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
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
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?
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.