Title: James Billie
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Sem 261
Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 1

Sem 261
Interviewee: James Billie
Interviewer: J. Ellison
Date: June 19, 2000

E: This is the nineteenth of June.

B: Nineteenth.

E: Nineteenth of June 2000. Monday morning. Noontime. I am with James Billie, the

Chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. We are at the Billy Swamp Safari

Guesthouse. And we are going to do a brief interview, today.

B: Yes. And this is James Billie.

E: OK. To start off with, James Billie is your full name? James E. Billie?

B: James Edward Billie, as far as I know. It used to be just James Billie but then

somewhere, somebody inserted the "E". So now it is formally known through the court

systems (that's what they call it) adding the name. So it is James Edward Billie, now.

E: That is interesting. Obviously, I want to talk with you because your name comes up all

the time in other interviews dealing with a range of topics. We have been looking at

education, health, economic development and so forth. You are a central player in all of

these things, obviously. I want to talk to you about some of these. While we were just

talking, I was looking at the Alligator Times article after you were first elected. I guess

one of the key things that you had talked about was education. The last time I was down

here, a week and a half ago, I heard you speak at the commencement ceremonies. I

Sem 261
Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 2

wonder if you can talk briefly about some of the differences you see in education, today,

from when you first took office. It is a really broad question but...

B: I think what I would like to do is twist it around just a little bit.

E: Sure.

B: The things that I noticed when I became Chairman and prior to becoming Chairman was

that the education is fine. Over a period of time, somebody is going to get educated and

they are going to learn how to read and write and all this thing. Josie Billie, Frank Billie

and the people who organized the tribe in 1957 (they had been working at this since

1948) and finally got it formalized in April 1957. We all know that the priority, then,

was to learn how to speak English, learn how to read and write and to try to learn how to

be somewhat assimilated. Not assimilation for us to vanish into thin air or disappear into

the system. It is an assimilation form that we are like everybody else but yet we maintain

our culture, our native ways, particularly our tongue, our religion, and whatever we do in

the swamp for survival. This is what they meant. It did not mean to go out there and

learn how to do a bunch of computer games. But each person has a different way of

thinking, so how each person interpreted what the old timers were saying, is his own.

There is an old Indian or white man's saying: "an apple does not fall too far from the

tree." So, those people who organized the tribe (Frank Billie, Josie Billie) are my family

tree. And my bloodline is through these people. I believe I could understand what they

were saying and once they realized it, then I knew where I belonged. The other thing is

that health, education, and welfare type thing that the government provides you can get

Sem 261
Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 3

those type of monies through grants back in those days and you were a warden of the

government.[Also, the monies and grants for health education and welfare that the

government provided back in those days were given to wards of the government.] When

you do not have anything in your favor, nor have you learned how to work in the outside

system, [when someone gives you a crumb] and if somebody gives you a piece of crumb,

you have to eat that crumb until you get healthy (mentally and physically healthy,

business-wise healthy and everything else). Uncle Sam, in one way, is a wonderful

human being [is wonderful] and at the same time, can be pretty ruthless. So, you have to

learn how to hang around Uncle Sam and do what you are supposed to do as what we

call [as what we eallan American citizen. So, what was happening back in 1948 or

1949, I think what took place is this is what we call reconstruction period. [So, I think

we could call it a reconstruction period back in 1948 or 1949.] Uncle Sam successfully

[went out] was victorious [eve]-in Europe, [eve,] in Asia, and Japan or wherever else he

was fa-Q, so now he was coming back and opening up his arms to help restore the

countries that they bombed. When we are talking reconstruction, we literally mean

reconstruction, because they dropped Atom Bombs. But that is the way of things of war

when people are against each other. I appreciated that mentality because I, personally, do

not like going hunting and looking for the biggest buck [ut~there]-leading a herd. I

would like to see that buck healthy and if he is sick, I generally do not shoot it. So,

maybe that is the way Uncle Sam thinks. We are talking about being a warrior mentality

[mentally], not being a nice [4li4e]-human being. So, Uncle Sam is all of that. I think he

Sem 261
Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 4

wanted to make sure everybody was healthy, again. [Se, in that] He opened up his arms

and he approached some of the Seminoles. It was, literally, the Seminoles not the

Muskogee Seminoles but the Miccosukee [pat-Seminoles. That happened to be Frank

Billie and some of the others that were down here in the area called Big Cypress. These

people in Big Cypress, were the descendants of a man nicknamed Sam Jones,

Opeeyawkee, or O. Sam Jones. So, again, the apple does not fall too far from the tree.

They were of this warrior mentality and they knew how to bend and take whenever they

had to. So, Frank Billie=s father is Ingram Billie who was very adamant [against

learning] about not going into the white man's ways, because that is what he was told.

Ingram Billie=s son, Frank Billie (who had several other brothers who were sticking to

the rule) broke from the flock. He said he thought they better accept Uncle Sam=s

request to get some monies to get back on their feet. After all, 1830's, 1840's, 1860's

were a while back. So, there is a reconstruction period that they included us in, even

though the World War I, World War II was. [The primary objective]. So, Frank Billie

saw something about it and thought about it [gave it some thought]. What changed his

mind was a ride in a blimp. He was fortunate enough to get into a blimp, high above

Miami. And at that time, the Seminoles Indians [who] what we call Seminoles or

Miccosukee, Muskogee-Seminoles would have been about five, six hundred, seven

hundred people. When he looked over Miami he saw the vast amount [numbers] of

human beings, he thought, 'Oh, Shit, maybe we had better accept this (not a handout, but)

invitation to utilize some of the monies to get ourselves on our feet, somehow [perhaps]

Sem 261
Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 5

business wise or education wise.' And he took that. A couple times, he was almost

assassinated, beaten up. And Bill Osceola not Billie, but Bill Osceola came to his

side, [along with] Johnnie Cypress and other people. The Muskogee speakers were kind

of against him for a while but finally, they started accepting him. To make the story

short, by April 1957, they became organized and became federally recognized tribe. Up

to that point, they were liter-allyknown as the unconquered Seminoles. They never

signed a peace treaty and so when they signed that document, it was a form of truce but it

was not a peace treaty. So we have always maintained. The reason why the Seminoles

here were know as unconquered Seminoles was because they were followers of

Opeeyawkee and Sam Jones. They fought many battles and won most of theirbattles

[them] here in the Big Cypress swamp area. Those people who were north of here, got

captured. Billie Bowlegs was around here but he got tired of fighting and went west.

Osceola, Micanopy and everybody else, Osceola was beheaded earlier. Micanopy, I am

not sure what happened to him. So, these people who followed Sam Jones is [are] the

ones who is [are] here. And he [Sam Jones] died in 1867. So, it took that many years to

remain here. All that time, up to 1957, we were pretty much [primarily] in an area

where: number one, the Seminoles were not being chased down to be shot, anymore.

Now, we became a novelty in the American system. So, in 1957, I remember things

taking place and the thoughts that I just said earlier [thinking, as I said earlier], about

learning how to do the white man=s ways did not mean that they meant [I did not believe

it meant to] learn how to do business or learn how to do different things. Many of the

Sem 261
Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 6

Seminoles up to that point were self-sufficient. When we became organized in 1957, the

Seminole that used to go to Miami and work at an airport or park cars in Fort Lauderdale

or wash dishes ,er-de semethng now thought, 'Oh, Boy, I do not have to go that far to

get ajob.' That was a different trend [kind] of mentality. These are called the lazy

Seminoles. But, for those, who were very aggressive, [they] went out and maintained

their dignity and theirjob. But feo [Some of] those people may not have been lazy.

They just did not have the opportunity, the vehicle, the transportation, e- whatever or the

knowledge to work out there. So it was easier on them to work on the reservation. The

aggressive ones maintained and went out there and worked. And today, some of the

aggressive ones are probably the first millionaires in our tribe without being known that

they were millionaires [many people being aware of it]. They lived in a modest way ef

living. So, I grew up in that era. I was born in 1944, so I got to see some of the old

timers before they died. I was fortunate. Somebody, born in 1850's would have been

nearing the age of one hundred. I would have been able to see them. And if they were

born in 1880's, I literally would have seen them and they would have been old people [as

the old people]. So, I had the privilege of hearing those legends and stories frem them. I

did not realize I was grasping them but I did grasp them. But, anyway, today, after all of

that stuff, BIA is taking care of certain things. Seminoles are going up there learning

how to negotiate but learning how to negotiate in a different fashion. [For example], we

need some money for education. So, how much are you going to need; how many people

yettget [do you have?] Do you have any proposals? And we would send in a proposal.

Sem 261
Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 7

We became pretty good proposal writers. But after a while These proposal writers do

nothing to~me more than a fancy form of begging. And I hated that. I grew up off of the

reservation, pretty much. But I lived on all of these reservations in a different mentality.

Most of the time my grandparents and-them took me to Del Ray Beach. [We went to]

Neil Macmillan's Farm and from what I understand, [the reason] I was over there was

because most of the older generation did not like the white blood in their system. So I

had to be raised, totally away from the main stream of Seminoles. But when we visited

our uncles and all of them, I was there a short period of time. If things did not look quite

correct, they would take me away. I really did not know those feelings. I just had -a-ged

embrace. [always felt embraced]. It was always nice to know that I was Seminole but I

could be just as white if I am part white.

E: These grandparents, which grandparents...?

B: The grandparents that I knew [were] would hav~-been Tommy Buster. Well, my mother

is Agnes Billie. Her Indian name would have been Mounatee. And my grandmothers

name would have been Tommy Buster, who she is with Johnnie Buster, and my aunt was

Annie Billie but she became Annie Wolf. She married a Cherokee man one time. This

was my immediate family. My mother is of the Bird Clan; grandfather, actually, step

grandfather would have been of the Wind Clan. So this was my bloodline. And then my

grandfathers, my real grandfathers would have been of the Panther Clan.

E: Your real grandfather. OK

Sem 261
Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 8

B: That would have been Josie Billie=s clan. All those guys Ingram Billie, Frank Billie, -

would have been of the Panther Clan. And then there were Frank Billie and others from

the Wind Clan.

E: And you were born in 1944. A lot of this stuff was coming to a head during the time you

were growing up. You were hearing a lot of discussion about which direction they

should go. Frank Billie and others were talking.

B: But, while this was going on, I was being raised off the reservation. So, my grandparents

would go and...

E: Where were you raised off the reservation?

B: Mostly, around Del Ray Beach. I entered my first school in Del Ray Beach at the

Elementary School there. But anyway, By living off the reservation like this, I saw my

grandfather and grandmother make dolls, tomahawks B whatever they could as

souvenirs. People call them trinkets. To me, trinkets may b, a cheap way of saying

something [indicate something that may be cheap]. But the word trinket doesn't belittle

anything but it is just the way some people say it in a certain vocabulary that makes you

feel-like- [But the work that went into these trinkets is not to be belittled. Sometimes, it

is just the way that people say it, which makes you feel], 'Hey white boy, as if it does not

matter.' So, we would sell merchandise and raccoon hides-and otter [hides]. So I

literally had the taste of what we all surviving off the land. It was notjust Indians. It

was many white people that we ran into and had friends with, that were surviving out

there [who survived this way]. We had friends that were surviving out there B black

Sem 261
Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 9

people, white people. They were out in the woods, somehow surviving off the land. So,

I grew up with what we all a basic, wholesome attitude that human beings were human

beings whatever race they were and I was never subject to what we- all racism or abuse.

Only my own tribal members [ridiculed] ridiculing me [calling me] 'white boy!' [They

said] Saying all these things in a manner of [racism] raeistattitude. So, wi hth-hait [that]

hurt, then but somehow it did not really stick to my brain abeut that. I have pretty good

genes or something. Sok, knowing hew te [I knew how] to work out there on the outside

[outside the reservation], [knew] knowing how to talk to the people, [knew how]

somehow to sell a little doll or tomahawk, [and that] became my art when I was a kid.

Tourism was always [a] my favorite [of mine] because you really didn't have to work

ha-. [t did not seem like hard work]. You can act aeetain way like a comedian or

wrestle an alligator or show a snake and people will pay you for it. So, that became my


E: They came to you.

B: That was becoming me. I was not poor and all those ether things but I did not have [any]

no money. But- I figured out to make money by doing this and I could make more


E: Your grandparents were making most of their money through this kind of trade, working

on these things and selling?

B: Yeah. So, that was their forte. I was born in a zoo. It was a chimpanzee farm on the

Dania Cutoff Canal. Little did I realize that it was going to be really, fcr the rest of my

Sem 261
Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 10

ife-{a forecast of my] forte in tourism. [I was learning how] e that -entality to satisfy

or appease the curiosity of another human being [or even] to -pssibly draw some money

out of them if [they enjoyed what they saw] if h- enjoys what he .sees,. Se thisi-s why

te4ay-[When] I go to be entertained, [today] when-4 [and hear] someone like Tom Jones

in town, I enjoy his show because he-enteirain--ett [of his ability to entertain]. He just

does not stand up there and sing. So, I love that kind of entertainment. Then, when I do

something, I like to act it ef out so people enjoy it. So, as time went aleng [as I grew

up,] I learned how to read and write. I went to school but I never stayed in school. I

always stayed out. I remember I failed, I think, twice [two] or three times. I forgot what

it was. [how many times.]

E: Who was the main influence for you to go to school, your grandparents or your mother?

B: My grandparents. My particular family tree were-[was] never against learning how to

read and write. It was never an issue.

E: It was a necessity.

B: It was just to get my butt there to learn because that is the way of things. I am geing to

use the way of things. Children will learn how to read and wrie. Uncle Sam had made a

big issue of making sure that we learned to read and write. Maybe it was because of that.

[It might have been due to] Or was it Mr. Macmillan, Neal Macmillan, and an attorney

on whose farm we lived who made it a point that we went to school. But I never stayed

in school because somehow I always like being out in the woods. The canopy has always

been my life, like out in here. Not open sky (but I like open sky) but the canopy. So, I

Sem 261
Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 11

failed once or twice, -, 'twice or [two or] three times and finally setehew-was taken

over to Morgan Smith. He is a Muskogee Indian or Muskogee Seminole who speaks a

different tongue but is of the Bird Clan the same clan as 4-am in-[mine]. So, he was my

clan uncle. I think the reason that they brought me there was because he was a big man,

about four hundred and some odd pounds, plus. He needed a little monkey to help him

go pick up chores. So, I was literally a human monkey for him, I think.

E: You lived with him? And you were sort of adopted out?

B: Yeah, I stayed. I was not adopted. We were just placed there. By doing so, here-is-a

[they exposed me to] a shaman who knew the songs of shamanism, and has been

indoctrinated from adolescence to manhood. He knew these songs and he would sing.

Many-things he diD. Phus, He was also converted to Baptist way of teaching. So, I got to

learn both ways, learn how to sing the songs and healing chants and all this type of thing.

They put me there so I went to Clewiston and in Clewiston [a woman] by the name of

Miss BirdY

E: Yat the school?

B: Yin Clewiston, yes. So, in Clewiston, I learned how to This lady took me aside now and

1 remember when I was in third grade now, I think. I should have been t4ke-fifth grade.

[but I had failed all that time.] I remember her saying 'You know, I see you do a lot of

things and I know you can do these things but you don't know how to read because you

never went to school.' [that she saw me do a lot of things and knew I could do things but

realized that I could not read]. So, we are [she said she was] going to teach me how to

Sem 261
Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 12

read that year. Boy, there were the Alice and Jerry books. The Alice and Jerry Books

were used [for reading] back in those days. She literally took me, almost grabbed by the

ear, while everybody was already reading fourth grade or fifth grade level. And here I

was (can not even read). Little by little in that one year, in-third grade-I literally-learned

how to read. I was so happy. I remember her saying, 'I think you can do anything you

want but you just never took time and never stayed with it because you are just wild boy,'

or something like that.

E: So, she would say that stuff to you?

B: Yeah. But when she said I was a jungle boy B see, I liked being a jungle boy. I liked the

jungle. So, when she said that, I think that might have been the key word. [I could

identify with] But, the jungle boy who is going to learn how to read so you can be smart

like the rest of the people. There was a comic strip I used to like to wateh-[read] all of

the time. It was Tarzan. And she would bring that out and say that Tarzan can read. So I

think those are the key words. I learned how to read and from that point on, I never

really looked back at how well I could read. I might not be the fastest reader but I can

decipher what [I have] I've got. Anyway, that is where things began. [Those were the

formative days] Tha+ was the formula+ing days of letting me know +ha+ might hav, been

+the psyh.lo gial +ype, psychology, psychiaty .r. whatever- else co.m1es ;i+ [when I

began to learn about psychology. I became interested in psychiatry, psychology,

something about sociology and all sorts] of mental mind games. where I could analyze

myself and I thought 'Wew!-that was neat.' Se, today,Even though I did not go to

Sem 261
Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 13

college or anything, I do not worry about that. Because, those come into play When I see

a child and I talk to the child and watch the family, I also watch some of the ehildrens'

families brains [interactions]. Some families here on the reservation, the stupidist one

they got in the family [may appear to be stupid but] may be [the one in the family who is]

a genius. When I see that, I know that child just does not have the formal type [education

to] "sit down and read." Or sit down and do something At least I can do that. But all

these things came into play. I finally did graduate from highschool, not with [honors] an

henerable but you knew, with an average of C or B. From there, I tried to go to college

but flunked out. I was going to be a "Smokey the Bear" [forestry service] and flunked


E: Where did you go?

B: Lake City. The area that I failed was the mathematical calculation of topography, that is,

map reading. Calculus, logarithms, [algebra,] and all of those are >think-throughs'afd

algebras are think through. I think what I had a problem with was looking [I think my

mind was not mature enough to look] at a flat piece of paper and [try] tying to figure out

what was up or down. But my mind had not matured. But when I joined the service...

E: This is in 1964 or 1965, something like that?

B: That would have been 1964 and then 1965, Ijoined the military. I joined the military on

April Fools. There is a lot of map reading that I had to in Kontum, in Vietnam. But

When the practical application came, by golly, I may not have been an expert, but I was

close to it.

Sem 261
Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 14

E: Your life depended on it.

B: Yeah. My life depended on it. So, I have noticed about my life, that if my life depends

on it, I will do something. In the meantime My brain may just stay dormant but when

things depend on it, I notice that I wake up. Se-I think to this day, it is for that reason

that I do not sit around mentally masturbating, trying to think about how to do things,

ahead [of time]. I just wait. Because it doesn't slap me in the face buIt will fall into

place. It is for that reason that I will hire people with all-the-degrees and all-the

advanced] knowledge of what they think they say they are and let them put it together

and then let me take the final lok. [to prepare a proposal]. [Then, I will take the final

look.] Beeause-They are so smart thinking about something that they will always miss

something. I will put the final touch to it and by golly, it works.

So, back to the government, in 1979 applying this but m, y main forte was for 1979, [I

started concentrating on the government in 1979, as my main forte]. These other things

that I have said in the paper were not my main goals. [The people of the tribe] they could

go out and write proposals; they are very smart people. My tribe is very smart. They just

needed the opportunity j-st-to be in the system. [Someone needed] to look at it for-many

years and thenlo closely and] figure out how to do what we needed to do. den'-t knew

what it would have been, archecturals or anything. Because it is basically like a y nas
tribe mentality coming into something that they wished they wanted to be into but never

had really the oppo~tunity and there was one thing that was holding them back. [It was as

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 15

if we were emerging from a young tribe mentality and overcoming what was holding us


E: What is that?

B: Money. Pure money. [We needed] enough time to have money or have money enough

time-[or enough time] to learn how to indulge in it, in sinful ways or good ways. Some

mightjust blow it ding things with it. Until one day, they ean decipher [realize] that

you just can not make money as easily as you think you can. But, it is easy to make

[money can be made]. You just have to learn how to go after it aggressively in whatever

format we a,.re goi to go after it and learn how to utilize the money. Here is an asset

that you have to learn how to manipulate. And so, I went after what we call, under

disguiseeofbusiness. Every government has to have money to work for its people. The

Seminole Tribal government was always out there. The government said they wanted

proposals to see how we wanted to become part of this modern system going on. So they

learned how to do all these things. IHS was always there because they made a deal with

the Indians across the United States. But IHS only gives you a minimal amount to keep

you healthy. Some people call it a and when I say it is not in a derogatory manner, a

fBand-Aid] joeb-service and not in a derogatory sense]. If you want something more than

that, by golly,[ I think you should] get out there and make money to achieve the kind of

health [care] you want. So that was my goal. I wanted self sufficiency to the maximum.

-[My goal was maximum self-sufficiency for them.] I am still entitled to the money that

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 16

IHS gives us. I will not [refuse] deny it because I know where it cuts off. I know how

much money BIA is going to give us for education and I know [we] they are only looking

at seed money. So, now I have to take this seed money and ge beyond. [get the most

from it.] Since we are a sovereign nation a dependent sovereign nation within an

independent nation I am not going to etuatllygo out thefe-and start a war against the

United States. That is ridiculous. Now, there is another way. It is working along with

Uncle Sam. I am one of those guys, that if I get cut, I do not keep pealing the scabs off.

War is war. It is dangerous. It is ugly. But, cripes, that is the way of things. If we were

so tough back then, we should have won the war correctly and we would have had our

own governmental system. Then [white] ether-people would be under us and would have

to fight for that position, too. Frank Billie said one time, that war is very sad. He said if

you are going to fight somebody, you had better be able to withstand what they have or

be able to kneel to the victor. The way you get over the hurt of that loss is like a bear. A

female bear has a baby and somehow that baby bear [that] is shot by-semebedy-and is

dying. The bear will protect it if it is still breathing. But the moment she sees that the air

is out of its body and the spirit is gone; she does not come back, anymore. She does not

come looking for it. She just goes. So you almost hav, to act in tht manner. [So, you

have to use that as a lesson.] So, with that sort of mentality [I never cared about whether

we lost the war or not. You aetally are victorious if you can survive the-war-underneath

the [victor.] ether. The only thing Uncle Sam wants from you is to obey some of the laws

Sem 261
Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 17

and pay your taxes. That is not bad. So, this is the way I played my r-euti tried to bring

business into the tribe.

E: Do you remember a particular point where that became real clear to you? That was what

had to happen? Was there a moment?

B: Which particular...?

E: Was there a point where you said, 'OK, what we really need to do is...'

B: ...start making money?

E: ...is to have capital. Right.

B: The [idea of getting] capital would have been back in 19 something. It was prior to my

going to Vietnam, so I think, in it must have been between high school (which is 1964,

June) and April Fool's Day, 1965. I came back. I had tried to go to Junior College and

flunked out at Lake City. I came out and wrestled alligators at the Indian Village. I used

to do guide work all the time. I think it was in between that stretch [of time] that I was

starting to see what this was all about that you need to get your own create that ye u

need-money. I would go to a council meeting and look at this very sophisticated man.

[He would be standing there] saying we needed more money from the government. We

ned m.r money from the government. I am thinking. [I would wonder why.] Why

would yo u need more money frm the government? They are giving us enough to do

what we need. But it got to be a point [But it almost seemed] that the more he sounded

like anti-government, [the more the] it looked like the government would turn around and

give him more money. I see some of this even today. Some people will come up to me

Sem 261
Interviewee: James Billie
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and say, 'Hey, Chief, can I talk to you a minute? I would like to talk to you about a

loan.' But it is a person that doesn't like me and I don't like him. But I play my game. It

does not matter if he like me or if I like him [this is a person who does not like me or I do

not like him]. I am his Chief, [regardless] whether he likes it or not or I like it or not.[ of

how we feel personally]. I have to set that aside. And if he asks in a manner that

[indicates] he needs my help and [if he] uses those key words, in impersonal format, '4

need your help, -tday,-[ I seriously consider it.] He is not asking me to kiss his ass or

anything. He is just asking me for help Maybe not f.rom me from something that I am in

eentrelef-. So, it is my duty to step back and [consider] say,-se what we can help him

with. He may say, he needs a loan of so many dollars to buy a brand new car. You know

we are way out here. His old car might not make it. But, he might be lying to me but

who cares. I know that transportation, way out here, sixty miles from any hospital or

anything is a must and his car has got to be in good order. So, I will say, 'OK, so be it.'

And we just let it go. But, I might, personally, in my own conscience, I wish he would

just die, suffer, who cares. But that is not the way I was put in for. [But I have to act

without personal bias.] So, that is the way we do things.

So, I started noticing that. And the thing that always, they never had was the tribe had

lots of money from the government but they never had their own personal monies. [The

tribe had lots of money from the government but they never had their own personal

monies]. Nothing. They had all this resource [in] called the land but they-basically-did

not know how to use it. They did not know how to do something [in order] to make

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 19

money themselves. S, it was that money that we had to personally mak our...elve

beeauise[When] you have government monies, you have to justify, justify, and justify -

down to the last penny. But if it is yours, you only have to justify but- yeou don't have to

yjusify- itto them to our own group of people who put me in office [and not the

government. They are the ones who put me in office.] Se, when I saw tha+, That was in

1965. Then I went to Vietnam, not knowing if I was going to make it or not. I came

back and started work, which was, again, going after grants. Boy, we had about thirty

million dollars from the grant system. Everything we had was from grants. I worked

there for less than ten years. Then, the Honorable Howard Tommie was deciding to step

down or to run again. He was one of my favorites (the rest of them were favorite people

butt4partly because] he could speak three languages. [There were others who were

favorite people but Howard Tommie and] Betty May could speak three languages. Bill

Osceola could speak all three, [also]. Man, they spoke all language, whatever They were

always going after government grants.

So, when Howard Tommie decided to step down, if he was going to run, I wasn't going

to run. I said to him that it was my personal understanding; he was not going to run. He

said, 'Yes. I am not going to run. That is true.' So, I did not defeat Howard Tommie or

anything like that. Howard Tommie was one of my clan uncles, anyway.

E: You had been a representative a council representative?

B: Yeah, I have been a council [representative]. But, again, [it] was in the setting of-the

wrzng .tme. Here were council people I remember at the time, the council people were

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 20

"grants-oriented". They were 'Yes, sir, pople to the grant system. [They were used to

depending heavily on the grant system.] So, I could never move the way I personally like

to move. When I go into battle, I do not like [any] te restriction. You give me a choice

to go out there and kill somebody or take something over, let me do that and come back

victorious. Do not tie my hands. So, these people were always grants people so they

never could understand the -geedformat-[anything new]. You also have to remember that

in the Seminole Tribe, people who are elected in office do not have to necessarily be the

smartest persons in politics, business, economics, psychology, mathematics, I don't give

a shit, what. All you have to be is the most popular guy in your family tree. And most

people, who have got the family tree, can get in. Maybe that is how I did it. I am not

sure. But I was lucky. Beeause-None of the people really knew me other than to see me

wrestling alligators and doing what my forte was [that sort of thing]. So, when I was

sitting among these people as their council member, they would have had a diffCernt

opinion, not knowing how to things excep+ [they did not really know me. They only

knew how to do things the way they had been done as] they had represented Big Cypress,

Brighton, and where-else, Hollywood. So, there is people there. I'm not quite sure what

their thing was. I had an opinion but I would ncver divulge it to your paper. But

anyway, I was on the council.. [I had different views from some of the people there].

Things did not go [well the first time that I was on the council]. I remember there was a

sting there. [I was struck when I realized] That is when I stared realizing that my people

do not look at your intelligence; they look at alliance to that family tree. They would

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 21

help a person get in whether he des anything to them whether he will rip his own.

family tree up. They just put him in because that is their family tree. [Regardless of

what he might do, they just put him in because of their family tree]. It is an odd thing.

Once I learned that, I think I got stung the first time trying to be a councilman, and it did

not work. Next time, I won. Then, 4-think I got out. Again, -was4in It was] the wrong

era [for me]. I needed space to find something and that era came in the disguised

blessing when Honor.able Ho.ward Tmmie [The next time I was on the council, it came

in a disguised blessing when Honorable Howard Tommie] decided to step down and-let i

wide pen. He might have ,had his chie. I do not think that he ever thought that I

would run. In the old system, you never crossed someone's territory without asking

permission. They saw me running and asking permission, even if they stepped down

from office. You should say that you would like to take the opportunity, with their

permission. Howard may not have known that but that is [my way] in my feite so I asked

him. He said, 'Yes, you may go ahead.' That gave me the flip of the coin. So, I ran.

Luckily, I won. That is when the [council] format was trying to figure out [changing and

I tried to figure out] what resources of the lands ean -de- [we could use]. Since I was in

landscaping, mowing lawns and all this kind of thing. I saw all this space and wondered

if we could plant a seed here and there, and have plants grow in about five or six years.

Even in a year we could have the biggest nursery in Florida. The speech that you read

might have been something, but my main forte was to make money for the government so

it could help its own people in a truly sovereign manner [I thought we should steer] away

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 22

from the government grants. The government doe have an obligation +to giv you a

certain amount but not [grants were still helpful but we became less] dependent on that.

So, that was my goal. That is when somebody came up with [the idea of Bingo.] I think

it was Howard Tommie had already been making at thi+s hi+nglle [who had been

looking at] Bingo, unbeknownst to me. I did not fool around with it. But, a man named

Ted Boyd, right after I made my speech and everything was over, I went to my office and

he laid it in front of me. And I looked at it. That was the turning point for the Seminole

Tribe. Howard probably could have done that years before.

E: What did he put in front of you?

B: It was a Bingo proposal. It was a Bingo proposal. That was the last thing on my mind. I

always thought the bloodline of America was v, y easy t work in and some of the

easiest on earth would have been away from dr.gs. It would have been something what

I didn't know .xcept that I always thought casinos would be good but how would 1 T

that because I didn't know anybody that is in it because they are just too far above me in

that and so I just can't come in there like a little dishwasher and ask the kingpin of it.

But before I could even think hard, i just fell into my hands. [casinos would be good for

the tribe and it would be away from drugs. But before that time I had no idea how to

approach it because I did not know anybody who is in the business. I thought anyone in

casinos were just too far above me. I could not come in there like a little dishwasher and

ask for some kingpin. Then, before I knew,] it just fell into my hands. That is how it


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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 23

E: I suppose I can find a lot of this out in papers. Was there a Bingo place open under

Howard Tommie? Or was it still a proposal?

B: No. It was in just proposal form. [I did not dwell on] how he was approached-.,never

dweelled n-it I am one of those guys that do not waste time looking at what Howard

Tommie or someone else did. I had my own format. [ I realized that Florida is a very

unique place for the Seminole Indians in the United States.] The first thing that I realized

in the United States Indians is that Florida is a ,very unique place for the Seminoles.

There is hardly any racism. Nothing. As a matter of fact, there was [a group called]

"Friends of the Seminoles" started back in the 1800's. I wish they could see it, today, so

they could criticize me or applaud. Those people, bless their souls, help-me put clothes

on my back when I was a kid. They are gone, now. But I seldom ever hear from their

kids. I wonder if they are offended by it or whatever. But bottom line is But, I do not

care. I have gt to achieve a certain goal that I wanted [achieved my goal] to get money

for the tribe, one way or the other. Good or bad, I just had to get that thing started. I

knew that when I did, that I was going to have to go through the Southern Baptists

whatever it is that religion does to dians. [This religion does something to Indians.]

First of all, I [never] never did like what you call I like Christianity in the form of faith

and as a form of belief, and all this thing but I did not like the approach that they used to

utilize Christianity or religion to try t demoralize my thoughts. And start believing in a

certain wa, ,they think [I never liked the form of control whereby I am to believe in a

certain way so they think they can] to capture my soul. I never did like that. 4t was never

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 24

in my-spirit-.lt never felt right in my spirit when] n-my grandfathers or anybody [would

use the teachings.] My grandfathers would say we are going to go to the man making.

They would teach that there was only one person that we talk to and that was their God.

They believed in the same thing [as I do] but they tried to manipulate it in a manneto

manipulate-us. Our God keeps you v.ey individualistic [maintains individuality] and is te

help everybody [for everything]: worms, animals, ants, anything and human beings. [But

Christianity] But when they did ;i, it was a manner of control [implying] that you should

pray every second of the day. No. Your God is you. So, I never did like that.

E: Did that stand in the way? Do you see that Christianity or Baptist Southern Baptist B

did stand in the way of any of the economic development you were talking about before?

B: That is what I was leading to, before. I noticed through the years that different people;

different missionaries would come down to control us. I do not think the way a Southern

Baptist wants me to but in a way to become the leader, himself. [I remember one

missionary.] I do not know if he was looking at the health, education, welfare or the

upbringing of the tribe or if it was just his personality. He just wanted to be in charge of

the flock. Se, when I saw that I knew immediately, these people have been told >No

casinos'. And it is almost like >Do not have sex standing up.' That is a favorite joke of

mine about Southern Baptists, because it that might lead to dancing. I knew that when

they talked about sinful ways, they were always talking about money as the root of all

evil. But, they never read the rest of it. If you read that scripture and take it out of

context, it sounds bad. But if you read the whole damn scripture, it says it can bring the

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 25

most marvelous things and help you uncover and [unravel] untattle things this money.

This asshole preacher would never tell the rest of the people. So-ye, ujst think 'I do not

want to make any money.' [I call that a stupid son of a bitch not to explain] That is a

stupid idiot that that son of a bitch would have done. And I call him son of a bitch

because he was. not tolling the way .that this divine wisdom that is in the Bible. So, when

I saw this Bingo thing that Howard Tommie might have created, and brought in but never

really materialized I thought, I am going to go for it. The reason why I was going to is

because the tribe had less than a million dollars in the bank. The government, not the

United States government grants, but the tribal government had less than a million dollars

in the bank. The proposal for Bingo said that the first year profits would be about three

million dollars. I thought it would really be something if I could do that. So,-my bettoem

line thinking with a nice vocabulay that runs through, I said fuck it. I said I am going

for it. We had several days of negotiation and finalized it. Howard had set it up where

the people who were [organizing] setting-it-up it for the tribe were going to take like

eighty per cent and the tribe was going to get twenty per cent. I said, no. There is

something wrong with this thing. I do not like this because [I am giving away] I-a-m

prosituting out my sovereignty e-44lle-bittoo much. I might go even with you or a

couple points over fifty one percent so I can be in control of it. So, it wound up being

like a fifty-five, forty-five or fifty one forty nine, or something like that. That came from

the days when I used to push lawn mowers. Negotiating. If you want to use me, at least

give me my one per cent over o I know you are going to utilize me even if it is just one

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 26

pent. When I went to negotiate, they did not hesitate. Maybe, I should have asked for

more. I thought that was pretty good because of the hundreds of years without ne-{any]

money and here it is. It has been twenty-five years. What is twenty-five years? To me,

it is nothing. But to the government, who has been in control of monies for all their lives

[for many more years], twenty-five may be a long time. [Twenty-five years isn't bad for

the tribe to figure out how to get into the main stream of business.] But for the tribal

trying to figure out how to get into the main stream of doing buine twenty five years-

ain'-t bad I went for it and by-goey, we have lasted twenty-five years. I honored it like a

handshake. [The first thing that happened was due to some jealousy on the part of the

government.] The government might have said, 'oh, you sorry sons of bitches...'. But I

knew ajealous girl is going to call this other girl all kinds of things. And that is what

happened. First thing that happened ... 1 don't know how I got the council to go with it

but somehow I got the council to believe in me and gave me an overwhelming vote and

{After the first two or three weeks, I was asked to step down by Joe Dan Osceola, who

had always been a good opponent back in those days. He came in saying he wanted an

impeachment. [I do not know how I got the council to support me, but somehow they

believed in me.]

...because of the Bingo issue?

It was because of every damn thing. Joe Dan would not give a shit what you are. He

[was just a good warrior] has just g-t a good warrior format. The idea is just to do it.

[The idea is just to overturn me leadership.] Just to be victorious. It was the same format

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 27

that I have but I [have another way] don't use the same type he had. I had another way. I

go for the throat. Hejust went for- whatever it is but not in a manner.. Mine, I have

always liked my killer instinct. So, we went at it [in the council]. I opened my arms and

said, 'Go ahead, challenge me. It is yours.' Well, he hung himself at that that point.

Because the Chief where the petition file where he There are papers on file somewhere

in the archives. One of the things if he does not look like a chief, does not act like a

chief; does not talk like a chief, [he cannot be the chief. In this petition, that includes not

swearing]. And it sounds like Hell. When he said the word >Hell' [in the council,] they

[brought up petition] threw the petition ,ot. Everybody said, you are cussing, now. Oh-,I

am serry. And that is how it went. It was really monumental. Some of the churches

were against me. He knew he had me-butt [up to that point] but he just made one mistake

with H-e-l-l, and he killed himself. From that point on, I survived and as time went

along, we did all kinds of erazy [newfangled] things to maintain [the new business plan.]

The idea was to create roots and help out the political system-not mine but the outside ,

not using what they give us but or o s, new found monies. [We were trying to

use (not what they give us) but our own newfound monies] to get my political notice just

like any government does.

E: The first Bingo place was...?

B: Hollywood.

E: You mentioned the jealous girl in reference to the government? So the government was

B: No, it was Joe Dan and others that were jealous. But, yes, the government was, as well.

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 28

E: What were the main points of the jealousy? What would those people say about your

leadership? I mean, aside from the personal attacks.

B: Number one, let us take Joe Dan. I=m doing this because he knows this and I=m not

cutting him down. He just wanted to be the chief. Now, why he wants to be the chief, I

do not know. That is his brain that you can pick on. So, he would want to be the chief

and he is a good, good ball player.

Tape change

...because the Seminoles have been dormant all these years and all of a sudden, [we had]

all these rights that they had is going to be [we could] exercised to the hilt. And I [was]

am going to do it. [I felt like] it was my time [then]-new and the year 2000 was not too

far away. My intent was to be toetally-e, ehow-,knowledgeable about the world, but

maintain my dignity, my culture, and my religion and. The Chinese and [others have]

eveFybody-ha-done it. Jewish people have done it. Irish people have done it. So, it is

really nothing new. But the Seminoles have almost lost their tongue because they

understood a different way [of the different approach] of learning the white man's way.

So, Uncle Sam is going, 'Wait a minute, here.' And Uncle Sam is whoever is in power at

that time whoever put him into power. So, [it could have been] let us say, Al Capone.

He was a big, bad boy back in the early days. Se, these are guys, You know what I am

talking about. But, suppose he had a child one time or he had children one-time These

are the children of the bad boy but these children someh w, they might hav,, missed th

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 29

next children but or their children, (their grandchildren) som-how instead of being

Capone, now they nma-y be called Capland to disguise that name. And those people are

new have been could be] receiving benefits from Al Capone=s money all these years.

And now, he is a Capland [They might now be called Capland instead of Capone, to

disguise that name. And those people are now receiving benefits. Now, he is a Capland]

but the way to eontre-l[have power in] the government to become a part of Uncle Sam is

['s system is to become a] by becoming a senator, congressman, attorney general or

something in the governmental process. He becomes that but he washes his name; He

cleans [up his name] it up to get here.

So, here comes James Billie in 1979, to talk about Bingo and to make it high stakes. He

does not have a piece of that pie through his old system so he is going to challenge me.

So, what he is going to do is he is going to throw everything and evething at me. [He is

going to throw everything at me.] I will be looking at what Al Capone use to do. If he

broke somebody's kneecaps, this boy remembers. It is written down in his history and he

knows. Again, the apple does not fall too far from the tree. He will not hesitate to knock

my kneecaps off. The only thing that saved me [the history of the Catholic Church using

Bingo.] I have been approached several times with threats about the kneecaps in a

[subtle] mild manner. They would say something like, 'I suggest very strongly...' They

use these nice little words but you catch the drift, '...that you don't go into this'. And I be

watching him and if he is of that tree, I'll know and I can feel it in my bones. But the

thing that I got into wa. not of his doing. It [Bingo] was something that they never shed

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 30

blood over. [They shed blood over] Casinos and dog tracks. They sh"d bloods in that A

lot of people have died for [getting into] doing-this gambling stuff [In] Bingo, hardly

anybody has ever shed blood. They didn't have their finger on it because the Catholics

played it and they were Catholics. So, [This was because the Catholics played it and they

were Catholics, so they did not have their finger on it.] They always let the Archbishops

and all them, whoever it is and the other people play Bingo because it was just a

wholesome game. It was just a bunch of little numbers. But somewhere When Howard

Tommie got the numbers (of how to play it if you were a sovereign nation) you could

play the game any way you wanted to, especially since it was played all over the country

and the world. But at the same time go a little further into these [Also, according to the]

state's legal system, it is not criminal [or prohibited.] and -pehibirtey. It is regulated, i ss

civil and regulated. [however.] So, they did have regulation n it. But those we call the

grand boys (the Mafia boys) did not shed blood over it. The manipulated it to keep it that

way in the -apital [It stayed that way] because all of these old timers' children were

sitting up there perhaps [at the state capitol.] Nt that I am saying that th+y are. But, for

me to control one day. [One day,] my son will become somebody. He has got to learn to

maintain so that is what is going on. So, when we saw that, there is an old

thing that Do you remember me talking about crossing the line and getting permission -

when I went to Howard Tommie to ask whether he wanted me to run or not? He said

'Well, you have it; it is wide open.' So, next, I went to Archbishop McCarty, an old

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 31

person in charge of the Catholic system, at that time. I don't know hew- yettsay these

things-[the Catholic word for it].

E: Where was he?

B: He was over in Miami. Archdiocese, I think they call it. He was the top dog. The crazy

thing about this whole scenario was that Seminole Tribe did not have enough money to

get an attorney. Howard Tommie had gotten this one person named Steve Wildon.

Steve Wildon happened to be a very charitable guy a-ndmentalit-y-and went to the

Catholics and got a grant from them to pay him to be an attorney for the tribe.

E: He was an attorney?

B: Yeah and he got this $30,000 grant from the government to help the Seminoles to get on

their feet. SC, when I saw that, It was more fitting to ask the Catholic system to give us

this money than the permission to go into Bingo. Again, I was crossing that territorial

boundary. Maybe they did not control it but in a sense they did control it. We explained

to them what we were going to do. We were going to make it high stakes Bingo, a lot

more than they do. The priest said, 'Bless you.' I mean there were other words, there.

But, basically, he gave me the flip of the-eein-'go-ahead.'] So, I did my homework, not

my hemewerk but- my duty to go into their territory, ask permission and come out. Since

the Mafia doesn't have-or any other underground people did not have control of it, I still

have my balls, my knees, and my head. I have never been shot other than, one time when

I started to get into a horse track, Jai Alai and dog track. I was just kindly told to stay


Sem 261
Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 32

E: This was when you were Chairman?

B: I=m still Chairman.

E: No, I mean, this is when...?

B: When I was beginning my Chairmanship. In the first ten years, I started wanting to

expand.out because I do havc that privilege to do those things if I choo.s. I have the

privilege to do that if I choose. As time went on, the descendants of these old time guys

that arc known as [were now] senators and congressmen or wheeer- i may be

[something]. There are some people in there-[office] that are very wholesome people.

But, when I see somebody stand up and really challenge me, that guy like Senator

Weldon or Congressman Weldon challenging the crap out of me ever-here, [I want to

check it]. When somebody goes for the throat tee-hard, there is always a little seo.ething

[history] buried somewhere and I want to check it. The only thing I can tell you and I

hope it never gets out, is if you are going to challenge me, do it in a manner that I will not

get suspicious. If you challenge me too hard, you have some graves, some buried bones

somewhere, and I am going to look for them.

E: So, he is protecting his interest in it?

B: Yeah, somewhere he--this attacker] is protecting his interests. If [that is] not [true], come

and talk to me personally so I can understand your feelings because I am a good warrior

at heart. If it looks like I should not be going into that literally [getting into something,

then I would not] --wen't -ge-o e-it. Bingo was something that just did not fit into

anyone=s fete-[protected interest]. And how Howard Tommic wa. approach. d with it, I

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 33

think I know that stoy but you can look for it yorelf. [The way Howard Tommie was

approached about it, you can look for it yourself.] But, that was a blessing in disguise

[for me] and I appreciate Howard holding it to give me. [I appreciate] whatever it was

that gave me the light to do it. because I really needed to shine really bad in my own

personal life and that is how it began. At the same time, it benefited my tribe almost

gloriously in the sense of business making money to help each rather wi+h [and helping us

to make money.] So, that is how tha-[Bingo] began [for us].

E: Obviously, it turned things around completely. It opened up new doors.

B: Sometimes I would be siting there jus-dumbfounded for words and- yu an- just uter a

word that 'Oh, OK [about it. It was as if I had said 'supercalifragilistic' or whatever it is,

and got what I wanted.

E: I am going to switch tracks real quickly. You mentioned, just in passing that Seminoles

almost lost their tongue.

B: This started in 1957. That is when Laremy Osceola, Bill Osceola, all those leaders at

that particular time [were] stressing this point, to go lea [learning] the white man=s

way. They were trying desperately to try to pick it up so their children could quickly

learn the English way. They wanted to learn how to speak English beyond a shadow of a

doubt of what they are saying [in order to understand without a shadow of a doubt what

was being said]. [There was a risk that so much emphasis was on English that] And -t

aehieve-that you may have to wipe everything else out. And de-it. But, we know human

beings can learn. Even though they already know something, they can make their brain

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 34

,hold t+hi back and lea thi, way [put that aside and learn something new.] And if they

are intelligent people, they are like osmosis, they can pick it up. But they literal-y-[The

adults] did not speak to their children in Seminole tongue even though they were full-

blooded Seminoles. Then there was this religious thing, the southern Baptist religion. I

think the southern Baptist religion, itself is a wonderful organization. However, it is the

people that it is in it, what they understood is not what or what they think they understood

;i not what+ was being said. It is just an in diid; l person with th;is [as individuals they

sometimes misunderstood. I have known of an individual person with this] glorious

feeling of beig-standing in front of semebedy started [the congregation, who started]

preaching his own mental-thoughts [as if they were church truths]. If he is an idiot,

everybody becomes an idiet [is influenced in that direction]. But, [particularly] if he has

a very nice open, eesme-mental4ty [way about him, they think he is representing] or what

the Bible [says] saying, it would have been good. [I used to talk about money as] But

just like I was talking ab ut this, money is the root of all evil, for many years, and that is

all I thought it was. Until I read it and one day- read the whole darn thing, and I realized

that is not what it said. But, this idiot of a preacher B that is all he said.

E: I have talked to several people who have said the church and some of the missionaries

told the Seminoles they could no longer do things like Green Corn Dance because it was

not Christian.

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B: This is where the misinterpretation took place. Our Green Corn Dance is a very symbolic

thing that has been going on for generations. [This is what we were doing] generations

way before what yo ett-eathe Caucasians came over here and tried to instill. This i; what

rthey were doing. Later part of years, [In later years,] maybe in the 1900=s, I know some

soe-ef-alcohol got into it and it became ridiculous. [For example] -i4ke the preacher

[would be] standing up there drunk, trying to preach. That what was goi--ng It was a

disgrace. I often wondered if I am so powerful, so proud of my culture, why do 4have[is

there] this stupid thing called alcohol. I-{People] can drink any time of the year but only

I am asked to do my cer-monicg in worshipping however God created things or

reinstating my life for four days. Why do I have to be drunk? I can do it any other time.

fWhy would they do it during my assemblies for worshipping? However, we are

celebrating for four days what God created. Why do I have to be drunk? I can do it any

other time.] [That hurt a lot of people.] A lot of people were hu.t by it, b;+ an up in

there byit [There were beatings with] fighting each other and stabbing each other during

Green Corn Dances. This probably became a peie--E [an] issue with those who were

afraid to stand up and fight for themselves. God bless those people that even through all

the sinful ways (fighting and stabbing each other) Green Corn Dance withstood it and are

still [going on, endured it and are still] running it today. For those cowards that went into

the churc-h and want to sit there and whatever they did, they do not hav e my total [The

others that turned to the church during that time do not have my] respect in a sense. They

ar going with this thing whre they always ay [Some of them, as they learned from the

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church began believing] the >white man=s way' and some of them said >Fuck the white

man and all this shit.' Yet, Jesus Christ seems to be a white guy. How come they are

kissing his ass? I am sitting ther- with this [had] really mixed feelings. I never had a

problem with cussing that God or Jesus Christ. I do not even feel embarrassed about it.

Because if he is such a great God, he should know that when I am cussing, I might be

mad [at something else]. If he wants to tickle me a little bit and show me that he is

around, he does not have to punish me. He can just say, 'Hey, you know I am here.' [let

me know He is there]. [The whole thing seems distorted] And so, they distorted this

whole thing and they .staed believing in this simpler- way. I was raised going to the go

to the Green Corn Dance. [Now, they are learning] it is heathen. Well, what they are

doing is fucking paganism. It is always like this girlfriend I was talking about. This

gorgeous girl does not want me having sex with another girl, so she is going to say

everything [negative about the other one] like >oh, that fucking whore and all this

fueking-shit. [Even the] Baptist thing everything-was this same mess. So, I see people,

today who have never been to Green Corn Dance. But, finally, one of my greatest

dreams in life was to get the Green Corn Dance back close as-we--an-to its original form.

[I mean with] no alcohol and worshipping the way we do gathering, feasting, gathering

wood, distributing, reacquainting ourselves. I have not seen anybody get married out

there, but reacquainting, under [traditional] conditions the way we were bern--[it was a

generation before us.] I guess if you were born [when it included] under alcoholic

conditions, maybe that is what you wi4l-be [remember]. But I am talking about the

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original creation. We have achieved it here, at the Big Cypress under Sonny Billie=s

[direction]. He was alcoholic at one time. I drank, also. But, now when I am there, it is

[as sacred as] like- m going to a Catholic mass. Now, when somebody is preaching, they

are sober and people talk to each other and reacquaint themselves. It is very nice.

E: It seems to be a success from everything I hear ...I have talked to many people who have

participated in that. Everybody that I have spoken with says that they think that it is a

pretty impressive thing.

B: Se this is why-At the beginning of our conversation you were talking about you were

talking about these Christian type people. And this is why I was looking [I looked] at

your list and have a totally different [idea] format (many of us do) of what we call the

true blue southern Baptist people. I was taught that [the Christian] this-religion ef church

is still a type of religion and it does not matter if it is southern Baptist, Catholic, or

something else except they do it in a different manner. While they are reading from a

book, we do ours from memory So we do not have to be a Bible-armpit-

toting-guy to be religious and to know the creator, not Jesus;, but Ged. [We do not know

Jesus, but we know God.] Now, his son, so this is why when We pray in our system, we

ca4llhim [to] the grandfather and his son. And it is true-In our [belief] system, he had sent

down a son. Now, I am not quite sure how they-knew-that [went] but they claim that he

had walked this earth; a light skinned man had walked this earth. So, the grandfather sent

his son down and people abused him. They did not say they hung him on a cross. But

they abused him. Some of our songs like [sings a short phase ending in ya-ah-way] Ya-

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ah way. I asked people what is Ya-ah-way? And they said, I do not know. It has been

in our songs as memory. But in some religions, Ya-ah-way, I think is God.

E: Yeah.

B: And then, you go to the Hopi=s and they go Ma-sha-wa. It is another word for Messiah.

But this man had come, where did it come from, I do not know.

E: So, you are just keeping the door open B we are going to have to break this up...

B: No, go ahead. Continue.

E: OK. Two things I really want to cover before you have to end this. Well, I want to come

back to this discussion of language. The other thing I want to do before we break here is

to talk about where you see things going in the coming generation. First of all, about the

language, I have talked with other people who are about your age. They have said that

they grew up at a time when they felt their parents were teaching them or encouraging

them to become white. And these are people who are full-blooded Indians.

B: That is a misinterpretation.

E: Do you think they were talking about the parents' guidance in reference to language and

that sort of thing?

B: This is what I saw when I was a kid. That was a misinterpretation.


B: That is not what they meant. I was fortunate As I said before, the apple does not fall

from the tree. I was fortunate in having my grandmother, grandfather, Josie Billie and

them, when they saw me, They spoke in Indian. All you have to do

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is just open up and use your tongue to that child. And they did not do that. They just did

not do it. I grew up in a house with Laurie May and them. They never spoke Indian,

not one ofthem. They always spoke English. However, I was fortunate enough that by

the time I was erphanized [orphaned] by eleven years old, that was already my tongue.

Now, English is my secondary [language], but I did not have a problem [learning Indian.]

Just think it you speak English, I will speak English. If you speak Indian, I will speak

Indian to you. They just did not practice it. That was just was that family tree=s

interpretation or that child=s interpretation. [For instance, some of my] Like I have some

children...my first set of children, if you say to them >would you say Chook-fee.' They

go [makes just a sound]. They act like they do not want to say it. From the time they

were born, they act like they do not want to say it, even though I speak Indian to them.

And I am going, >Wow, this is really weird.= But I am married to a second lady and I

say, >Alright, Chook fee.= >Ah, rabbit, rabbit.' It is as if they have no hesitation. But

then that family tree is very intelligent so I am not sure how to blame people. My first

wife's family is just as nice but they did not have that same type f grasping-[grasp of

language]. My two boys, if you say something, you don't have to say, 'repeat it to me

[do not have to have to be told to repeat it.] I will say >Coffee'. Even though this is

English, I am just saying it like coffee [said with an accent] it is the same thing. Or I

will say Ogee-logee black water Ogee-logee. 'Oh, black water.' But they will

translate. And they have fun doing it. So, I am not quite sure how each group of people

interpreted and thought what they should do. I have noticed that through the entire tribe.

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E: Right, so it depends upon the individual family.

B: Each individual family tee-has their own interpretation of what they think should be.

And you have got to know that we are all different human beings. We have different


E: Even so, there is this period of time where ...the recognition, I=m not sure exactly where

it starts and where...

B: I will tell you where it starts. It always takes that one buck leading the whole herd.

[People are meant to be led.] And if that asshole up front is strong, kept healthy, and has

a good, general feeling and if I put it down,[ he can demand things happen. The leader

can even demand telling you] >you are going to learn the damn language, you

motherfuckers.= I do not care how it is. I do not care what my frte- is [anyone else

wants]; this is the way of things. You must do it because people are meant to be led. I do

not give a shit what you say. People are meant to be led. And I am used to leading my

troops in Viet Nam, I am used to doing certain things. So, when my own grandfather

says, you have to lead and people will hate you. They will throw you. [They will attack

you and] they will try to assassinate you. You just have to survive and make sure you

use that sixth sense. And then, pray for an angel. So, they say whatever you put dewn

but you first have to get [do at the beginning, it must] established this thing called some

sort of respect. I do not give a damn if it is good respect or bad respect. [This is so] But

when you say something, they will follow you. [It is] for that reason, I am using

everything in my power to get back into... [my native tongue]. Language will be maybe

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not 100 per cent restored but they will learn it by using a rosette stone, media, [or

anything.] Then I want to tell my girls to learn how to say something to the children and

then to stop going out of boundaries, like my Mother. I do not know if she was raped or

she had sex with another human being that is not of my tribe. My bloodline is thinning

out. I am telling all these young girls that are full blood to start out, at least, having sex

with my own [people]. They giggle and ask if I am going to give them anything? I said,

if I have to, I will. They all just look at me. They think I am in idiot. I want to make

sure not under my wath, my tribe is not going to lose its tongue [on my watch]. Matter

of fact, I would like to reinstate it.

E: At what point did you realize, as their leader that had to be done?

B: 1968. When I came back from Viet Nam.

E: Seriously?

B: A guy named Joel Frank, bless his heart... [He and I] Me and him have been friends for a

long time.

E: Joel?

B: Joel...J-o-e-l. He is in charge of HUD, right now. Or Ambassador Joel Frank, he used to

be an ambassador. I came back from Viet Nam and he was getting ready to go to the

Marines. We went to the Green Corn Dance, which is a very big part of my life. That is

when I think and the reason why I think it is part of my life is that that is the time when

God looks- dwn and [God opens his window, looks down] and sees the fire. And when

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he sees the fire They say if he sees just one Indian sitting there [by the fire] trying to hold

something together, He says, 'Well, just one, but he still maintains [the ritual].' I can just

see [God] thatgtty doing that. Or God deing that. So, we went to Green Corn Dance

[along Tamiami Trail] where all my uncles were along Tamiami Trail. When we went

there, there were about thirty people. Wow! Back in the old days, there were fifteen

hundred, almost two thousand people but [in 1968] they were all at the church. They

were not at their tine identity' y t this place [there spiritually, I don't think]. So, I told

Joel, if I ever do anything in my life, I am going to get my people back to this Green

Corn Dance. They must understand, [however], that there is no sin coming here and

there is no sin against coming here and there is no sin against going there. It is that idiot

up there on the grandstand telling everybody that it is a sin to go [one place or another]

here. So, I am going to start preaching it, one way or the other. [I knew that there

would] it is geing te-be a lot of my friends [that would go against me] girlfriends that

had been indoctrinated in southern Baptist doctrine that are going to go against me. But

fuck it. I have a mission, here. So, Joel said, 'Me, too.' He is of both descents. He is of

the Muskogee Seminoles plus of the Miccosukee Seminoles. So, we tried it and we

started-preaching it in a very mild form. If there were a group of my buddies out here

drinking beer- and weree standing [around and drinking beer, I would ask if] anybody

was going to the Green Corn Dance? 'You know that is our own way. You say you are

Seminole but I see you at the church all the time. There is nothing against going to

church, but you also go here.' The first thing that weuld pep up [they would bring up]

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was, 'Man, last time I was there I almost got my ass knocked up...or my head knocked off

because some damn idiot came and challenged me because maybe I fucked his girlfriend

one time.' I said 'Well, that could be a problem. If you keep you dick where it belongs

and at least, come back to the Green Corn Dance.' In about two years, we went to that

Green Corn Dance, it was the same thing over in the lowlands, two years, we came

up about five hundred people were out there. Woo! That was a mental orgasm. Joel and

I sat there, without them knowing that this was happening, that they were coming back.

All they needed was that strong attitude of >Let us go back to our ways. You do not

have to lose this or that. You do not have to burn up money. You just have to know...but

be proud. You say you are a Seminole. Be a goddamn Seminole, damn it. And that is

about the way we were doing it. And the next thing I know, we are alive and well. Now,

the other thing is getting the tongue back. We are alive to the dismay of a few preachers,

maybe. But who gives a shit. He is not the one who kept me alive when I was in Viet

Nam. It was the spirit of my tribe, not his mentality. So, with that same mentality we

were bringing it all back. People will know what they are. And I am not sure what the

consequences will be but we will see.

E: But, in 1968, you saw this happening with the Green Corn Dance?

B: 1968. 1969.

E: Was language a more gradual thing to recognize?

B: NO. We knew that, too. We did that

E: That seems pretty tricky to me.

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B: NO, the idea was to talk. But the thing that we were running into first of all was yeti

own sexual hormones and wanting to fuck everything there is. [owning your sexual

hormones. The problem of wanting to fuck everything there is.] You go through that

whether you like it or not. And it is just the way God made things to reproduce. So, you

know your dick gets up and you want to fuck everything there is. But when these people

are screwing, they are screwing [anyone] anything and they might produce an a-little-bi

efa-unintelligent kid or something. So, we have to [be careful about that] thretgh that,

too. They are really fascinated with the hippie times, [and the atmosphere of freedom of

that time. Through one trend or another], that sor of thing. But one way or another there

was always a group out there called the independent Seminoles. Bless their souls. They

did not join Miccosukee or what wee all-the Seminoles. They maintained [traditional

ways] and they were the fire of the group. But now, that fire is transferred to almost

everybody. But they still maintain a certain thing. The idea was to keep telling the

women, especially the girls, [to talk to their children in their tongue. They nurtured the

girls], let us say they breast-feed them about this. For example, today I will flirt around

with the women and I will say have you been talking to your child in your tongue? I

have legends and stories that are in English but there is another one that will come out in

Indian. If they know the English version when I tell them in Indian, they will catch it.

So, with this Rosette stone, this has more impaetal thing--[impact]. Then, it is totally in

Indian. Now, they just have to start hearing it. The next step is now, they know the

legend but I am going to tell them the legend, now [for me to tell them the legend] in

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Seminole, enee they hear it [so that they hear the story with which they are now familiar.]

There are a lot of people out there that speak more Indian what has happened [than they

have shared], such as Joe Dan's wife. Joe Dan=s first kids did not know nothing

[anything]. Joe Dan's second wife grasped it because of her father= s mentality

[influence]. Their kids speak Indian right now.

E: That is what I gather. Kids who are going through their grade school, right now, have a

good grasp of the language.

B: But I have been told by my own grandfathers that there always was this group that was

very hard core and who do things traditionally and really well. But their offspring

[rebelled and] were in it and they thought, 'Oh, God, do I have to do this?' They became

lazy. But, now, they have offspring ef their ewn-and they see [the parents as lazy] a

bunch of idiot par-ents they get. They just got laz Somehow, this one here [Gradually,

one] will talk to grandpa and grab that knowledge and wonder why their father does not

know anything. The grandfather [would say he] was a fucking shithead; he would not

listen to me. But, the grandson picks it up. Man, it has just been leapfrogging along. It

is my leap frog time. I am part of that leapfrog. So, the next generation may [or may

not] pick it up may net. But the generations [after that] will pick it up. So, now I have

got a burning desire to put I don't give a shit if it is against the it on something that

they can hear when they are ready to grasp it and learn. [I do not give a shit if it is

against the law.]

E: Yeah. I have seen some of the educational materials that have been...

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B: That is nothing. That is nothing. That was a teaser. This other one that is coming up is

the very heart of what I am talking about.

E: The CD and the...

B: ...every Goddamn thing. If I could stick it in their brain cell, it will be there. One of

these days, we probably will. But I think [it is that diversity that makes] to-make-the

United States and Uncle Sam strong. with all this diversity. ; I is the diversity that makes

UneleSam strong. So, I want to be part of that diversity, my era, for Uncle Sam in a

weird way.

E: That is pretty interesting. If you could summarize what you would like to do in the next

five years, what would that be? Is there something that would have a lasting effect?

What would you like the Seminole Tribe to look like when they are your age or when

they are grown up?

B: Seminole Tribe will be very sophisticated looking if everything goes correctly, because

of the [things] pat that we are going through now. Several things have slowed me down.

There was this drug abuse. Marijuana, LSD, Cocaine, and Rock just took hold of this

one generation. Just in the last ten years or whatever they were or anybody, [no matter

who they were], it tore their ass up and then I had to go through [we had to get over that.]

I was lucky enough to have money to [rescue some] to pull his ass out if his brain is

still together. All these crazy things take place. It has to be me that has [I have] to be

pretty nemchsober and pull those assholes out and whoever with the rest of the people-

Even the ugh this thing is I am destined to try to do something for the followers. I do not

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try to dictate to my people, in a sense. I go after making monies to take care of them. If I

run into an individual person, I will give them my philosophy but I do not try to dictate

my personal philosophies to my followers or the people I am leading. I try to let them

take care of their own destiny and their own personal responsibilities. Most of the time I

can help them on financial [aspects] but if I catch them using this financial thing when I

have put my life and my neck on the line.... [If I find that they use these] This--menies

tha+t I somehw achieved and they are utilizing that to go [monies that I obtained to be]

corrupt, I will cut his ass off immediately. That is when you will hear them talk to

newspapers. You will hear that James Billie is [using] en4y favoritism. You are God

damn straight. Now, where the media is going to help me, is to understand why I did

[certain things by] it and talk [talking] to me personally. [For example the St. Pete Times

want to know] why you specifically singled him out and are not helping him, like-take-the

St. Pete Times. Those idiots don't even know how I run the government. They don't

realize [the person from whom] wheever I choked money off, could have been a fucking

dope addict and he taking this money to buy crack. I don't know what their thing is. Se-

that helps this guy out. I'll survive through that now that I am at that level where this

bullshit is thrown at you. That is [where] the pai I am now. You know, they don't want

you to achieve certain things. Or they just want gossip to make a newspaper or you have

a personal interest in this girl. This girl wants you so they make her look stupid. Well,

that is the way Uncle Sam's people does to each other. It is like we are getting into a

Machiavellian society but we have not eliminated anybody by physically killing them,

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yet. I have been close. I am very qualified to do that. I have thought of it but that is not

the way I would like to finish up my [career] style.

E: This whole thing with the St. Pete Times, you say you don't know where they are coming

from or something...?

B: Oh, I know where it is coming...

E: ...the Seminole Tribe has changed so much in the last generation, how do you see...

B: We have not changed. We just didn't have the opportunity because we didn't have that

cash. Now, I am exercising all of those things. Good or bad, I am going to have to try

everything. I am going to flip over every stone to find that gold or wh+ateverthat answer

is. There would be a time that it just mellows out. Because we achieved, like 1 said, I

achieved what I wanted to do about the fourth year and after that it was trying to guard

what I've got. People would challenge me and I would be standing there, watching them.

Do they know how to approach a senator or a congressman or do they even know

anything? Just to kick my ass out doesn't mean they were successful. No, that is their

downfall in certain things. But, if [they were]-he-is-smart, [they] he would hire me to be

on board as a guardian of a eeiain-thing [something]. But, no, they didn't even try to

join the military or anything. A lot of these people think of the military and they get

scared but you can learn a lot of things in the military. You can learn how this world is

run. Just because you join the military doesn't mean you are going to war. You can be in

one of the support groups. You may never see the war or never see a gun. You are going

to get trained. But these parents I've got believe this idiotic thing that when you go to

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war, you are going to die. Naturally, somebody is going to die. Shit, they get killed right

here on the fucking highway a useless cause. So, that is what holds them back half of

the time.

E: Speaking of the military, do you remember, in 1964, why you wanted to join the


B: I wanted to join the military the day I could remember. Just like my sons. Apple doesn't

fall too far... I never told my kids that I was a warrior. But my children are warriors.

My daughters now, may have more cells from their other side but my sons, right

now... so, I have got to watch them so they don't be part of that system that is shooting

people in schools.

E: But you wanted to before the Viet Nam war?

B: Yeah, I wanted to be part of the charge coming out victorious. Always had dreams like

that. My sons are doing it now.

E: And it sounds like, from what you say, that being in the military gave you a fair


B: Being in the military fulfilled my dreams and taught about some of the best people on

earth. Not because of killing or how to survive and all that kind of stuff, but it was

wonderful; I liked it. There were times I went, what the hell am I doing here, but you,

know, the overall was good.

E: Did it give you a different perspective on leadership and organization?

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B: I don't know how you get to be a leader. Ijust know that if they follow me, I know that I

can get over that damn swampland without getting killed but you have to do what I am

telling you. If you don't, I'll shoot you myself because I want to come home. I don't

know if that is leadership but I took over several times and I just tell them to follow me

and I'll make it. But then, they would follow because oh, the Indians can see in the dark

and all that shit. So, I had that privilege. But it wasn't because I wanted to be leader; it

was because I wanted to get there. I knew how to get there and I knew they couldn't.

E: That 'Indians can see in the dark stuff was there a bunch of that...?

B: We were all preying upon anything and everything to survive. I know one Jewish boy

that was a friend of mine who had this little piece of paper. His father or his uncle told

him that if he could recite that so many times a day, he would live, forever or make it

through the war. But he died. So, I tell them, I am not going to read this. I'm not going

to be standing here reading, I might get shot. I just knew from when I was a kid -

because I was by myself for many years literally doing things on my own to survive

when I was a kid Ijust learned on my instinct. Like here is a very uncolorful thing.

But here is something that happened to me one time and after that I knew that I could

trust my own instincts. I had eaten a bunch of guavas. It has got seeds. And I couldn't

shit it out. And I could feel that damn thing coming out of my ass but it could come out.

So, somehow I could look under there and got a piece of stick and dug it out out of my

own ass and relieved my own bowels. Years later, it happened again to my son, but he

was a baby and the mother said, James, look, he can't get it out. But that thing that

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happened to me when I was four or five years old, I did it to my son. I just barely cut that

hard cut that hard ball out and he extracted it or he pushed it out himself. Those were the

developing days but that had nothing to do with leadership. It just knew that I could do

things myself. Only because, my grandfather then teaches us at that time, bee stings,

snake bites little chants like these things. And it was kind of neat that you start believing

in what you were told at a young age. And you are scared shitless; you have little chance

that you say, I don't know if it works but I am still here. But, Viet Nam was a good area

of testing ground under the field of fire. Most of the time, Viet Nam was fun.

E: That is what I hear a lot of people say. Tremendous experience.

B: Beautiful women. Who cares about the war? Beautiful women.

E: The war was a job for a time and...

B: Man, let's hurry up in here. Go shoot somebody and get back to the town.

E: People talk about it being long periods of boredom punctured by these intense battles and

so forth.

B: What? ...in Viet Nam? Yeah, I know what they are talking about. If we were in doing

something, solving a problem like trying to figure out where the Viet Cong were, our

mind was occupied. But, when you are laying down doing nothing I get bored like that

around here. So, I always keep active. That's how it is everyplace. Got to develop here.

E: I was going to ask you about that. Because this place seems to be one of the things that

you are doing with this place well, you are obviously, remaking the environment; you are

also doing a certain amount of preservation with it.

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B: I developed all of these jobs there is approximately 5,000, I think, close to 5,000 jobs in

hopes that somebody in my tribe would work there.

E: Here?

B: Anywhere, in the entire tribe. Where ever I have business. It is slow to come but they

will stand at my door and say, 'Can you give me a loan?' I have stopped that. Tomatoes

fields out there, pepper fields out there, there are people in charge of people, they get

good damn money, more than what they are borrowing in a year's salary but they are,

you know. It is a mentality that will take if 4-ean-get-one out of that let's forget about the

2600, thro is only half of thcm that ar + mature. people hat work. 1200 1300 persons

moving. [If I can get one out of the (let's forget about the 2,600; there is only half of

them that are mature people that work], the rest of them are kids. That is a damn good

number one thousand three hundred beautiful. Except about 600 of those people

working, I've got just 200 or 300 people left. That is wonderful. So, I have always been

very happy with the achievement that we have done. But there are 5000 jobs, twice the

amount of jobs that Seminoles but you have got to remember that it is only 50%, so

1300 people. So, if all these 1300 people, if they have the right mentality, they can go

there. But, out of the 1300 probably only 50 of them are capable to work because the rest

of them are something wrong with them, handicapped, senior citizen, retirees or

whatever. And I don't believe in retirement, not today, with my language. If you are

ninety years you can still think, you are going to go work at the children changing diapers

and speaking that language so that child, whether that idiot grand daughter of yours can't

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speak, at least Grandpa can talk to them. So, that is the way I am doing it. But I can't

shove it up their ass sort of thing so I have got to be very careful creeping in and, that old

trick of making it like it is their thought, has always been more powerful than me

[saying,] 'Do it.' But there are some people you can literally do that to, because they

want to be dictated to. But there are those things that you have got to let them catch it on

their own. So, it takes time so I figure within, probably, the next twenty years I'll be

sitting there looking at old traditional ways. Because the old clock what do they call it,

the old pendulum swings back the other way. They will be very traditional back over

here but now, I want them to embrace both things and come back with you like I don't

know what the hell you do for yourself but you probably do some traditional things that

will shock the shit out of somebody. But you are sitting here taking some documentation

for somebody or for yourself.

E: I probably do. I probably do a lot of things I am not even aware of.

B: Same here.

E: I have two questions, really. I was asking about the environment and the Billie Swamp

Safari as being ecotourism.

B: It is really not ecotourism. It is just a safari. I don't have that 'Saving the Earth'

mentality. My mind does not work just for the benefit of kissing other people's ass, I say

it is Eco-tour. But my mind does not work in the term of saving this earth. There is not a

way you can fuck up this earth. Earth, I am taught will heal herself. I don't give a shit

what the hell you do to her. You might be part of that destruction earth will do to itself.

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But, when Earth wants to fuck herself up or clean itself up, it will do that. But man will

come out and put a bunch of poison in front of you that might kill you, that immediate

thing, but you are not going to fuck up this earth. It has never been that way. The

glaciers move, not because of you and me. [We may cause] maybe this ozone bullshit,

may be1 audsed by us but will nature tolerate it? No, she will probably figure out how to

blast herself up. One hurricane comes by and fucks up everything and I don't see

anybody charging each other for it. One earthquake comes by and I don't see anybody

penalizing Mother Earth for it. She does it, herself. So, the things I do here, Ijust

develop but I do like to keep a certain integrity of what I want people to enjoy because

this is one of my hunting grounds, my personal favorite hunting grounds and probably

some of the other Indians, here. So, this is what we are sharing and we do know that a

population on earth does not have that privilege, anymore. So, I am capitalizing off of

what is taken away from them by our progressive society on the open.

E: So, in a sense it is more a cultural preservation than natural preservation?

B: No. This is not a cultural. This is just straight safari. Come out to the swamp, get stung

by a mosquito, get abused by Jim Billie and some Seminoles and look at it and leave.

And once in a while I'll entertain by losing a finger. I mean, it is real here. Now, if you

want to see something a little more culture, you go to the Museum.

E: ...which I wanted to ask you about, also.

B: That one there, I am very -I don't know what the fancy word would be -but there was a

man here whe, like said who people literally [did] not know too much about Sam Jones

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and Opayakee. The Museum [was] built here because of that one single man they

followed who put fear in them somehow, to follow him and they stayed here. And by

following him, they survived. They didn't go to any place else. They fought battles;

they lost some people, but they never lost that battle, that little war. So, that is why it is

known as the Devil's Garden. This devil of a man that they call, they weren't calling him

the real devil but he was the devil that wouldn't allow them to go home after when they

thought the war should end. So, they started calling Sam Jones, the devil. And then,

pretty soon, all the Seminoles were in these areas in the swamplands and they learned

how to navigate through and everything, it was like his garden. He knew his garden so

well that when somebody came in, he would expel them. So, this is known literally,

today, from south of Okeechobee in this quadrant, as the Devil's Garden. And we are

still here. So, this man, Opayakee, is buried, maybe less than a mile from here on a

reservation but some people say, he may be buried on this reservation, unbeknownst to...

So, I put in honor of him, this museum. It is not said too much but I am grabbing

anything and everything. And the reason why the Seminoles didn't talk about him too

much is because when someone dies, we back in those old days you would never

mention his name, again. And with that sort of bullshit, we almost lost it, but little by

little somebody starts saying something and now I am trying to find out why are my

people kind of arrogant with this undefeated attitude. They may have a weak side but it

has nothing to do with their pride. It is this southern Baptist or something that knocked

them down. But it has nothing to do with this real self-pride. I know some of them well,

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it be a low self esteem because some bullshit about their physical attractiveness. But it is

real pride the main heart it had nothing to do with that. He may have low self-esteem

because he is a whore or dick head or something, but his true blood fire is not dead, just

because of that man. So, I put the Museum up to honor that. And this big mound that

you see being built way in the back, I am building a ten-foot structure of this man and all

of these historical things because white people always like to put George Washington.

Well, I am putting this up to let you know who this fucker was. And Josie Billie always

said that he was the man with four souls. So, he is going to have his own soul, the bird,

the panther and the bear, might have been some others, in the wind. The wind is just that.

To make them regain that sort of feeling or if they don't have that feeling, they will get

that fire back once I finish with him.

E: But why a museum?

B: Because we have to play around in the modem day Uncle Sam, Europe, all mankind,

Russian, it doesn't matter what era it was, the Romans, they always try to hold

something. Try to learn from somebody else. Fortunately, for us, they say when the

battles were fought here, they picked up something and they felt that this was the guiding

light for the Indians and they would take and try to tear it up and try to find that special

ingredient, uranium still growing some. This is what they are looking for but they

didn't find it so it is all...end of Tape #1

Tape #2

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B: from any place else. It was to do it ourselves. So, as soon as I saw that we had enough

monies taking care of our own personal problems, our government problems talking

about Seminole Tribal government monies, the ones that we make privately. The other

thing I need to do now, is to set up my own museum, [so] that I don't have to answer to

anybody except to do it myself. [I would have] my own archives because we do have a

lot of things if it is not in material things, knowledge things. Just like this thing, are

you going to give me a copy of that it will be put away but it will not be listened to by

people. So, you just have to do me a favor on these things, it is my privilege, after I am

dead, you can do what the fuck you want with it, and they can hear it and how I felt. I

don't [want] people sitting around listening to it [now], per se in my tribe because then

they know you'll probably set them off and if not, who really gives a shit. But anyway,

the museum was of that same thing. Nobody wanted to give me money for the Museum

but why should they care. It is my tribe. So, it should be my personal pride to build the

museum, myself. So, only after I built it, did someone said, oh, here is $200,000 to do

what. Keep it. Give it to your own people. There will be a big museum there. I am

working on the archive, now, to house things, because I literally have a web that goes

across the world. Looking for things, because there were Germans here, Irishmen, here,

fighting back in the 1800's, 1700's. Matter of fact, I am still looking for Osceola's head.

Somebody said that it burned down, but I don't believe it, because there is pickled heads

of famous people still in archives. So, he is probably stuck in there and if he is, I'll bring

him back. But, we want to do it ourselves. As long as we have the capability of having

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our monies to do it, even if it downfalls, it will still be maintained, now. These people

that are trained to be in that museum, now are becoming different we are like scribes to

maintain and protect this thing. These are my new people that are going to protect my

interest in there. In the meantime, there will be somebody in there trying to steal things

out of there and all that but that is part of nature.

E: That goes on, right?

B: Oh, and the reason why the museum came here, is because of the Sam Jones who literally

died here around 1867 and somewhere real, close by, and the spirit of that indirectly

drove me to put it here. Not in Hollywood where his home was not in Hollywood it

was on what we call the Long Key around Flamingo Road area. I like this one better

because that is where I grew up and my spirit has always been here.

E: So, the primary goal of the museum is preservation of culture and history?

B: If I can't preserve everything in the right manner to give to people, I'll preserve it and put

it in there and that is what the archive, the building is being built, now.

E: And future generations can go learn...

B: Oh, they can go in there, any Seminole tribal member, truly part of my system, not

somebody who says that he is a Seminole no, not like that. My child, with some sort of

numbering system says who he is. He just wants to hear James Billie and all his bullshit,

he can go in and listen to me say it one day it could be my great grand kid or anybody

else who is around there that they are part of me.

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E: Do you think it is an important that the museum is there for people, tourists that come


B: Yeah. The tourist coming through there -just like when I go to Smithsonian Institute -

like I am going to New York here, in the next, probably Thursday. My sons, two sons,

and me will always tour the Natural History of Science, there, not because we are

whatever. It is because you go in there, and Uncle Sam and everybody else if I go to

Europe, I'll do the same thing but they are only going to let you see surface things. So,

me and them will go out there just looking at anything and everything that I just cannot

do in my lifetime that they have got there that I can walk around and look at at least,

just a teaser. Just get my mind to see what it is, how they set it up, how they guard it,

how they manipulate people in there. The same thing [is true], here. And when I walk

out of there, I don't feel like something was held from me, I feel like, if nothing else, I

have always believed that when God made man, I am part of God, somehow, and I have

all His knowledge. I might not know it here but if Ijust saw an apple, candy, and things

like this, somewhere in my lifetime, someone will flash back and help me to do things.

So, that is what I am doing with my boys, especially, the boys. The girls, they have

better sensitive things, you know. But us boys are a little dumber than girls are. And just

to see it and mentally store it and somewhere down the line, I remember and I can put

things together. It could be how to make a bomb, for all I care. I don't have to study it

and see how...but when the time comes, I probably can. How to start a fire, simple

bullshit. God knows when I will need a fire. Or how to work the ocean to just make salt

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or make it make fresh water. All these little things come into play. But you have to see

those things. If you don't see it, there is really no way you can do it. Just like old

Einstein, I'm pretty sure he knew a bunch of math and saw something. He just didn't

wake up one morning and EMC square. So, this is why I go back... So, over here, there

is a lot of people who come through there, wonder about us. I don't give them the real

heart of things. If they want to do that, they have to get permission. But they are seeing

the basic things and they feel good or not feel good. It is not quite what I wanted but I

see it every day so I probably won't like it the way I like to see that thing. But to the

average person that does not know the Seminole, half of them walk out of there and

admit that they were astonished that we were a little more sophisticated then they thought

we were. So, this is what I like. It is like when I go down to South America, when I

meet this Indian who is walking around, buck naked, except a loin cloth, when you first

see it, according to my standards, today, you should cover my ass and all this that is

stupid sofe ef thing. But then, if you lived with him just a day or two, you suddenly

realize why you want to take this shirt off and do the way he does. It is just the way

things are is, there, and the things that they eat and all of that stuff. They are a healthy

bunch. It is the same thing here.

E: So, it is a way of educating people without the culture and humanity...

B: But that museum wasn't built for the outside. It was built for my own to see but we use

English so the average person can come in there. But you will hear them talking in

Indian in there but what they are literally almost saying in English is almost subliminal.

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But if you speak Indian, (speaks a phase in Indian), they are saying that in English

going over it but if you speak Indian, the English part disappears but you can only hear

the Indian. That is what is kind of neat about it and that is the way life is. It is pretty


E: Yeah, it is. It is an impressive museum.

B: There is a lot more to come as new technologies come in.

E: Right. I have heard some of the things that people are proposing the plans and so forth.

About health care that is another issue that I have been talking with a lot of people

about and it seems like there has been a major development in health issues over the last

generation, also. It seems to me that a lot of people have talked, when I have mentioned

health, about drugs and alcohol as issues. They have also talked about blood pressure

and diabetes as issues. Are there things that you see happening in your position as


B: I haven't really dwelled on those things because I was hoping that the health care system,

people itself would see that. Because I was more or less out there trying to get the

monies to roll in and then I can let individual people can go. I'll have some director in

there that maybe is just concerned about her own personal welfare but pretending like

they are in charge of the health care. Or are they a little further I need artist non-

bounded mentality to work in there. But a lot of these people that have worked with me

are basically just trying to survive on their own. They haven't got the financial personal

finances to get them beyond it. If my tribe gets to a particular point one day when their

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own personal finances are satisfied, then he can think beyond trying to make a living

every day to the- pint o'f 'Wow!' [So] maybe I should do this because he has storage of

income ever-hre that is not going to really bother him. Like Bill Gates. I can't imagine

him sitting there going, how am I going to pay my electric bill tomorrow? That sort of

feeling but not that exuberant. But just a comfortable feeling. Then, once you get to that

point, your stomach is full, then you can go out and start analyzing their tribe. A lot of

our people even in the Indians (but it does not matter if it is Indians). I think it is

everybody on earth that has a certain way of eating probably helped them. Like in my

family tree, up to this particular point, right now I don't enjoy any arthritic things or

diabetic things but maybe my family was pretty good or did I take care of myself better

than I thought I did. It could be that. Because I don't indulge too far this way or too far

that way but I indulge here. So, I am not quite sure what that is but health is an area -

there are some really ruthless things that I think in my head but I am not going to tell you

because they don't belong here. But some people, regardless of what the hell happened,

two genes got together and is going to rot their bodies whether you and I like it or not. If

that is the case, so be it. Hurry up and die. Stop wasting my air and my money. That is

the bottom line but the humanitarian said maybe there is a cure. If there is, my forte is

not to sit there about health. We sent all this money over here to take care of these

people and I have got people to worry about them. My forte is the healthy ones and

hopefully these other people will get them healthy.

E: Right. And you have got those other programs going.

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B: Because I can't sit there and see who is going to be a high school educated or a college

degree. My main focus I went through all of that and I am not worried about being a

college educated man because I know now, that going to college is a way of seeing

things. I can educate myself by just seeing, watching these people. [I can see] how they

manipulate and then I will find out that my forte is this one. If I am a hunter, basically

and I know how to track the deer and find him, or find the business trail and how to get

the contract signed immediately, then that is my forte. So, I try to get these other people

to handle that. Then, I don't have to waste my time. But, we do provide a lot of money

in health care area. How these people are wasting my money but I do go in to serve a lot.

I check every program and this is the year that I am checking every program that they

are coming up. The ones that I would like to hurry up and get rid of are the government

grants minded people. Once I get rid of them and think self-sufficient, and if somebody

gives us some money from the government and they say let's put that in reserve. I have

got all this money that is so grandiose and they are not always looking to the government,

but I have to have a group of people that watchdogs the government and the CFR of how

we are manipulated or how they want us to be manipulated. I don't mind being

manipulated and I don't mind manipulating but we always have to watch. This is what

happens in Congress all of the time but it4-alsewhat passes in Congress always] concerns

you, too what passe in Cngr.es.

E: Oh, yes. And so, education is one area where, it seems to me, you have done a really

good job.

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B: I think it done itself. I didn't try to do that. The system was provided with much money.

Like a child comes in here and I would just feed them a line and it is not a line of bull, it

is a line of truth. Boy, have you done good, you figured out what you want. We will

take care of you. We will take care of everything but if you go there and fuck up, I'll cut

it off. Some of these guys that want to be just like everybody else, so far, they are going

to get college educated or something but they want a Ferrari and a nice...no.... Fuck you.

You aren't going to get that. The richest people on earth kids on earth are not living

like that. You aren't going to get that.

E: Do you ever get concerned about that? Do you ever get concerned, with the progress that

you have made with the tribe, about what the workpeople have done to secure dividends

for people growing up who didn't live through an earlier period...?

B: It is not a matter of being concerned; it is the way of things. If you reach an earlier book,

you see it every time. You see this poor bastard who went out and played the lottery and

he didn't have [anything] nothing. And he gets this lottery and gets $100,000,000.00 and

yet he is broke two weeks from now. That is just the way of things. And I am using 'the

way of things', that is just the way history is. History is what they say; a sucker is born

every second. Well, this is the same fucking way. So, it is a matter of...like my son, he

knows that he has got money in the bank. It is not small; it is big. And if I take this thing

and put it into Raymond James, this son of a bitch is going to be a millionaire, maybe

twice over by the time he is eighteen. Just the way the money manipulates. So, my son,

right now, is not walking around like some other little kid who, at two years younger, oh,

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I want to make me money, my son, is not even thinking, I'm going to make me money.

He already knows he has money. He just wants to know when he can touch it. So, that's

the way my kids are being... But my first group kids, no, they are still, Daddy, can I

have some money. Daddy, can I have some money? Yet, they are fucking some asshole

over here. I was told if I was going to fuck somebody, take care of that woman even if it

is not your wife. No, not this young generation. Fuck anything you can.

E: Is it a concern with kids growing up with money in the bank...

B: You are talking about a minute group. Like one day, I think one election I came by, there

was a kid that was eighteen years old sitting there and so, I wanted his vote. I just

wanted to see if he knew what to do. Not that I really needed his vote. So, I went up and

I knew who his parents were. I would like for you to honor me, put your name here and

endorse me so that I can be reelected again. So, I said, How are you doing? He said

Good, so he endorsed me. 'You have ajob here, anywhere?' 'No, I don't need to work.'

'Why?' 'I make $1500 a month. I don't need to work.' So, even though he endorsed

me I said, 'You are a shithead, do you know that? That money ain't shit compared to

what you can; literally make what you can do you can be one of my you are alright,

but I am going to tell you something. You need to get your ass out there and just work. I

don't give a shit where, mopping floors, picking up shit, working at McDonalds -just

have a job and you will understand what I am...' And he [said] gees, '~Sit, not me.'

But, I chalked him down in my head of all of the boys and children and girls that I know,

he still stuck in my head. I am going to watch him. And he is following what his parents

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acted like. The parents did not set a good format. My kids see me and my wife's kids

see them, that she is always active, always doing something, baking bread, going hunting,

fishing, something, moving, just something, walking around trying to take care of your

health. But this family that I am talking about just sat on their ass. It is just the way that

they are. So, should I criticize them for it? No, that is just the way they are. The bottom

line in politics is that as long as they vote for me, who gives a shit, now. So, the only

way I am going to take care of them, now, is to make sure there is enough dividends that

to take care of them because they are never going beyond a certain...But there will be

some child out of that group will break loose. And that will be the beginning of a new

era for this group.

E: So, in a sense, you are providing an opportunity for people.

B: The opportunity is there all of the time. Since I have been there, I have always wanted

people to know I am Mr. Opportunity. I would like to feel that I can provide them with

that opportunity, providing it is something that is going to help them, keep them

healthy... Some people, one shot in the arm, with a couple thousand dollars, they are on

their way. The businessmen ruthless businessmen, not that I made them ruthless, they

were just that smart and knew how to manipulate. And some people, you can give them

all chances, almost like, I've heard a Bible story of somebody got a corn and he kept it in

his pocket while this other guy, planted the corn. He had acres and acres of corn and so it

is almost, this old Bible story, the legend in it is a good...lot of things in that Bible I've

read and a lot of things I've heard in my own culture, comes to pass. So, I've just learned

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how to appreciate which one. But, we provide the opportunity and what they do with it; I

am not their puppet. But these people can be good. These are the type of people you can

say 'Reveille at six thirty in the morning. Get in line.' And they will be there. But I

don't want to be that right now, because there is just nothing I can do in that. I probably

could catch all these guys and they really want to be dictated to. They want a dictator -

these type of people. While the others are just as aggressive as anybody else is.

E: As far as going after things?

B: Going after things they are very progressive.

E: You know, this brings us almost full circle, because when we started off talking you were

discussing being kind of a guardian to after the first four years, you said, you job was to

basically guard what you had built up.

B: Yeah.

E: And so, in a sense, you are not really guarding it sounds like you are guarding the

opportunity. You are guarding the possibilities and potentials for people.

B: And this governmental system as a government, right now, I am playing with the

government. I am not playing I think in the term like I am the president of the United

States or higher than the governor of Florida. So, when somebody comes up to me

thinking that this is a Boy Scout troop leader, you are in the wrong fucking hole. You are

not even in my mentality of my governmental process. The government in the United

States doesn't like other governments running in its system [to] act like it is going to

undermine it. That is why we are one of the most ruthless countries on earth. I don't like

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needy [anybody] coming into my government and trying to undermine my ass in the

Seminole Tribe System. But the more money we make, I've got to be careful how much

money we make. A good prime example: let's take Bill Gates. They were trying to

undermine his ass the other day for how much money he can make. So, if that is the case,

we have always known that Uncle Sam can do that. Money can be the roots of all evil

because another guy if you have too much money, some idiot will come in with the

idea, I'm going to undermine the United States government. Fuck, no, that is not what I

want mine to do. But who is to say that somebody will think that. So, I have got to be

able to make a certain amount of money and live within my luxuries of that money. If I

got beyond a certain amount of luxuries, then I can't afford it. So, these are the guards

that I have to do and I've got to watch the government systems, IRS make sure the IRS

is taken care of because money is the bloodline of IRS or Uncle Sam. So, I have got to

protect my bloodline which is the money even though I've got all these wonderful things

like believing in God and learn how to build a fire and all this groups that says we are

talking about historically things, so what the fuck, cultural things. Bottom line, when

you really look at it and put it in the melting pot, everybody has that same culture, whites,

green, black, Mexicans, we all want to live by a fire. How we build, sometimes is a little

different. So, when I see somebody making a basket here in Florida and they try to make

like this basket, right here, only the Seminoles can make it? Shit, no, I can show you

people who can make it ten thousand times better than that piece of shit, right there. But

we have maintained a certain thing called culture. Every human being like thatch roof

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Interviewee: James Billie
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making, right over here, I thought it was just the Seminoles that made that shit. Shit,

wake up, James Billie, you can go to Europe and see thatched roof that has been there for

500 years not seven years down the line and re-roofing, 700 years in Europe. I mean,

you can see, culture, culture, culture. So, it wakes me up in a sense but for the fragile

group of people who are fragile but, yet, strong called Seminoles, I'll let them maintain a

certain pride but if they get too arrogant, I'm going to show them that you are not so

special at all. You are like everybody else except you think you are special. And so,

when I go to, like South America or Europe or whatever it is, you can see that the true,

true, hard-core people we can all do all these damn things but we have learned to do it

within the habitat or learned a new habitat. So, when I hear Indians in the United States,

we are the only ones...Well, bullshit. Let's talk about just being a human. Then, we go

down to the individual groups, how we speak this weird language called Miccosukee or

Muskogee, that does make me feel a little different. Then, the other thing I worry about

is this damn mental genocide that we were talking about this losing your tongue and

this entire thing. The hell with the bloodline that damn tongue thing, that's a genocide

in itself of some type. So, these are the worries that I have that they won't even think

about, or do they? I don't know, but I don't ask. I don't want to ask because I think I

already know their basic thing. And so what my grandfathers have all said, make sure

the tongue is there, the legends are there dealing with the fire at the Green Corn Dance.

Make sure God looks down and it is still there, make sure more people are there so I

want to bullshit God a little bit and I am making sure that these people are there. Then,

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
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you can stick the middle finger at me and I'll throw it back at you. But I don't believe in

cowering down to my God. I can tickle me as much as he can fuck with me. I am not

afraid of God; I am not afraid of the devil, either. These are people they use to try to

scare the shit out of you. For what? But if that is their forte, that is my line of thinking,

that is the way...

E: And so this is what you see that you are guarding as being...

B: So, these are my guardians and if there is such things as angels, boy, they are there. They

have always taken care of me even in time of war. A couple of time, I stuck my nose like

this, over here, around a tree, and my radio operator had a cord and it got stuck

somewhere and he yanks me back and the next thing I know the tree explodes. And I am

going, 'Wow.' I said thank to him but it might have been just the same... The other day

I was fucking around with the playing around with God sort of thing I'm flying the

helicopter. This has happened to me twice. I'm flying along and this guy has never

flown in a helicopter, before, and we will be sitting there and I said something that my

sergeant said one time when I was first jumping out of an airplane. They opened the door

and it was going to be our first jump and the old sergeant said, 'Hey, God, got

--if you don't strike this airplane down.' We were all sitting there, scared

shitless, you know. So, I thought I would do that same trick. There was thunderclouds,

lightening bolts all over the place so, I told this Indian, 'Hey, God, you ain't got in

your balls if you don't strike this helicopter down. Ha, ha, going down like this. And

something passed through my vision and I looked down and I was going straight down to

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 71

the ground a hundred feet. And I thought, God, you are fucking with me. And I bounced

back up but He didn't let me crash. So, if somebody says, I don't have any faith, I have

more faith than most Seminoles put together. I don't give a shit how many times, but you

have got to be in tune to it. And this was just a popping of my ear, looking outside and I

wasn't paying attention, just fucking around, teasing God, when this took place. So, do I

believe in God? Hell, yeah. There is something out there. I don't know how you call it.

But I believe in my own self and the day I stop believing in my own self that will be the

end of it. Time to check out.

E: Well, on that note, we were going to talk for fifteen minutes and it has been an hour and

one half and...

B: I'm just sharing with you what you want. It is rare that you even talk to me.

E: No, I appreciate it. Is there anything else that we haven't talked about? About this big

sweep of time, it is thirty years plus, that you...

B: You would probably have to get specific. But the general format of my life has been that

whatever it is talking about being a leader, I don't know about being a leader. Ijust

know that it what I had to do because of all these things because of what took place:

being orphanized, turd getting stuck up my ass, years later I can help my son, and I tell

my sons that. And they ask me stupid questions like not stupid like a crazy but

where was I all this time. And I tease them by saying you were hanging in my balls all

this time. They laugh their ass off. It is the same jokes that have been passed down from

my grandparents but it is kind of funny. But my general forte is like my grandfather's, do

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
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you see them sitting around laughing. And when I was young, I often wondered what

they were laughing about. But, then they would be talking real serious and then,

mentally they would ventilate. And they were always using sex as a mental ventilate and

then once they flushed their brain of whatever it was, then they talked back again, and

sure enough, they start laughing again. It was probably something to do with this thing

that is really not important but we use it our sexual organs, about sex. But we brag

about it, they would use that always as a mental ventilate. And I have noticed that I

caught that same thing. And the crazy thing is that I've caught my sons with the same

format, again. And I am going, wow, that must true about certain things. So, if I find

one of my sons not acting the same way as we act, might be the milkman's son. But I

have learned that each family tree, each human being have their different little purpose in

life. The one, I think that was lazy, the one I was talking about that should go get ajob,

he probably has a format in his life that he may have been the canoe maker or something

definitely for him, but he just hasn't captured it, yet. So, in these series of next part of

my life, I am going to start studying my own group and then, I can see that they truly

don't fall too far from the tree. Some of them are just meant to be damn warriors that

stay in front of you and some are meant to be the supply people. And it was truly like

that in our system. That is why we used to live in villages. There was a group of people

that just went out to cut wood for the fire and bring in the water to the women. And then

there were truly those people that were gifted at hunting and these people were truly

selected to go up but did that hunter is more important than the man who collected the

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 73

wood? No. So, they had this feeling of importance to each other. And then, when they

started bragging and combat, the old leader would just sit there and just watch them. And

they would say I'm better than you because I got...- I am because I got the wood so you

can cook the damn meat and when they got to the point of physical contact, then he

would slap the damn ground and say, hey. Then, he will talk and pacify everything. So,

when I start hearing those things, me saying to myself, I know I am starting to get older.

But, that was the way it was. Like I don't expect a donkey to be a thoroughbred racing

horse, but boy, that donkey can carry many things that the thoroughbred can never do.

So, each one has their specific things and it is kind of neat watching each family and then

the way we screw it up with our genes is when they have such a nice looking daughter

that we have intercourse with them. And their little genes hopefully, my genes will

strong enough to just be a place to incubate my sons or children come out of there,

maintaining my genes, but unfortunately, you get mixed.

E: Actually, you mentioned intermarriage people marrying outside the tribe when we

were talking about the language and stuff and I wonder, does that really, is there a lot of

that taking place? And is it really a detriment to the language?

B: I've always heard throughout the years that the Seminole man is providing correctly.

Seminole men had this very elegant way of being gentle to their women but sometimes I

noticed that the men that a lot of these women comes into, [didn't] doesn't come with this

nice courting way of courtship. Then when the woman comes in heat, doesn't want any

foreplay, she just wants to be inserted immediately and satisfied that desired sex or

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 74

whatever it is that takes place. So, we see a lot of other people and it could be the black

people or could be the Spanish people who is already older or who wants intercourse and

he sees that she wants it, they already cling together. But when we have everybody

together, when we see that something might have taken place years ago maybe they were

satisfied. But in this modem age with the different laws that man has imposed on each

other, and our law was when a women becomes where when the female has a period,

and the males voice has dropped and he is ready for reproducing. And they use to satisfy

that in our law. But today, they change it where you have to be over eighteen. You can't

fuck a girl that is twelve or eight years old. But, if a girl is eleven or eight years old, was

on her period, she is already ready to produce. Nature's way of doing it. But man, has

gone through all these bullshit, has made all these laws that I don't know if it ruins it or

maybe had a purpose. Man, all I know is that man is always fucks up things. Maybe the

weak, [makes] trying t4 mak himself powerful by having these laws. So, when we see

young women today, you can tell a young man coming into puberty you can tell a girl -

immediately, when she is on her period cycle, which immediately, lets her know that she

wants sex just as just to let you know that you need to reproduce. Or, simple

terms have sex. Just to have sex, I mean, you can reproduce but man, it sure feels good.

And that is the time it feels the best, too. Even though it feels good, now. So, these types

of things have changed ways in every culture around the world. And the females,

naturally, is going to like something that stands out the best. So, if a guy walks in there

with he hasn't got shit or just a big stiff dick they are going to get on it. And you

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
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can't really penalize them for that because that is just the way of things. So, we men

have got to be just a little more arrogant. So, once in a while, I'll tell my boys

immediately, right now, how to be arrogant. And they laugh. They don't know, but they

think they know. You can tell that they know but they are not quite sure, yet. So, now

we have the standard joke, Son, when you are ready, son, I'll show you how. That is just

one time, just as a joke, but as they get older, they will know what I am talking about.

And their Mother is over here slapping me in the head. But, we men have to act like men

like men of yesterday. I mean, a woman needs to be felt like she is protected. Just like

a baby needs to be cuddled and protected. But the laws of man around the world have

their own rituals and unfortunately, we have kind of failed in that part, in our own tribal

system. So, we men have to be a little bit more of a man. And when we see that, but the

only crazy thing is that we live by the law of the land of the United States. So, you really

can't satisfy that teenager because she wants sex now. You do that and you buy one up

in jail or something. So, you have more mental problems just because of that sexual


E: So, do you think that leads people outside, away form the tribe, do you think? The way

this came up originally, I think was a discussion about language and culture and people

marrying into other cultures and so forth. What I was wondering is does that turn out to

be a real problem for the maintenance of the tribe?

B: If it is a girl, when they are marrying outside of tribe, they are really not marrying outside

of the tribe for the benefit of culture. They are getting married to this other person all

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 76

because for the sexual desire and attractiveness of that person. They are not even

thinking of any all they are thinking about is this sex thing. But as time goes along,

they start realize maybe there was a mistake. But by that time they already have an

offspring. The only thing that we stress and is stressed now is if our tribal member is

a female, particularly, she is the most important element in our system. I don't

particularly have to have a clan, but the woman has to have a clan to maintain my tribe.

My tribe is not a tribe if it doesn't have a clan. The language can almost disappear. We

will reinvent a new language. But if you don't have a clan, you have lost it. This is why

the Miccosukees, they believe that if you are half half Miccosukee and half something

else there is still fifty-fifty. But if you go less than half, you are not a tribal member.

You are more of this other thing. So, to become part of Miccosukee tribe, you have to

have a clan, no less than half. Seminole, we go down to a quarter. So, we have got all of

these people who are really not our tribe, they are somebody else. But we just got this

part that we are protecting. But, sometimes it is that little quarter is the one that saves the

tribe. There are a lot of non-clan members of our tribe.

E: That is what I hear.

B: But, that doesn't insult me. Hopefully, it is just a lot of boys. So, the boy with his

quarter can get back in to the tribe and marry and start having intercourse with our own

one with the clan.

E: I have heard some people talk about certain clans having almost a danger zone in terms

of the numbers of people.

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Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 77

B: Yeah. That is because they did not reproduce any girls. There are a lot of girls that we

have produced in the Panther Clan and the Bird Clan so they reproduced. So, I think the

Panther Clan is the largest, right now. But, as long as we have a clan, that is why, we

men, we starting I'll be using something that is immoral to the United States puritans.

But to make sure that my clan bounces up, I would literally pay somebody's ass off to go

fuck this girl. I mean that is how ruthless I am going to get in my old age to maintain my


E: Yeah. You mentioned that, earlier.

B: I am not going to stop at anybody's fucking bounds. I am not going to lose my tongue; I

am not going to lose my culture in this millennium that is coming up under my watch.

Now, the next idiot can do what he does and it could be lost. That is just the way it is

supposed to be but not during my watch. I don't care what son-of-a-bitch comes to me

Baptist preacher, what ever he is just another man to me, that is trying to understand

how to be a preacher. And probably the older I get the more "dictatorish" I probably will

get. Because my people are more used to a dictator/communistic regime living that way

than this democratic bullshit, which keeps people confused. But it is a good democratic

system. But, I can maintain my communistic dictatorship managerial style of my people,

even under democratic system because every government you are going to a school,

now that is very communistic but it is under a democratic system. So, you can do all

these things under the eye of democracy. Just make sure you are voted back in.

E: Well, I am going to wrap this up right now, unless there is something you want..

Sem 261
Interviewee: James Billie
Date: June 19, 2000
Page 78

B: Have fun with what I have said.

E: I want to thank you very much for agreeing to do this.

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