Title: Seminole Housewife (E. F.) Bird Clan
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00008155/00001
 Material Information
Title: Seminole Housewife (E. F.) Bird Clan
Series Title: Seminole Housewife (E. F.) Bird Clan
Physical Description: Book
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00008155
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Alcoholism, 13

Big Cypress, 5, 16

Bowlegs, Billy II, 10

Brighton, 5, 16

Burials, 12

Clans, 1, 7, 18

Clothing, 6, 8- 10

Communication, 16

Dances, 6-7

Ecology, 14

Education, 13

Family function, 10

Food, 6-8, 13- 14

Green Corn Dance
camping out, 7
meaning of days, 7
organizing, 16
public punishment, 19
significance to young people, 13
sweat houses, 8
use of medicine, 7-8

Hollywood, 5

Housing, 6, 9, 13

Hunting and fishing, 14- 16

Immokalee and Copeland area, 9

Indian Removal Bill, 2

Jackson, Andrew, 1-2, 10-11

Land ownership
by Seminoles, 2, 15
Spanish territory, 2
private property, 15

English, 6, 13
Miccosukee, 17
Seminole [Muskogee], 6, 13, 17
pride, 6, 12

Manners and respect
blasphemy, 17-18
hospitality, 9-10

Medicine men, 6

Oklahoma, 2

death, 4
imprisonment, 4
in stories and skits, 5
leadership qualities, 3-4
refusal to sign treaty, 2
use of medicine, 4

adultery, 19
lying, murder, and stealing, 18

Christian vs. Indian, 11-12
sweat houses, 12

definition of,
descendants of
origin, 2, 17
wars, 3

war heroes, 5

Sports and physical fitness, 7-8

Tamiami Trail, 1, 9, 12

Trail [Miccosukee Tribe Reservation], 1, 5

Transcultural contacts
white schools, 6
Indian-white relations, 10

Tribal government
election, 15
establishment, 15
women in, 15

Wildcat, 4

C: What clan do you belong to?

B: Bird.

C: What clan does your husband belong to?

B: Tiger.

C: Are you supposed to marry your own clan?

B: No, we're not supposed to.

C: Why?

B: Because we believe in marry different clan, and that's the way
it's supposed to be.

C: You're Miccosukee?

B: Seminole.

C: Seminole. What if you were going to
was Bird Clan and you're Bird Clan?
he's of a different tribe?

marry a Miccosukee and he
Could you marry him, since

B: Oh, no. Miccosukee clan..they're some of my relatives. They're
Miccosukee and I'm Seminole, because I'm over here on Hollywood
Reservation. They live in Trail [The Miccosukee Tribe reservation
at Forty Mile Bend on the Tamiami Trail, west of Miami ], so they're
Miccosukee. They call themself Miccosukee.

C: You know, history books tells us that Seminole means "runaway
Indians" or "untamed Indians." Is this what the Indians say
among themselves?

B: That's what it says.

"The runaway," I guess that's what they call

C: Have you ever heard about Andrew Jackson?

B: Yeah, he was a mean one. He's a devil.

C: He really was, wasn't he? Can you tell me a little bit of
what he tried to do?

B: The way I heard, he made a speech one time. He sent off his soldiers
down here in Florida and told them to kill the Indians like dogs--
kill every one of them, even children and women, even old men and
all of them, so which they did. I think that was ridiculous,
'cause he was no better than Hitler, what he had done to the

C: That's right. What stories have you heard--where the Seminoles
came from?

B: Well, the way I heard, they were from Florida. I always thought
they were here, when the white people came. Some white people
wrote a story about us that we originally from Georgia or
North Carolina or somewhere. But the way I believe it, Seminoles
were down here before they ever got to this land.

C: Between 1817 and 1818, Andrew Jackson wanted new territory for
the United States. History also tells us that Andrew Jackson
was trying to get this state of Florida from the Spanish people.
Where did the Spanish people get the land?

B: I guess they came over here like white people did. But I believe
that Seminoles were here though when they got here and they fought
over it. Seminoles stand up for their rights, too.

C: Around 1832, the government wanted the Seminoles to be moved out
of the area. The man who was responsible for the Indian Removal
Bill was Andrew Jackson. Do you remember what treaty it was that
they were trying to say the Indians were in agreement in going to

B: Oh yeah. They promised them that if they moved to Oklahoma, there
will be farm land and good...all those things that they were
promised for the Indians. But Osceola didn't want to go. Some
of them agreed to move to Oklahoma, which they did. But Chief
Osceola, he wanted to remain in Florida with his family. He wanted
to stay on this land, which he was right--Florida land belongs
to Seminole Indians. So he fought for the land, and then they
ask him to sign the treaty. He didn't want to sign it, and he
never did sign that paper. So the rest of the Indians are re-
mained in Florida just a little bit, and so today still quite a
few which remain in Florida years ago are still here. Then, their
grandchildren and...so a lot of people believe that we never did
sign treaty. I suppose nobody never did sign it, 'cause

Chief Osceola was our chief, and he was a brave man that ever
lived down here on Florida Seminole, and the leader of Seminole
Indian Tribes.

C: According to some books, it says that the government claimed that
the Seminoles have supported this policy. You tell me that most
of the Seminoles didn't want to go to Oklahoma. All right, the
white government, you know, really promised some of the Seminoles
good things if they went to Oklahoma. They promised them good
education, money and farm lands, and not to be bothered by the
white man again. How come the Indians didn't go--the Seminoles?
That all sounds good to me.

B: Well, the smart man, Osceola, he knows what they were talking
about. He didn't trust white people, because they were just
saying that--tried to make him move out of the Florida land.
Osceola didn't want that, so he wanted to remain on Florida
land, which he believes that that's where the Seminoles should be,
'cause they were here before the white people came over...tried to
run them off. He had a right to remain in Florida. Whatever the
white people promising, that not true. He knows that, so he
stand up for his rights during that time.

C: I was surprised to know that one question that a lot of young
people seem to answer--I don't know if they're reading a lot or what--
around 1835-1842, they seem to know that the Seminole wars were
one of the costliest wars. I know you were talking about it
earlier. What did it cost the United States?

B: It cost the United States 1,500 lives and then it cost them
$20 million.

C: Do you think if Osceola was alive today he would be proud of the
fact that it cost the United States that much?

B: Surely he would, 'cause I would too. If it cost them that much,
the land is worth more than that. The white people's lives, I
guess, don't mean anything to him. I bet he'll be so glad for
that, to find out.

C: Very good.

B: I can say that he was a brave man. What he did to the white
people's lives...I think that's worse what they done to Indians
down here in Florida.

C: Osceola was less than thirty years of age. He was a young man
at that time, and he wasn't chief by election or by inheritance.
When did he become a leader of the Seminoles? What traits did he
have that made him such a good leader?

B: He wasn't elected by his tribe, but he think of his own; that he
should protect his tribe, because the white people.... The way
they treated the Seminoles, they trying to kill all of them, and
tried to take this land away from them. He had a right to stand
up and fought for this land, so which he did to protect the children,
women and old folks. That way they know where they can hide and
all that. He was protected by an old man, too, because they
know how to use medicine and all that, just to protect him to
being shot or anything like that. So old mens helped him, and
he helped them to get away from being killed by soldiers and
all that. That's when he became our hero and a brave warrior.

C: Also, you know, after Osceola was fighting for his land, and making
sure that children and women and old people would be safe, he
hid them, and only the young fighters could fight. He really
cost the United States quite a bit of money and quite a bit of
life. He was just such a unique leader among our people. How
do you think he was captured?

B: Well, they promised him something that they wanted to see him,
so he went over there. This story was told by my grandmother
a long time ago, when I was a little girl, of course. He used
to tell me about Osceola--what happened to him. The white
people wanted to see him, and so he went over there. They never
got ahold of him. He was very smart. Even they tried to kill
or capture him, he always get away from the whites. The only
way they can trick him is that they wanted to see him, so they
went over there in peace. They told him, so he did, which he did.
That's when they captured him and put him in prison.
They kept him and Wildcat, but Wildcat escaped the prison.
Osceola remained in there. He remained there, and he sent
Wildcat with the message that.... He sent Wildcat, which he
escaped the prison...that they don't know how he escaped it,
but of course, he had the medicine. He used the medicine, and
which he can escape. It was so small that nobody think that they
could escape, but he did. He was returned to camp, and told the
folks that Osceola was ill. They went over there, but he died.
That's when I heard that the soldiers cut Osceola's head off. They
got something to do with it, I don't know what it was. Now, when the
white people that hating the Indians.... I don't know what they
did with his head, but that's what happened. I heard this
story by my grandmother and my father, you know.


C: In memory of Osceola, you know, I've talked to many Indians.
They've set aside time to talk about him in story form, and now
I understand the Indian village has an Indian skit about him every
year. Have you seen this skit?

B: Yes, the stories I have. I've read some of them. I don't know
who wrote the stories, but it says on there that he was a half-
British or something like that. I have to ask and find out, and
I asked my mother if she knew anything about it. She heard that
he was half-British, and she said he was a full-blooded Indian.
Long time ago, Indians didn't believe in marrying white folks.
They didn't believe in having children from white people. If
they did, she told me that they used to bury them alive, if it
was a half-white. She told me that couldn't be that he was
half-British, 'cause he was full-blooded Indian. And that makes
him a great warrior and a hero. I think that that they just want
to say that he was half-British so that they can get credit for
that,too. It seems that we all know the white people always want
to be heroes, and always want to be a part of it.
No white people is a part of this Osceola, because he was a
full-blooded Indian. That makes it a hero and a great warrior
that ever lived on this Florida. That's how come that he really
teach him a lesson to white people. They try to kill him for
so long, and they spent so much money and so many lives but they
never could do that. They promise him that they want to talk to
him, and he went over there. That's when they capture him and put
him in a prison. Later he died, which they said that he was ill.
I reckon they give him some poison, you know. That's how come
he died, and he was beheaded too.
Anyway, it seems that a lot of Indians who wanted the truth
about the story that was written on this skit, just like books
and all that. I mean, Osceola was full-blooded Indian, so that's
the way it's going to be. 'Cause even if you want to be part
of something that's a hero, if you're not a part of it, that's just
too bad.

C: This is very inspiring. Each time I hear the story of Osceola, it
makes me proud that I am a Seminole, and after Osceola had left
and everything sort of quietened down there were only about
150 Seminoles left, descendants of these great war heroes. Today,
I imagine there are more than 1,500. About how many Seminoles are
there around here now?

B: There just quite a few, and there's some live on Brighton,
Big Cypress, Hollywood and Trail. All together, I don't know
how many, but there is, I guess, about 500, or about...I don't
know...800. I don't know.

C: After hearing about Osceola, I don't know what to say or what to
ask next. There's been so many interesting things you've
been telling us, and this is the first time we've been able to
get together on tape. What is your feeling about teaching our
traditions to our children, and letting them speak our language?
Do you think they should do this?

B: Yeah. I want all my children to learn how to speak Seminole and
English both. I have to tell 'em that we're Indians, so they'll
have to know that they're Indians, 'cause sometimes they think they're
not Indians--the way they go to school, the way they're taught
at school. Anyway, when they're home I usually tell them that,
"Be proud you an Indian." We should be proud we're an Indian,
'cause God made us that way. If He didn't want us to be an
Indian, He should've made us something else. He gave us life as
an Indian, so we have to be proud we're an Indian.
Also, God gave us the language and other things. We have
to use, and we have to learn how to speak Indian and English
both, 'cause nowadays that lot of white peoples are here in the
United States, sometimes we have to talk to them; so I guess we
have to learn how to speak English. At home I would rather my
kids talk Seminole- I have to teach them how to; I have to
tell them about the Indian traditional way, how the Indian
used to live, about living in chickees, and how they dress, and
what kind of food they used to cook. I remember those things
very well. My grandmother, she used to cook Indian food lot
of times, and that's I learned how to cook Indian food and all
that stuff from her. Of course, my mother, she still cooks
things like that. My children, if they ever grow up, I want them
to learn how to cook things like that, and I want them to learn
how we used to live long time ago when I was a little girl.
My grandparents were Indians, and live in old ways. My
father was a medicine man, and so was my grandfather--he was a
great medicine man. He was the head of the medicine men, and
my father was the one that takes care of the medicine when we.go
to the Green Corn Dance, and all that. Today, my father's gone
and my grandfather's gone, but Iknow what they did, and I remember,
so I will tell my children what they did when I was a little girl
that I seen.

C: How about your dances? I know a lot of our Indian dances, the
whole family goes, and it's a little bit different from white
dances, isn't it?

B: Yes,it is. We have to be out in the woods, way out in the
woods, so no white man can come around and disturb the Indians
when they're having their dance. When I was there with my
family during the Green Corn Dance, they didn't want any
white man allowed there or anything like that. A lot of times
the white people want to buy drinks and take them over there,
and just try to be friends with Indians, but the answer was no.
When we camp out there, each groups will camp--Bird Clans
and Tiger Clans, and Wind Clans, and all the older clans. All
those clans will make a camp down, and there will be.... Each
groups have their own different clans; will be in different
sections. In that way, who's who living in next camp and the
other camp. But we all make greetings to each other, and we
all share things, what we got during the Green Corn Dance.
We have to stay there for four days, and dance and play
ball and all that for three days. First one,they call it
[Indian word], and the second day [Indian word], and the
third day, that's [Indian word] and the fourth day, that's
[Indian word]--they're not supposed to eat, the men's not supposed
to eat, and they use medicine and dance all day. Then at
night, women and children and all of us, there'll be a dance
and all different kinds of types of dances. The next day we'll
be going home.

C: The names of those days--what do they mean?

B: Well, the first day...I tell you, the way I seen it, my daddy
used to cut this stick, and they measured their fingers and cut
off the sticks, and they made all those men.... They'd be in this
[Indian word]--that's what they called,you know, that's just for
men. It's right in front of where they build a fire. They be
sitting' out there early in the morning, and they cut the sticks
measured...I don't know which finger it was, but anyway they cut
those three sticks,and they got something to do with it. I don't
know what they were doing with it, but anyway, it's got something
to do with it.
The second day, that's [Indian word], the man's be going out
in the woods, and they'll be coming by singing and all that. They'll
be dropping woods for us to build a fire to cook the meal for them,
and be goin' to camp to camp, you know, until they go all the way
around. And then during later that day, there'll be dancing and
play ball, and things like that.
The third day, that's [Indian word] day, they call it food
day, eating day. All of us women be cooking then,and cook all
kinds of foods, and carry over to that chickee--you know,
[Indian word], that house just for the men? And we'll be takin'

over there, and all the mens be goin' over there and eat, .enjoy,
and everything. They'll be eating all day long; we'll be cooking,
you know, all day. Cook what you got, like deer meat, or hog, and
all that--bird, turtles, and you know...and they make sofkees and
all that over there. That's what we call....
The fourth day, that's the starving day. That's when the mens
be dancing and use medicine. Some of them even get drunk, and
we watch the way they dance, because we're not supposed to be
dancing with them--the women, you know, they're not allowed there
during that day when they dance. When they use the medicine,
they scratch themselves, and they go in...what they call it,
the steaming houses?

C: Sweat houses.

B: Yes, sweat houses, I guess. They usually go in there, you know,
so that way they'll be healthy and strong. It's very interesting.
I used to go there all the time when my father was still alive,
but now he's gone, so I don't go there any more. But I remember
very well what they did.

C: It sounds like it was a lot of fun.

B: Yeah, it was. It was real great. That's the only hope I used...
every year I looked forward to go to the Corn Dance, you know.
And we'll have to repair the things that we have to take over
there. We'll be sewing new clothes and all that.
Like I said, on the third day--that's the eating day, you
know, [Indian word], that's when you supposed to wear new clothes,
and everybody be wearing colorful brand new clothes. The fourth
day, the starving day, I was talking about you have to wear new
clothes,too. I was real proud when my mother used to make me a
little dress. It was a brand new dress, and that's about the only way
I used to get a hold of new clothes. It was great.

C: That sounds like a lot of fun. How about Indian stick ball game?
Did the men and women really play?

B: Oh yes they did, and we enjoyed that too. We used to play. The
men, of course, they used those sticks, and we have to take it
away from them and throw it up tall and try to hit 'em. If you
hit 'em, then you would score one point and see who wins.

C: Were there certain tribal dresses that you wore when you played

B: Just everyday costume. You're supposed to wear those costumes.

C: How many members to each side?

B: How many members on the ball game?

C: About five boys on each side, and five women on each side.

[A break in the dialogue occurs here where the tape was changed.]

B: Tamiami Trail, or sometimes we used to live in Immokalee or
around the Copeland area.

C: Did you live in a modern house like you do now?

B: No, chickees.

C: Did your father build a chickee?

B: Oh yes; it was real good. I thought about building chickees.
We had a good camp out there.

C: I know earlier while we were talking, you said one of the most
important things to the Seminoles is hospitality. What did
you mean by this? Why was it so important?

B: Well, the hospitality that you are welcome no matter who they
are--that they're an Indian, you know. You welcome in and offer
them a drink of cold water, or if you have anything to eat, you
offer them to eat.

C: I noticed you said any Indian. How 'bout the white man?

B: It says that they don't like all food. You know, the way things
like this.... They might think it's dirty, or things like that.
That's how the white people look at us.

C: So you don't bother with them?

B: No, I wouldn't offer them anything to eat. If I'm not good
enough for them, I'm not good enough to cook a meal for them.

C: I know we also said that a lot of times, you might see company
coming at a distance, and usually when you saw company coming
at a distance, without saying anything you'd ask a boy to go
fishing or go hunt of something, and then you just started
cooking right away. Was this kind a practice with the Seminoles
in this area?

B: It used to be a long time ago. My mother tells me usually some-
body that visit her or coming or going, you start cooking them
things like that. When they come, you invited them in the house,
and also offered them something to eat and rest. That's our
hospitality. It's always like that, but nowadays it.seems that
it's dying off. Today, it's kind of hard for us to invite people
in. A visitor come to a door, we usually just stick our head
out of the door and talk to them, and send them off or something
like that. But I understand that we should invite them in and
tell them to sit down and rest.

C: Do you think this custom has died out because people are busy
working? Before, you all lived in chickees, and all you did
was to hunt and this was your way of life. But these days you
have to make house payments and you have to work, so there isn't
probably that much time to have people visit. Could this be it?

B: Yes, it is. Nowadays that we have to pay a lot of things, so
we have to go out and work. Either the husband goes out and work,
and you have to be taking care of the children--send them off to
day-care and the school and things like that. You just don't have
time to sit down and sew, but if you do sew, then you have to sell
it and pay the bills and all that to help out. We don't have
enough time to sit down and make all our own clothes. Just once
in a while I will...Seminole skirts and things like that, but not
everyday, 'cause they're all feel comfortable to wear their costumes.

C: I've been hearing stories that around--you might have heard the same
stories--but around Okeechobee, when the soldiers would come in or
travel through, that they would just kill the livestock not just to
eat, but they would kill them just for fun, and they would lay
around bloated. Have you heard any stories similar to this?

B: Oh yes, I have. That's what happened, you know, to these Indians'
villages. That's what they did. One time Billy Bowlegs [II] had
a garden like a farm--pumpkins and corns and beans and all that,
you know. He had some crops, and they go in and took things--any-
thing they want, like pumpkins and corns and all that stuff, and
they even kill some of their pigs. He had them in,so that's when
Billy Bowlegs wanted them to pay for what they did to his crops.
They didn't want to pay him, and that's when he killed some white
people for doing that. I think he did a right thing. If you break
and enter somebody's house, surely white people will kill you, so
that's what he did. It's true that they used to do that to an
Indian, you know, just trying to be mean.

C: You know, the white man's history book would say the Indians are
the savages. It's sort of a funny thing, because the Indians...
this is exactly what they called the white man. When they saw
Andrew Jackson, they would call him the savage, or the wild man

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He didn't talk about God, but he used to talk about Jesus--that
he was on earth one time and they killed him. And he used to
say that. He didn't say he was son of God and all that. The
white people, they way they look at us was that we were worshipping...
that we have our own god, like they mention all that, we call
them gods. The white people think we have a lot of gods and all
that, but it isn't so. They may have believed in one god as we
do today.

C: We have mentioned the sweat houses. When young men go into
sweat houses, do they go in there to think?

B: They go in-there to wash their.... Maybe they have been ill be-
fore, or some kind of a disease that, like, I don't know what they
call it. Anyway, if they go in the sweat houses, that means that
they are going to be healthy and strong during the year, and then
the next year if they have it again, they'll go through it again.
There used to be sometimes the men sleeped with a woman during
menstruation period. Anyway, when they're in their period, if
the man been sleep with her, then he's not a man at all, so they
have to go through the sweat box to be a man. That way, he washes
his whole body. The sweat comes out that way after all the
[Indian words] off of the body.

C: He purifies his body?

B: This is true. And that way he's going to be healthy and strong
like a man should be.

C: I know some of the Indian burials are around in Florida. Are
there any burial grounds around here--old-time Indian burial

B: Yes, there's some on the Trail, and my brother's over there.
Lately they been burying them over here on the reservation. My
brother died about eighteen years ago, andmymother and my father,
they didn't believe in burying him. So they just leave him out
there in the woods. That way, nobody would be disturbing him--come
along and bother his bones and all that--'cause that's how they
used to do that, and there's a lot of them on the Trail.

C: Do you think a lot of young Indian people are interested in
their old ways, or their language?

B: It seems that some of them, they do talk their language, but they
use most of the English. They talk English most of the time,
and some of them don't even know how to speak Indian; they only
speak English. But I think we all should learn how to speak in
I don't know if the young children today are more interested
in white people's way or not, but it seems like...well, the
Green Corn Dance, they want to go. They want to join in pow-
wow; they want to celebrate. I guess they're interested in all of....

C: Maybe if we had them more often, they would be more interested.

B: Yes, I believe they would.
Today everybody lives in this modern houses, and that don't
mean that we're not Indians any more. We're Indians, you know,
and I don't know how we're going to change. We'll never change,
the way I look at it, from the way the white people do.

C: No matter how much education we have, you don't think we'll

B: No. There's a lot of them that went to school, and finished
high school and all that. They still live in just about the
same, you know....

C: And they still believe in their own ways. So you don't think
there's a chance of us to become little brown white men?

B: No. I don't think so. [Some] would like to, but I don't think
they'll ever will. If they were born brown, I guess they'll stay

C: Statistics is always talking about Indians taking first place
when it comes to alcoholism. Is this sort of bad news around
the reservation?

B: Well, yeah--Indian drinks. Some of them drink all the time, but
not very many.

C: It's very few?

B: Yes, very few that drinks a lot. Of course, most of them drink,
but I don't mean that they're an alcoholic, sit around and drink
all the time.

C: Can you tell me what is your favorite dish? What do you like to
eat best?

B: You mean modern cooking?

C: Indian.

B: I like deer.

C: How would you cook deer meat?

B: I usually fry them, or I usually slice 'em real good and just
put 'em outside and let 'em get dry and fry them or bake it,
things like that, and it's real good.

C: Does your kinfolks still go hunting and fishing and things of
this sort?

B: Oh, yes.

C: How are the rivers? Are the rivers polluted?

B: It's polluted, of course!

C: Recently there was an article in the paper that the Indians have
polluted the rivers. Do you think this is true?

B: No, white people polluted the water. They got their sewage
lines going into the canals, and all that stuff, so they're
the ones that polluted.

C: Can you tell me a little bit of this cartoon, or whatever it
was that was in the paper?

B: The way I look at was that they think that we Indians have polluted
the water, 'cause there's a old canoe and tomahawks and tom-tom
drums and old moccasin ahoes and feathers and rattles and all
that stuff were in the water, and they said that's how it's

C: Oh boy! You know, they're always up to something.

B: Yeah, they blame it on us. The way I look at it, they're the
one that did it, 'cause we're living on clean land and a para-
dise that was real good. Here they are, they come along and build
the houses and throw the trash in the water, and their sewage line
goes in the canals and the rivers and all that. Around here
they still do. They don't have sewers, you know, septic tanks.

C: When did your first tribal election take place?

B: About ten years ago.

C: I noticed that you all had a woman in the office for the
past four years as :chairman. Is this the first woman ever to
be in office?

B: Yes.

C: Then long time ago, were there any women leaders?

B: Always the men. Simple matter was about sixteen years ago when
it started --you know, the tribal elections, things like that--
there was about maybe fifteen years ago. I don't really know.

C: During these tribal elections, do you get excited? Do you cam-
paign, for your candidate or do you just go to the election
ballot and that's it?

B: There's some people campaigning and all that, and whoever gets
elected, we don't like it. We just don't like it, but if he's
elected, so he has to be in office.

C: Do you think you'll ever run for political office yourself?

B: No.

C: Why? You seem so interested and well-informed on everything.

B: I don't know. It's just not my way. I don't think I'll ever

C: You don't think you'd like to go to Washington and talk to our
great white father's children?

B: No.

C: Before the white man came, when our people lived in this area,
did they believe in the idea of private property so far as land
was concerned? Did he believe that the land belonged to the
tribe? Can you comment on this? You might have heard some of
our tribal leaders talk.About this.

B: Well, the land belonged to the tribe. That's how they believed,
you know. In those days, there was no sign that you can't go in,
"no trespassing" and all that. It belonged to the Indians and
he believed that the land belongs to the tribe. Anytime they locked
the door to that place to hunt, they go, and anytime they want to
go fishing up there, they'll go out there fishing. Today, these

white folks that took it over, they think they own it, and they
just don't want us to get in there and fish any more.

C: You didn't have to have fishing license in those days?

B: No, we sure didn't.

C: No hunting license?

B: No. But nowadays we have to have license to go hunting, and
all that. We can hunt on reservation anytime we want to, but
it seems that all those white folks go down there and clean it
off, you know, so nothing's around. I don't know. I haven't
seen it lately, if there is.

C: If there was a big ceremony coming up, and maybe they wanted to
get together a Green Corn Dance, communication wasn't that
great. Did they have smoke signals, or how did they get the
message to the people?

B: If they have to have ceremony, they should let everyone know
before they have ceremony so they can set the date for it, and
so they know what the date and day is for it...go over there,
travel by canoe if it were.... That was a long time ago, you
know, but getting the message that somebody have to travel by

C: How about today? How do the Indians--just in case they don't have
telephones or anything around the reservations--how do they get the
message to some people who may live way out in Brighton, way out
in the woods or out on the Trail? How do they get the message
to them?

B: Well, Brighton and Big Cypress, they use the radio.

C: That's what you really call modern communications. That's
great. No more canoes, but radios, uh huh. Do you think this
is an improvement?

B: Yes it is an improvement. It is improving a lot, and you can
talk to someone on the radio.

C: But we'd rather have our own radio station, 'cause we had our
own canoes.

B: That's true.

C: Are there any stories that you heard about how the first white
men came?

B: No.

C: How about how the first Indians came?

B: Came from here?

C: Where did they come? What stories...?

B: They said they were from the way it was written in the book,
that we were from North Carolina or somewhere along in Georgia,
but the old folks used to tell us that we lived here, so I guess
we weren't down here in Florida all these years.

C: You speak both languages, Miccosukee and Seminole, and you should
know if there are any curse words in these two languages.
Did the Seminoles and the Miccosukees practice cursing?

B: No. Everytime they want to tell some people off like that, they
used to just tell them how ugly they looked and all that. But they
didn't use bad words.

C: For example, if you didn't like that girl across the street, and
she had been sort of mean to you, how would you tear her down?

B: I'll tell her that she's just a no-good woman, and she's so-and-so.

C: What's the worst thing you can say about her that would really
hurt her feelings?

B: I'll tell her that she's just a no-good woman and how ugly she
looks, and she should go hide somewhere where nobody would see

C: Would you tell her that she looked like she was hit with an ugly
stick or something?

B: No, but I'll tell her that.... Just make it sound real terrible

C: Now is that way Miccosukee too? There aren't any curse words--you
would just tell how a person looks? Or do they curse?

B: Not bad words.

C: Didn't have real bad words?

B: We do have them, but we're not supposed to use it. If you do,
they say you're the same thing, you know--you got the same thing,
and all that.

C: In your tribe, I imagine there was punishment for all sorts
of crimes. What about lying?

B: Yes, there was a punishment for that,too.

C: What did they do when they punished a person?

B: They used to do this to us, not too long ago if we lied or
something like that. They used to scratch our bodies with
needles,and pour the water over our heads, and spank us real
hard so we won't be able to say things like that anymore. That
was a lesson they gave us, and I suppose they used to do that
maybe even worse.

C: How about stealing? What kind of punishment for stealing?

B: Well, they do the same thing for that too, or you get spanking--spank
you real hard, you know.

C: Before white man's laws, if a man committed murder, how was he

B: Indian?

C: Indian.

B: Well, the waymymother told me that if my brother would kill
somebody, another clan, then they have to another. I mean, if
my brother was to kill this Tiger Clan, that means that Tiger have
to get our clan and kill it, even if it's not him--even if it
was somebody else, but same clan, like Bird Clan. So we have
to have a lesson for that, you know.

C: So it was one-to-one?

B: Make it equal.

C: Was there punishment for adultery?

B: Oh yes, there sure is for that. If you was to go be unfaithful
to your husband, or if it was a man, unfaithful to his wife,
they have to punish him and the lady that he was out with.
They will cut their ears off if they wanted to, and then they
scrub their body with a big hook. My mother told me that they
used to do that to punish them real good. If the man was
unfaithful, that's how they used to...that's how they did that
to a person that's being unfaithful to his wife or her husband.
If they were to go out their own clan, then there's a punishment
for that,too. Both of them had to be punished in front of
everybody during Green Corn Dance. They even have to cut their
[Indian word] off if they wanted to, and that way he won't be
a man anymore. You know, like they do that to the pigs. How
they call it, you know.

C: Castrate them.

B: Yes, and that's what they do to a man. A lady, they punish so
bad they scratch their legs and their arms, or even cut their
ears off.

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