Title: Moses Jumper, Jr.
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Title: Moses Jumper, Jr.
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SEM 222
Interviewee: Moses Jumper, Jr.
Interviewer: Rosalyn Howard
13 April 1999

H: Today I am speaking with Moses Jumper, Jr., and this is April 13, 1999. Moses,

to what clan do you belong?

J: I belong to the Snake Clan. It is one of the smallest clans, probably the smallest

clan among the Seminoles today.

H: When and where you born?

J: I was born in Fort Lauderdale, on the beach. I was born at a regular hospital, at

Broward General Hospital. It was January 4, 1950.

H: You mentioned that your father speaks Mikasuki and your mother speaks both

Creek and Mikasuki. Did you have names in both languages?

J: What kind of names?

H: Indian names.

J: No. Usually you just have one of your relatives give you a name. My

grandfather gave me my name. He gave that name, though he spoke Mikasuki.

We talked about this with my mother the other day, and she said he gave me the

name in Creek. So the Indian name that I got was in Creek, although his

dominant language was Mikasuki. So that was kind of passed on to my father.

Then my mother was a half-breed, but she grew up with a Muskogee dialect, with

the Creek speakers, although she was very exposed to a lot of Mikasuki. She

grew up with that, so she is able to speak Mikasuki and Creek very fluently.

H: When you say she was half-breed, she was half-Creek and half-Miccosukee?

J: No. Well, there is a story there. I mean, we could get into that. In early times it

was kind of looked down upon, but her mother messed around with one of the

trappers who used to pass through here.

H: A white man?

J: A white man. I think he was a French trapper, and they had a couple of kids.

She was the offspring of that. It was looked down upon in the tribe for a

youngster to be brought up that way or even for a woman to have kids bred out

of the natural Indian bloodlines, so she had some problems growing up with that.

But, in spite of it, she went to school and learned English real well, although her

first languages are Creek and Mikasuki.

H: And your mother is Betty May Jumper?

J: Betty May Jumper.

H: So the name that you got was a Creek name. Can you tell me what it was?

J: The Creek name is Shinpahegi. It is kind of funny, we were talking about this

with my mother the other day. She said my grandfather, Josie Jumper, gave me

that name, and the reason he gave it to me is that, basically, Shinpahegi were

like the callers. They kind of went through the different villages either warning

that the soldiers were coming or they had stories. They were people who were

kind of talkative. They gave warnings and told about the soldiers coming and

things like that. There is more to it, I guess, as far as some of the things it

means, but those are basically the type of things that she told me.

H: How do you feel about having both an English name and a Muskogee name?

J: Basically, I go with my English name, and that is fine. I like that, because nobody

really ever has called me my Indian name. Probably a very few people even

know my Indian name. So, I am pretty comfortable, at least, with my name

because I am named after my father, and one of my sons is named after me. We

kind of carry the Moses Jumper name along a little bit.

H: When you use your Indian name, is it in a special context that you use it?

J: No. It is nothing really special. It is just, to me, very important that I have it. My

two older sons were named with Indian names but, somehow, through the years-

one of them is twenty-three, and one of them is not to twenty-we lost the names

themselves. As I got a little bit older and realized the importance of their names--

I mean, I always knew it was important, but I didn't even keep up with it to that

point--I felt like, now, it is something that they have inherited, as far as having a

name given to them by one of their ancestors. I thought it was very important

that they keep that name. Now I am kind of going back and trying to get my

mother to see if there was anybody who remembered. There was a lady there

who was one of my aunts. I went to Mary Bowers, and she seems to remember

the names when they were given, and we have been trying to get my mother to

talk with her and see if she can find those names so we can get them

documented, so they will know them, will always have their names. Although

they speak all English now, I try to show them that it is an important thing to

keep, something that is a part of them.

H: Have you always lived on the reservation?

J: All of my life, except when I went away to school. But, after being born there in

Fort Lauderdale, I grew up there, which is now Hollywood reservation. Back then


it was called the Dania reservation because it was right near the town of Dania,

which was probably one of the big towns at that time, one of the older towns

along the beach. After the early 1980s, after I got married, I moved out here to

Big Cypress. So I have lived on the reservation. My kids have lived on the

reservation. My mother lived on the reservation a big part of her life before she

came over from Indiantown up in north Florida a little bit.

H: Why do you think people work off the reservation and live on the reservation?

J: I think, in early times, it was a preference on their part because of the fact that

they had to work, and a lot of the times their jobs took them off. I know, back in

my father's time, they had construction jobs. They worked in parking lots, and

they did all kinds of different odd jobs that called for them to come off the

reservation. Today there is not a whole lot of them that really work off the

reservation. The ones who do probably live off of the reservation totally, like

going out of state. A lot of them go for a while, but most of the people always

come back to the reservation. It is beneficial, with the medical insurance and a

lot of benefits that you can have living on the reservation.

H: Living on the reservation that you do not have living off of it?

J: Yes, right.

H: Tell me a bit about what you know about Seminole history.

J: Well, I like to consider myself a little history buff, as far as knowing some of the

things that I have learned over the years. There are a lot of things that I grew up

learning, but as I got a little bit older and began to read a little bit more, I began to


open my mind to a lot of different things that were written in the books, though I

don't always believe all of the books. Some of the things that I try to get I can

kind of relate it to what I feel is the truth. Being a Seminole myself and growing

up in our own culture I can kind of relate something that I read and say, that is

kind of far out, I don't know about that being the whole truth. Whereas,

sometimes, I read it and say, that really makes sense because, the way I have

learned some of the things that I know on my own, I say it really kind of coincides

with some of the things that I know about the history, the part that I know. But I

have been getting involved with that quite a bit just recently, since we have

gotten our museum, and I have really been getting into some of these re-

enactments. Now I have a little project going where we have been raising some

of the horses that the Seminoles used to ride. This was back in the early history

time, even before the time we had the Seminoles down here, riding the canoes

and things. You see, we had Seminoles also up in north Florida, and that is

where the majority of the battles took place, up in central and in north Florida. So

I am getting from A to B. I always felt that they had horses. Looking into the

history of the horses that I am involved with, I realized that they were little

Spanish horses that were brought over from the different countries and were

bred here, with all the trading that went on. I am sure the Seminoles did a lot of

trading with cattle and different kind of things in these different ports that they

had along the coast here. So I have been pretty well involved with that now. I

have gotten myself an outfit together, a traditional outfit. Again here, you are

looking at a different era than, say, some of the people that are dressed now. I


am going back before that time--the 1700s, the 1800s--to some of the things that

they dressed in, so it has been really interesting. I look at that, and I respect and

love the culture that we have here, the people riding the canoes and things. But

also, deep inside of my heart, in my spirit, I feel that I have always had a close

relationship with the horses and animals. Cattle raising is one of the big

industries that started on the reservation. We have always had cattle in our

family, for generations. I am like a fourth-generation cattle owner. So the horse

has always been a dominant part of our lives. Just recently, as I began to study

more on the horses, I began to realize that the horses were a very big part of

Seminole culture, years ago, and not only of Seminoles but even some of the

smaller tribes that were coming up along the coast.

H: Speaking of the cattle industry, you said that your family has, for a long time,

been involved in the cattle business. Were they some of the first people in the

tribe to get cattle?

J: Going back in the history, the Seminoles--not necessarily the Seminoles but even

some of the smaller tribes--we have always had cattle. They have a cattle out

now that is of Spanish descent. Today they call it Cracker cattle. They have the

Corriente cattle, which is a Spanish cattle, and all of these made up the cattle

that were here in Florida. So, we had Florida cattle years and years and years

ago. I realized that this was a part of our industry back in the early 1920s, when

the government decided they were going to bring over cattle. They put us on the

reservations during the 1940s and 1950s. Whenever we got put on the

reservations, this was one of the big things that they wanted us to do, raise


cattle. That was one of the big industries that most of the people on the

reservation got involved with. Basically, that was it. Of course, you had your

tourist industry with the gator wrestling and that. But one of the first things we

had on our reservation was land, so they wanted to use this land. What they did

was put cattle on it. The government issued some of the cattle that they brought

down and the horses and the whole works and got everybody kind of started in

the cattle business. Even long before that the Seminoles had been involved with


H: So they had experience with cattle and ranching before the government ever

introduced the cattle?

J: Oh yes.

H: Okay. What roles do women play in the cattle industry?

J: Well, I can go back to my mother's side. Her mother and her mother's mother

owned probably close to 500 head of cattle, down there in Indiantown, and that

was before the reservation was even established down here in Dania. So they

had large herds of cattle all up and down Florida. Just getting on her side, my

great, great, great uncle, who was Jimmy Gopher, goes back--we kind of

followed his generation back--and was involved with the cattle. I guess, more or

less, he got his nieces and his daughters involved with the cattle. Like I said,

they did not have these cattlemen that stayed around here, but it was kind of a

family thing. The way my mother tells it is that they were involved with getting

the cattle up and selling them and trading them and whatever it was. Evidently

they had a big part of that, on the women's side, as far as being involved with the


cattle program, which was not a program, it was just a way of life. As far as other

villages or other different towns that had cattle, I don't know what they were

involved with. I was just going on what my mother told me. In the industry today,

here on our reservations, there are some women who are cattle owners and

some, just like my mother, who took over. My father, after he passed away, he

left the cattle with her. She took the cattle and gave it to us, to me and my other

son, and we keep the cattle going. It has been in our family for a long time.

H: What are the differences in cattle breeds that people have today versus the ones

that they had thirty years ago?

J: Years ago, if we are going back into real early history, they still had this

crossbreeding of the Spanish cattle. These were the little Cracker cattle. But

when the government got the Seminoles involved with cattle, they wanted to get

one of the strains involved with it that could stand up to the kind of tropics and

climate that we had here. So one of the main cattle that they got involved with

was the Brahma. The Brahma breed had to be involved with any other kind.

You had to have a crossbreed with a Brahma. I mean, you could bring in a

different type of cow in there, but you had to breed that Brahma in there to give

him that kind of toughness to be able to stand up to the insects and the climate

and everything that was involved in raising cattle in this type of country, although

we did not always live in this country. We went up to central and north Florida,

which has a lot of good land up in that area. But when we got down here toward

this area of Florida, it was very hot, the humidity and everything else. We had to

have a type of cow that could sustain that, and that was why they had the


Brahma blood in there. So most of our Brahma breed is still going on from

generation to generation. It is still involved with a lot of the cattle that we have


H: Are there differences in the work that men and women do in the cattle industry?

Are there sharp divisions, or not?

J: There are very few of the women who actually get out and do, I guess, the manly

labor, so to speak, as far as getting in there and working inside the cattle pens

and doing the vaccinating and the castrating and all those different things.

Usually the men are all doing that, whereas the women, especially the women

who own cattle, they would be there and would watch their cattle. When it was

time, they would help with the lunches and bring in the food, and doing those

kinds of chores, even though they were cattle owners. I was about to say, there

have been a few I have seen down there who actually got into the pens. A lot of

them like to ride the horses and help round up and things like that.

H: In addition to calves, what are the other principle products of the cattle industry

here, or are there any other products besides selling calves? Do you produce

any other kind of products?

J: Well, I do. Basically we have always been on a cow/calf program, whereas we

get cows, and we have herd bulls. We put the bulls in there, they have the

calves, we raise the calves for a certain period of time, and then we sell them.

We send them to markets. We have people that bid from out of state and sell

them to auctions or whatever. That has been the basic procedure for cattle. This

year and for the last five, six, seven years now, I have been kind of involved with,


again, the Spanish cattle, which is called the Corriente. Since I am very involved

with rodeos, these are some of the things that I have been involved with. There

is a recreational type of cattle now that they raise because of the horns, for

roping in steer wrestling and these kind of things that they use in the rodeo. It

has been a profitable area that I have entered into. My sons are all involved with

rodeo. They are really heavily into the roping part of that so, for me, it just kind of

fell in line because we raise the cattle and, before we would sell them or trade

them or whatever we do, the boys used them and practiced with them. We have

always had cattle. I have always had cattle for them to do the rodeo events.

With that, it has worked real well for me. Then, even with our youth programs--I

am involved with the recreation program--we have expanded now to the point

where we have our own little rodeo clubs. I supply cattle for those things, even

the bull riding. I have bulls. They use the bulls. Calf roping, they have calves.

Then we have little calf riding. Just in the last three or four years we have really

been strong towards our rodeo program. To me, this is one of the heritages of

our people. People look toward the other areas, like the wrestling. I come from

wrestling, on my dad's side. But I also have always been partial to the horses

and the cattle in our tribe. People don't realize that they played a big part in our

society. I am talking about going back a couple of centuries here.

H: Overall, how has the commercial livestock industry changed over the last thirty


J: People do not realize that Florida has always been a state for cattle. I think it is

in the top five in cattle producing and selling. As far as rodeos, it is in the top


four, three or four, that produce the rodeos that we have. The cattle industry has

always been a big part of Florida and, when that came along, that was one of the

things that we fell right in with, being the Seminole tribe and being involved with

it. Like I told you, in the very first part of our tribe coming together and becoming

organized, we were given a few head of cattle and told to go ahead and raise

them. Over that period of time, today we are one of the top producing cattle

industries here in the state of Florida, the Seminole Tribe is. I think that is one of

the things that we are pretty proud of. There are still some things that we have to

iron out that I have always been outspoken with, but overall I have always been

glad that we had our program. It was something that I was always exposed to

when I was growing up, and I have always had a love for it. I just kind of fell in

line there, with the rodeos and things like that. I have been involved with the

rodeos for a long time now.

H: That is what I was going to ask. Are the rodeos a larger and more important

thing in Seminole society here than they were thirty years ago?

J: Oh, yes. Let's see. I have some pictures. I did some film, kind of like

documentary films of our rodeo organization. I was able to get into some films

that were taken back in the 1950s and, I think, in the 1940s, when rodeo was just

getting started on our reservations. Going back into the 1950s, even then we

had our rodeo arenas, and we were producing and having our own little rodeos.

How far back before that I don't know, but those were things that I was able to

see, pictures, that we have actual pictures of. So I really have seen how large

the rodeos have grown over the years because of the fact that some of the older


Seminole men had different talents. Breaking horses. They worked with leather.

They learned these things from different people who were involved with the

Seminoles. Maybe they worked for them on different cattle outfits that they had.

There was a lot of ways that they were exposed to that kind of thing. As that

came on, generation after generation of youngsters began to pick up that. Today

we have a good central force of people--especially in Brighton and Big Cypress,

because that is where most of the cattle are--that are involved now with the

horses and with the cattle. It has kind of gone on now. It has just kind of been

like a traditional thing now, over the years. Now we have a younger bunch of

kids that we are really working with to get them involved with, not necessarily the

raising of the cattle, but also with the sport of rodeo. Just about five years ago,

we were organized. Probably about ten or fifteen years ago we had an

organization that was involved with the rodeos, and we went in what they called

the All-Indian Rodeo Association. It kind of fell off for a while there and then, all

of a sudden, we had a little reawakening with it. About four years ago we really

got established and organized and now we are a very strong rodeo organization

again, to the point where we are producing and putting on about ten rodeos just

on our own here in this state.

H: Per year?

J: For ourselves, yes. I mean, we invite all of the Indians, and we have Indians

coming from Canada, Washington, Montana, Oklahoma, everywhere. They can

come from anywhere they want, if they want to come and rope, compete in our


organization. Because of the fact that we have some people who are interested

who are in political positions, they are able to help us financially, to put added

money in there, and to get us involved with some of the big stock producers here

in the state. We are thankful for that, that we have had some of the men in

political positions. And we have some who are wanting to get into those

positions themselves, women and men, who are involved with rodeo. Hopefully,

in time, we will have that because it is a big interest for young people now too. It

is really being involved with sports and recreation. When I was growing up I

played sports and did a little bit of the rodeo, but sports were baseball, football,

basketball, and that kind of stuff, for me. I grew up playing that in high school

and all that. Then I got involved with the sport of rodeo, but not so much to the

point that I got away from my softball and baseball and those kind of things. I

continued playing those. When I went to college and played football and

baseball on that level and came back and worked with our recreation program, I

was kind of geared toward teaching baseball, football, and those kind of things.

So we started the leagues, and we got the gyms and all the recreation programs

started on our reservations. Just in the last few years now--maybe one thing is

that I cannot really play baseball like I used to--my interest has kind of gone now

toward the rodeo part of it, because I see it as a sport too. We get a different

kind of kid who comes up and likes to get involved with rodeo. But they all like it.

They like getting on to ride the bulls and calves. We start the little kids out with

sheep. Little five- and six-year-old kids ride the sheep. Next they graduate to the

calves, and then they go to the smaller bulls. Pretty soon we have our feeder


system going into our own cowboy program that has a full-scale rodeo. In maybe

five to ten years we will have a strong organization that will continue on. You

have seen our arenas; they are the best in the state.

H: Tell me what your primary occupation is.

J: What I do and where my heart is has always been working with the recreation

program. You see, I grew up in a sports-related family. My mother liked sports,

and my uncle was a professional athlete.

H: What was his name?

J: Howard Tiger. We have always been involved with sports in my family. As we

were growing up on our reservation, there in Hollywood, which was the Dania

reservation, one of the things that kept us together was the peer pressure of

playing sports. We were all very athletic. We had, probably, seven or eight guys

starting on the one football team. Being a tribe our size, to have that many

involved with sports was pretty good. Starting and playing also. I have always

been involved with that. That is all I ever wanted to do. I have always wanted to

coach and be involved with sports, all my life.

H: Was that mainly football? Was that what Howard Tiger was a professional in?

J: Howard was everything. He was a basketball player. He was a football player.

He played, professionally, baseball, and he played semi-professionally, semi-pro

football. Then he was also a professional boxer. He was involved with all of

these different sports, plus he was an avid hunter. As I grew up, he was kind of

like my second father, really. Well, he probably took the place of my real dad

because my dad was heavily involved, after a while, in alcohol, and that kind of


disrupted our relationship, between him and the family. He was kind of like my

second father because he would take us to the ball games, and his boys, my

cousins, were involved with it. We had a close relationship, going to games,

playing ball. He would coach the little league teams and taught us everything

that he knew about the game. We were involved with that so, growing up, that

was my love. I loved sports, and I wanted to be a coach. That was all I ever

wanted to do. Of course, the agriculture part was there, too, the cattle and the

horses. I loved doing that, but that was kind of secondary to my sports. So when

I got into college, I wanted to be in physical education so I could go to school and

teach and coach. But then I got a little bit involved, after I went to school, and I

played college sports. I came back and instead of going into a school and

teaching--which I did, I went to a couple of the smaller schools; I didn't teach, but

I coached there--I got back, and we started our recreation program. That just

kind of fell right into the thing that I wanted to do. We just started with a little

room and a little phone. That was our recreation building, and they said, go out

there. We had a small budget. It was nothing, just nothing. We had a couple of

old buildings that were kind of run down. So from there--and I do not know if you

have been able to see our recreation program--we have the gymnasium now,

with the nice weight rooms. We have the swimming pools, we have the outdoor

courts, and we have the baseball fields. Have you been to Hollywood?

H: I haven't seen any of that in Hollywood.

J: If you get a chance, get over and see those things. You see, our headquarters

has always been in Hollywood, but I had a chance to get out to all of these other


reservations and work with their programs. That was my first love, and that is

what I have always done. But like I said, though, with this rodeo, it's a sport also,

and I have related it to working with our recreation program.

H: You mentioned your going to school. What schools have you attended?

J: High school?

H: From the beginning. Did you go to the reservation schools, or boarding schools?

J: No. When I was very young I .... Well, everybody went to the day-schools

there at the beginning, which were run by our missionaries. Then I got a

scholarship. My mother was involved with a lot of the tribes and with tribal

politics and different things, and there were some minority kids that an individual

was wanting to sponsor, to put them in a nice private school. I was chosen to go

to that school. That was Pine Crest Elementary, which was the only and biggest

private school in Fort Lauderdale. I went there, and there was a Spanish kid, a

black kid, and an Asian kid, or something, and this guy paid for it, and it was

pretty expensive to go there, for my first three or four years of school. I dropped

out in the third or fourth grade. But my first-year exposure was to this kind of

academics. It was kind of a change, coming off of the res and seeing these

different kinds of people. Sometimes I would go home with them and they would

take me out on their boats and those kind of things. I guess they thought it was

neat to have an Indian kid at their house. It was pretty good for me because I

guess they kind of stereotyped the Indian, and they thought I was a real tough,

mean guy. Sometimes I would try to live up to that. But I enjoyed it because I

got to see another part of the white society, so to speak. I would go to houses


and, in some of the places I would go, their tree houses would have phones in

them. Wow! We would go in there and sit at a table like this and bring out these

fancy plates with duck and all kinds of stuff. Wow! These were really rich people

who went to this school. I was really impressed with that kind of lifestyle that

they had because I had come out of a little shacky house that was not much. An

old van came by and picked us up and that is what I went to school in over there

in Fort Lauderdale. They came an picked me up and took me to school every

day. So that was my first exposure to school. After that I guess I got to the point

where I decided I really missed hanging out with my relatives and my friends on

the reservation because, then, we were kind of spread out. We just didn't see

everybody every day, like you do today. We are such a small community now,

as far as there are so many people in the community, the houses are right next to

each other. It is a lot different than when I was growing up. Every now and then,

like on weekends, we might meet. It was not like today, where they meet every

day. They all congregate at the gym where I work and stuff, and they see each

other every day. Back then we didn't see each other that much. When I went

away to school I was gone all day, and when I got home it was time to do what I

had to do and go to bed. So I didn't see anybody. That kind of took me away, I

think, from really developing a closer relationship with some of the guys I grew up

with. That is why, I guess in about fourth grade, I didn't want to go there

anymore. So my mother let me quit and put me in a regular public school where

everybody else was.

H: Then after grade school where did you go?


J: After that I came back into public school, and then I went to MacArthur High

School, which is a public school right there, down the road from the Hollywood

reservation. We excelled in football. We played sports. I played football and

baseball and lettered. After that I got a grant-in-aid and a scholarship to go to the

University of Tampa. There were about four of us who went to school there.

Really there were about five of us, of the Seminoles, who had an opportunity to

go to the University of Tampa and play a sport. But we had to take a course

there during the summer, like an orientation, and a couple of the guys dropped

out. They didn't want to go any more, away from home. The Vietnam War was

going on and all kinds of things. A couple of them dropped out, and another one

couldn't pass the orientation part of it, so he quit. So there were three of us, me

and two of my cousins. We went on to the University of Tampa there and stayed

the whole year. Then the one cousin came back and got himself a job. My other

cousin and I decided we didn't want to stay at Tampa anymore. There was

another school in Oklahoma that we wanted to go to. They had a football

program, so we wanted to go and play football there. They asked us to come up

there, so we went up there.

H: What is the name of that school?

J: It is in Miami, Oklahoma, and it was called Oklahoma A&M. [A&M is now

Oklahoma State University, in Stillwater, Oklahoma. It was not a junior college.

Correction?] It was a good little junior college. One of things it gave me

exposure to was different Indians. That was my first exposure because

Oklahoma, as you know, is one of the largest states that have Native Americans.


When that happened I began to see different people. Being at that age, I began

to see different Indian ladies. That was a big deal for me because all I saw were

my relatives on the res. That was all I had. Everybody seemed to be related,

and you knew about all of them. This was a big thing because, in high school,

you kind of went with the white girls, and that was just kind of accepted. But then

after that I began to realize, wow, our Indian girls are just as nice looking as the

white girls we were involved with. When that began to happen I said, they do the

same things. Because it was just like you were right there in the res. We have

beautiful women here in the tribe, and we have nice, nice women. But the fact is,

you see them every day. When you live in an area, I guess you take it for

granted. But then, when I started going out and began to really get a different

look at people and began to develop different relationships, I began to realize

there were different tribes and different cultures and different people among our

Native American race. With that I began to really start to open up to a lot of the

Indian people, talking to a lot of them, because we had a lot of them in our

school. I would listen to some of the things that they went through in their own

places. After that, my other cousin left, so there I was in school by myself. I

said, no, I don't want to stay here. So I went to another college, which started

out as a school for Native Americans, but then they opened it up to a community

junior college. That was in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Have you ever heard of


H: Yes.

J: Have you ever heard of Merle Haggard? Do you remember the Okie from

Muskogee? Well that was the year that song came out. That was during that

time of the year, and I used to walk down the road. People would yell at me

because I had long hair. They would tell me, cut that hair off, boy! Cut that hair

off! They would tell me all kinds of stuff like that. It was a very racist town. I

stayed there and enjoyed it. Probably 30 percent of the people in that school

were Native Americans. That is basically what that school started out as. It was

a Baptist college, a Christian school, that they were sending a lot of the Native

Americans to back in the 1800s. I really opened up, got involved in a lot of the

organizations, and just became really close with a lot of our different tribal Native

Americans there. I enjoyed it. I loved that school. That is where I opened up to

poetry. That is where I first started writing my poetry. Because English, back

then, was just all grammar to me. I mean, they told me how to outline and cut

down a sentence and how to put paragraphs and all that. I really didn't like all of

that. But then, when she started showing me the literature part of it, the writings

and the thinkers and the people who wrote different things, that really gave me a

different perspective of what English was all about. When that happened she

started getting me to open up with writing different things. She started getting me

to read books of different Native American poets, so they had a big influence on

me, too. Probably one of the biggest poets was a guy named Alexander Posey

[Alexander Lawrence Posey, 1873-1908]. He was a Creek, Muskogee, and I

read his book. He had a big old book of poetry. I began to read a lot of that and


it just kind of started hitting home. A lot of the time, you will see, some of the

things I write sometimes will come from his style of writing. Anyway, he wrote

some plays, and I kind of diddled around with a few plays and things. We did a

big old play in English for that class of some of his writings and stuff. I was

involved with that, and I enjoyed it. So I stayed there. I was still involved with

sports, though, and one of the teachers, he was going to another government

school, which is now called Haskell Indian University [Haskell Indian Nations

University]. ... They are going on a junior college program. Back then it used to

just be a vocational school. They wanted to open up to a college program. They

wanted to know if I wanted to go up there and play football, so I said, sure. I

said, play football and baseball up there. He said, it's all Native Americans, no

outside people. So I said, yeah, that would be great. So I went up there, and

that's where I went to school and finished up my junior college hours. I got an

Associate of Arts degree from that school. I really loved that school. Two of my

sons are going there now. I don't know if they have the same love for it like I did,

but it just really gave me a groundwork, a foundation for what my life was going

to be later on. Back then I was kind of questioning about whether I really wanted

to come back. I remember a superintendent, he was a white superintendent in

the BIA, the Bureau of Indian Affairs. One of the things he told me, he said,

you're getting ready to go to college, get off the reservation, and don't come

back. He said, don't come back. He said, get yourself a good education, get

yourself a job in that outside world, and don't come back here. Because, you

know, you have all of these problems and all kinds of things going on here.


Make something of yourself. That is what he told me, and I remember those

words. But after getting involved with this school and the people and meeting the

different kinds of tribes and different cultures and different beliefs and things and

the languages and having a lot of friends, I began to realize this is what I wanted

to do. I wanted to come back to the people. I wanted to come back and share

the things I had learned. I went one more year after school and played football

up in one of the schools in Oklahoma. After that I wanted to get back and do

what I wanted to do, and start. I don't regret doing that. I guess I could have

probably kept going to get some more degrees, but I don't think it would have

taught me any more than what I had learned because, basically, I started from

day one on recreation. Everything I have learned I think I could write a book on,

what it means to be involved with the Native American recreation, which is a big

thing, but it is not something that has ever been written about. Some of the

organizations, like the athletic organizations in the Indian country, have never

really been strong points, as far as in the different tribes. It has always been

there. I think all Indians are athletic, basically. They have always been involved

with sports, and some are good athletes and things, but not to the point where it

has been involved like we have it here now on our reservations. I am very proud

of our recreation program.

H: Great. Tell me about your father's education and your mother's education.

J: My mother will probably be able to tell you this a little bit better in detail, but she

was one of the first Seminoles to get off the reservation. She went to boarding

school there in Cherokee, North Carolina. She finished her high school


education and then went off to a year or so working towards a nursing career.

She took some courses there in Oklahoma in the nursing program. With that,

she brought a lot of that back and kind of worked in the health field back here. I

am not sure if my father even graduated from high school because he joined the

navy, after he got old enough, and went off, went overseas. He was involved

with that, and then he came back. Basically, most of things I remember about

him is, well, he was always involved with wrestling alligators, that was one of the

things that really supported our family, that he was a professional alligator

wrestler. That is what he did to support the family.

H: And your mother? Did she work outside the home?

J: A little bit later on she did, but the main thing as we grew up, that I remember, is

that we were involved with the tourist economy. By doing this, they had the

different tourist boats that would come in to the different ports, down there in

Broward County. They had the rivers running all through there. They still have

them, but not as much as they did then. Everybody had one of those tourist

boats, and they had an area where they stopped. When you stopped, the

tourists came, and they wanted to see a lot of what Florida had to offer. One of

the biggest things that they had was that if you had a little Indian village, people

would come in there and sell their crafts, and they would have an alligator

wrestling show. An ordinary day for me would be to get up in the morning, and

there would be a ten-o'clock boat we would have to go hit. We would take off.

We would get up in the morning, eat breakfast or whatever, and go take off and


hit this boat. My mother would get there, and there would be a little table,

chickee, a little village, and she would spread out all her crafts and things. I

remember that. My dad would start going in there and cleaning the gator pit or

whatever he had to do, work with his gators. We would play around in the area

there. And then, when it came time that the boat was coming in, you know the

big whistle, I could hear that, and they would come up to the port and dock it.

The guides would get off, and everybody would start filing off. My mother would

have all her crafts and everything, right there under the chickee, as they would

start coming by. One of the things we did as little kids is, we would stand there,

and we would have little cups in front of us, and we would sing a song in the

native language. Then we would recite something in English. The tourists would

say, oh, how cute, and they would throw coins or something, because they will

see little coins in front of them. A little later on they walked through, there was

usually a little area there where they could see some of the wild plants and they

usually had some wild animals around in the area, and then it would be time for

the gator ... [End of Side A, Tape 1] ... the alligator, and there were a couple of

things, routines that he would do. He would open the mouth and show it to the

people, and they would take all their pictures. They were oohing and aahing and

seeing all the teeth, and the announcer was really gearing up the crowd. Then

he would do a trick or two. Sometimes he would put the gator under his chin and

hold it out like that, or sometimes he would open the alligator's mouth, stick his

head in there, and let it pop. After that, usually, the finale was that they would

wrestle the alligator. What they would do is turn the alligator over on his back,


and they would knock the alligator out. Then he would try to give it a gator call or

attack it a little bit and let it turn over. That was basically the show, which ran

between fifteen and thirty minutes. After that my dad would pass a hat or a pot,

usually the pot, all the way around, and everybody would throw their money in.

What we had right there was all cash money. Everything was cash-no checks,

nothing like that, no credit cards. I had the little money in our coins, my mother

had her craft sale, and my dad made his money on the gator wrestling. After

that, boom, the people started filing off and go back in the boats and, boom, we

would get all of our stuff, and we would have to hit another one-o'clock show

down in another area because another boat was coming there. We could hit

between two and three boats a day, and we did pretty well, as far as money. But

the big money earner was my dad because they paid a lot of money for him to

put in ...

H: That's interesting. Were there certain times of the year that you did that? Did

you take off of school to do that?

J: No. Usually it was a year-round thing. They did it just about everyday.

Especially, the big time was the winter months. But the time we had to go, we

had to go to school. Some of the kids could skip out and go to those things but

not us, we had to be in school. So mainly those were weekend things for us, or

holidays or summertime.

H: How has tourism to the Seminole sites in south Florida changed in the last thirty

years? You mentioned that, before, the boats would come to the different docks.

What additional sites have been added?


J: I think that because of the economy, we don't rely as much on that aspect of the

tourism anymore. We have our own places now, the gaming and all this stuff

now. We still rely a lot on the tourism but not so much where we go to the boats

anymore. As a matter of fact, I do not know how many ..., there are very few of

the families that even do that anymore. Over the years I have seen a lot of the

changes because of the fact that some of the waterways have been caught off.

Now some of those bigger boats can't get to the areas that they used to. There

are maybe one or two places now that even have the boats anymore. Whereas,

back then, I remember five or six different kinds of ports where they would stop

into these different areas. We would go to just as many as we could.

H: Were these like cruise ships?

J: Yes. There is one still going. It is called the Jungle Queen. It is one of the

oldest running ones. They start over there at the Bahia Mar, which is right along

Fort Lauderdale Beach. They fill it up. You get in there and get your ticket, and it

is like a two-story boat. They ride in there, and it takes them through the

waterways. They see all the houses, the rich houses, and then they get to see a

little bit of the Everglades. Then they have a little barbeque for them in a place,

and then they have a little village there, and they have the wrestling and all of

that kind of stuff. I think that is one of the few boats, but I don't even know that it

is still going now. They have cut out a lot of those different places now. That

area and that type of tourism is not like it used to be. It has really been cut down.

H: So do Seminoles have more control over tourism than they did a generation ago?

J: What do you mean?

H: Control, meaning, was there someone else who was in charge of the tourist

attractions then versus now?

J: Really, it was nothing really organized as far as what we were doing. I guess

now you mean do we have more control over what we do as far as tourism. I

guess we would right now because of the fact that we have these big gaming

casinos; we are involved with that. We have the big Okalee Village now that we

are involved with. We depend a lot on the tourism. Then we have our different

festivals that we are involved in, but we try to bring them in, more or less, to us

now. Back then you could go to any one you wanted to; you just had to get there

first and get your stuff put out. But most everybody just kind of respected the fact

that this chickee was yours, and this is where his family came, and they put their

stuff there. Most of the time you knew which families usually hit the certain boat

areas, that sit in certain ports where they would go and sell their wares and

everything. There were two or three boats running at the same time, so we didn't

hit them all. But those were the ones we made that we would go to. If we found

out one of us was making some money over here a little more, then sometimes

we would kind of change our schedule around. Basically, certain families went to

certain boat stops, and so they were involved with those.

H: Is there a difference in the type of jobs that men and women do in the tourist


J: Today? Oh, yes.

H: And has it changed from what it used to be?

J: Oh, yes. Some of the things they used to do, now, I mean, with the economy

now of our tribe, we don't rely so heavily on the things we used to. They used to

go out. My dad did a lot of construction work. I know a lot of the guys who used

to do a lot as parking attendants. They were low-paying jobs that really didn't

require a whole lot of skill, whereas today, some of the things that some of our

guys are involved with now, men and women, we have a lot who work in the

casinos; we have a lot who have started their own businesses with the tobacco

shops; some are involved with the villages, like the museums; you have some

working out here at the Safari. There are all kinds of different jobs now, but I

think most of the jobs now are related to keeping our people involved on the

reservation. Even people who go off to school, we try to hire them back to work

within the tribe. You have seen the tribal office, haven't you? We try to get

people involved, and this is what I hope we always will try to do. I hope that is

something we always look towards. That is always a big issue, too. To me, that

is one of the things I hope we will always be able to do, to send our young people

out to get that education, to get involved, especially with the way that technology

is now in our tribe. Years ago that was one of the big things. There were very

few chairmen and people involved with the high political positions who even had

a high school education. Now, with the way the technology is, it is almost

something that you have got to have now. That is why I hope we continue to

stress education for our young people, to the point where we get them involved

where they are going to be able to come back within the tribe and work in the

system. Years ago we had that mentality of the old BIA, where the guy told me


to go off the res and work, and get yourself a job, and stay off there; just get

involved with the mainstream of life and do your own thing. Don't come back

here. To me, I hope we will always be able to get our people involved with it and

get them that education. Basically, with a lot of them now, we do pay for the

education, and I think a lot of them have it inside of them that they want to come

back and work among their people, especially in the health fields and education

fields. I look toward the recreation fields. I am always stressing that because

that has been the field I have been involved with. I say, you can make a living off

of it; I have done it. There is a big need for people like that in the recreation field.

H: What do you think about the Ahfachkee school here, the reservation school?

J: I think it is great. I think it is a great program. There is always room for

improvement, and I would just like to see us get more of our own native people

involved with that. The only way we are going to do that is to educate more of

our young people in the field of education and then gear that education more to

native studies, to things more involved with us. We hire different people, but they

don't know the needs and the things that we have. They can teach on a level of

education that they learn and bring that back and kind of gear that school around

that. It does a good job, though. I think there are a lot of good things that it does

but, like I said, there a lot of things that it could do. I mean that to the point

where I would like to see some of our own Seminoles in positions of principals

and teachers and those kinds of things, not just assistants and things like that,

but to take over and make up the curriculum of that. There are a lot of things

where it can be geared. That school has a tremendous opportunity to be a focal


point for teaching a lot of the things that we have neglected over the years. I

think that is good because I grew up in public school and those things, studies,

Native American studies, weren't there. We read the books and whatever they

showed us and whatever we had to read from them. So this school has an

opportunity to do that.

H: Do most of the children who live on the reservation attend that school?

J: I think most, the majority do, but there are still a few who go off. I had mine go

off to school.

H: What other schools do they attend?

J: Here, there is Clewiston. You have to go about forty miles to go to the closest

school, and that is Clewiston. The reason I sent my boys over there is because

my boys are involved with sports, and we have no sports program here as far as

on a competitive level with high schools or anything like that. It is really that you

talk with numbers, and we don't have enough people here.

H: What are your views about vocational and technical education versus traditional

higher education in colleges? Do you think that there is a place for vocational

and technical skills in the community versus a traditional four-year college?

J: Yes. I believe there is. We have a program going on here at this reservation.

They are teaching a lot of the skills in driving heavy machinery and those kinds of

things. They are doing that, and there is a place for that. There are people you

have got to have involved with that. That is why I think it is good that we can

open up these different areas of career opportunities to different people.

Whatever they want to choose, let them choose that. But I also feel that we need


to strongly stress the regular educating through the colleges and going to school

and learning a lot of that and then bringing a lot of that back into our

organizations. I mean, I know you have to have a lot of common sense, which

we must have, and I think a lot of guys believe that. But the fact is, I can't stop

stressing that the way the tribe is headed and the millions of dollars we are

involved with and the different kind of money, and the computers and the kind of

lives that we are living now, it is kind of hard to just have your little sixth-grade

education all the time and deal with those kinds of situations.

H: So, you have that attitude. Does that attitude prevail among many people, and

has that changed, the attitude that there is a need ...?

J: I think it is there, but not .... I will argue this with any of those guys up there

because I am always kind of outspoken about it. I don't think they stress it

enough because of the fact that a lot of them are involved in political positions. I

know they will probably say something about that, but they do not have the

education that they need. Do you know what I mean? I am not saying that I am

a better person or anything, but I think I have had an opportunity to see what is

out there and what can be learned, and there is a lot more that can be learned. I

am not trying to belittle anybody, but the fact is that education is the door to

helping us see the future a little bit better. We get caught up a lot in the politics

of things in this tribe; there are a lot of things you can talk about on that. I would

be really hard pressed, for some of these people who are involved in political

fields that we choose, to see where their heart really lies, as far as education. I

work with our education advisory program in our Tribe. I am the president and I


chair that. Over the years we have sometimes had points there, in our budget,

where they wanted to cut it. They wanted to take certain things out of the

educational program to make way for some other kind of things. I have spoken

out a lot about that because I don't think they need to cut education short. I don't

think the budget needs to be cut in that area of our Tribe. [Tape interrupted.]

H: Overall, how would you say that the physical environment has changed in the

last thirty years here?

J: I have been here since 1983, but I have come off and on out here to this

reservation all of my life, and I love this place. I mean, there is no other place in

the world I would rather be. I have been to the mountains in Colorado, and I

have been to California and Canada and those different places. But Big Cypress

here, I get up every morning and look up at that blue sky. Wow, this is a

beautiful place to live. And the weather. Even though it has its mosquitos and it

has its humidity and all those kinds of things, I still love it. Right now we are kind

of in a drought, so it has kind of been dusty and not really comfortable. But I still

love it because I can see the seasons and everything. Every season and every

thing has a reason for why it is happening. We have our droughts, and we have

our floods and all that kind of stuff.

But over the last few years-and I want to write some of this for the paper, too,

about this-some of the things that we are involved with, that we do all in the

name of progress, it is not really progress, not necessarily. We feel that progress

is going and putting up new buildings and doing this and doing that. It is nice. It

is nice, but one big example is, you go to the Hollywood reservation, which used


to be 600 acres of nothing but oak trees and wooded area. Now you look at that

place and it is all just houses, and [there is] really nothing there. I grew up as a

kid in that reservation, and that was the one thing that I had, other than coming

out to the reservations when we did. Then, it was like a three-hour trip to come

around the way we used to, instead of coming across the Alley. Back then, that

was my only contact to our environment, as far as the natural resources that we

have. We would go in those trees. We played in trees. Those kids, today, don't

know what it is to climb a tree. They don't know what it is to be involved and see

some woods and maybe see a little wildlife in there every now and then. A lot of

that stuff is not a part of their daily make-up anymore. There is something about

the spiritual aspect of being in nature and just being a part of God's creation that

has always been something that has been close to me. A lot of these kids are

lacking that today.

That is one of the reasons that, with recreation, that is another part of the

program I have brought in, too, to bring a lot of our kids out here with trips. We

have an archery group; we teach them archery. We have a hunting group. We

take them out on four-wheel drives. We take them on trail rides on horses. We

take them on fishing trips. We try to work these kids from the Hollywood

reservation to see a little bit of a different part of living out here in this area.

Then, a lot of kids who live out in this area really don't understand what they

have here, that it is a part of the Earth. A lot of times they take advantage of it or

abuse it to the point where somebody comes in here with an idea of (here I go

again) getting in with billion-dollar bingo. They came in here, and that thing


never did work. Then we have these concerts, like that which went on this past

weekend. Those things never made a dime. They are fine, I guess.

In part, I am a little bit selfish in that area because I think this is the one area that

a lot of our people are able to come to, especially the ones who are living in

town, like Hollywood, which takes the majority of our people. They can come out

here and still get a little feel of what our Native American people did. Once this

goes, there is nothing ever going to be there, because it has already happened

there in Hollywood. The kids don't have anything there. The places where trees

used to be, now they have just mowed it all down, and now they have thrown a

concrete buildings there. So that's all there is there now. To me, that is one of

the biggest tragedies that is going to face us. Fine, we are doing all this stuff with

the gaming, and we are making tons and tons of money. You can put up a new

building, but I don't necessarily believe that new building means progress. We

could be doing this with the different things that we have with the construction

and things out here, and that is fine that somebody is making some money. But

what effect is it going to have on us a generation or two later on?

It is fine. I think we are doing a good job, as far as trying to keep some of things,

like you were asking me [about] the school there. But I think there has got to be

a little bit more. There have got to be more people who sit down and see below

this. Some of the people (and here I go again) who are in the political positions

have never had that. Some of them never grew up with the feel for that. So a lot

of that, some of the decisions they make, I don't know how in the world they

come to that. You find out that it is something they have never been exposed to.


There are a few of them right now who I have told that. Hopefully, in time, we

will be able to get a lot of our younger people who are involved to want to see

that. I hope some of the kids who I have worked with, even over in Hollywood,

will be some of those kids who will do that. But they missed out on a lot of stuff,

and it is not there anymore. It's gone. You can't bring back a 100- or 150-year-

old oak tree that has been there. Time, again.

They did that just this past week, and they are getting ready to put a big three-

story building there [in Hollywood]. I guess it is an elder center. They have

already paved the way. I went back there last Tuesday and they had chopped

down one of my beautiful oaks that I had argued and fought for, for so long. That

oak was one of a couple of trees that are kind of close to me. I told them stories

about that; I said, you know, we used to climb in that tree, and I remember a

couple of times we would play cowboys and Indians and all of that kind of stuff up

in that tree. I remember even getting to the point where we had to shoot the little

BB guns. There was a guy up there one time, we were camped on the field

there, and we kept hearing BB guns shooting, BBs hitting around us. We did not

know where it was coming from. There was a guy sitting up in that tree. He was

up in that one tree shooting BBs at us. We always had our BB guns because we

hunted in the backwoods there. We would shoot quail and duck and hunt those

kind of different things. Hunting was a part of us. That is what we did.

H: So, there was a reliance on the environment for ...?

J: Exactly. I always believed that the Seminoles were made up of hunters and

warriors. I think this is just a part of our spirit that always came out, because we


love to hunt. A lot of these guys love to hunt. They don't necessarily know how

to hunt, as far as some of the things they need to learn. Because the hunting is

going to be gone one day if they don't stand up and say something about it.

They don't teach the young people how to hunt, about abusing the land and

taking too much game or not taking care of the land that is in an area by using

conservation practices. These things are going to be gone. It is not going to be

here forever. People think it is going to be there, but it isn't. It has already left

them in that Hollywood reservation.

But we always had our BB guns. We always camped out. We liked sleeping out

there in the stars. Every morning we would get up and go into that wooded area,

because we had acres. Though it is only a small reservation, 600 acres,

probably half of that was made up of wooded area. So we had areas there that

we could hunt. It was not as big as this, but we could go in there, and it gave us

a little bit of an idea, at least, of hunting. So we did that. We always had our little

BB guns, and when this guy started shooting down on us, we saw him up there

as an attack from some enemy. We started shooting back at him, and I

remember him yelling. We knew who he was. He started yelling and fell down

out of that tree. We kind of just captured him, and that was it.

H: And now those memories are gone.

J: Yes. We don't have that, now that they came and took that tree. They said the

roots of it might upset the foundation of the building. I said, do you know how

long I have really tried to keep that tree going? We trimmed it for the ball field.

Even the ball field was going to cut it out. They wanted to cut it down because of


that. I said, no, we will just trim the tree a little bit. So we trimmed it, and it kind

of grew itself in that way. Then, when I got back that day, they had wacked it

down and then all the pine trees and everything. Now they want to plant palm

trees or something there, which is fine, but a palm does not have the effect of an

old oak.

Then they have a big old oak tree out there near the office building, and that is

called the Council Oak. That is where they used to have a lot of the meetings,

under there. They did a lot of the tribe's first organization under there. I

remember that tree, so I wrote a poem about that Council Oak. From reading the

poem, you can see the effect. Because the tree has been there; it has a life in

itself. That is the way I see it, and that is what I told these tree people. I said,

that is the way I see it. But now they are coming in and taking out a lot of the

trees because they want to put in a new building there, and they do not

understand the feeling that is in that tree.

My mother has a little bit of property along [US Highway] 441, and there they put

a big old tobacco store. Right there, there were probably two or three oaks that

were probably a good eight feet in diameter. They just came in and whacked

those out because they wanted to put a building right there. So I thought, wow,

why? Why do that?

We have oaks now, on our property that we are wanting to build on. But I didn't

want to take those trees down, and they are not even as old as some of the trees

that we had that I have seen go down. I had the architect come in and I said, if

we ever get the funds to do this-we already have the print-up and everything,


which we had the architect do, but we haven't started the building yet-we are

building right around those trees. I said, you can do that. That is what

communities are doing now. I think there is a law in Florida about chopping oak

trees and stuff, old oak trees, but I see here on the reservation you are allowed to

do whatever you want. I thought, well here we are supposed to be the true

environmentalists, and we didn't have any feelings for just coming in and

whacking trees out. If nothing else, I will establish that feeling where people will

take a second thought, at least, about a tree being chopped down.

H: What do you think is the reason that the attitudes toward the environment have

changed so much?

J: Do you mean among our people?

H: Yes.

J: Because a lot of that has not been taught. Now, you have spiritual leaders, and I

don't know a whole lot of the thoughts, of the things that they think, because I

have not been involved in that area. But I talk to some of the guys who are

learning the different things about the medicines and the things like that. If you

are going off toward that area of your life, if you are going to go down that

spiritual road, I don't know if those are the things that are being taught or

emphasized--the respect for the animals when you take them, the respect that

you have for the things that are around you, and the things that you have to keep

up and believe in when you are going down that spiritual road. I know that even

in my own walk, things that I believe in, and that doesn't necessarily hold true

with anything else. These are just things that I have feelings for in my own


personal way.

My mother and my grandmother were medicine people, but they got involved

with the Christian emphasis, which is another story that I have been working on.

But my mother and my grandmother (her mother), even though they changed

their thinking as far as their spiritual walk, they always kept up their herbs and the

things they did with the natural things. [They were] not so much into the chants

and the different songs and things like that, but they kept up with their herbs, the

things that they knew that had healing powers. I used to see my grandmother

making a lot of the different herbs and medicines for different people who would

come in and give her things, and she would give them those medicines.

H: Do you know other medicine men and women who continue to practice today?

Does your mother continue?

J: Not so much my mother. She knows a few of the medicines and every now and

then I have seen her mixing something, but not like my grandmother. My

grandmother was really a strong believer in the herbs and natural things. She

lived to be in her nineties, or late eighties. Then her mother was a strong

believer in the herbs, and she lived way into her nineties. So they were involved

with those things, and they used them throughout their lifetimes. Evidently it

must have had some kind of impact for them to live that long. And my mother,

every now and then, when I have some headaches or something that it seems

like I cannot get rid of with an aspirin or something, she will bring those in, and I

will take them. A lot of times it relieves the things, because of the fact that I

believe that the things that went behind it, in making it, that it is something that is


natural, given to us by our creator, by God.

H: You just mentioned about how your mother is a Christian, but she also does

some practice of traditional medicine.

J: She will tell you that. She will tell you that she still believes in the herbs. I told

her that because, I said, it is biblical. A lot of things are in the Old Testament that

talked about the herbs and the plants and the healing powers that came from

them. You can see today that a lot of people are realizing that. They have the

natural remedies and things now that people make. I am sure even among your

people there are certain things that you can take, certain remedies for different

things. These are just some of the things. Some of them hold a lot of power in

them. Even though we use modern technology and the field of medicine, we

overlook some of these simple things--that have always been there, for a long

time--because we didn't put any belief in them.

H: Do you go to church?

J: Yes. As a matter of fact, I interviewed my mother not too long ago about the

early Christian church among our people, and I went back to the part where we

had been introduced . because a large majority of our people that are involved

with our churches on the reservation are Baptists. I don't know how far back as

far as the Catholic church, which was involved with a lot of the Indians along the

coast where they had the trading ports and stuff. I don't know a whole lot about

that, but I do know about the part where Christianity was introduced to our

Seminoles, which was probably in the early 1920s, the 1900s. On my mother's

side was one of the early converts to the Christian church and from my uncle on


down, all the way. That is, I guess, one of the strong beliefs why they couldn't let

the tribe take my mother. When she was born they took a lot of the half-breeds

and the kids who were born out of the tribe and they would destroy the babies.

She will tell you the story about the time when they came to take her and her

brother away. They wanted the little half-breed babies, which she was. What

they would do is they used to take them out and they would destroy the babies, I

guess because of the bloodline. Fortunately, she would tell you today, too, that

some of those people that she remembers who came, after she had worked in

the health field and had gotten her education, she came back, and those same

people were some of the old, elderly people that she began to help with

medicines and different things for them to continue on in their lives. She helped

a lot of those people out. These were the ones who wanted to destroy her.

[Tape interrupted.]

H: Has there been an effect on the relations between tribal members of those who

have adopted Christianity versus those who have not?

J: Oh yes. A lot of people believe, still, the concept that Christianity was brought

over to us from the missionaries that we had, which it was. It was the concept

that, they felt, was brought to us by the non-Indians, which they always put in the

category of the whites. But if you begin to read and study a little bit more, you

realize that the Jews and the Hebrews were not white at all. These were dark

people. So it has nothing to do with a racial barrier or color barrier, but it is

something, I think, that each individual feels is a choice in an area that they want

to go. For me, I tried other, different, ideas. Like I said, I have nothing against


the herbs, but I think when it comes to the spiritual aspect of the things that I

have chosen, as far as my own life-and this is the thing of some of the medicines

.... I know some of the guys who have been studying and learning the

medicine, like with Sonny [Billie] and some of those guys. I think they respect me

for the things that I believe in, just as I respect them. I respect them, so I would

never come in there and say, you have to do this or you are condemned to this or

that. I would never do that because of the fact that I say, this is something that I

chose in my life. I can share it with you, but it has to be something that you have

to choose, in the way that you want to walk. If that is the walk that you are

choosing right now, in medicines and things that you are doing, and if you feel

that is what you want to do in your heart, I said, I had to go test the different

spirits in my own life. I had to do different things, and when I began to really

have a need and a search in my life, this was the one area that I found the

answers, even though I used to condemn the Christian church.

My mother kind brought me up, and I felt like it was kind of pushed on me when I

first began, because she used to have us in church on Sundays and

Wednesday and every time the church door opened. If we didn't go, we would

have to suffer the consequences. So I sat in there, and I used to go to church,

and I thought it was kind of a boring place to be because I didn't really

understand the things that I was doing. A lot of the times, I always wondered, my

mother understood because it was a set way that missionaries-not necessarily

all of them were Indian missionaries, there were some white missionaries--

showed them, a standard procedure of how you are supposed to believe, a basic


belief, what a Christian is supposed to be. I felt that was a boring way to live. It

seemed like you just lived by a set of rules.

Then I got to a point in my life where I really started looking and searching for a

lot of things. Well, like I was exposed to in colleges, you had to read your basic

novels and stuff. A lot of the guys who wrote them were atheists, and a lot were

agnostics, and a different kind of men-not to say they were dumb people, a lot of

them just didn't believe in God, and a lot of them believed but didn't know how to

believe in God. These were different things, and different people have different

choices in their lives that they have to make. There comes a point, I think, in

everybody's life where they have to find out, really, what they are made up of, as

far as what they want to believe and things. I was exposed to the Christian

church early in my life, so there was a choice there. But then there was also a

choice that I felt with our own Native American culture.

As I went away to colleges, I began to find there were 400 or 500 more tribes out

there, and each tribe has their own basic concept of what they believe [about] the

Creator. I don't know of any atheistic Native Americans. They all have a creator,

and they all believe in a supreme being. They know that we were created by this

supreme being, but they all have their different concepts of how they worship

him. This is what I felt, but as I got to know more and more about different tribes

and got acquainted with their beliefs and things--not all of them, but of the ones

who went to school there, those were people [with whom] we would sit around

and talk--I began to realize there are so many things out there that people

believe in.

Even here, you kind of have to go on what one individual says, that this is what

we are supposed to believe in because this is something that was brought down

generations ago. One thing, I guess, that impresses anybody is the man,

himself, or the lady, herself, or the people, themselves, and what kind of life they

have established, what kind of a role model they have been in what they do and

what they believe.

H: So, it is not so much [a matter] of whether they are a Christian or not; it is how

they lead their lives.

J: Yes. I look at their lives. I am sure, talking with Sonny and seeing him-1 don't

talk to him a whole lot but the times that I have-I believe that he is a spiritual man

in the things that he does. Even these guys who I know are in a learning

process, I believe they have a spiritual sense about them. But I also see some of

the things that are in their own lives that I guess kind of fail in their walk because

of the fact that the strength they are supposed to have in their spiritual walk has

not given them to overcome those things, some of the modern things like alcohol

or drug abuse. These are things they are still caught up in, yet they are still

trying to practice their beliefs and their religion. So when I see some of these

things, the drugs and alcohol and seeing the turmoil and destruction that it

brings, I don't think that is something that is of the creator. We all believe there

are two different kinds of powers on this Earth, one of the good and one of the

bad. That is basically it. So when you see that and you see them still involved

with some of the things, that kind of loses, I guess, the testimony of what they

believe in. So these are some of the things that I saw, and I guess some of the


people who impressed me most, like my mother and the things that she did and

stood for. Over time I began to realize that maybe she had something going.

She lived in what we call a dysfunctional home, with an alcoholic husband who

was abusive. He beat her a lot, and I used watch that. Yet she stayed with him.

A lot of times, when I was younger, I did not know why she stayed. Sometimes I

still wonder, because we had to come through that in our own lives, that was very

tough for us as kids. But she did, she stayed because that was her belief. That

was the only thing that kept her going in the situations that she was in. So I saw

that in my life.

Then I saw some of the other men who made big impressions on my life and

some of things that they believed. In doing that, I always realized that they had a

concept, that they had a Christian background, as to the things they believed in.

A lot of those things were biblical principles that they based their lives on. Even

some of the coaches that I respected over the course of time when I was growing

up, these were men that, I realized, had a big impact on life, not only on

themselves but on others, too.

These were some of things that really helped me make the decision to go down

the Christian road. That happened back in the late 1970s, because I got caught

up with the 1960s and the Vietnam stuff and all of that. That was all a part of

what I grew up in. You had Jesus movements and all those kinds of things, but I

began to realize there was more to it. I began to do that. I began to do my own

studying, and I began to do my own soul searching. By doing that, I realized that

this was a choice that I took. I went through a lot of problems with my own self.


That was the one thing that got me through that.

H: What percentage of the Seminole tribal members are Christians, would you say?

J: Well, you have your practicing, and then you have some that actually live it.

Because you have your practicing, you have the ones who are in the churches.

Here, there are eighty-some members at the church I go to here, in Big Cypress.

H: Which church do you go to?

J: Big Cypress First Baptist, right there on the right side of the road.

H: Because I understand there is another one.

J: Yes. There is one right across the road and it is called the New Testament. This

is a Southern Baptist, and the other one across the road is a kind of Independent

Baptist. But they are all basically Baptist churches. When you look in their

enrollment.... Like our enrollment there, we have about eighty members. But

the ones who actually come are probably about fifteen or twenty, if you have that.

On Sunday you get some more people--everybody comes in every now and

then--but that has dropped, too, in the last twenty or thirty years. You can look at

the churches because at one time, when the Christian movement was coming

into the tribes, the church was a central place of activity because it was really the

only basic place where everybody could gather and come together. As a child,

growing up in the 1950s, I remember going and visiting these churches. That

was where you saw all of your friends. Everybody was there. It was like a big

meeting place. Everybody came together there, and that was where a lot of the

different conversations, of politics and everything, revolved around the church, at

that time. But today there are too many things going on in the outside now. It is


not centralized like it used to be at one time. It is not the focal point. Every now

and then, with funerals and Christmas and Easter, you get big crowds, but not

like you used to. It had an effect on a lot of people because it was pretty strong,

at that time. But over time, some of the leaders and elders who were involved

with the church-just like I was telling you of the rodeos-didn't start educating

those young people in that direction, to keep the church going.

H: So are all of the clergy in both churches Seminole people?

J: Yes. In both, here, there is a Seminole. In this one, here, Howard Micco is our

pastor. He is a Creek, Muskogee-speaking Seminole. Across the road is Frank

Billie. He is a Miccosukee. Like I said, the church is another really important

subject that you would want talk to, like Frank, who comes from a very strong

family of medicine brewers, and like my family, they were very strong in that. But

they also were one of the first families to be converted into the Christian church.

H: But you were mentioning that in the church they haven't really brought up the

younger people to continue in leadership positions, so most of the leaders are

elderly people?

J: Yes. As a matter of fact, the youngest is probably in his mid-fifties or late-fifties

right now, who has a church, and he is just one. Our pastor, here, is in his

sixties, late-sixties, mid-sixties. The one across the road is in his seventies.

Then you have the First Seminole. There is a younger pastor there who is

involved with that church now. He is probably one of the youngest. I think he is

fifty or something.

H: How about church members, people who actually go to church?


J: You are talking to your older people. That is why you get to the point, like in our

church now, we are having a problem because a lot of the elderly Christians are

passing away, and we are not having a lot of our younger people getting

involved. But now, I think I am seeing a direction that a lot of young people are

looking for. I see it on our reservations because so many were having a lot of

problems with drugs and alcohol and things. I think they are looking for

something that they can really . .. Again, that could be a situation where the

medicine people or our other spiritual people who are involved with our Seminole

medicine culture could reach out to a lot of these young people, too. A lot of

times, and you would have to understand it--to be involved with some of the

things that they do, as far as our ceremonies and stuff--to see that these are

things that really have to be improved on, learned.

H: Does the tribe still have an annual Green Corn Dance? You were mentioning


J: Yes. They hold one out on the trail, and they hold one here among the

Seminoles. They just recently put another ceremonial ground here on this

reservation. [End of Side B, Tape 1]

H: So you are not afraid to go to them but you do not?

J: No. I have been asked to go participate in a couple of different things. I have

been to a couple in Oklahoma. I have been to them here, but this was before I

committed myself to being a Christian. I have no qualms about going to them. I

am just not involved because I don't go down that road. I don't believe in

everything that they believe in, but I do not say anything against them. I respect


them. I think that is one of the things that happened in the early churches. A lot

of the Christian missionaries, who were not Indians, came into a tribe and said,

you have to do everything this way, and then condemned everything that they

believed in, whereas they forgot, really, that we were the true spiritualists in early

times. We had a God. We had a creator. We believed in things that he did for

us as people. It was just that, somewhere along the road, I feel that we got

turned around because you deal with a good spirit, but then you also have to

deal with an evil spirit. That is where the evil spirit begins to manipulate you,

even in the things that you believe in, to the point where you begin to cast evil

spirits, and you begin to do different things that are not, what I feel, would be

something that God would do.

H: What roles do women play in the Christian church?

J: Probably most of them are made up of women. There have been some meetings

that I have been in where I and maybe a couple of other guys were the only

people in that church meeting. The women, I have to truly believe, are really

some of the strong backbone of what has kept the church going. Even in some

of the meetings, even in tribal council meetings, some of these women are really

standing up for the principles of what they believe in, as far as things that they

speak out against: the drugs on the reservations, the alcohol on the reservations,

some of the crime problems, and things like that. They stand up because of

some of the things that they believe in. Another thing is the alcohol. A lot of the

Christians are the ones who stood up against selling alcohol on the reservations,

speaking out, and a lot of those were the women. My mother was a chairman


back in the 1960s, and she was very outspoken, as far as in her belief. Tell her

to tell you the story, one time she went to Mississippi and they wouldn't serve her

in one of the restaurants there. She made a big protest about it and talked to the

people there. She was visiting the Choctaw people, and she made a big stink

about that thing and had that place closed down. I guess they eventually

changed their rule about that, who they serve there, and they opened it to

everybody. That was Philadelphia, Mississippi, one of the biggest racist towns,

because that Choctaw [tribe] was right there, near Philadelphia, Mississippi.

H: So the Indians were experiencing as much prejudice as the black people were?

J: Oh yes. Even more so because they had to contend with that generations before

the blacks came, because of the fact that they were under bondage to the white

man, with the greed, with the land, and all these kinds of different things they

were involved with. As they started circulating around throughout the United

States, there were already Indians living there, years and years and years before

they ever came. So when that happened, there had to be a little bit of friction

being caused by land. That was one of the big things.

H: What do you consider to be the largest health issues faced by the Seminole

people today?

J: Diabetes. Diabetes is one of the big problems that we are having. I speak out

against that because of the fact I work with a lot of people, and one of the things I

always stress is that I feel like, with Native Americans, that has always been a

part of their lifestyle. You think back about the foods and the different things that

we used to eat, [they] were all natural. Today, because of the influx of all the


different kinds of chemicals, even to the point of cattle--because I have been

around the cattle, and I know what we have to give cattle, the chemicals that are

involved with the meat and all that stuff--there are a lot of different things that are

involved today that, a lot of times, it is hard for the Native American to eat the

kind of nourishment they used to have in the days they used to be. Even today,

you still can try to keep up with that. There are still fruits and different kinds of

things that we still need to do but, wow, our diet, among our tribal Indians, is

horrible now.

H: So, it has changed a lot in the past thirty years?

J: Oh, yes. Even to the point where I was growing up. Our income was very low,

so we had to kind of make do with what we had, but a lot of that was nourishing

food because she had to make whatever she could to feed the amount of people

that we had to feed. So a lot of the things we had was a lot of the natural things.

Of course, my grandmother was around. My grandmother always had the

different sofkees that she put together and the different kinds of natural ...

Then again, I am going back to the trees. Around where I used to live we had

just about every kind of tree you could think of. Where we grew up, we always

had avocados, we had mangoes, we had guavas, we had lemon trees, we had

sweet oranges, we had sour oranges, we had banana trees. Every kind of tree

that you can probably think of that can grow in Florida, we had around our house.

So food was not a big source for me. One day I would want to go eat guavas,

so I would go to the guava tree, and I would eat all my guavas, as a matter of

fact, even up to the point where you probably ate too much. Those were some of


the things that a lot of young people don't get today. That is why, like with the

sports, I stress getting involved with athletics, activities. That is why we built all

the weight rooms. Because when I grew up we didn't have the weight rooms.

Every now and then somebody would order one of those catalogue weight-lifting

things. We would go to that house, and we would sit there as young kids and

work out and stuff. That was a part of our growing up, but today we have the

best gyms and everything. People have to get involved. They have to go out

there and do it. As I said, progress is not necessarily putting that building out

there and putting in all the weights and everything. Progress is getting that kid

actively involved and concerned about what his diet is and what he needs to do

as he is growing up.

H: Are they using the gym?

J: Yes. They are using them pretty well. We need more people using them, but

they do use them. We put a lot of money into those things. Like I said, and I

always tell the people there with the recreation, we can provide the best facilities

but if you do not get behind those young people and try to promote or support

them getting involved with these different things, then it will not work. Then, with

the sports, we have all of these team concept things but if you, as a parent, don't

get involved with that young person-we have very little involvement with a lot of

our parents; in fact, it is even smaller than what we used have, years ago-you

are going to miss out on a lot of that stuff.

H: Do you know people who, or do you use Native doctors and Native medicine as

well as Western medicine or white doctors?


J: Just like I was telling you earlier, there are some things that I have used over the

years. I have had some different kinds of ailments, and I couldn't get anything

done through the medications that I take from doctors and things. Even today, I

hate taking any kind of medication. I hate going to the doctor and going to the

hospitals. I hate needles, and I hate all of those kind of things. I guess,

basically, that is just me, if there is a way that I can get around it and read up on

it and find out that there is something more natural to take. Like gout. I have a

really bad case of gout now. I don't know if you know anything about gout, but

there is really no medication or cure for gout, and it is worse than arthritis. I

guess it has to be based a little bit on heredity, because people in my family have

had attacks of gout. Every now and then I will get an attack and I always try to

read up on what causes it. Some of the things I read are that the best things to

take for that are a lot of natural things. You have to stay away from certain things

because it is made up of an acid, uric acid, that gets into your joints, and then it

crystallizes. Then it starts creating a lot of friction in your joints. It can happen in

your shoulders; I have it in my shoulders, elbows, knees, ankles, everywhere.

There are just a lot of different things that you can take, so I do a lot of that.

There are some bits and points where I had a lot of problems. I get aches and

cricks and stuff in the back of my neck. I used to have a lot of problems with that,

and my mother did get me to go to one of the people who works with the herbs

and put something together for that.

H: So you use both, depending on what the ailment is?

J: Yes. I try to look to the natural way to do it.


H: Most of the time?

J: Yes. I guess it has been working pretty well. I have not been in the hospital very

much, maybe twice.

H: The annual pow-wow that you have, do you see that as a way to preserve

Seminole culture, or do you see that it has changed Seminole culture?

J: A pow-wow is not even anything traditional for us. I mean, a pow-wow, even the

word pow-wow is more of a Western influence. So, really, the pow-wow is

nothing more than something to lure the tourists in. But I think it has some

significance to it because of the fact that, more than anything else, it kind of gives

an idea of the. ... You bring in a lot of the people, say, like the one in Hollywood.

It is good because of the fact that it lets people know that we have Native

Americans out there. Then if you come to it, you will get a different array of

exposure to the different kinds of tribes and the dances and the different kinds of

people. Plus, you are going to see a lot of the different Seminoles and the things

that they have to offer through their crafts. You can see a little bit of the culture

there. They even have the alligator wrestling, and we even throw in the rodeos.

You can come out there and see an All-Indian Rodeo. So it gives us a link, I

think, with the people there and the tourism. We get a lot of people from different

countries, too, so they come in and see a portion of that. It is geared toward a

money-making project, but it also helps in getting people exposed to our Native

American culture. There is nothing, really, we do in there that is really traditional,

other than the fact that it, that tribal fair, has been around a long time.

H: You mentioned that your father did alligator wrestling. Has that art changed a



J: Oh, yes. Look at most of your wrestlers now. Look at the Safari [Billie Swamp

Safari]. How many are out there wrestling? Very few of them. You have very

few of our young people who want to get involved with it, and it is an art that is

not being passed down. Back then it was kind of a means of survival, also.

H: How so?

J: Because of the fact that, like I was telling you, that was the only way my father

made any money. That was the only way that he really supported us. My

mother would sell her crafts and, on a good day, she might make about as much

as she did but, man, he made those bucks everyday. He made that amount

everyday. So, that was a big part of our support, as far as our family, as far as

their bringing in money. That is the thing I see, too. We are not passing on a lot

of this to our younger people. There are a lot of non-Indians, now, learning to

wrestle. We have a lot of them who are wrestlers now who are not tribal

members. This is one of the things that our chairman has been involved with.

He is an alligator wrestler, former wrestler, and he is still involved with that. It is

something that we need, and I have been trying to incorporate this into our

recreation program.

Then again, it is not a real easy sport to get involved with, and it has its dangers.

There are a lot of things involved with that which the parents don't want their

young kids getting involved with. Plus, why do it, other than the fact that it might

be something that you just want to keep in your family. Because, you don't need

the money. They don't need that kind of job anymore. If they do it, it's just a little


extra work. The pay isn't that great anyway, and you are always at the chance of

losing a finger or getting cut or something like that. A lot of the kids don't want to

take that chance. They have the choice now. Back then, it wasn't much of a


My youngest son has that kind of a mentality, of somebody that came back

during my father's time or maybe even the early part of my time, and he enjoys

wrestling. So I have taken him to different wrestlers. They go into the pit, and he

has been practicing his wrestling. I take him to different wrestlers because they

have different styles of wrestling, and they have different things that they tell him.

But most of the ones who have been helping out, now, are non-Indians, so a lot

of that he has been picking up from non-Indians. But he is learning the art of

wrestling, and he likes it. As a matter of fact, he wants to start going into the

deep water alligator wrestling, which is something that they do over at the village

there in Hollywood.

But like I said, a lot of the young people don't really need to do it anymore. They

don't have the yearning to do it anymore, and in a lot of their families they didn't

do it, except maybe a generation or two generations back, and they don't even

know who those people really were. There are probably some that have never

even seen an alligator wrestling show. There are a lot of things that go into it, it

takes a lot of time, and it has its dangers; so, a lot of times, nobody wants to do

that. But I see it is a very important part of our link to our past, and I think we

have got to keep wrestlers. I think the mentality of some of the kids

see that, and this is what I try to see over there. Sometimes, a kid looks like he


wants to get interested, and I want to make it available for him to do that. I think

it is something that we need to keep. I think it is losing, it is going.

H: In the last thirty years the Seminole tribe has made major economic changes, as

we have talked about a bit, for example, changes that have occurred in

education, different business activities, agriculture and livestock. Tell me, how

have these changes affected your life?

J: The changes, as far as with me, have given me more, I guess, economic

stability. Financially, I think I am better off now than I was a few years ago. In

the program that I work with, our recreation program, we have been able to offer

these weight rooms and improve our ball fields and improve our programs

through these. One of the biggest sources is our gaming. As much as I am not a

believer in the gambling aspect of it, I still see that it has been used. In our

program we have used it to help all of our young people in the area of recreation,

by providing better facilities for them, coaching, giving them opportunities to

travel now, to go play tournaments and go off, out of state, to compete in different

activities. As far as me, it has helped me to provide a lot of the things that I didn't

have for my kids. I was talking about the Corriente cattle. Well, I couldn't

purchase them when I didn't have any money. I do a lot of trading. I trade a lot

of things. Then, to be involved with rodeo, you have to have horses. That is a

major part of your ability to compete on a top level. So, I have always been able

to provide my sons with the kind of horses and things that they need. So it has

done a lot of different things, as far as me, financially. I have tried to use it.

I think we have abused it. I believe that a lot of people have abused that financial


stability that we have. By this, I say, with the different things that we have, the

dividends per capital that we have here that were established over the last couple

of years, we are going to see later on what effects that has had on us, as far as

the things that we believe in and the amount of problems that we are going to

have with, say, drugs, alcohol, and those different kinds of things. It is in a

relatively young state, and I always tell this to everybody, even all of the different

tribes that are involved with the gaming and different things. We are going to see

what kind of effect this has later on in the future, to see if we are really putting

these finances to good. I feel, even now, we have to make some changes in

some of the things that we do, as far as how we help one another out financially.

When they guys are making decisions, not to make them out of just popular

politics, but to do it as something that they really believe, in their minds and in

their hearts, will help us in the future. But a lot of them are afraid to make a

stand and stand up for that because of the fact that they might lose a vote or two.

They have lived a lifestyle now that is pretty nice, and we all have, but when you

get to that point, you have to think about something that is going to go on down

the line. I may be wrong, but that is what I feel. You can say whatever you want

or argue with me, whatever you want, but that is just the way I feel. Someday,

somewhere along the line, we are going to have to realize that not everything is

going to be this financially stable. That could happen in so many different ways,

and if you do not educate and teach our young people-I am always geared to the

young people; if they are the ones who are going to be the leaders of tomorrow,

they are the future of our tribe-if they are not prepared to take on the challenge,


that is where we are going to fail. So it is important. It has helped me but, then

again, I have seen some of the abuses that it has. I am sure some of these guys

who are in positions of authority have seen that, too, but I always tell them what I

always feel about it.

H: It's no secret to anyone.

J: Yes.

H: Okay. Those are all the questions I would like to ask you. Do you have anything

else that I have not asked you that you would like to comment on.

J: Well, we have hit up just about everything that we could have. I mean, we have

talked education. We have talked about religions, our beliefs. We have talked

about the health field, the politics.

H: No, we have not talked about the politics.

J: Well, not the politics in that sense, but I have tried to hint-hint a few different

things and my ideas. Other than that, I think the thing is, as far as me, I love

other people, and I love our tribe. Like I told you, I love the area that we live in. I

love the lifestyle that we have and the things we believe in. I just hope that we

will work toward keeping this area of our lives, not just to stay on the level that we

are but to challenge ourselves to move on, to come to a point where it is not just

the choice of being ahead a few dollars but to create an emphasis of something

more spiritual in our lives where we know that it is going to help us later on, in

generations to come. We are just a part of a chain of things that are going to still

happen yet. I hope we can be involved at that point and realize that and foresee

the future a little bit in knowing that we have to preserve a lot of the things that


we have and a lot of the things that are good. There are things we still need to

improve on, and there are probably some things we need to do away with.

These are just some of the things that I try to think about. A lot of times you will

see it in a poem, in poetry. They say, where do you get your inspiration from?

Well, these are some of the things that you do, just things that you feel like you

want to speak out about. Something inspires you through the environment,

through nature, and people. Certain people inspire you to do different things, to

think, to just use your mind and to really think, and to help yourself grow as a


H: Okay. Thank you very much.

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