it, but I did. I did it wrong. What you teaching me all the time, all the years, I did
it wrong. Now I am a snake because I have ate fish. Those the kind of things they telling us.
When you have friends, you're gonna have to be careful. You could do something, you can hurt
your friend or you can get in trouble. Or you'll find something out of place. Don't eat it.
Because you shouldn't be eating, because you find it, whatever it is, in odd place. So we always
have to remember that. It's what I been saying. Some of the things, we taught them not to do it.
We should keep not to do it. Or you can do or we can do it. It's simple things, remember that.
That's how we learn it, but I just use that example for you. Teaching children, it's very hard.
They have to learn. When they're young, they have to learn about take care of their families, take
care of finding food, protect them when the rain or hurricanes or anything can harm the family.
He cannot be lazy. You have to work, produce your crops yearly. Like planting corn, pumpkin,
potatoes, sugarcane, bananas, everything they can plant on those little islands. Years ago, they
farm different, but they always planted it that way. So they always have food to eat. When you
grow up to be ready to take care of your wife and children, your mama, and your grandmother
knows you can take care of family. Then the girl's mother have to know that this young man can
take care of her daughter and family in the village. So they plan to have a marriage. Not always
right there, that time. Sometime they have to wait a year, maybe two years, maybe three years,
but they'll be already engaged, you call it. That's the way they used to do. I seen that. I seen my
uncles get married that way and my brother got married that way. That's the way marriage used
to be. As far as young boy learning how to be good hunter, he learn it from daddy, he learn it
from his big brother, he learn it from his uncle, he learn anything he can learn from others, the
growriups. You can't be little boy, you can't be little sissy stay home because you feel like it.
You go with whoever your parents select for you to with him. You learning that. You act like
you're grown man even thought you're not a grown man. Many times I remember we have to do
those things. The things we're talking about, it's hard, hard work, I thought. It did hurt me, but I
learned that. Like we're talking about the other day, we have to take swimming in the morning
during the cold weather. Wintertime we don't stay in bed. We get up sunrise and we dive in the
water, we swim. It's cold, cold. After that you can go to the fire and get warm. If you don't get
up, you know what's gonna happen to you. Our folks want us to do those things. They learn it
that way and they want us to continuously learn it from them. They're healthy, they say they
healthy. Your body be strong and you don't get wrinkles so easy when you grow up and get old.
That's part of the health we learn. That's why we did those things. We got to swim, we got to
be cold first, in the morning, before we can get warm in the fireplace. We always do that in
winter. That's the customs we have, traditional way. I guess we believe in that way. I don't
know today that young people still doing that or not. I do take a bath here at my house, but I
always do that. I don't know [ifJ I'm healthy or not, but we believe we should take a bath when
we have to.
[Question] C should be finished because I was talking about so many things. Now we
going into chapter two and number four. Miccosukee move away from the creek. People call us
now the Miccosukee. We used to be Illapawnee and we used to call Seminoles or Creeks,
Sezapawnee. The words supposed to be old language people used to speak. Illapawnee, we
made those words for ourself, so we understand what we talking about and how we speak. It's
different from Creek speaking people. In other words, we couldn't understand Creek speaking
people. A lot of them couldn't understand our language. People call us Miccosukees today. We
call the Creeks mostly Seminoles. The Seminoles is not really something we should call the
people. Seminole mean, in Miccosukee, any animal wild. The people [is] Seminoles.
Seminole(e), it's the wild. Like a wild animal. For some reason, years back, the people they do
different things. They probably try to tell people they rather be like a wild people living the way
they live. Maybe the Spanish used to call so many names, too. One time, years ago in thirties
(1930s?), United States people used to call all kinds of names. But that's why the teaching
history on Indians in Florida is important. Try to make some corrections. Be sure you
understand what you listen in trying to put down what you learned. I finished explaining to you
that people called Seminoles, they are not really animal. They're people. But for some reason,
they got the name Seminolee, in other words, they're wild. Really they're not wild. It's animals
that are wild, so that's what they were called. They used to call us Seminoles, Creeks and
Miccosukee, too. That's the only thing I heard until I grew up old enough to realize it was
wrong. So we make some correction. We still trying to make some corrections. We call ourself
Miccosukee. When the Spanish were here, they call us the Miccosukees because of the speaking
v difference. Sometimes th call us the Lower Creeks. I guess it some foreign country
people used to call us different. The Creeks and the Lower Creeks, that's the Miccosukees, I
believe the would call us. The Spanish used to call us that, too. I think it time for us
to make some correction. We should call Tezeepawnee, it's the Creeks. They speaking old
language. And Miccosukees, we call today, are Illapawnee, who speak plain and language made
by them. We speak different and the Creek speak different. That's the way it used to be and still
exist today. The philosophy's still different, too. The philosophy for the Creek, they're more
agriculture type of people. They can plant [or] they can do anything they wanted on dry land.
They live around dry land. They can handle cattle and horses. But Miccosukees mostly around
the water. They hunt, fish, anything they can find. They always travel in the canoes wherever
they go. The used to make dugout canoe out of the wood, like cypress. Long, long time ago,
look like were together at one time, but we split long time ago. The reason, they told me, [was]
we never like the Creeks too much because after United States settled in Washington, they used
to claim they deal with the Washington and speak for us, speaking for all Indians in South.
United States believe that and we know nothing about it, but the deal already made. They used to
come down and try to take us away. That's when we don't like to be treated like that because we
didn't make a deal. So I wanna talk to you a little bit about that. While Creek was doing those
things, speaking for us, they tell the people in Washington they are speaking for us so they can
come down, take us away and do wrong to us. We still don't know what's going on. Used to
happen all the time. That's why we didn't like the Creeks. They're called the Seminoles today.
We didn't like them then. A lot of time they used to visit in our places, in our villages. Our
people never wanted sit down, eat food with them because they just don't care for them. Lot of
times the Creeks needed help fighting the United States troops and Miccosukees won't help them.
Because they believe they're the one causing the problem, so let them fight. Our people used to
have that attitude. When I say our people, I'm talking about Illapawnee and Miccosukees. But
we did help them. The last war we had between Jacksonville and Tallahassee, we did help them.
We forced a truce back home for long time and they return. Troops went back, but they return
back to fight us again. Those the kind of things, we don't really like them and we got away from
them and we don't want to be associated with them that much. We can say we broke away from
them for what, another reason we got away from them. But too, we were told we used to have
big village outside Florida, [Miccosukee word] or Pointed Land. Now from that, not too far, we
used to have big, big villages. Different clans lived in that particular village. We have everything
set up, like a courthouse and everything we need is there. All clans live in different villages, but
we were together. We used to do that years ago. Some people have blow up, or dynamite or
explosions in our big village, and kill many, many people, our people. Then people got upset. My
people got upset. I'm sure the Creeks got upset, too. They separated quickly. They realized it's
harmful to live in big village like that, so we gonna go find a different village we can live, so that's
what they did. Since then, small groups live wherever the village are. We never have the big
village like that no more. Those are the kind of things that take place. But one thing you must
know, the Creek always seem to live north from us. The Miccosukee always seems to be south,
they live south from them. It's like that all the way down. That's what happened. When
Miccosukees lived around Tallahassee, they are coming down this way pretty much. They will go
all over, all the way around. West coast, around Key West and go back east coast or just go
around another way. And they find a lot of things to eat and wildlife and birds and fish and some
types of fruit they can find and eat. Raw potatoes and so many things we can eat, they know that.
Some of the people used to come down and live down here and go back up to Tallahassee. Back
and forth. They used to do that. They seen the people that are here, too. They seen the people
around the west coast and cypress area or even in the glades or sometimes towards Key West.
They see the people, look like Indians, but they don't know how to speak that language or they
cannot speak our language, but they seen it. They were afraid. They're tall people, big people,
but they seem to be afraid and you [do] not always see them. They always around when you
don't expect to see~ them around and move away from them. Lotta little villages used to make.
They start with those little islands and make a high ground. When we come down, we used to
spend some time on those little islands. Those people I'm talking about, we used to call them
[Miccosukee word]. That means something that lives in the past--the old past. That's what we
used to call them. That's the way it was. Also, later the Spanish seems to be coming in [on] big
boats. Some of the Spanish people have parked their boat west coast in salt water and some east
coast, some boats around there. They use the smaller boats. I guess they kind of popular, small
canoe. They have gone into the glades area. They just move around so many different places.
My people used to see them and they kinda get closer together and then try to make a deal
because Spanish people have guns. They have material things we can use. Spanish people
agreed. They interested in getting some feathers from us, some of the buckskin from us, different
things we have. They wanna get some of that, so we make a deal to work together, kinda like
friendship. So we started with those things and we have something going for us with the Spanish.
I have never been told they have murder us. I'm sure they have, but I'm never told it was so bad.
Western tribes have talked to me before. They used to be pretty bad around the tribe a long time
ago. I always feel like we're lucky we didn't have that kind of problems here. Only thing we
have from them [was] material things. Just think about it. We didn't have anything like a material
cloth to make clothes. We used a buckskin. How we build a fire? We use the stones. How we
get salt to salt the food? We get it out of saltwater. But so many material things like guns and
knife and tools, we got it from the Spaniards. Not only that, they want us to learn something
from them. They're mostly Catholic. They want us to learn Catholic, so we can at least learn
what they know about Breathmaker, study our Breathmaker. I believe some of them listen, but
never learn, because for some reason the Breathmaker have taught us real good. It's all we know
and other people did what they have to do. We all listen, but we never learn much of that. We
always think our Breathmaker tell us what to do. Those the kind of things that used to be. So as
far as the Creek, as far as the Miccosukee, we must know the Miccosukee is Illapawnee. The
Creek, Suzapawnee. That's what we should call them and that's what we always call them. But
the names change because different nations that been here, they confuse everything. That's what
happened. Some day maybe someone may try to make some corrections. This is the way we
should make some corrections. And different country mens used to convert us in their religions.
The Spanish they try to do that with the Catholics, their belief and Christian life. Then some of
these people from Europe have brought some Baptists and a lot of the Creeks go for the Baptists.
Even today, mostly Seminole people has gone to Baptist. That's the way it's been. But
Miccosukees most of them not taking other people's religious belief except their own kind. I
would say today maybe 75 percent, it's Breathmakers teachings and Miccosukees. I don't know
about the Seminoles, the Baptist. I don't know what degree the people taking the Baptist belief.
The majority people I'm sure. That's what happened to us as far as the Seminoles or Creeks and
Miccosukee or Illapawnee. So you understand that. We still in chapter two and number four.
I want to explain the Pointed Land, starting number five. Number five, Florida always
Pointed Land. The Pointed Land, it's something we learn before we ever got to Pointed Land.
Years and years ago, people always looking which way they go because it was not easy for Indian
people to find the food [or] right place to live. They wanted to make sure they have the right
place for their tribes. They always use the wise people to sit around all night, trying to figure out
which way we must go. That time they have seen this big tree a long time standing there on top
of mountain top. They can see beautiful tree there and limbs pointed south. Beautiful limbs of
big tree, pointed south. That mean something, didn't it? The elder people and wise
people explain and spend some time together, study and listen [to] all kinds of nature speaking to
them. They realize this tree telling us we must go south. So they sent at least three fellas to
check it out. So they did and they find Pointed Land is our beautiful place to live. So many life
and so many food to eat, so that's when they start moving down this way. We know that's how
we got here years and years ago. After Breathmaker have put us down, put us on earth. When
we were born, those things happened and we still looking for how life to be better for us. When
we find a place to go and we did that. But don't forget, not all of us moved down here. We live
up in north Florida, but a lot of us coming down this way, hunt and do things, move around all the
time. The big tree pointed south so that's why we say, it's Pointed Land. White people call them
Florida, but Miccosukee always call them [Miccosukee word]. [Miccosukee word], is land.
Fuskee, is south. Southland, that's what we're saying in Miccosukee. But before that it's
Pointed Land. People in the state of Florida calls [it] the state of Florida. You have the choice to
do this other which is the best for you if you studying. Finish talking about number five, under
Now number six. Number six, it's important to you to learn how we see the Everglades.
Everglades, it's not our language, but we understand what Everglades mean. That's where we
always live since we're down here, we live down here all this time. Some people call it the glades
area, kinda like [Miccosukee word]. Almost like river [ofJ grass. In other words, a lot of grass
in that area. Sometimes some people call [Miccosukee word], where the cypress are. Cypress is
ashawi. [Miccosukee word] means cypress area. Sometimes we call [Miccosukee word]. It's
the pine. The pines grow sometimes in sandy area, so we call that pine [Miccosukee word].
Where the pines are. That's what we call the Everglades. It looks like it's simple to everybody,
but that's what we always call [it]. I have already tell you how the glades like years ago when we
lived down here. After troops force us to get down here and live down here, we always live in
Big Cypress and in the woods. We live in there a long time. After the troops settle down, things
get a little better, so we start coming out and live different places. Some of the Creeks or
Seminoles move back [to] sandy area like Okeechobee, west of Okeechobee, and north of
Okeechobee. Miccosukees always hang around the cypress area or central state of Florida.
Sometimes you'll find them in the east coast in the rivers and places like that. Miccosukees
always use the dugout canoe, made out of cypress. It's what we always use. Sometimes the
Creeks and other people used to call us the people who live with boats, or something like that.
They always see us in the canoes and they move around in the water and eating fish. So some
people use to call us the fish eaters, fish hunter, something like that. We been called some other.
The Miccosukee or even the Creek probably call us that. That's what Everglades means. We
used to live on Everglades. I grew up, myself, in the Everglades. It was nice, I thought, but it's
so many everything, wildlife. So many birds, all kinds and so many fish in the water, so many
turtles, just so many wildlife in the time when I was little. People used to hunt and you don't have
to go far to get the food you want. You can always feed the families. People used to do that all
the time. Wintertime, I remember the ducks, all kinds of ducks coming down from different
places. They have plenty food, so they come down eat them and we kill some and we eat them.
All kinds of birds flying all over places when water gets a little low. It used to be fun just to
watch the birds flying around. See the fish swimming around. See different things moving
around. One thing we never care too much for, it's the snakes. Snakes are harmful. They're
poison. A lot of times they're small. When they small, you don't see too good, so you might step
on it and get bit. That happen to so many of our people. They live in the glades, at home in the
Everglades. Those are little homes that belong to mama and daddy and family make their little
villages, but always belong to mother, and the clan. When daddies and mamas get married, the
man come from another village, another clan. They married to a different clan and different
village. That's why they have to get married that way, because they don't marry each other in
their own clan, because they are brothers and sisters. We have to look at them like that. We have
to treat them exactly like our sisters, our cousins, all together like our sisters. People know that's
the way our culture teach us, we know that. Let's say the mother passed away in the village. The
children should always take y the mother's family. Could be aunt, could be grandmother. In
another clan, in Bird, like mine if anything happened, my mother's people would take us, but we
happened to be grown people when my mother passed away. Daddy is another clan, so we can't
tell him what to do. He can go get married to somebody else and live in another village, not this
particular village. That usually happen that way, that's the customs we have. We have to know
that. I must make some correction here. That just finished five, just finished six.
Now we start onto A, the home on the hammock. We talking about that. We talking
about transportation, it's B. That's the way it used to be. As far as the clans, it's important to us
[that] we cannot go with our own cousins. We cannot marry our own cousins because we'll be
punished. Man or woman used to be punished if they do that, so we know that. We have to be
having another woman from different clan. You gonna get in trouble if your wife get in trouble
with you, not just your own people. Talking about transportation, we use a canoe made out of
cypress. The cloth, we used to use buckskin, already said that we have used buckskins and
sometimes the woman cannot use buckskin, so they have to use some type of leaves to cover
themselves up. After the Spanish come along, they started using the cloth. It was OK. Man
always use the buckskin, any kind of skin he could use. That's the way we used to do. As far as
growing food, we used to grow food in the hammock. You can plant corn yearly. Pumpkin,
potatoes, sugarcane, bananas, tomatoes. They'll grow good on those little islands and we always
do that. Some of the potatoes we call wild potatoes. They grow by themself. You don't plant
them. We find them, we always eat them, taste good. Not too big, small. Skins not brown, but
after you boil it, you can take the skin off and inside it's real white, look like potato and you can
eat them like potato. I like them myself, I always eat them every time I see one. But it's pretty
hard to find them now. Used to be plenty years ago. As far as hunting, years ago we used bow
and arrows and spears and clubs, like tomahawks, made out of stones. We used to use them to
kill alligators or different animals. Bow and arrow we used it for the deer, something like that.
Used to be plenty deer. Used to be plenty panther. And bear and wild hog. Today we don't have
many small wildlife left, like racoons, bobcats, rabbits, possum. We don't see many of those.
Sometimes if we lucky we see them. Same goes for deer. We see them here and there, not many.
They are still here, but very few. As far as bear, it still here, but most of them go back in cypress
area. They're some there now. Very few panthers left. Wild hogs, look like they ate up by the
people. Everything seems to be killed off by the people. I'm sure a lot of people will eat them.
We used to eat them years ago, but we haven't eaten any wild hog for a long time, but we have
ate a deer and fish. That's the way it looks now. Fishing used to be good. Plenty fish. Years
back, we used to see big tarpons. There used to be some because water used to move clean and
we used to have mullet, too. Water was going through from east coast to west coast, so water
move like that and fish can come in and swim all over place and get out and go back in the
oceans. We have never seen the sea cow out here in the glades. You find them near, in salt
water, but not in the middle of the Everglades. We have never seen that. We still talking about
food, fish and they way we used to find them in the glades area, but I want to explain to you. The
fish, my people used to cook, sometimes they salt it and smoked them and put them away, maybe
you can eat them a week later because a lot of salt and they dried out. When they smoked it, they
put them in hot sun and dried them out real good. So they stack them away and cover it up with
different things so they stay OK until ready to eat. Lot of times they boil it again, so salt come
out. That's the way we used to cook and eat them. You could do that with sweet potatoes and
pumpkin, too. You could slice them up and smoke them and they dried out. Sometimes potato
and pumpkin, it gets hard like a piece of wood. After you wash it off, you boil them, it get soft
again and it's still good. You can eat them, that's the way we used to do. We do that even [with]
meat. The meat, you smoke it with a lot of salt and then put them out in hot sun, dry them up and
then put them in pots and pans. Close it up and put them up, you can eat them at later dates, but
you have to boil them again, take the salt out. So salt used to play most important in the food,
but it have to be washed off everytime you want it. Those the kind of things it's important for us
Four, starting with number one. When I was young, very young, my dad took me in the
canoe. We traveled in the canoe into city of Miami. I remember that. I will try to explain to you.
I don't know what village we come from that time because I was very little. I was a little excited
one time when we run into the Miami River. My dad was poling the canoe and I was sitting in it
and we are going to go stay with some friends who live in cities. White mans, we call it. They
have big frame house and have big porch. This is years ago and I was very little at the time. He
pole the canoe and we got there and we got out of the canoe, went into a building, the same
house there. Right on the Miami Canal and I believe it's pretty close by Flagler Street in Miami.
Used to be big house there, used to be good friends to Miccosukee people at the time. Many
people used to go there and spend the night and get their groceries and material things and they
just take it back in the canoe. That's what my dad was doing. I have to be with him at that time.
On the way to there, I seen the small boats. They're ugly looking boats. I didn't think they were
nice. They make a lot of smoke and a lot of noise. Talking about those that pulling heavy stuff in
the water, moving different things. It was nice, too, because a lot of trees hanging down. [On]
the Miami River, you don't see many buildings all that time. There are a lot of trees and I imagine
you see some gators in there at that time, too. We got there and spend the night there. My dad
went either [to] buy some materials or anything we need. I look around and I see so many horses
pulling a wagon around that time on the street. Must be lunch time [on] this particular day. I
can't remember what day it was, either. The people trying to give me something to eat for lunch.
First let me drink tea and I didn't like tea. I never drink tea before and I didn't like it. I couldn't
drink it. I could drink water, so they finally gave me water. Then they gave me a sandwich. It
look like the hamburger that time. Had mustard and onions. I didn't really like that, either. I
couldn't eat it because it smells real bad. The type of food they give me was plain hamburger
with onion and mustard. But to me, I had never ate mustard or onion, so it was not good. I
didn't eat that. They were wondering what happened to me. My dad got back with material
things or whatever he went after. The next day we head back, but I can't remember when we got
home. I think it was maybe two days to get into Miami. That time we live out here in the glades.
Later, there's a village people used to call Musa Isle Indian Village. It's been there a long time. I
was told so many times [that] years back there used to be orange grove and they used to sell
orange juice there. The boat used to take people from downtown Miami and go up the Miami
River and stop at Musa Isle and have a lot of orange juice and eat some oranges and all that. My
uncle, Willie Willie, he was a young man then. Uncle Willie Willie used to have many friends in
city. He was older, much older than I am. He had got together with these people. I believe that
time maybe Johnnie Campbell's father have property at the time. They got to know each other.
Then they thought maybe it'd be good if you could make Indian village and people could live
there and sell things and help the business for the orange juice, too. Willie Willie thought it was a
good idea, but he didn't have any money because he was hanging around in city. He have many,
many friends. I'm talking friends with the white people. He used to know the Burdine people
there. He used to be good friends to them. I believe he knows Al Capone group, too. I used to
see big cars and a lot of men dressed up and they used to be good friends to Willie Willie, used to
come see him, talk with him and all that. As far as the village, he didn't have money. He went
back to talk to my grandfather, that's his father, my grandfather, Charlie Willie. He borrow
money from him and then William McKinley Osceola's clan is with Charlie Willie. It's a Big City
Clan, or Frog Clan. Charlie Willie get William McKinley Osceola [to] kinda oversee him, watch
my uncle, Willie Willie. Make sure he spend the money on building the village. So he did and
William McKinley come with him, watching him spend the money to put up the village there.
Everything went up fine and Willie Willie finished building the village. I remember going there,
too. People who lived there, there are so many different families there. I can't remember
everybody because I was very young at that time, but I remember going there and I saw the
business in orange juice and everything looks good. A lot of people come to this village. After I
grew up a little more, we used to live in the glades, used to be our home, in the glades. Those
little islands, we lived on them. Most of our people used to do that and eat a lot offish and turtle,
[or] what they could find. Used to be plenty food there. We used to go down to Musa Isle [or]
Tropical Garden. That's another commercial village. My dad and my mom used to
and spend about two, three months every winter. We'd go there and we'd make little money
because family gets paid so much a week, plus they get groceries. They saved a lot of groceries
and when time to go home, we got plenty food to carry back. We kept them and ate them. We
saved a little money, so we takes a bunch of money back home. We thought it was a lot of
money. Meantime, my dad and my mom, our folks used to buy many groceries, like rice and grits
and flour, just so many things they bought and we'd take it back. We stayed all year and then
during the fall we'd come back. Our people used to do that, particularly my mom and dad did
that. I know what the city like, but I not really been to city. I don't want to live in city. I was
living with my mom and my dad in the village, so we'd just go home all the time. But when I got
older, when I got to be fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, we still come and go all the
time, but most the time, when we coming in, sometimes in the canoe, we have a lot of young
people, non-Indian, white boys and white girls, they always loved to play with us. My dad and my
mom didn't want us to play with them. They think it's wrong for us to do that because they don't
want us to go to school. They don't want us to take a pencil and draw anything. They told us
just not do that. So we don't do those things. But sometimes we kinda go around and when my
dad's not around, we go ahead and play with the kids. We play ball, like baseball, football,
different games they play. We liked to play and the school kids, when they out of school, they
love to play with us. They always come to the village and play with us and we played with them.
Later on, my dad hung around too much watching us, so we stopped playing with them regular
every day. We learn a lot of English from them. We learn how to play the games they play like
basketball and baseball. That's how we got to know Miami pretty well. We'd grown up, kept
growing up and we'd learn more and more and more, but we still not supposed to go to school.
Then one day I remember, William McKinley Osceola was talking to us about building school
pretty close to us. It's in Musa Isle. The school's built for the Indians, maybe not too far from
the village we live in. It's off what they call 27th Avenue by Miami River. They build little frame
houses back in the bushes and that's the school for us. They want us to go there. They tell us
what to do, tell us not to go and during the time anybody coming, just go ahead and run away.
Don't come back until people leave. We were ready to do that, but we didn't have no one ask us
did we have to go to school, so we never did go. Those little buildings sits there until a hurricane
or something happened to them. It's no longer there. That happened that time, when we was
staying in Musa Isle, but even then we go back every year. We have our own village out in the
glades. We go back and live like old traditional people there. That goes on. Around 1939,
people want us to go to New York City. They have some type of activity being built and finished.
They called it New York World's Fair. It's a big place and they want us families, about three or
four families to go. People make a deal. Miccosukee people, I believe we were to
help the people make a agreement so if anything happened to us, they'd be responsible for us and
all that kind of thing. We went there and I believe we went on a bus. We get there to New York
City. It's cold, it look dirty. It looks like we just don't like it. But we got used to living there
and they build a village there in World's Fair grounds and we spend about, I can't remember
exactly how many months, between four or six months there. Meantime, I was old enough, I was
about nineteen years old at that time. I recognized so many soldiers, so many navy, all kinds of
service men in uniforms. Also, these other people, just so many people in New York World's Fair
that time. I have a little job. We were there making craft and sell, then there's alligator wrestling
take place there in Worlds' Fair ground in Miccosukee Village. But they call us Seminoles then.
We get paid for being there and we return home to Musa Isle. We stayed there and we see so
many soldiers, just all over the time. You're kinda convinced you'd like to be one of them. At
least I had that feeling for myself. If I could go, I'd like to go. I don't really know exactly why I
feel that way about it, but I like the way uniforms and the guys walking around in them and all
that. You kind of convinced it looks OK, so you want to be one of them. But anyhow, I had
never registered to go to service, any type of service, but I have worked with the local counties. I
joined some of the activity, call it Home Defense. We trained for different things, just in case
something happened to Dade County, we could be helpful. We trained what we'd have to do. I
belong to that. Knowing I'm not supposed to kill anybody because that's a thing we learn when
we were small. We're not supposed to hurt anybody, kill anybody unless you in a war. When
you in a war, you gonna kill somebody or hurt somebody or you'll be killed. I know my mother
wouldn't let me do that. I didn't go that far, but I had never registered for any type of service.
It's what happened. Instead of going to the war and getting that type of uniform, we did
something here, in this country, particularly in Dade County. One of my cousins, Mike Osceola,
he used to go to school here in Dade County, Miami High [School]. He was doing OK. He used
to play football. He was the star of that team there, Miami High. Later, he got a job to work in
airplane factory. For some reason he got in there and [was] working there. The people like his
work, so they want to get more Indians work there. My cousin, Homer Osceola, and I, we have
to go to school to learn how to work. We did. We used to go to school around 12:00 [a.m.] and
we stayed in school until 7:00 in the morning and then we'd come home and sleep during the day.
We did that maybe a couple of months and we learned enough. Then we supposed to go in the
factory and work there, so we did that. I learned lots in school. I learned how to do things well
done and perfect. It have to be solid work and you have to be watched. You have to be on time
and you have to be so particular about what you put together. I learned that and I did well.
When we got to the factory, I can't remember exactly what the badge number I have. Maybe
fifty-seven. I can't remember the name of the factory, but we can find out at a later date. From
there, I was not too good. I was too nervous and excited. I did a lot of damage trying to use the
machine, ribbon guns particularly. I put extra holes in whatever I was doing, but I didn't get
fired. I didn't get kicked out. I believe a foreman's watching me, thought maybe I'd be OK as
long as I'd just go ahead and get used to working place like that. It's a timing thing. There's a
lot of noise, a lot of people hanging around all the time. You just a nervous wreck in the
beginning, but I got used to it and I caught onto everything. I did well and then my foreman liked
my work. I was pretty fast at putting things together. My cousin, Homer Osceola, was helping
me. Mike Osceola was in a different department. People in charge of that department didn't like
my name. They didn't like Buffalo Tiger. They were gonna change my name. They asked me
what I thought about it and I told them I didn't really care, so they were gonna call me William
Buffalo Tiger. I told them it's OK with me. Next paycheck I got [was] William Buffalo Tiger.
So that started. They named me William then. That's how it works for me when I was younger.
As far as the service, the people never forced us into anything like a register in our area here,
because people know us better. People know us as Miccosukees. That particular time, we're not
Miccosukees, we're still Seminoles, but they know us. We're just not going to do anything about
that. People left us alone. It was not easy on the other side of it. If you had to have gas, it's hard
to get gas. I believe you only get maybe five gallons a week or something like that and you have
to have coupons to buy groceries. Lot of people like me, I had no family. I was younger man,
sure I don't care about that, but we have to get coupons for our families. A lot of families don't
know how to do it. How to get it. So it was rough. My brother is an older man, Jimmy Tiger.
He passed away. He was working with many families in the Everglades because he used to buy
frog legs from them and resell it. Used to buy alligator hides or racoon hides, anything people
want to sell. I'm talking about Miccosukee people. He used to deal with them all the time, so
they want him to get their coupons, so they can get some groceries. Families in the glades ask
him to do that, but he didn't know how to do it. Mike and myself and Homer, we went around
pretty much [with] lot of young boys in families. One young man played with us all the time. I
think we used to call him Jay Kendrick. His mother works in the department that fix the
coupons. He thought maybe it was a good idea to talk to her. So we did and she was helpful and
make herself available for us to talk to her and get a lot of those coupons fixed up. Our families
and people who lived in the glades give them to my brother Jimmy. So they can give it to each
family out there. It was a lot of work to get those coupons, but that we did during that time. I'm
sure my brother Jimmy got credit for that, but we're the guys that did that. Mike and myself
helped to get those things going. After that things were a little easy. So many things happened at
that time. Another thing that used to be a problem in the glades when people live out there was
When those people are training, particularly service people training, ai force. They used to go out
there on the plain and practice. Shoot the target with real life bullet. The machine gun used to go
on up in the air all the time because they used the target. Sometimes the bullet come down and
tore up Miccosukee camps. That happened. Sometimes some of the old Indians used their old
broken down cars, used to hit them, out there on the road, on the highway, like Tamiami Trail.
They hit them and almost got cut half in two. Lucky, nobody got killed. We tried to talk to some
people in charge of that training, but I don't know what happened because I was young, and other
people was handling those kind of problems at that time. We did have a problem with that.
People were training and training is harmful when people live down on the ground. People don't
realize the bullet can hit someone.
Starting number one. I just finished talking about B, where we were during the war,
registering in the service and all that. We just finished that. I just finished talking about how I
was employed by the factory during the war. I was in the aircraft factory. But after that, I have
work. I love to paint. I used to work in the village. I used to paint signs for the people and then
I go on to paint the buildings for the people. I did a lot of the sign painting for my people and
then other people, too. I used to like to do that. I didn't get much money, but I always had a
little money in my pocket. Then, sometimes we have little jobs in the villages, like shooting
arrows--archery we call it for the tourists. The tourists like to use bow and arrow and learn how
to shoot. A lot of time kids want to learn how. We used to help them and then we got paid doing
that at other villages. I never have some jobs really pay big money. Only time I works in that was
in the factory I worked. Other times I looked like I worked for my own self. We used to work in
Musa Isle. We used to do a lot of painting and a lot of different things that need to be done. We
used to do that. I learned how to read the tourism type of business and I still practice with that
today. It's helpful for me to know. When I was growing up, I got to learn that. I liked that at
that time, when I was younger. I still like to meet people and learn from them.
Finishing three. How did I get the name? My name is William Buffalo Tiger. I already
told you how I got it. But Buffalo Tiger, it's something else. That's different from factory name.
Factory name they give me, is William. Buffalo, I got it from playing ball. Tiger is my family
name, so there's not much I can do. But Buffalo is like given name and I'll tell you how I got it.
We used to play ball and I used to play real good. People watch me and some school kids come
home from school and they like for me to play, and I played. I played good, and they always
thing I'm the good player. But I didn't have any name. Only thing I have is Tiger. So this old
man, the gentleman's name is, we used to call him Mr. Cockey, something like that. He was an
old fellow gentleman. He was a white man. He liked to watch us play. One day he said, you run
like a buffalo. You really fast, you're really good. You run like a buffalo. So you don't have a
name. We're gonna give you Buffalo, your name is Buffalo. You run like buffalo and you are
Buffalo. I said OK. So he just give me that name and it stick with me and everybody start call me
Buffalo and Tiger, so that's why I have that name, William Buffalo Tiger. That's how it
happened, my name and my life. But I do have my Indian name, too. I have a bunch of names,
you put all them together. I shouldn't have to tell you, but I'm gonna do it because if it's gonna
go in the book, it's gonna stay there for a long time. Young people maybe want to know one day.
They can find out what my names was. [Mothers] usually go outside the village and stay in a little
place outside the camp and have their babies and medicine people go back there and help deliver
the baby. They stay there four days and then come back in the village later. Before four days, we
usually get the baby name. The girl gets a baby name, too. Girls usually die with that. But with
the boy, he have to get a man name. When he think he get to be a man, he get the man name.
I'm gonna tell you both of them, baby name and grown up name. My baby name is [Miccosukee
word]. They usually pick it up from different things. Some things that we think we should name
them. It's not that important, but it's kinda cute the way they do. Sometime they use a type of
medicine and they name him. Anything they thought we should name after that, they name babies.
That's the way baby name are. Heaneehaatchee, it's my man name. The name never die. Man
passed away, but man name kept going. Another boy can pick it up, maybe three, four years
later. So that's what happened. My folks picked up the name from other man [who] die early.
The name mean, in the Green Corn Dance time. You cannot name that type of name, man name,
anytime or anyway. You have to be yearly, at Green Corn Dance. That's when you get the
name. It goes like this. The yearly corn dance only come one time a year. It used to be
sometimes in June, sometimes a little early, sometimes a little late. But depends when it's gonna
take place so people have make up their minds, and they'll be ready to go. Everybody used to go
years ago. Used to have about two Green Corn Dance yearly. Because two different places. So
that belief is still same here. Seminoles have their own Green Corn Dance and down here we have
two Green Corn Dance, in the two villages. So that's important to know. Green Corn Dance,
it's for the celebration for the new crops of corn. We don't usually eat new crops until we dance
and celebrate, then we can start eating green corn. We always do that. The planting corn's most
important thing. We're talking about Breathmaker so many times. They told us we must do that
yearly. They never, never let it down. Just keep planting, everything you can plant. Corn's the
most important thing. You must do that all the time because it's a food you eat. You will always
remember that. So that celebration take place and everybody gets together in one big place and
then corn dance run. It's always Bird Clan families are in charge of the ground and all the different
clans moving. They have their own little villages, but as far as the ground, the Bird Clan's in
charge. Even play ball, even dance. So the Medicine Man bring his spiritual medicine and he
have that and we all agree that's the way it's going to be, so all the young people would use
medicine yearly. They always put that down all the time. In spiritual medicine, people think they
know that we have a Green Corn Dance, that's why they gonna go there and bring the medicine
for the people. It's what we do yearly. It's four days. We have to be busy and they usually get
everything fixed up. Fixing the chickees and whatever they're going to do that. And families go
there and Bird Clan has a village and Panther Clan has a village and Otter Clan has a village. All
those clans have a village. All live together in the clan. But there are four days and we do different
things each day. Let's say [on] eating day, everybody eat. But first they start looking for
firewood. Men do that. Men look for firewood all day and they have enough fire to burn all day,
next day. The next day it's eating day. The feast day. They just eat anything they can eat, all day
and that's why they use the fire, to cook. That's why you looking for firewood. Third day is
hungry day. Nobody eat. You can drink medicine. You can drink water, but you can play ball.
You can have fun, you can dance. It's a hungry day. That night, around three o'clock, people
get together, and they give young people name. Around three, four o'clock, you get the name
and you have to get up in front of the councilmen or medicine people. All the Miccosukees get
together around five. They talking about where this name come from and they have to explain.
Our folks, our mothers, or our dad, or our uncle explain where the name come from. How long
ago this man passed away? They have to identify when he died, who he was and all that. They
make sure the names are clear, so the boy can have it. After everything straightened out, then
they call you in, you stand up in front of the medicine people, the council men. They call the
name you're gonna be and they tell you, it's yours and now this is what you are going to be
called. And that's it. Then they ask you come over and you walk over, and they put the white
feathers on top of your head and they ask you not to drop it, stay with it until next morning. So
you trying to keep that on your head the rest of the morning, so you can't fall asleep. It's rough
when you don't eat all day [and] you don't sleep all night. You feel like just falling asleep, but I
did it. A lot of boys couldn't do it, so they fall asleep, so they have to wait another year. That's
the way it was and that's how we get our names. The name, to get it, it's important. Names are
important, of course. It's come from way back. We don't make them; it's already been made up.
I don't know who had it before me, but my folks do know. We don't have to know that. They
don't usually tell us too much about anything past. As far as identification, I do have everything I
should have. I believe sometimes I have too much, because tribe has so many things for me and
then I got it from when I was working at factory and places like that. I got it from the United
States. People know my name and who I am and all that. Particularly when you buy property
and house and home. We not supposed to, but I did. I live in a house here. I bought it and I'm
not supposed to buy a house, but here again, I had to get it because my folks always tell me, if
you want to live like that, do it yourself. Don't ask the other Miccosukees to go with you. If you
want to live in town, you do it yourself. Don't try to get us involved. You do it your own. If
you marry the non-Indian person, it's your problem. We know and we tell not to do that, but if
you do it, it's your problem. Your problem, it's in city. Don't bring your problem in our country
here. That's what they always tell me. Medicine Man tell me the same thing, too. Always
believe that if I have a problem here, that's my problem and I'm not going to get my people
involved. I don't go there and say help me because I'm in trouble. I cannot do that. I always
know it's my problem. I did it myself. I should try to work it out. That's what I have to always
So that's finish number four. Number five. It seems to have a problem when I married
out of my own people years back when I was younger. I could be around twenty-two, twenty-
three. I have tried to marry a couple of Miccosukee young women, when I was young man. I did
ask my mom if I was old enough to be married. She always told me no, you're not old enough.
Really, you should wait later. I finally asked the family, one of my uncle and his wife. I did ask
them. They have two daughters. I believe they are the panther clan family. I did ask them if I
[could] marry one of the daughters. They have a name, so I did use the names. The husband
turned around and looked at this wife. His wife kinda gave a little smile and then told me no, they
already engaged [to] some other person. So I says, OK. Then maybe later, one or two years
later, I have decided to ask another girl, not the girl, but her parents. I believe her sister at this
particular time, married to some woman. She told me again, she is about married to
another fellow. I said, oh. I didn't ask them who the man is. They told me it's my cousin. I said,
fine, OK. So we let go and we don't say anything more about it. I start walking around thinking,
what happened to me, but I didn't feel bad. I was young enough. I just thought I'd have a wife
and a little boy. I was thinking about having a boy. So I have a strong feeling, I want to have a
boy, but it didn't work that way. So I waited and I have a cousin, he's kind of funny guy. He
always laugh about everything I try to tell him. I just wanna find out his opinion, but his opinion
always seems to be funny. When he did that to me, I told him that now I'm gonna look around in
the white girls. He thought I was crazy. He said, that's what you're going to do? I said, yes.
I'm gonna ask, find out. He didn't think it's right, but I did it. I waited for long time and then I
start going with a girl. I don't know for how long. We were close, but we didn't have any
children, anything like that. I don't really know the way people marry in white man's way. I
only know how man and woman marry in the Indian way. They live together until one of them
die. That's the only thing I know because I was watching my aunt and my people and families.
That's the way they do, so that's the way it's supposed to be. I got down to one girl. This
particular person, the woman I just finished talking about we did not get along and we have to
separate that. Now I'm going to be talking about another woman, I have met a girl, young
woman. I have asked and we finally got married. Her names's Anne. How I met this young
woman, I used to work Musa Isle Indian Village and her parents working at the Musa Isle Indian
Village. So, they happened to be spend a lot of time there. Then I was working around there,
too, so we got to know each other for a long time. And then finally end up getting married. We
have two children. The older one is Steve Tiger. He was born in the hospital. He's OK and get
to be old enough to start painting. We thought he would like to have to music, so we bought
some instruments so he can play. So he was doing that when he was a little boy. He's got a
brother, we call him Lee Tiger. He was born in a hospital, too. So we have two boys. When we
go out to the village, Jimmy Tiger's village, and sometimes Tommy Tiger's village on the island,
and spend some time with my brother. Tommy Tiger used to live on the island back in the glades.
Jimmy Tiger has a village on the highway on the Tamiami Trail. So we spend a lot of time out
there and people got to know my wife, Anne Tiger, and she did a lot of good things for them. I
believe she spent time teaching them. As far as when people cut themselves, maybe the boys and
girls cut themselves, she usually teach me how to take care of that. Also she teach them how to
change a diaper and wash a diaper and little things like that. My people never use the diapers.
They just wash them all days, but they start learning how to use a diaper. But it's not the diapers
you throw away. Those diapers, you wash them and then you dry them and use them again.
Those are the kind of things [she] used to teach them. People like her pretty well. Sometimes she
wants to [go] back in the glades in a canoe. So we used to go poling there in a canoe. Spend
some time with my brother's village on little island. We stayed there with him and one day his
wife have a baby. My brother Tommy Tiger wanted some help, so she help deliver their baby. So
everything went fine, so they kinda like her pretty well. Also she learn how to speak the
Miccosukee language. She was good learning the language, quick. She did those things for the
people. Meantime, I was working with the tribes and it seems to be everything went OK for us.
Course we never get paid on anything, we just do that because we wanted to. Meantime we
don't have hardly any money, but we making a lot of craft and sell the craft to my brother and
cousins and different people who like to buy the craft from us. We get some money out of that.
So we did those things. But we got into a lot of politics for the Indians and the non-Indians
because we dealt with so many people as far as the government and state government and county
government. We realize we need to know more English and we need some help. It seems to be
when things make us realize we need a little more schooling. But it comes later So
we just talking about we have two children. Steve Tiger and the other Lee Tiger. Steve is
working for the tribe today and he's [an] artist. He like to be magician. His brother, Lee, he like
to be magician with him. They usually work together when they're making music. Both have
jobs. Steve work for the Miccosukee tribe and Lee Tiger works part-time for Seminole tribe.
They have children. Steve Tiger have two children and [his] wife happens to be the Jewish girl
and the babies half Jewish. Steve Tiger and Lee Tiger both qualify to be member of the
Miccosukee tribes because they my sons. Even though my wife is white, they can qualify to be
member, as long as you have half blood Miccosukee, they will accept you to be member. That's
what happened to them. They were doing school and I don't know they finished the high school
or not, but more likely, I don't think they did. But they happened to around so many places, so
many times, people get to know them. They kinda popular guys. That's what happened to Anne
Tiger's family. We have to get a divorce when she went back to school to be lawyer for the tribe.
We stay at home all the time in Hialeah. She started to go to school Hopkins. She
finished high school. She's got scholarship and she went to Miami University and we don't see
her no more. Once in awhile she come back and she has to go away, so that goes on too long.
So time for me to accept that she's not with us no more, so we have to go ahead and went
through a divorce. So we did that and I kept the boys. She go onto school and she was learning
a different language pretty well. I think right now she might be teaching school in the state of
Florida somewhere at university and she's probably teaching language. That's what she was good
at, so she probably doing that now, but I don't really know exactly where she lives and what she's
doing now. As far as marriage, we got that license and the preacher married us. In those days
you have to get a blood test and you have to get license. You have to have five dollars to pay
whoever married you at the time, so we did that. When we got divorced, we don't see each other
anymore hardly. Then I stay single for long time. I can't remember exactly for how long, but I
was still working for the tribe and still trying to do what I can for the people. I met a young
woman, and again, she's not Indian. She come from farm area; she's a farmer's daughter. She's
real nice lady, a real strong person. She's already have a good education for herself, but me, I
don't have much. I have gone to school some, so I plan on continue to do that. As far as the
second wife I have, we have decided to go ahead and get married. We did that again. We were
married by license and Morton Silver happened to be young lawyer. He's a Jewish young man
[and] he married us. We all lived together from that. She had two daughters and she's not Indian
and the children not Indian and I have two boys, Lee and Steve. They're both half blood Indian
and I was full blooded Miccosukee. We lived in Hialeah and then I was working for the tribes,
trying to get something going. Everything seems to be not well for them. They have no help
from government. They have no reservation. They are not recognized by US government. So
we want to help them get those things, so they at least they have some protection, some rights
and some help from the US government that they needed. So that's what I was working on. It
was very, very hard and finally we get those things. We finally do what we have to do. But
meantime, after we got recognition, the Miccosukee tribe can work with US government, then my
wife maybe working hard with me and we establish out there, for Miccosukees. We borrow from
government money. It's Indian loans. We establish restaurant and grocery store and service
station for the Miccosukee out there. She was helping me at the restaurant and all the places I'm
trying to get going. Because those days, my people, very few can speak English. We're talking
about 1954, 1955, 1956, so it was kinda tough, but people have faith in me and stay with me and
work with me and I have some help from non-Indian people. We have some Bureau [of Indian
Affairs] employees to help, too, because they were with us at that time. Anyhow, it get to be too
much for me. I drink pretty heavy. Every day I go home I drink some beer and it get to be too
much for my wife, my ex-wife, and she didn't want me to be drinking. For some reason I have
the hardest time to give up my drinking habit. So she left me for that, take children and she went
back home to where her folks live. Later we got divorced. I continuously support my family, my
children, to finish school and to have medicine and doctor bills, however I can help them, I was
there to help them. I helped them to be grown up. But I got divorced. That time, it's painful
because I love my family so much, but I have to realize they're already gone and not much I can
do. But I stayed home because she left the house to me, she wanted to get paid later. So I did
that. I take care and pay her later. I waited long time. Make me realize, that time, one of the
lady I know well. She happened to be partly Creek tribes or Seminole, but she happened to be
half blood herself. Her name Betty Mae Jumper. She knows me well. One day, she see me and
she feels sorry for me. She tell me, Mr. Tiger, for some reason you had a hard time keeping a
wife. I said, yes. You just don't have to get married next because she might leave you again,
because for some reason you're not keeping your wife. Next time, you just go ahead and have
your girlfriends, but don't marry. I said, you think that's the way it is for me. She said, well, you
can get married, but they're gonna go again. You're gonna get real hurt again. You know that
happen to you and it can happen again, too. Just think about what I say to you and I always
remember that. I remember what she said to me. That make sense, because that happen to me.
It think maybe about over twenty years stay single, then I finally decided I get married and we did.
We did around 1985 [or] 1986. I got married to a young woman from Columbia. She's Spanish,
but she seems to be a fine young woman and we both fall in love with each other. She realize I
was Indian and I realize she was Spanish, but my mother talked to me about the Spanish years ago
when I was younger. The Spanish people, Spanish women, they are pretty excitable and
sometimes they get pretty mean. Years ago when people married Spanish women, they used to
get hurt sometimes. They really hurt you real bad. As far as our language, speaking our language
and the Spanish speaking people, it's not so far apart. You can always learn it, fast enough.
Better than English. I always wondered about why she said that to me. I thought I would go
ahead and find out and I take a chance and we get married. Her name's and she's
speaking Spanish. She works with me in so many ways, helping me, anything she can do with me.
Or sometimes she does it because she wants to. I'm busy today, these days. I have little air boat
operation out there in the glades. She help me driving the boat and she help me to run the gift
shop. It's nice when someone can help you. We do that. I'm not in politics as much, like I used
to, so I do a lot of the craft, Miccosukee Indian craft. I'm busy doing that and she take care of
customers and speak in both language, English and Spanish. It help me a lot. That's how we do
it today and that's what she is today. I know she told me before we got married, she have two
young girls in Columbia. But they are very small girls there. I told her she could go ahead and
bring them here and they can go to school here and learn English. One day, that happen. The
girls come here. They do not speak any English. They're small girls and they were pretty cute
girls. But they are fine, nice girls. But they start one school and learn in English fast. Now they
can speak very good English and speak Spanish, too. Every year they have to go home in
SColGmbia and they learn more Spanish and they come back and learn more English. One of them
finishing high school. Jennifer finishing high school. I don't know what she'll be doing next. She
might want to go back to school, maybe later on. But younger one, Jessica, she's not finishing
high school, yet. She's seventeen now. Almost finish high school, she will. I'm sure she'll be
going to university because she's a real, real good student. So that's what happened to this
family. But I want to go back and talk about previous situation. Before we got divorced. [which
wife are your referring to?] She give me a lot of help, too. I don't have much money to buy
different things that we should have. Phoebe is a secretary for the Dade County school and she
was doing all right. She gets a little money from that. It was help to me. She works hard and she
help me and she take care of home and then she help me, too, so it was a big help for me until she
get started to leave me. So that's what happened to that family at that time. We just finished
talking about finish tell you that. So I'm gonna get into other things.
We just finished chapter two, number five. Now I'm starting on chapter two, number six.
First time I was married, or even thinking about it, it used to be tough, because not too many
Miccosukee people marry outside [of their] people. Very few that time. When I got married to
white girls, it is rough. It's not easy and I knew that when I got married. My brother Jimmy used
to be pretty hard on me. He's older than I am and he didn't think I have a good sense to do that.
But I didn't care because I went through a lot of experience in trying to marry the Indian woman
early, but I didn't have good luck. So I'm trying to marry a non-Indian person, trying to have a
little boy, that's what I really want. People tell me some places they cannot go, like Green Corn
Dance ground. They are not welcome there. But they can go around the camp or village, but not
to go inside the dance or take to activity. They cannot do that. After I get married, I
cannot do that either, because I'm married to a white skinned person. We can watch, we can do
things, we can eat with them and all that, but some places I cannot go. In particular, my wife
can't. The reason it's that way, that time, I don't know what people thinks today, but everything
seems to be changing so much. I told you, at early day, my people, all the people, medicine
people, say woman have to have medicine to be like Indian. We have to be treated. It happened
years ago, during the war time. Their spirits are still white and Indian spirits are brown, so they
have to make medicine, strong medicine and they have to say put for so many days and spirits
have to change to be like ours, so they can be sure they stay with me forever until she die or I die.
She's not gonna quit walking away from you or divorce, so that's what they were afraid when
you married to outside people. Some of them are real good to my wife and they do everything for
them and all that, but they always have a feeling, some feeling, they're not one of us. They're
different. That's what they always think. I believe most of the Miccosukee feel that way about it,
even though they're married and maybe they deal with all that, but they have their feelings. We're
not the only people that feel that way. I believe it's not just feeling they have. One of the elders
talk to me, I been saying earlier. They have say that marriage like that, they can be married and
live anywhere they want to live, but not in Indian, Miccosukee country. If they do, alright, but
you bring your wife into Indian country, it seems to be that added little problem there. Then,
second, if you a leader, or medicine man, or you have an important position you are holding for
the tribe, tribal people, that's seems to be the problem. That's what the medicine man told me.
When I got into petition with the medicine people, they told me, if we really want to, when right
time comes, we have to wait and see. If she stay with you and she wants to, we wait and see.
She really want it, they can make medicine for her and she will take the medicine and she have to
go through so many times and so many days. Then her get to be brown they say. Her get to be
brown like us. Otherwise she still white and then she was the brown. She might not stay with
you or either that, she's not going to be trusting you or we cannot trust her. Years ago during the
war, some of the white skin people used to marry Indian woman. They were happy pretty well.
During that time, they really want to, they go through that medicine, then they see the man used
to act like a real Indian person, and they believe everything they heard. They learn everything
what Indian people believe. Then stay with the people well and help them all the way. Otherwise,
they don't really trust them and just married Indian man or Indian woman or Indian woman and
non-Indian man, they'll not be trusted that much. They might be trusted each other, but outside,
the people, tribal people will not trust them. That's what they told me, that's the thing I'm trying
to explain that. Chapter two, number six just finish now.
I'm getting to chapter four, number seven. I'm gonna get into that. As far as the life I
live, I always enjoy my life pretty well. I have a lot of ideas about what I can do, a lot of things I
cannot do, but I like to try. When I was younger, I used to play ball so much and I love it. Then
I want to go ahead and do different things. I would like to try it out. Already said I have work at
the factory during the war and we helped build the planes. Those are fighter planes, navy planes.
I enjoy doing that. I enjoy everything I do, but my education is limitedd. I don't really have to
have education like people have, but I still learning in my own way, my people have taught me,
as much as I can. I keep learning, I'm interested in learn that. And I realize I need to
learn little more English, too. So I make up my mind I would go back to school and I did ask
permission from the medicine man. I was working with him and he told me it was alright for me
to go because I'm grown man and they don't have to worry about me. I make up mind who I
was. I went back to school at night, adult education, big school used to be in
downtown Miami. It's old school and anybody want to learn any type of education, they can go
there. You can go night; you can go day. I used to go night. I'm want to learn English and
maybe a little math. I was worried about handling all kinds of different numbers, like lots of
money. I learned a little of both. To me, that helps improve English. I realized I needed it
because I was dealing with so many people. I have deal with the people at Washington level and
different tribes, different type of people, the state of Florida. I dealt with the governor and the
people who work with [him], and county business and all that. They have all kinds of different
laws and different meanings and everything is so different from what we learn. I was trying to
learn that. Meantime, I have said I believe already, I have worked with the young lawyer, the
Jewish young man. He was young, I was young, we both worked together. We both are not
getting paid. Nobody tell us how we gonna get paid. But someday he would get paid, but I did
not. I never thought I would get money out of this because I was spokesman for our people and I
love my people and they consider me to be spokesman, make me feel so good. So it's the pay for
that. That's the way I feel, but I need to improve myself, so I did. My writing not good, but I
can read some, I can write some and I can speak English and I can speak my language. But this
time, when I start going to school, not many Miccosukee people going to school at the time. This
is before Miccosukee people started working for the government, started having constitution
bylaw. They have to elect the councilman every four years. So education's knowing I have to go
through all that. I have to have more knowledge and understanding of white man's way. I know
enough of my way, my Indian way, but I wanted to know more about so-called white man's way.
That's why I went back to school, to improve my reading and speaking and understand the other
people. That's what I did and I went to Lindsey Hopkins. I guess maybe couple of years or
something like that, but teacher was nice to me and they help me learn some of the English.
Now that just finish seven and now we're into number eight. When I started working with
the traditional ways when they select me for me to be spokesman, there are different [from] what
we do today. It's before adopt the constitution bylaws. This is strictly under the traditional way.
We usually have the medicine man and his people. He has like a councilman. But different clan
work with the medicine man and all work together. That time, we have people coming from
Okeechobee, the Seminole, you call it Creeks, Ingraham Billie [was] big man, that medicine man.
So Sam Jones and and other medicine people come down and spend some time
with him. They talk to me, all of them talk to me. can speak Miccosukee or
Illapawnee or Sam Jones speaking Illapawnee, but he speak their own language, too, which would
be Creek. So everything's running smooth. But they have never told me that we'd be adopting
constitution bylaw and we would be electing the chairman or the chief at that time. They were
against that. They were against so much and strong. They don't want any government idea
influence our people. That's what the Seminole/Creek medicine man say that. Ingraham Billie
say that. They don't want influence from US government. They like to do their own, what they
know. And that's the way it's gonna be. I get to be spokesman to make sure the government
realize and recognize that. So that was important for me to understand how they feel. They
don't even want to talk about reservation. They don't even want to talk about going to school.
Those things they left out because they say, no, we stay where we are. Sam Jones, and
those people from Okeechobee, the Creeks, the Seminoles, they're pretty nice. And Ingraham
Billie and his group are pretty nice. We did a lot of meeting with the people from Washington.
Every time they're coming down, Sam Jones' people coming down and Ingraham
Billie and his people, all got together. Used to be a lot of people. They have a lot of meetings
with officials from Washington. That was going on at that time. Then we have a young lawyer
working with me and helping me in so many ways, because a lot of things, I didn't understand the
way white folks do, so that's why Larry [his last name?] want to help me try to understand. He
help me a lot. I learn lots from him and same time, he learn lots from me, and lots from my
people, how we feel. So this is what I say is important or for us to know. They do not want,
particularly Miccosukees, and Ingraham Billie's group say, they don't want any reservations.
Because government set it up and government trying to influence us in the school and all that. So
that's why they don't want it. As far as going to school, we won't be Indians later. We'll all be
thinking like the white people. They didn't say we can go to school and learn our ways. They
have never said that. But the schooling is something that is horrible for them. They tell me that.
And then an example he use, during one meeting one time, they were changing some of what they
believe. We did ask them what we must do, so we not going to change anything. We not going
to change nothing. The pine tree is pine tree. Change it into cabbage palm. If you see that pine
tree change into cabbage palm, then we shall change, but as long as those plants still remain what
Breathmaker have put it down on this ground, we must stay the way we are. That's what he said.
That's what I mean. So he point that out to us in that way. I told this young lawyer, helping me,
his name is Morton Silver and he used to have office in downtown Miami, but I imagine today he
probably getting older like I am. As far as the payment, I never thought I would get paid, as far
as working with medicine people, the councilmen. As far as the lawyer, the Jewish young man, he
used to say that someday he'd like to get paid. I believe he was hoping he would get paid one
day, because it cost money to move around and do things we did. It takes money to buy gas and
running automobiles and having food on the table for our families. All my time, it goes into my
people. I don't have much time for anything. Just little time for different things I can make to
sell. That's what happened to us the beginning.