Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
Interviewer: R. Howard
11 May 1999
Stanlo Johns has a long-time involvement with the Seminole cattle industry. In this interview,
conducted partly in a cattle pen, Johns discusses the breeds of cattle kept by Seminole herders,
their relationship with Florida's climate (2-3), changes in pasture practices (27-28), including
improved pastures (4-5), and pasture names (17). He discusses the program of the 1920s and
1930s as a government means to get Indians onto reservations; elders told him that "it is just a
way of tricking us in there where they can capture all of us and then they are going to send us
off" (6, 27). His understanding of how cattle were introduced derives from conversations with
someone who worked on the project (27-28). The program had importance in the formation of
the Tribe: "The first organization we ever had was the cattle program, because they were a
member of the Cattle Association of the State of Florida" he explained. "[W]e were pretty much
a bunch of wild Indians running around out here, chasing cows, for pretty close to twenty years,"
before the Tribe formed (26). Johns praises the help of outside technical support while he also
states that little has changed (15). Talking with herders up north, Johns says that their good
pasturelands were cleared by his forefathers (8). Recently Johns moved into cane production; he
discusses the move, resistance to it, and the long delay before profitability (30-34). He also
mentions, at the end of the interview, that the Tribe is involved in turtle farming (46-47).
Johns explains the importance of matrilateral kin, especially aunts and uncles (8-9), who used to
teach children language and culture, while parents were often disciplinarians (25). Johns
experiences some difficulty understanding Creek language in conversation (19, 25). He also
mentions dialectal differences between Florida and Oklahoma Creek (37). Of researchers, Johns
expresses skepticism about their motives and methods. He is a bit reluctant to discuss cultural
issues because it is what he lives, and he criticizes other Indians who are supposed to or claim to
live like Indians and who do not (18-19). Similarly, Johns resents wannabeess," non-Indians who
act the way they think Indians do or should (22). Johns no longer attends Green Corn Dances
because of the alcohol, incompatible with the religious ceremony, and the mistaken impression
that it is a party. He also questions whether there is actually a medicine bundle at the dances,
since he understood that there was only one in Florida, and the Miccosukees claim to have it (22-
25). Johns believes the dual governing body, introduced by the BIA, is redundant (34-35). He
has failed to trace his family back beyond his grandfather; he would "run into a dead wall
whenever we get into early 1900." He has found some information from an early source written
by "some army captain or something," but it is not precise (8-9).
Johns states that cattle may be healthier than the people, who "are all diabetics" (12). His
awareness of diabetes is recent, and he recalls conversations with a doctor about diabetes and
diet. He is skeptical because he is not a diabetic and does not watch his diet (13). Considering
education, Johns tells how Indians did not attend school, describing a gradual acceptance among
elders that it could benefit them (42). When it became known that Indians were good athletes,
they were admitted to local schools. Moving students from district to district reflected
bureaucracy rather than pure racism, "but we were right in the middle of this situation" (43-44).
Johns explains that until recently, older people did not communicate with outsiders, and even
today they and also younger people tend not to do so (46).
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
H: Today is May 11, 1999. I am standing here with Stanlo Johns on the Brighton
reservation. Tell me what you are doing here.
J: We are marking calves. Marking calves. All of the owners-well, I say all; we
have two or three people that own cattle in different herds and so we try to
mammy them up, sort them out and mark them. Bull calves, we castrate; heifer
calves, we just earmark them. And, of course, we earmark the bull calves, also.
We make them steers and then we mark them with their mama's earmark so we
know who they belong to.
H: So, you castrate the steer.
J: Bull calves, yes.
H: Why is that?
J: They seem to do better when we castrate them. What was the old saying? They
get their mind off of sex and they go to eating. Not exactly in those words, but
that is the phrase they use.
H: Do you keep a certain amount for breeding?
J: No, no. We buy most of our bulls outright. We raised bulls for years but we quit
raising bulls. It got too expensive and we found out that we can buy them a
whole lot cheaper than raising them ourselves. We raised them for twenty-five
years out here. Then we started buying our own bulls to use. This way we
select our bulls.
H: What is more expensive about raising bulls versus cows?
J: You have to feed the bulls to get them to grow here in South Florida. Now, if you
were somewhere else besides here, where it is not so hot and humid, you could
probably do better. Our grass is poor here. It does not have the nutrition that it
should have. That is one of the reasons it is hard to raise or grow bulls here. It
is sort of expensive for us, so we finally gave it up. Of course, the University of
Florida was helping us raise these bulls, and I have to hand it to them, they did a
good job. They had what you would call an experiment station out here for
twenty-five years. We worked closely with these people for years and years, and
I guess they finally figured we knew more than they knew and they turned us
loose. Well, I do not think they turned us loose. We just quit raising bulls. What
we started off with was Hereford cattle, and according to a lot of people we are
not supposed to have Hereford cattle in South Florida, pure Herefords.
H: Why is that?
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
J: Because it is too hot and humid for Hereford cattle. Hereford cattle come from
Britain or somewhere. They are not originally from here, from this country,
anyway. They like a little cool. But it gets so hot and humid here that they will lie
down and die on you; it is too hot and humid.
H: So you started interbreeding?
J: Right. We did that. We kept our straight Hereford bulls also for years and years,
to experiment. Plus, the university was interested in that type of breed, too, so it
kind of worked hand and hand with us, because at that time we had no one who
knew anything about genetics, nothing about breeding. So, with their help, we
got to where we are today. If they had not helped us, we probably would never
have gotten to what we have today.
H: How many head do you have out here?
J: Well, we have a couple of hundred head out here. There are probably three
hundred and forty head in here, in this particular herd.
H: And this is yours and Archie's? What is Archie's last name?
J: Archie Johns. He is a Johns, too.
H: You said he is your cousin?
J: Yes, first cousin.
H: You were saying something about when you were growing up.
J: Oh, yes. When I was growing up, we could see almost to the back of the pasture
from here, which we can almost do now. That was way back when it was sort of
clear. All of this was native pastures then. That is what I was telling Daisi, I
remember when she was a kid here, we had cattle here but we were on the other
end of the reservation, on the southwest end of it. That is where I first started,
over there in that area.
H: What is this area, northwest?
J: Well, this would be the southeast corner. I guess the southeast, because where
you see the guy's pickup truck on the tree line would be the end of the
reservation. And the end of the cane field is the reservation boundary. So, it
goes up toward the northern direction. There is more property towards the
northern direction than there is in this area here.
H: Why did you move to the different area?
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
J: As we progressed, I guess that is the right word to use, we had more people that
were interested in getting in the cattle program. Back then we had properties
that we could let people buy in. I mean, if you wanted to go into the cattle
business, you could borrow enough money to buy fifty head to start with. And we
placed these people in different areas. We have around thirty or thirty-four
thousand acres on this reservation, but we cannot utilize every bit of it because
of the woods and different things that keep us from using it. But we have
something like ten, twelve, or fourteen thousand acres of improved pastures. As
time went along, we began to improve these pastures. By doing so, we could
congregate more cattle in a smaller area, by having improved pastures. We
started doing this back in the late 1960s and 1970s. And then, of course, a lot of
these fields that we are looking at were done by a watermelon farmer. We would
lease land to him to farm, truck farmers, whatever, tomato farmers, and they
would come in and they would farm a couple hundred acres and then, when they
got through, they would have to fence it in and sod it or plant it in some type of
grass. This is how we came up with our improved pastures. Of course, we
improved some also, as far as improving our own pastures.
As I mentioned to you, I have bought a lot of these cattle from different people,
even bought some from the University of Florida. You can see the UF brand on
this black cow just on the other side of the post. A black cow, solid black: 273, I
think her number is. Anyway, when they gave up their operation in Belle Glade, I
went down there and bought ten or twelve head and then I kept them for all these
years. And then we have bought and sold to each other. That is how I got into
business, buying it from other people that had cattle. I bought from maybe five,
six, or ten people, I would buy four or five head from them. And then, from then
on, I just started keeping a better grade of heifers until I got enough to start
selling to other people, new people, as they came into business.
I think the government was wrong to put the Indians on the reservation, but they
did not know how. The only way they could put them on the reservation was to
start some type of a project, because the Indians back then would not work.
They would not work. I mean, literally, would not work.
H: Back when?
J: Back in the early 1930s, probably. You see, the cattle program started in the
early 1930s, or prior to that. It had already started when I came here. But the
government owned the cattle, and the Indians just worked them, minded them, or
whatever you want to call it. They just tended to them and kept the cattle going
for years, and then they were doing such a good job, the federal government
said, well, why don't we start selling the cows to them and let them keep them.
So, I am thinking that, back then, they did not know how to coax the people onto
the reservation, because they did not want to be on the reservation. I remember
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
when I was just a kid, we used to talk about this and they would say, well, it is
just a way of tricking us in there where they can capture all of us and then they
are going to send us off. This was a thought that I guess their grandfathers had
taught them way back. I thought there may be some truth to it, but I never
thought anything about it. But the older people, as I talked to them, they would
tell me this was how this happened. Eventually, as the Indians began to move
on to the reservations, and they began to pick up some type of a habit or work
habits of some sort, then they began to do this or do that and then eventually we
were where we are now. But it did not come to us in that quick of a fashion. It
took us probably forty years or longer. Probably longer, because this was going
on when I came here. I used to help, years ago, work other people's cattle and I
used to wonder, well, maybe I will have a handful that I can play with one day
H: When you said you came here, where did you come here from?
J: I was born in St. Lucie County, a couple of counties [away from] here. Eventually
we kept moving on to the reservation. And, of course, all the Indians came from
somewhere else. They came from Indiantown, Vero, Wabasso, all these places
further north of here, or west. And most of them kind of congregated together
here. But from that time on, instead of trying to keep the Indians on the
reservation to start some type of a project, they hired Fred Montesdeoca. He
was the one who was probably responsible for all of this that has taken place all
these years, Fred Montesdeoca. He was the fellow that they hired to run the
cattle part of the reservation. He did a heck of a job. My uncles used to tell me
years ago that they raised cattle, raised produce, farmed, further up in the
northern part of the country. Some of my friends in the northern part of Florida, I
always tease them about it, [I say,] you see that pretty pasture you got out there?
My forefathers cleaned that off for you so you could have a real nice pasture.
That makes them kind of mad. But that is probably true.
H: Tell me the names of your uncles and people you say were up there?
J: I have tried to trace back some of my ancestors, but we cannot go back any
farther than maybe my grandfather. That is as far as we can go back. His name
was Willie Johns. He raised a family of three brothers and seven sisters, or
something like that, seven or eight sisters. Of course, they all moved here as
young adults, or maybe kids, I do not know. I could not say for sure. Eventually
they moved here. They all worked off here and there, all over. And then, of
course, almost all of those had offspring, except two. Oscar, being the oldest
son, never married, so he never got any kids. And the daughter was named
Dolly, and she was the oldest girl and she never married. Both of them have
passed away now. In fact, out of my mama's sisters, out of seven, I think there is
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
only one left. And of the three brothers, they all passed away. But most of their
offspring are still here.
H: What clan are you in?
J: I am in the Panther Clan.
H: Since the clan is passed down through the mother, you were closer to your
mother's side of the family? That is why you are naming them?
J: Probably so, yes. As I mentioned, we tried to trace back. We know all of our
uncles, and I am assuming this was on our mother's side. I am not sure, it could
have been on the father's side. But that is as far as we can go back because we
run into a dead wall whenever we get into early 1900, 1890. That is it. There is
something written up in different areas that there was a wagonload of Indians
coming through Bartow, coming toward the south. There was a man and a wife,
and it never did say how many, it just said ten or twelve kids. If they would have
named them, then we could say, hey, that was probably ours. But some army
captain or something wrote this up. I saw it in the paper or somewhere before,
where it stated that, but we do not know. We have no idea. That is as far as we
can go back because no one else is old enough to remember our grandfather. In
fact, I do not remember him at all. I think my mama said I was probably three or
four years old when they passed away. I do not remember him at all.
H: What was your father's name?
J: Norman. Norman Johns.
H: Did he have cattle, too?
J: No. See, my father was a white man. He was a white guy. I did not associate
with him for some reason. We never associated with him, so I always stayed on
my mama's side.
I just saw a cow over there a while ago and I said, that is not my cow. The ear
mark and the brands are even different, see. She looks pretty good. Pretty good
H: When you find ones that do not belong in the herd, you return them to the
J: Well, we will call the people and say, hey, we have your cow. Come get your
cow, or we will deliver it. It just so happens that one of my cows got out into this
guy's pasture here a while back, and he kept her in a pen and he really,
evidently, gentled her down, because she was gentle as a dog when I got her
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
back. I knew he had caught this cow about two weeks prior to me picking it up
but he did not know who it belonged to, since it is not from here, it is a couple of
counties away. But this guy here joins us here in the back, the back of the
reservation, on the other side of the boundary. There is a ditch, or a canal,
whichever you prefer, between us and the other man's property. That is our
boundary. But there is a road on there, so the cows can get out on the levy and
then come into my pasture. My cows can do the same thing. They can get out
of the pasture and go to the levy and get in that man's pasture. So, we are pretty
well aware of it. Of course, we really had the misfortune of having to bleed these
cattle for brucellosis years ago.
H: Tell me about that. What is that disease?
J: Well, a guy [who] administered this thing here years ago did not intend for it to do
what it has done, in the past. But, as it happened, it has probably done
everybody some good. Joe Peoples was in the legislature at the time, and I got
pretty well acquainted with him later on in life. We got to talking one day about
how this program of bleeding cattle started. Most people do not drink milk from
herd cattle such as these anyway. But way back in the early 1930s and 1920s,
and what ever ... [Tape interrupted]
H: So, this bleeding process, you say ...
J: That is why you see the metal tags in these cattle's ears. As you can see, they
have metal tags, and then, of course, the young heifers have orange tags. I do
not know if you noticed that or not.
H: No, I did not.
J: You see, they have metal tags. See the metal tag in the ear?
H: Yes, I see the orange tag. So, the little calves have the orange tag.
J: Yes, they have orange tags. That is to signify that they have been vaccinated for
this brucellosis. A vaccine. But the older cattle, as we bleed them-what we call
tail bleeding, they just take the tail up and draw blood, like they would your arm,
but it is simpler to do it from the tail-head, so they bleed them from the tail-they
take just a little amount of blood and they run it to see if they have this. If you
were to catch it, it would be called, I think, ungulate fever. I believe that is what it
is called. I am not a doctor, you see. But, we do that to keep the cattle healthy,
so that they do not pass this disease to other cattle. We vaccinate the heifers to
prevent that. So, our cattle here on the reservation are probably healthier than
most people that live on the reservation. That is no kidding. Have you checked
our health records on the people who live on the res? They are in pretty bad
shape. They are all diabetics, you know.
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
H: Why do you think that is? Was diabetes always a problem on the reservation as
far back as you remember?
J: You know, that is something new to me. I do not know. All of my people have
been pretty healthy all these years and I have never thought anything about it
until I got talking to Dr. Houston. We had Dr. Houston here years ago and he
would like to talk about what the Indians do and he was sort of interested in the
Indian problems. We got to talking and he said that he thought maybe it was
from eating fried foods. I told him I don't know. I told him that is all I ever ate.
That is all I ever ate. I mean, I eat everything. Heck, I am not bashful at all.
When it is time to eat, I eat whatever comes my way.
H: And you are not diabetic?
J: I do not think so. If I am, I am sure a healthy one. No, I do not think I am. I have
had myself tested two or three times and I do not think I am diabetic. From a
health standpoint, I never thought it was a problem, but now I understand it is a
problem, and I am seeing it for the first time. I worked with these people for
years and never thought of anybody having any type of problem. Of course, my
mama is a diabetic.
H: What is her name?
J: Lillian. Lillian Bowers. She married again, to a Bowers. Of course, later on is
when we found that she was a diabetic. I do not know if my brothers are diabetic
or not. I do not think so. They could be and I do not know about it. I hope I am
not. But anyway, I talked to Dr. Houston about this, years ago. We discussed
this a bunch of times, about why this and why that, but I always thought that Dr.
Houston was really sincere about trying to help the people here and trying to
figure out what was wrong with them.
H: Where is he from? I mean is he a medical doctor?
J: Yes, he is a medical doctor. But he is gone now. He left here four or five years
ago. He was here four or five years ago, maybe longer. I do not remember. But
he left here and went to an island or somewhere down in South America to study
some more people. But he could have studied right here, I am sure. Well, I
guess he probably did, he probably studied all he wanted to study here. He
probably got tired of us and we ran him off. [Laughter.] But it has been
fascinating to me to have worked with these people for the past thirty-five years.
H: So that is how long you have had the cattle, about thirty-five years?
J: Right. About thirty years, because I did not own cattle when I first came to work
here. No, I take that back, I did own cattle when I first came to work here, too,
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
because I lived in town. I lived in Okeechobee. I was working in town. The
president was Bill Osceola at that time. He wanted me to work, as my brother is
working now, as a cattle farmer. He said, you look like you have been interested
in these cattle all these years. I said, sure. He said, how about running the cattle
program for us. I said, sure. So, I came here and went to work for him for years.
And then, of course, later on we started getting some technical professors and
smarter people, but nothing has changed in thirty years. We did this here thirty-
five years ago and it is still the same thing.
H: You were talking about how Daisi's father had cattle here, and how some people
who lived in Big Cypress had their herds here. Why did they do that?
J: Yes, and Hollywood also. People who lived in Hollywood had cattle here also.
People who lived on the Trail had cattle here also. I remember years ago there
was a guy named Howard Osceola and somebody named Billie had cattle in this
area here. Of course, you have to have regulations. You have to have some
type of regulations to follow to make people do whatever they have to do. So, we
drew up some regulations that you can have so many head of cattle and then,
when they have regular quarterly meetings, you have to come to these meetings,
and help with what we are doing right now, marking and branding and so forth. I
remember years ago, when this area here was known as ... I have forgotten: we
had several names for it, anyway. We would call them different names, areas
had different names. Bowlegs' area was over here; Tucker Ridge was over here;
Osceola was over here; Scarborough was over here, Scarborough's pasture.
Eventually I found out why they called it Scarborough's pasture. Scarborough
did not have anything to do with the reservation. But the old timers said that,
years ago, they had too much water in these pastures and they had to help this
guy out because he was under water back there in the back. So, they let him
use one of our pastures up here on the hillside. Ever since then it was called it
was called Scarborough's pasture. We loaned some to the Pierces up here, too,
but it never got to be Pierce's. I do not know why, but it never got to be Pierce's.
But everybody else had a name that they just picked out: we are going to call it
this, or we will call it that, or it is going to be named this. So it worked out real
good. I guess eventually we started numbering some of these pastures, but the
original names are still on them because we call it Bowlegs' pasture or Bowlegs'
area. Of course, Bowlegs lived in the area that is known as Bowlegs.
H: Are there any more Bowlegs around?
J: I do not think Billy ever married, so he never produced anybody. I am not sure. I
do not think so. Do you remember, Daisi? I do not think so. I do not think he
was ever married.
DJ: James, your joke about James.
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
J: Well, James is bowlegged. Well, he is not supposed to be. Didn't he just get
operated on so he would not be bowlegged? [Everyone laughing.] We always
put a little humor in our lives. Why be serious all of the time? You are going live
and die. That is the only thing you look forward to is to die.
H: And have a little fun in between.
J: You have to do that. If you do not, you are going to be in misery. You are going
to be miserable all of your life.
H: Tell me about the interbreeding that you have been doing. What did you start off
with? Which breeds?
J: We started off with pure, straight Hereford bulls. We would get our Hereford
bulls out of Montana. Local people did not think that would work because they
come from a cold climate to a hot climate, which was probably true. You see
how hairy this little calf is?
H: They need more fur in the cold climate.
J: Right, but they do not need that here in South Florida. And you can see how
slick she is and these other cattle are beginning to get slicked off. Of course,
naturally, the winter is over with now and it is beginning to get warmer, but still,
all in all, most folks thought that we were making a mistake by having Hereford
cattle here. But, by us having Hereford cattle here, that is what got the University
of Florida to help us with what we were doing, and that really helped us out. And
it worked out for us. We started off with straight Hereford and then eventually we
went into Brahmans. A lot of people do not like Brahman cattle because they
have a big hump on the back and they are really high strung, really aggravating
bulls. A lot of our folks here did not want Brahman bulls, so the people who did
not want Brahman, we did not give them Brahmans. And then, of course,
eventually, this is what got them the Braford-type animals. When you cross a
Hereford and a Brahman, you get a Braford. And that is where you get the slick-
hided animals. And then, eventually, we went into Beefmaster, Beefmaster being
a Braford animal, part Brahman. Those three breeds.
H: So it is Hereford, Brahman, and what other one?
J: Shorthorn, I think it is. I have forgotten. See what you make me do? You make
me forget things. And then, eventually, they will run that for so long to become
purebred, and they made that a purebred. We used those for awhile. Now we
are going to a Brangus. See the solid colored bull over there? He would be a
Beefmaster bull. Straight behind the fence. Behind the black cow, just putting
his head down. I think everybody is going to lunch.
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
[Break in the interview.]
H: So, you do not like all of these researchers coming down here?
J: No, no. You are probably the only one around here that has even asked any
questions. Most of them, they will by-pass a lot of people to get to what they
want and then, once they get it, they are gone. Then they will write up a big story
somewhere, and you will see it in the paper. Who did this? I am sure that you
have talked to more than three people, four people. I am sure you have a
different outlook on everybody, which you will, I am sure. But, that is the first
thing people want to know, our culture and our system. I do not fee I am at
liberty to tell that to anyone, because I live it, practice it for years. I do to a
certain extent, and then, of course, I criticize the ones that are not doing it or are
supposed to be doing it, and are saying they are doing it, and are not doing it.
H: You did not start speaking English until you were ten?
J: Eight or nine, somewhere in that neighborhood.
H: Were you a Creek speaker?
J: Yes. That is why Daisi and I could not communicate. [Laughter.] We have to
speak English to understand what we are talking about. I am assuming that, I do
not know. Do you speak Creek?
DJ: I can understand it.
J: Well, that is the way it is with me. With certain people I can understand what
they are saying, or go along with what they are saying, but I cannot do that with
everybody. I do not know why. I do not understand that. But some people I
cannot understand at all. I cannot speak it. I have tried two or three times. They
will say, what is this word? Because I do not say it right, for some reason or
other. Like you said Adessa a while ago. I went with the seniors a couple of
weeks ago to New York City. This guide-there were fourteen or fifteen of us-
he wanted to know everybody's name. So, everybody said their names to him.
And he remembered it all. He remembered all fourteen or fifteen people,
whatever it was. And Rosie was there, and they said we call her Adessa. That
is her Indian given name. So, the guy says Odessa, so everybody started
laughing. He said, did I say something funny? Or is that her name? He could
not say Adessa, he kept saying Odessa.
H: What does Adessa mean?
J: It means jumping up on something, or always jumping up on something. I do not
know if you call it a phrase. She is always jumping up, jumping up.
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
H: Like someone who would jump up on a table if there were a mouse in the room?
J: Yes, right. He was calling her Odessa and everybody was laughing. Well, if I
have said it wrong, tell me. Everybody said, that is close enough. That is okay.
But, as we were talking about different heritage, different people, it is hard to get
two guys, three guys, or four guys to sit and talk about certain people, and I
doubt that you will come up with the same answer that all of these five guys will.
I got surprised six months ago when they had the-were you down in Hollywood?
H: Yes, at the fair?
J: Yes. I got the surprise of my life down there when Mitchell [Cypress] called me
up to the podium to say something on behalf of the Seminole Tribe and the
senior citizens. I am saying, wow, I was at a loss for words. I did not know what
to say. And I thought, of all of these years-I had never thought anything about
this-I had never even considered being a senior citizen, until he called me up.
And I am looking at all these people over here that are senior citizens, and I said,
oh, my God. I have never thought, I never had the slightest idea that I would be
in the same category with these people. I am thinking, oh, my gosh, what am I
going to say? I could not say anything. I just froze up. And that is the first time I
ever froze up in my life. I am never at a loss for words. But he really pulled a
good one on me that day.
H: The stark realization that you are older and that people perceive you as older?
J: Exactly. I am about ready to get my [American Association of Retired Persons].
I am after my Social Security now. I don't know what the outcome of this will be.
H: Of this project?
H: The project is headed by a man named by Dr. Julian Pleasants. He is a history
professor at the University of Florida. He wants to put together a book. The
format will be in sections, like on education, religion, cultural preservation,
economics, and we will take excepts from the different interviews that are done.
We plan to do about forty or forty-five interviews with Seminole people on
Brighton, Immokalee, and Big Cypress reservations. Possibly later even
J: I was just curious. I mean, there are so many things that are going on these
days. You never know what is happening. That is what I said, we have so many
Wannabes that think they have learned everything because they have talked to
three people who have told them something, and most of the time it is not true.
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
H: And like you said, everybody has a different opinion. Nobody is the final expert
on the culture.
J: Each clan has their own system. I found that out.
H: I am finding out more about that. Not everybody really has the same experience
or knowledge because each clan has their own way of doing things.
H: But they get together during things like the Green Corn Dance. Do you go to the
Green Corn Dance?
J: I used to when I was a kid but I do not go anymore. I used to go when it was the
real, true corn dance. It had a meaning, and you represented something or
someone. You know, years ago this was done, you were judged accordingly at
the Green Corn Dance. Whatever you had done, you got away with it for a whole
year until that day came, and the judgement day was that day. And you paid that
day. Whatever it could be.
H: What kind of punishments did they have?
J: That part I do not know.
H: You were always good, you never got punished?
J: Right. That is why I kind of divided myself away from the culture part, the religion
part, because it got to a point where all of these kids would go over there and just
get drunk, a big party, and that is not the point. They are missing the whole issue
of the Green Corn Dance. They say, man we are going to act that way because
that is the way everybody else does. Well, that is not the idea of the Green Corn
Dance. It is a religion. It has a meaning. So I quit going after I saw all that. Of
course, I helped them, too. Don't get me wrong.
H: Helped them what?
J: Party. Yes, I helped them party, but in my mind I knew that was not the place to
be partying. There is a time and a place for everything and that was not the
place. So I quit. I did not go anymore.
H: I have heard that in the last couple of years at Big Cypress they have started one
that does not have any alcohol. Have you ever gone?
J: No, I have not. I was asked to come, but as I mentioned, you have to have a
judge and jury in a trial. Who is the judge? Things happened that I do not really
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
understand and I figure the best way for me is to just stay away from there. I
have been invited a couple of times to come down to Big Cypress, but is it really
true? Because in our system, I understood them to say that there were only
three medicine pouches with the Seminoles. They have one on the Trail. I am
sorry; there are two in Oklahoma and one here. But the Miccosukees say they
have one. Who is telling the truth? There were only three. And they cannot
have it south of the lake. Our system says you cannot have it south of this lake
out here, this Lake Okeechobee. As you know, that is in her [Daisi's] language
[Mikasuki], that is not in our language. Lake Okeechobee is not in the Creek
H: So, it is according to the Miccosukee that the pouch cannot be further south than
J: Right. But I do not understand how they can have a medicine [pouch]. They
claim that you cannot have these dances unless you have the medicine pouches.
H: There is an extra pouch somewhere?
J: Somewhere. But the question is who has the true pouch. It is so long and
tedious and complicated, it is hard to understand. It is hard for me to understand
a grown person, talking to him in Seminole, to try to get him to explain something
to me. I cannot, it is hard for me. I do not know about Daisi. Do you ever get in
that complication? Do you really understand what everybody is saying when you
ask them a question? Like what happened when you were a kid, when you were
a child? Why was this was happening to you or why this? I do not know that I do
not understand the Seminole language that well, or what, but in our system, your
uncles and aunts are your teachers. Your mother and daddy are not your
teachers. I mean, they make you obey and do the right things, supposedly, but
to tell you something, to teach you something, it is your aunts and uncles that do
the teaching. And it is hard.
H: Did your uncles and aunts do discipline?
H: I imagine so, if they tried to teach you something and you were not paying
J: Louwana and I were talking about it one day. No, not Louwana. What was her
name? She said, well, how do you know all of this stuff? I told her, because my
uncle taught me.
H: Was this your mother's brother?
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
J: Yes. And she said, the reason I do not know anything is because I do not have
H: What happens to people who did not have uncles?
J: Other people, related.
H: Kind of adopted them?
J: Yes. We have what we call a storyteller in our organization who will teach you
H: You mean in the Seminole Tribe organization?
J: No. There was no Seminole Tribe organization until 1957. The cattle program
was going on in 1929. So, as far as we are concerned, we were just a bunch of
wild Indians running around out here chasing cows for pretty close to twenty
years. When the tribe organized in 1957, then we had an organization. The first
organization that we ever had was the cattle program, because they were
chartered members of the Cattle Association of State of Florida.
H: That happened in the 1920s?
J: Yes, early 1920s, 1929, I forget. I had some documents there showing that the
first cattle moved over to the Brighton reservation was like December 25, 1929.
There is a guy that lives in Okeechobee who was on that drive, a white person.
He is about eighty-four or eighty-eight years old now. He was just a young kid
when they asked him to come drive some cattle from what is known as Cornwell,
probably twelve or fourteen miles the way the crow flies, but to drive around the
road today it would probably be twenty-five or thirty miles. They drove the cattle
from-I think these cattle came from Apache country. That is what I was telling
you. They tamed the Apaches with the cattle so they decided, well, we can do
the same thing with the Seminoles. So they sent the cattle down here so the
Seminoles would get their mind off of shooting people and get into cattle. I am
assuming that is what took place. I do not know, but I have an idea because I
got to where I could read between the lines, to see what took place way back
then. That is what had to happen.
H: It was a way of pacifying the Seminoles?
J: Yes, that was it. Of course, that gave jobs to outside people, to tend to the
Indians. But, anyway, that is how they started with the cattle. According to the
reports that I have, there were like four hundred fifty head of cattle that were
shipped out of Black Mountain, Apache country. When they came, half of them
were dead; they were starved to death. The guy that I am talking about that lived
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
in Okeechobee, he was on that drive and he said that it stunk to heaven, having
to smell those boxcars as they opened the doors and the cattle would fall out,
starved to death. And then they had to drive them from there to here. Or out at
Brighton. So that is what we started with, straight Hereford cattle. They had a
few people, like Frank Shore, Willie Gopher, and I do not remember. Well, they
had four or five guys that-I hate to use the word tended to them-but in the
daytime they would let them graze in pastures, once they got them here. There
were no cross fences in the state of Florida until 1947. There was no law about
cross fencing. There was just open range. I remember that. You could drive a
car and if you hit a cow or something like that, it was your fault. Of course,
eventually the fence law came in, that if you own property, you had to fence it off.
But, these guys tended the cattle in the daytime and at night they would gather
them all up and put them in a pen. I said, why? Because there were no fences
and they would stray into someone else's property, and once they would do that,
then this guy would claim them. I said, well, that's cow stealing. That came later
H: When you say later on, they started having rules about cow stealing? I know out
west for horse stealing they used to shoot people.
J: Hang them. I do not know when that started. I am not going to say because I do
not really know. I have a tendency of talking to people every now and then, how
things were, how things took place, and what was going on. But, anyway, that is
how it was started. That is what I was telling you about how these people began
to tend to these cattle. They had borrowed some money from the federal
government to buy some more cattle, and more cattle came in later on, in 1930,
1931, or 1932, somewhere in that neighborhood. More cattle came in. That kind
of interested these older guys who started coming onto the ranch to help out,
maybe to buy some, or to hold some. See, that is what they were coaching them
to do, bring them on the res and say, well, we are going to sell you five head or
ten head. These will be yours; you can pasture over here. You have enough
room over here. That went on and the guys borrowed money to get into
business and most of them were successful at it. So the monies that they
borrowed to do this were paid back within, I do not know, it tells me in that story
that it was paid back in less [time] than they anticipated. They knew that these
Indians were pretty good herdsmen, so they began to implement that and they
began to become sort of a business instead of just of a Florida cow farmer. That
is how our program started. You know how they started. If us three were going
to buy the cattle, then we would draw numbers out of a hat to see who would be
first to choose. And then like twenty people were involved in it-like [Daisi's]
daddy was one of them that came in probably twenty years later, or ten years
later, or whatever it was when he came in, then I came in. He was already in
business when I came in. It just so happens that the area where he was
[herding] was open to a couple of more guys that could get into business. And
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
that is how I got in. From then on we began to put other people in business by
selling. As I mentioned to you earlier about our heifers and what we have kept
as cows and whatever they wanted, we would sell that to this individual and then
he would, in turn, start his business. That worked out real good for everybody, all
the way around. So from that we got what we have today. And then I guess you
know the story.
H: I have been hearing, and when we were at the cattle sale there was some talk
about people wanting to take away some of the land that is currently being used
as pasture for cows because it is not really profitable. What do you think about
J: We have to run this as a business. You cannot be a novelist over there, just to
say I have got a pen full of cattle. You have to run it as a business. And if it is
not making any money on that piece of property you have, then you have to look
for something else. It might not be suited for that particular thing that you are
interested in. You may have to switch to something else. I do not know. But, I
would think, with the expertise that we have today, that should be pretty simple.
If you cannot make money, then you need to do something different. I mean, if
this is what you are going to do, this is what you need to do. You need to
analyze it and see what you have to go with and what you are going to work with
and go from there. Other than that, if it is not feasible, then you do not need to
be in that business. You need to do something different.
H: Tell me a little bit about your sugarcane business. I saw you out in the fields
yesterday, tending your crop until the storm started coming up and chased you
out of there.
J: I have been in that particular area for twenty-five years, where the sugarcane is,
and I was not making any money on the cattle, I was just getting by, just floating.
I knew that all of my friends on the outside were all in sugarcane. They just had
asked me several times, why don't you get in the sugar cane business? They
said it is better than the cattle business, at least you can make a couple of bucks
out of the deal. I thought about it for years. But I had to find the right time
because, you know, our politicians leave something to be desired. It is not really
politicians, it is popularity. If you are popular, you can get whatever you want.
But if you are not too popular, you do not get anything. I thought maybe the time
was right for me so I jumped into it, and, of course, it made a lot of people mad,
and I am talking about local people, also, were mad.
H: Local, what do you mean, white?
J: No. Our local people here, our community. See, anything we do on the Brighton
reservation, they have committees that sort of control things. Everything has to
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
be brought before the committee and discussed and then kicked out or [they]
say, well, we will accept. Then they go to the next level, up to the board meeting
or the council meeting, or whatever, and then they accept, and then you go do
what you want to do. I had to go through the cattle committee, because they are
the ones that control the land, although there is a little petty jealousy going on as
well. But you have to follow these doorsteps. I have done this, but you see the
land that I am growing cane on was where my cattle were. So, after we analyzed
it and everything, they told me I had to get rid of at least eighty-five to ninety-five
head of cattle to utilize this much land. I was using the land anyway. But a lot of
people did not like it because they said, hey, how come he is doing this and I
have not been able to get anything over here? They did not understand that I
was going to use the land anyway, either cattle or just sit on it out there with the
cattle. I figured I could make more money because it was suited for cane. Every
year that land gets flooded. It is either under water or too dry. There has got to
be a better way of doing things, so I had an engineer come out there and look at
it and he said, sure, we can drain this by putting a canal around it, put some
ditches in there, and you can utilize it as cane. He said, that is your best bet. So
that is when I went in and went all out. As I mentioned, some of the people
wanted to know how come I am doing this. I am saying, well, of course, if they
came to me and asked me, I would let them know. But you know talk behind
your back, and all that. I knew that was going to be, I knew that before I started
because I always read people's minds to see where they are at. So, with the
help of several of the cane growers and associating with US Sugar, I went in and
said, I am going to farm this. And they said, well, it is going to be work. And I
told them, that is okay, I have worked all my life and never gotten anywhere. I
said, maybe with this I will do something. It is still an uphill struggle because I
have not harvested any of it yet.
H: I thought you said you were in this business for twenty-five years now.
J: In the cattle business, yes. But the sugarcane, no. This is my first year. I just
planted this in January. I just planted that sugarcane in January, so hopefully [in]
twelve months or fourteen months it will be ready to harvest. I will not get to see
a penny of it until that time. Then, of course, I have to satisfy my debtors before I
can even pocket anything. So I am still in the same boat with the cattle. Of
course, cattle, we pay so much in to do all these other things, but with cane, once
you have it in .... I had to go and borrow some money from FHA, Farmer's
Home Administration, to get this started. They were real helpful. If I had not run
into those guys, if they would not have loaned me the money, I would not have
H: You lease the land?
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
J: Yes. Right. Just like they do the cattle program. You see, the cattle program
had grazing rights. Thirty days or ninety days revocable permit. With cane, a
five-year permit I think is what they gave me. They gave me five years, and then,
of course, I have a five-year option to renew. In five years I ought to be able to
initially get my money back out of what I put in. So, if I can get another five
years, then I will be able to make some money off of it, maybe. Maybe. That is
the way things have been going. And then, of course, I am sure you understand
about our politicians, how it is run.
H: Not totally, because that is not one of the areas that we are delving into.
J: Well, that is good, but you need to understand it. We have a governing body that
controls the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Inc.
[End of Tape One Side B.]
J: Way back when this was set up no one, probably, could speak English or could
read or write. Billy Osceola, bless his old heart, and Bill Osceola, they both were
preachers. Billy got to where-Bill, too-they got to where they could write their
names, but that was about all. They could read the Bible pretty good, and that is
what always kind of fascinated me, how they could read the Bible but they cannot
read a regular book. They were never taught, had never been in school. This is
one of the things that might be-well, I am not going to say it set us back
because everything that was brought to us, this is how we accepted things that
were pushed on us. That is how the BIA [Bureau of Indian Affairs] threw this two-
governing-body-ship on top of us. I never did like that idea. As you understand
it, you will know what I am talking about. It is repetitious, in order to do whatever
needs to be done, if you have two representatives from each reservation, which
you have already, but it is board and council. It makes it sort of repetitious to do
what they are doing. If it was a different company, I could understand it, or a
different people. But we are helping the same people, the same person. Some
guys work for board; some guys work for council. Is there a difference? They
are still Indians, the same thing. I do not understand why we still have this thing.
They knew it was obsolete the day they administered it. I happen to know the
guy that administered this and he did some other tribes out West and they
abandoned theirs and went to something more economical that was workable,
that suited them. Well, this here is not suiting us, but we are still with it. We are
just like thirty-five years behind, on that part.
H: Do you have any idea why it has never been changed?
J: We talk about it, but no one has ever changed it. Even our by-laws and our
regulations need to be updated. They have never been updated. No one is
interested in our regulations and by-laws until it is time to vote. Then they say,
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
well, we ought to do this, we ought to do that. Then, when it is over with,
everybody's forgotten about what they should have done. To me, now is the time
to start working on this so that at the end of four years you can bring it up, or you
can bring it up to a shareholders meeting and say, this is what we want changed
in our regulations, because it takes the majority.
H: How often do you have shareholders meetings?
J: We are supposed to have them once a year. We had one here last year but it
was no questions asked, and that is not good. If you do not ask questions when
this is going on, when are you going to ask questions? I do not understand, but
maybe I am not supposed to understand it. To me, when they have shareholders
meetings, that is when you ask the questions. And you are supposed to get
answers, or have the answers. Well, we are not doing that and that is not good.
That is not good at all.
H: One other thing I wanted to ask about is what we were talking about at lunch,
about the language differences between the Creeks in Oklahoma and the Creeks
here. You were talking about Polly's father, and his name was ...
J: Lonnie Buck.
H: Tell me that story about how he came here.
J: I never knew Lonnie Buck came from somewhere, Oklahoma, or whatever. The
only thing I knew, he spoke a little different, the same language, only he had a
different dialect from anybody else. I often wondered about it, and then finally he
told me that he came from Oklahoma. Then, of course, later on in life we started
going to Oklahoma, in the past ten or twelve years, and then I began to find out
where he originally came from. I met some of his kin people in Oklahoma, but
this was after he had passed away. I thought to myself then-Lonnie could read
and write and could communicate with the Indians here, so that made it really
helpful to a lot of these Indians around here-if he had not been able to do that,
we would probably still be in the dark ages.
H: When did he come here?
J: I do not remember, to tell you the truth. I do not really remember when he came
H: Was it before the 1950s, before the tribe got incorporated?
J: Yes, way before the tribe got incorporated. As you mention, the tribe did not get
incorporated until August of 1957. We had cattle programs going on in 1929.
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
H: And Lonnie Buck was instrumental in getting the cattle program together?
J: I would think so. I would think so. I used to wonder why he would have cattle
that were far superior to anybody else's, because he would always pick out the
Braford-type heifers to keep for replacement heifers and he always had real good
luck with the cattle by doing this. And I thought, well, he must know something.
That is when I began to kind of trace where he came from and back and forth
and then found out that he came from Oklahoma.
H: Why did he come from there?
J: Well, when we were talking, I had seen a picture at his house. He had a picture
of him in his outfit, he was in the cavalry, in the army, I guess. I am assuming it
was in the army. I think that was the only one that had the cavalry back then. He
was in the cavalry. He said he got tired of taking orders and cleaning out stalls
and all this, so he escaped. He took a freight train and came to South Florida,
and there he fell in love with one of the Miccosukee women. I never did ask him
what her name was or anything. I wished I had, now. I did not ask him and we
talked about it, and he laughed and he said, I fell in love and I was trying to
provide a living for this girl, but, he said, I couldn't. He was afraid that they were
hunting him. I am sure they were hunting him but I do not think they would have
found him in South Florida. I mean, they could have. Anyway, he was really
afraid to mention his name or give his Social Security number out or anything like
this because he was afraid he would get traced back down here and he would
get arrested. But love for this girl endeared him so that he finally said, heck, I am
just going to go back, finish my term, and I will come back. So he said he went
back, went back to where he originally came from, to this cavalry. Naturally they
put him in the brig, or put him in jail, for two or three years. He said he did not
mind that. He said he served his term and got out and got on a freight train and
came back down here again. But instead of going back down to where he
originally came from, he stopped here at Brighton. Well, it might not have been
in Brighton, it might have been in Fort Pierce, because back then a lot of Indians
lived around Fort Pierce, Indiantown, Vero Beach, Stuart, all in that area. Most of
these Indians that live here at Brighton were in that area. In fact, Betty May
Jumper says she remembers when she was in Indiantown. So he stopped there
and that is where he met Polly's mama, Polly Hayes's mama. And there he fell in
love again, so he married her. You see, I do not know how far back because, as
I mentioned, Lonnie was smart enough-he was working at the naval station at
Fort Pierce. There was a naval station at Fort Pierce back then. He was working
there. But these things never dawned on me because I was just a kid and I did
not know what took place or what went on or that you even went out and made a
living by working or anything like this. I mean, all these sailors, it was new to me.
And then, of course, they did not live with us. We were kind of separated. I
would just get to see them once in a while, and then we would talk once in a
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
while. We would carry on, and this is what he told me. He and I were pretty
close. We would get to talk together and whatever. I had gone to the University
of Wisconsin, Madison. Billy Osceola and I had gone there for about four months
taking a course.
H: What kind of course?
J: I am trying to think what it was. Equal opportunity something or other, I think. It
was years ago. I came back in April. We got up there in the middle of
December. This was cold, with snow way up to here. I said, oh, my God, I
cannot believe it. I had been in snow before, so it did not bother me that much,
but I did not like that cold that much. Anyway, we came back. I always talked to
him, we always chatted and [were in] cahoots together. I always enjoyed talking
with him because he was intelligent enough that you could hold a conversation
with him because he had done all of these things, been there, seen it, and done
it, that type of fellow. So we always chatted. The day we came back they were
working those cattle. That was in April. He had borrowed a horse. I had just
gotten back that morning. In fact, we drove all night, or something like that, to
get back here in time. I had lunch. I did not get a chance to talk to him that well.
We had lunch and we went out to the pasture. I drove out to the pasture in a
truck, I believe. I might have rode. No, I went back home to get my horse.
Then, when I came back, they said that Lonnie Buck had fallen off his horse or
the horse fell on him. The horse fell on him. I said, oh, my God, I am not
believing this. What is happening? So I ran back and got a car to go out to the
pasture. This was way back in the back. I ran and got it, and my brother and I
picked him up and put him in the car. We knew he was dead then, when we put
him in the car, because the horse had fallen on him and broken his neck and his
back. He was a small-framed guy, he was not a muscular-type guy. He was just
a small-framed guy, and that horse fell on him and broke his neck and his back. I
sure hated that and I have never been able to get over that. By this time they
had three kids. His youngest kid, Polly's brother, got killed right up the road there
a little ways. A car ran over him. He was working on a flat tire or something like
that on his truck or his automobile and a car came by and sideswiped him and
killed him. So Polly is the only one left out of that group.
H: What happened to the other?
J: Oh, he passed away. I am sorry. And that [gesturing to someone] is the
offspring of Johnnie Buck.
H: Johnnie was one of her brothers?
J: Yes. He was the oldest one of the Buck clan. This guy has a brother and a
sister from Johnnie. And Polly has I do not know how many young ones. She
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
has three or four young ones. I think she has been married that many times. I
am not sure, but I think she has been married that many times. And then, of
course, the youngest guy got killed on the road. I think he had a boy. His boy is
around here somewhere. He usually helps us, but I do not know what happened
to him. He did not show up. He has not showed up. So that is how our clan,
that is how Polly's father, that is how I got to know him before he passed away.
We had times together.
H: You mentioned you went to this class out in Wisconsin. What was your other
J: You name it. I have been everywhere. I have seen this, done that, been there.
H: Did you go to any schools around here?
J: You know, years ago, the Indians were not really allowed to go to school, did not
go to school. They were not allowed to or I do not remember just what took
place. But they did not want us to go to school with the white kids.
H: Your Indian parents?
J: Yes, as well as the .... Well, that was something new to us. We did not know
we were supposed to go to school. We knew that all these kids were going to
school but we did not know that we were supposed to go to school. And we did
not; for years we did not go to school. But, finally, some of the elders began to
see that by kids going to school they began to learn. So they had a day school
out here. They knocked it down. I was always sorry they knocked it down. They
should not have knocked it down-but they did-because that was our history.
That was history right there that they wiped away. But anyway, I started going to
school there and they told us, hey, if you want to-that was like a day school-
we can start going to the boarding school in Cherokee, North Carolina. So I
started going to Cherokee a couple years. By that time they saw that the Indian
kids were such good athletes that the local schools started picking them up.
They said, hey, how about you all going to school here? From that we started
going to school here in Okeechobee. A lot of kids went to school in Okeechobee.
And then, later on, being that we live in Glades County, the Glades County
people-by that time the federal aid started coming across-in order to get X
many dollars for X many heads going to school there, they began to fuss and
say, hey, those kids live over here and we want them to go to school over here.
So without ado, we just started sending kids to that school. And then four or five
years later we decided, hey, this is not an accredited school, so we are going to
send them to Okeechobee. So we started sending them to the Okeechobee
school. And then, by that time, the school system made a ruling, Glades County
made a ruling, that there will be no Indian-not Indian; this did not have anything
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
to do with Indians-they did not want out-of-county school buses coming into
their county picking up kids and taking them to their school. Well, it did not have
anything to do with the Indians, but we were right in the middle of this situation.
At that time I knew all of the school board members. They were apologizing to
me and saying, it looks like we singled you guys out, but that is not so. It was not
meant to be that way. But as it turned out it looked like you cannot go to school
anywhere else. So with that the Seminole Tribe bought their own buses and
started bussing the kids wherever they wanted to go. Of course, by the same
token, the Glades County school bus still comes on the reservation and picks up
kids to carry them to Moore Haven. But you have to understand geographically
where all of the people live. Over here at Buck Head Ridge, which is just across
the bridge to Okeechobee County, maybe thirty kids live over there. It is a ten-
minute ride to Okeechobee School, whereas if they go to Moore Haven it is a
forty-five minute ride. So, if you are a parent, you know where you want your
kids to go. Down on the lower end of Glades County is Hendry County, in La
Belle. Two miles from the county line live probably forty-five head of kids that go
to school in La Belle because they only have a ten minute ride to go to school
there. Like I said, if you are a parent, do you want your kid to go to school where
he only has a ten minute ride, or do you want him to have a forty-five minute ride
to Moore Haven? So this came about. It was not really putting the finger on the
Indians and saying, hey, you all live in the center of this county, you have to go to
school this way. But, in order for us to do what we wanted to do, we could have
our own school busses and send them to where we wanted them to go. That is
how we started sending our kids to school in Glades County as well.
H: Did you graduate in Okeechobee?
J: Not in Okeechobee. No. As I mentioned, I went to school in Cherokee. In fact,
Archie, this guy here, and Cecil-I don't know if you have talked to Cecil Johns.
He lives in Hollywood. He had cattle here. In fact, he was a president here
once. He made a run and got in and then he ran again and lost out. He was in
office for four years and got out. He went to school. Have you talked to Wonder
Johns out here, the one with the citrus? He also went to school. He is one of the
guys that was off of the reservation, he was off of the reservation for a long time
and then he just moved back here about twenty years ago. He is one of my first
cousins also. He is a local minister here, a preacher.
H: That is one of the things you were mentioning, I do not want to go back to that
totally, but you mentioned that the Bucks were really religious people. Were they
one of the first who got ...
J: Well, first there were Kings. This lady had married a King, his name was Willie
Interviewee: Stanlo Johns
H: Who married him?
J: He got married to a woman out there and came here, and they were
missionaries, evangelists, or whatever. He could speak the language and preach
as well, and he had a real good education so that he could communicate with
these Indians. Most of these Indians here, they did not really communicate with
the outside world until twenty-five years ago or less. In fact, the older people still
do not communicate that well with the non-Indians because they just do not, they
are just not that outgoing to say, hey, where have you been, where you going, or
whatever. I do not know what it is about them. They are just not outgoing or
outspoken. Even the younger kids now are same way. They do not get out and
do a whole lot. They are content with living right here and doing their thing and
that is it. They do not mess around town doing other things. Of course, we have
jobs for them here. Most of them, if they want to work, we have jobs for them
here, on the place. In fact, everybody we hire here, we try to hire here on the res
so that we do not have that type of a problem. We have been fortunate to keep
everybody here that wants to stay here.
H: But you were talking about Wonder Johns. What were you saying about him?
J: He is my first cousin. He is a minister. He worked for the council. He is raising
citrus up here. We have a citrus grove here as well. We have a turtle farm, too.
H: Who runs the turtle farm?
J: The council runs the turtle farm. It is down here next to the cane fields and we
raise cane, the company raises cane also. There are jobs to be had around
here, if anybody wants to work. We have all kinds of jobs. I really did not want a
job, I just wanted a position so I could get paid every Friday. But some of us
have to work for a living to keep others happy, so this is what we do.
H: I really appreciate your taking all this time to talk to me. I have learned a lot
today, for a city girl who has never been out in the cow pen before. You can tell;
I just stepped in all that cow stuff.
J: That's all right. It is not that dirty. It is just grass. That is all it is, just grass. Ain't
nothing else in it.
H: Okay, thank you so much, Stanlo.