SOUTHEASTERN INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
In cooperation with The Seminole Tribe of Florida
SEMINOLE WOMAN (ALICE)
U= Unknown Informant
Big Cypress, 12, 21-22
Bowlegs, Billy, 21
Clans, 2, 22
Dade, Major Francis, 15
Dade Massacre, 15
Dances, 5, 26-28
Drinking, 6, 8
Employment, 9, 17
Equal rights, 19
Green Corn Dance, 5-6, 24-26, 28
History in writing, 26
Hollywood, 2, 6, 12, 17
Hunting and fishing, 12
Indian stickball game, 5-6, 13
Jackson, Andrew, 14
Jones, Sam, 21
Jumper, Moses Jr., 2
Land ownership, 11, 14, 16, 19
Creek [Muskogee], 3, 22
English, 14, 19
Miccosukee, 3, 19, 23
Living conditions, 2, 7
Media, influence of, 10, 16
Medicine man, 3-4, 9, 22
Music, 1-2, 26-28
Okalee Seminole village, 17
Oklahoma, 4, 13
Osceola, 4, 15, 17-18, 20, 23
wars, 15, 17-18
Stories and legends, 11-12, 19
Tamiami Trail, 1
Traditions, 3, 5, 21
Trail Reservation, 12, 21
Payne's Landing, 4
Tribal elections, 7
Whites, 13-16, 1 [
Women's liberation, 28
I: What record were you listening to?
S: "Redbone Potlatch."
I: What do you think of these modern Indians singing Indian
lyrics,and then putting modern beat to it?
S: I like it, 'cause the music now is like that, and Indians
singing it just sounds good.
I: What sort of instruments did the Indians used to have before
all this band type of thing?
S: The drums.
I: What else?
S: The rattle and the flute.
I: Is there quite a difference in singing and the singing sound
of the old traditional Indians? Did they sing like the way
they sing now, or was it more in chant forms?
S: I think it was more in chant form back then.
I: What other bands do you know that are headed by Indians?
S: The "Trail Blues" out on the Trail [The Tamiami Trail], and
the "Sun Country."
I: Tell me a little bit about Trail Blues. Do they sing a lot
of Indian lyrics, or is it just [Indian word]?
S: It's mostly white, but they've got that "Alcatraz" in there.
I: What do you think of that song "Alcatraz"?
S: I like it. I don't know...talks about the Indians.
Ii How about the "Sun Country." What do they do?
S: They sing about the clan; they got more of the now music in
I: I know some of the young people I've talked to were sort
of pretty hip on one poem written by a young Seminole by the
name of Moses Jumper.
I: Moses Jumper, Jr. The name of this poem was "I-Jo." Can
you sort of explain it to me? I think I saw it, but I'm
S: It says in this poem that the deer, we use him in many ways,
and some of the ways that we used him...I mean, the way we
used it was, we used the skin for clothing and shoes, and
we ate the meat.
I: Do you think they also used the skin to make drums?
I: Where were you raised?
S: In Hollywood.
I: Have you always lived in a modern house like this, or have
you lived in a chickee?
S: I lived in a chickee.
I: Is it sort of fun to live in both?
S: No, I'd rather live in a chickee.
S: I don't know. It's just cooler, and that's the way everybody
lived before now. It seems like we should keep it that way.
I: Do you like living near a town, or do you like the quiet
isolated places that many of the Indians live today?
S: I guess living near a town would be best.
S: 'Cause anything can happen now. Maybe somebody would do
something and need help, maybe in a hospital or something,
and it would be too far to get him on time or something.
I: Do you speak any Indian languages yourself?
I: What do you speak?
I: Seminole. This would be Miccosukee?
I: Miccosukee. How about Creek? Do you talk Creek?
S: No. I know a few words, but that's about all.
I: When did you learn how to speak Miccosukee?
S: I've learned it ever since I was a baby, I guess.
I: Who taught you?
S: My mother.
I: There are many young people your age, around sixteen, seven-
teen, and they tell me that they don't speak the language--
their mother and father speak it, and their relatives speak.
Why is it that you speak the language, when they don't seem
to be able to?
S: I really don't know. Maybe because they been around the
whites more than they did back then, or maybe they lived
here before I did or something. I know that they understand
it, but they just don't speak it.
I: If you ever have children--you probably won't get married until
about ten years from now--if you ever have children, will you
teach them your language and your customs?
S: Yes, I will.
I: I know that you have a very unique background. Your grand-
father was a medicine man, and to us these days, it's like
a person having a Ph.D. in the university. They were supposed
to be very smart men, and they knew the affairs of the tribe.
Are you proud of this fact?
S: Yes, I'm proud of it.
I: Do you remember any stories or anything that your grand-
parents might have told you, or even your mother?
S: My mother's told me about Osceola, that he was a great war-
rior, and also our leader of the Seminoles. She's also told
me that he was a full-blooded Seminole instead of a half-breed
the way they say he was.
I: Why do you think that in history books they're always telling
us that he might have been part white?
S: I guess the whites just want to be part of it too. They're
always trying to get in on a good thing.
I: A long time ago, around 1832, they were trying to convince
the Seminoles to go to Oklahoma. The government said some
of the Indians signed a treaty by the name of Payne's Landing
Treaty. Do you think the Indians were really anxious to go
S: No, I don't think so. The way I hear it, they were forced.
I: How were they forced--with words, or with what?
S: With words and weapons, I guess.
I: Who was one of the strong opposer of...who opposed and they
were not gonna go?
I: I think so. What do you think Osceola did with some of the
people? Whenever he was going to fight the white soldiers,
do you think he killed his old men and children and women
and then fought?
I: What do you think he did with them?
S: He hid them in the swamp where they were safer.
I: What sort of people do you think these intruders were?
S: The whites, I guess.
I: Have you participated in some of your ceremonies?
I: This would be like going to the Indian dances?
I: What would you do at these dances?
S: You mean like the corn dance ceremony?
I: Uh huh.
S: Well, I've been out there just once, and when I was out there
they were giving the men...they were scratching them on the
arm. That's about the only thing I really remember, besides
the ball game they had.
I: This is the Indian stickball game?
I: What did you think of the Indian stickball game?
S: Oh, I like it.
I: Did you play in it?
I: Can you tell me how they kept score?
S: By hitting the top of the pole, and instead of using numbers
they just used straight lines--put four straight lines in
for every score, and when they got to five they just put the
five right across the four lines.
I: Then they would just go to five points?
S: No, they would go on, but that's just the way they kept score,
I: They would usually go to how many points? Twenty-one points
like ping-pong would be?
S: No, they just can go as far as they want, I guess.
I: What did you all do after playing? Did you eat, or dance,
or what? What follows after a stickball game?
S: I don't know what they did after that. We just left after
I: Did you leave because they beat you, or...?
S: No, we just left because I didn't know that much about it.
I've been around here [Hollywood] most of the time.
I: What do the young people think of the Green Corn Dance around
here? I'm sure you've talked to them. Do they like it?
S: Everytime they go out there they're drunk. That's about all
they like about it, I guess, really.
I: You know some of the beautiful dresses that Indian ladies wear
around here--do you like them?
I: Do you wear them sometimes yourself?
S: Yeah, I wore them before.
I: Do you prefer wearing them, or do you like mini-skirts better?
S: I'd rather wear bell-bottoms like everybody else.
I: You look great that way. That's very good, but for special
occasions, do you wear your traditional dresses?
S: It depends on what the occasion is, really. I wear mostly
bell-bottoms now, because I don't do nothing but just stay
home and go to the beach, or wherever the people is. I mean
the young generation.
I: Do you ever think of past history? Do you ever wish that
you were around to help your people when they were on the fun?
S: Oh, sure.
I: Do you daydream about it a lot?
S: No, not really.
I: But you do occasionally think of it?
I: What would you do if you were back there, then?
S: Well, I can't really say. I would have tried really hard
to help them.
I: Okay, are there any favorite folklores that you have that you
might have heard someone tell you?
I: No? Uh huh. There isn't any favorite one. Okay, today,
what do you think of the elections we just had this past
couple of weeks?
S: I don't think nothing of them really. Every time they have
it and they elect someone, they say there gonna help the
tribe a lot, and once they get elected, they never really do
I: I'm sure you weren't even born when they first had the first
tribal election or tribal government, but hearing your parents
or other people, do you think there's a lot of improvement?
S: No, not really. There is some improvement, but not that much.
I: Well, how about some of these houses, these modern houses.
Do you call that improvement, or what do you call that?
S: Yes, I would say it is an improvement.
I: Do you think a lot of people prefer living in a chickee, or
in these houses?
S: I wouldn't know that,really.
I: Among our people, we always like to show hospitality. Can
you think of the reasons why it was so important for us to
S: Because it was good to give, and it also showed friendship.
I: What does friendship mean? What did friendship mean among
the Indians, do you think? Even today?
S: Sharing. Isn't it a sharing? Helping each other out.
I: Uh huh. And I'm sure you've heard this many times from your
parents--that this is being a good kinsman, a good cousin.
S: Yes, I've heard it, and I've heard it in school.
I: People are always curious to know if the drinking problem
is very high among Indians. Doesn't matter what kind of
Indian they are, you know. They'll just put us with Navahos
or Sioux and things. But we're mainly interested with the
Seminoles. Is there a drinking problem with the Seminoles,
young and old?
S: Yes, there is.
I: Why do you think they drink so much? Is it just to have
parties, or is it because they're upset, or what could it
S: The young ones, we just drink to have fun.
I: Is it fun?
S: Yes, I think so.
I: Are there any suicides on the reserves?
I: No? Not that you know of?
I: Are there very many high school dropouts on the four re-
S: Yes, now there is.
I: Why are they dropping out?
S: I don't know, really.
I: You haven't heard anyone say why they just dropped out? They
just quit school and that's it?
S: They just said it wasn't the thing any more.
I: It wasn't the thing with the Indians or the whole group,
[Indian word] and Indians?
S: The whole group.
I: What happens [when] after awhile you begin to get a little
older, and different places is asking, "Have you finished
school?" What happens then?
S: Well, you're without a job, for one thing.
I: Are they really aware of this, most young people?
S: Yes, I think so.
I: But they still drop out?
S: Yes, because most of them out on the other reservations know
that they can find a job somewhere on the reservation.
I: With good paying jobs?
S: No, not really.
I: What do you think of the statistics that has us dead by the
average age of forty-three? Do you think Indians do die that
S: I don't know. We just live longer.
I: Let's move along to religion. Do you think the Indian was a
very religious person?
S: No, I don't think so.
S: Because of the way they did the things in the Indian way, by
using medicine on someone else, or things like that.
I: Well, is it so bad? A lot of people cheat people out of houses
and cheat people out of land. What's the difference?
S: I don't know. There is no difference really. It's the same
I: But you don't feel that the Indians were religious?
S: Maybe they were, but most of them,the way I hear it, weren't.
I: Are they religious now?
S: Yes, I guess. They try to be.
I: Can you comment on this: Are Indians basically religious
S: Not that I know of.
I: You don't think so, not today?
S: No, not today.
U: Yeah, they think they're faithful, but they're not. According
to the Bible, the way we see, it's not.
I: You were saying the Bible. What happens to the Indian two
hundred years ago, who may have never heard about the Bible?
S: Well, they just die, so after the resurrection they will be
up again, you know, and they will live on in paradise. That's
I: Are those that were around here years ago?
S: Yeah, because they didn't know and they didn't have a chance.
They're sleeping right now, but they will be up. That's when,
after the Judgement Day, they will learn about Christ and all
I: What do you think of television, the way they portray the
S: Oh, I don't like it.
I: Why don't you like it?
S: Because in real.we won, and on television they always make
the Indians lose. Everybody else knows that we won in the
I: How about "Little Big Man"? Did you see the movie, "Little
S: No, I wanted to, but I didn't get to.
I: Do you think the United States is really Indian land?
S: Yes, I do.
I: Even though the white men think that it was "finder, keeper"?
S: Yes, even if they think, I still think it's our land.
S: Because we were here first, I guess, and they came from another
I: Well, how about Florida? You know, our history book tells
us that Spain gave Florida to the United States. Someone's
lying somewhere, aren't they?
S: Yes, the Spaniards, or the whites.
I: I really don't know, because uhm, you know, I guess...
S: I mean, we were here before they were, so Florida really
belongs to the Seminoles and Creeks.
I: Well, how do you like that phrase that Christopher Columbus
S: He didn't. When he got off the ship he was just seasick, and
thought he really did discover the new world, but all the time
we were standing there watching him.
I: That was good. I wasn't expecting that.
I was just wondering--imagine you've heard a lot of stories
and a lot of legends. Do you think these should be lost?
I: How can we preserve them or keep them?
S: Everybody talks about it, so we should just keep telling the
younger ones as they grow up. They can just keep talking
about it, too. Since most of them are written down, we
should keep those too.
I: Do you think that there will be many Seminoles recording
these stories--some of our ceremonies and things? Do you
think there are any young people doing that now?
S: No, I don't think so.
I: Do you think they're interested in them?
S: Some of them may be, but most of them, I guess they aren't.
I: I guess because they're busy with all sorts of other activities,
because there's so much to do.
I: You've visited all four reservations, haven't you? Are
they all alike?
S: Maybe the three of them are, but Hollywood isn't, because it's
just more modern and it's just different from the other three.
I: The other three, like Brighton, isn't that sort of modern too?
S: Yes, it is, but there's still some more people that live in
chickees out there, just like Big Cypress and Trail.
I: Do you enjoy visiting these places? Do they remind you of
good old days?
S: Yes, they do.
I: Did your father ever go hunting?
S: Yes, he did, I guess.
I: Can you go fishing anywhere you want to around here?
S: We can go on the reservation and fish.
I: Off the reservations, do you have to have license?
I: Do you think a hundred years ago Indians had to have license?
I: What do you think that your people thought of the land? Do
you think that they thought land just belonged to one man,
for one man to profit from, or did they think that the land
belonged to the tribe?
S: It belonged to the tribe, I guess.
I: Why do you guess? Have you ever heard any Indians say any-
thing about the land?
S: That the land belonged to the Indians.
I: Is that all you've heard? Do you do any kind of running or
any exercise that may be kind of the things that Indians did
a long time ago?
S: No. Play ball, that's about all.
I: What kind of ball?
S: The Indian stickball.
I: Oh boy. Do you really play it?
S: Yes. I played it at the powwow.
I: We're gonna have to get the Oklahoma team to come up here
and play you.
S: That'd be good.
I: Do you think you could outdo the Oklahoma team?
I: What kind of food do you think the Indian gave to the
[Indian word meaning "white man"]?
S: Corn, pumpkin, squash, potatoes.
I: What else? You were telling me that there was some kind
of meat that the Indians gave to the whites. What was it?
S: I was talking about dried meat.
I: Do you think the Indians were friendly with the whites
when they first came in their area? Do you think that the
Seminoles were friendly with foods for them?
S: Yes, they were. But once they got on the land, they started
taking everything away from us.
I: Who were they?
S: The whites.
I: Is there a special name that the Seminoles give to these
I: What was it?
S: They call them [Indian word] or something.
I: Have you ever heard of Andrew Jackson?
I: What kind of man was he?
S: I don't really know, but he was mean.
I: Years ago, when treaties were signed, and then they would
say so many chiefs signed, even like a multi-treaty, they
said five Seminoles signed. Well, in those days, do you
think tribal leaders understood enough English to understand
that the government wanted their land?
S: No, I don't think so.
I: Do you think then that they should have waited until they
learned English to start negotiating?
S: Yes, I do.
I: What is your feeling?
U: I agree with her, because I feel as though had they known
what the treaties were all about, they would not have been
for it. But I really believe that in these treaties the
white man said that they would take care of their offspring.
They would help them. The Indians wouldn't have to do
without food. These were the type of things that made it
sound as though they were concerned about the Indians' wel-
fare,and these are the things that the Indians were interested
in. What they did daily was to take care of their elders and
their young and their babies and the ill. Their daily
concern was to take care of their people, and so when the
white man said that these were in the treaties, this is
what the Indians were concerned about.
Not so much the
money part of it. They really had no idea or conception
of money value like the white people, and so I think this
is why the Indians signed. This is what they were thinking.
I: Thank you. Have you ever heard of Dade Massacre?
S: Yeah, something like that in 1935,'35 [Dade Massacre
occurred in December, 1835,1, but it doesn't really matter,
'cause the job was done.
I: So you just know about what happened there? You know,
according to the history book--I hate to keep calling them
white men, but according to their history books a Major
Francis Dade and one hundred officers were ambushed. Do
you know how many survivors there were?
I: Three. So this Seminole war really cost the lives of many
S: That's what they wanted.
I: They tell also, around 1860, there were only about 150
Indians left. They sort of killed an awful lot of Seminoles,
and then most of the Seminoles who survived were Miccosukees,
and a little bit of Creeks. Do you think that's right in
the history books?
S: Yes, that's about the only thing right in the history books.
I: Did you know that the Seminole wars were one of the costliest
wars ever? You know, it cost the government $20 million and
1500 men. Do you think Osceola would have been happy to
hear about how much he cost the U.S. government?
I: They tell me that Seminole means "wild people". Do you
think that the Indians were wild?
S: They were minding their own business,and they came along
and got what they wanted.
I: When the white settlers were saying you were wild and everything,
what were you all trying to do?
S: Protect our land and everything else that belonged to us.
I: Did it really belong to you?
S: Yes, it did.
I: Okay, and you were trying to protect it?
I: You seem to have good comments on what Seminole meant, and
you seem to know that the Seminoles weren't wild. Could
you say that again? It was really interesting.
S: We're not wild Indians in those days, but when the white
people got on this land and.the way we lived--we lived
way out in the country in the villages--and then the way we
dressed, they look at us that we were wild to them. That's
how they call us--they say we're wild Indians, but we're
not. That's how we lived all those years, and that's just
a traditional way. The white people can call us that we
are wild, but it isn't so.
I: You used the expression "savages". Why do you think they call
S: Because the way we live and the way we dressed. We were
"savages" just because their way is different from us, you
know. If that's the way we want to live, that's how we'll
live. Their way is different, and they think their way is
better than anybody else, so they think that the way we
live is not as good as them.
I: Earlier, talking about protecting the land, you see on
movies and you read in books and things that the Indian came
and started burning white man's fields and what not. Do
you think they had a right to do this?
S: Yes, they did. They had the right to do that, because that's
how they did to Indians. The white people did that first,
so, just to be even with them, they have to do the same thing.
I: Do you think the Indians were friendly to these whites, or
were they always hostile to each other?
S: In the beginning, they were friendly with the whites, but
when the white people started killing these Indians, tried
to take everything away from them what belongs to the Indians,
that's when they turn around and protect themselves. They
have a right to protect themselves. They have a right to
protect everything what they got, because anybody wouldn't
want to.... If:somebody tried to take anything away from
you that belongs to you that you just don't say take it
or leave it for you. You just don't do that.
I: Do you know any stories about little wars that might
have taken place in Florida, like Okeechobee? Have youever
heard about the Okeechobee war?
S: I might have, but I don't remember. I really know, but
I'm not gonna tell you.
I: What sort of work do the people do around here, most of them?
S: Most of the Indians work at the tribal office in the village.
In arts and crafts and the nursery on the reservation.
I: You were saying "the village." What is the village?
S: That's where they have that exhibit. [Okalee Seminole village,
a tourist attraction at the Hollywood Reservation.]
I: Do you think this is a good thing? Does it show the way of
life of the Seminoles?
I: Does it tell a little history of the Seminoles?
S: Yes, it does.
I: I understand every year you all have-a little skit on Osceola.
Is it because you're all proud of the man, or are you all
just put on the skit just for the sake of putting it on?
S: It's because we're proud of him.
I: Why are you proud of him?
S: Because he stood up for us when he was needed.
I: He was there to help your people out?
I: All right, what is the nursery you were talking about? Is
this the flower shop, or...?
S: No, it's the child care, like kindergarten.
I: Are there very many children who goes there?
S: Yes, most of the Seminole children.
I: Do they learn anything?
S: Yes, they do.
I: Do you think education is very important in the lives of
S: Yes, it is.
I: What do parents usually tell their children?-
S: About education?
I: Uh huh.
S: I don't really know.
I: Around the Second Seminole War, Osceola was captured. Do
you know how he was captured?
S: Under the flag of truce.
I: What was the flag of truce?
I: What did they do with him? Did:they just capture him right
there and talk to him, or did they put him away somewhere?
S: They put him in jail, where he died later.
I: Do you know what they did to him after he died?
I: Do you like to hear old people talking their language?
I: How about tell stories and legends?
I: Can you think now of any stories you might have heard--maybe
a little short one?
I: Do you know any lullabies?
S: Not really.
I: When did you start speaking English? Which one was your
S: Seminole was my first language..
I: When did you start learning English?
S: When I went to school.
I: Was this in public school or government school?
S: Public school.
I: Was this your first time seeing white people, or had you
been around them all the time?
S: I'd seem them around, but didn't care for them.
I: Did your folks ever say if you don't stop crying they were
gonna give you to the [Indian word for white man]?
I: Did that frighten you?
I: You know different ethnic groups are always protesting and
always saying they want equal rights, whether to eat in a
restaurant or to be integrated in schools. Do you think
it's right for the Indians to protest in that way?
I: Why? Do you think if the government was gonna take so much
land away from them without giving them compensation and
money, do you think it would be right for the Indians to
S: Yes. Definitely.
I: Has this been done with the Seminoles?
I: What does your parents think about you having sex education
S: I never had it, so I don't know.
I: Well, has anyone ever mentioned sex education in school?
I: Do you think it's a good thing that the school should have
I: They tell me that this great nation, America, was born out
of people who worked very hard, who planted their crops. They
made sure that their livestock was well taken care of, and
they worked night and day and they built their houses out
of sweat and blood. They tell me. Do you know who these
people are that I'm talking about?
S: Yes, the Indians. They've been doing that for centuries.
I: Oh! I was expecting you to say the settlers. That's right.
That's another side of the story, isn't it?
S: Yes, it is.
I: And a very good side.
I: Some of the famous Indians leaders of the past was Osceola,
and you told me quite a bit about him. How about Wildcat--
who was he?
S: I think he was one of the leaders. Yeah, he was one of the
I: Was he a Creek?
S: I don't know if he was a Creek or not, but he was one of
the chiefs. Yeah, he was one of the leaders.
I: How about Sam Jones?
S: No, I don't know him.
I: And Billy Bowlegs?
I: You've never heard anyone talk about any of them.
S: Yes, I've heard it, but I don't remember.
I: But you don't remember exactly how it was?
I: Do some of the older Indian folks sort of get disgusted
with the younger people because they don't speak the
language or know the traditions?
I: What do they say?
S: Dumb, I guess. I mean, we know it. We know the language.
I know it and I can speak it.
I: I'm talking about the ones that don't know the language.
S: They do know the language, but they just can't speak it.
Some of them can speak it, but they're scared, because I've
heard them speak it before.
I: What would they be scared of--making mistakes?
S: Yes, that's what they're scared of.
I: In your generation, do most of the young people have Indian
S: Yes, they do.
I: Do they use them?
S: Not around here, but down in Trail and Big Cypress they do.
I: Do you think this tradition should be carried on?
S: Yes, I think it should.
I: What do they name the children?
For example, say you belonged to
call the first child "number one
Is it a name after the clan?
the Bird Clan--would they
bird", like that?
I: How do they acquire some of their names? Can you comment
U: They name the children out of song. Medicines, you know,
like prepare the medicine? They name out of the song or
either some time a Seminole could use Creek language, and
the Creek Indians could use our language to name their children.
Like, her name is [Indian word], but I don't know what it
means. That's the Creek language.
I: "She was missed."
S: That's her name. So we could use any Creek language to name
the children and the Seminole kids, and they could use our
language to name their children. But sometimes they use
'em out of that songs too.
I: What is your name?
U: I ain't gonna say it.
I: It must be cute.
U: No, it's ugly. It's not right.
S: What is it then?
U: Mama said that it means "you look
down on it" or something like
S: "You look dumb"?
U: "You look down on it", in the Creek language.
say "you look down"? It starts with T.
How would you
S: [Indian words], that's what mama says. That starts with "T".
It's from out of a song, I think. Done of the medicine. I
think that's what she said, just that "you're push it aside",
or something like that. And my other sister, her name is
I: "To go with".
S: Uh huh. What about Ruby?
U: Ruby's [Indian word]. I think that's out of a song too.
hers and mine.
S: What's mine?
U: [Indian word].
I: "You were missed".
U: That might mean "like to talk", or "speak".
I: To speak or something like that. [Indian word] means"a
U: We call Apinahaye, and one of my little girls, her name is
I: "He who goes".
U: That's my oldest little girl. And the second one is
[Indian word]. That's our language [Miccosukee]. This
old man lives in Big Cypress, and he named her that. It
means that when they were having a war, they used to call
it when the soldiers were coming after the Indians--you know,
Seminoles. They'd call [Indian word]--that means that the
soldiers are coming. During that time there .would be sick
people or injured people that would be...they couldn't walk,
and they used to put them in canoe and drag them along.
You'd just drag them along with you. It means that [Indian
word] meant like just drag them. That's what it means.
It's Seminole language.
[Indian word], he's the same man that named my sisters,
too. He said that that's about the war, you know, during
the Osceola war. They were coming--the soldiers were coming
after us. That's what he said that it means, that [Indian
word] means "come along", did you say?
I: Uh huh.
U: It means that they were coming along, and he named her
[Indian word]. He said that it was about the war.
U: Hers was translated men. When they were looking--
any soldiers--for Indians, that they couldn't find her, because
she was.... They missed her, and they went on.
S: My grandfather named her. He was one of the ones that was not
I: Well, these were fantastic names.
U: My grandfather named me too, you know, [Indian word.] They
said, my brothers, that they used to call me [Indian word.]
That's not right. See, mama said it's [Indian word.] That
means that you just push it aside or something like that.
When they used to go in a war, they used to go and push them
aside--the soldiers--and so there's a lot of people that have
names all over this place.
I: Were they given these names when they were just born?
S: Yeah, about four days old, or two days old.
I: That's great.
S: We all got Indian names.
I: Who was it that named you--the grandfather?
S: Yeah, my grandfather.
I: Was it always the grandfather's place to name the little
S: No, anybody, but it had to be the older grandfather or
grandmother or somebody, or the medicine man or somebody.
Whoever you wanted to name a baby.
U: My niece, she's in a girl's home and her name is [Indian word.]
That's her Indian name, and Ricky don't have one. But the boys
can have an Indian name, but when they're old enough to go
to Green Corn Dance, they have to have a second name. After
they will become a man, they name the second name, and that's
their way. That's different from a baby's name, too, see?
S: If my brother died and he had a name, about four years after
he died somebody could use his name, but it had to be our
clan to use it.
I: And they would have to wait four years?
S: Uh huh, before they use it on somebody else. Green Corn
Dance, like I said, the last day they have to stay up all
night, and that's when if you don't have one, then you have
to be there to get your name. That's your mature name.
When they become men, that's when they supposed to name you
another. But the girls, they have to just have one name.
But the men always change their name.
I: How about marriages? What sort of ceremonies did they have
for marriages a long time ago?
S: I never been to one, except one time my cousin was getting
married, and that was at my grandfather's village, and she
was married by by grandfather, of course. They make them hold
hands, and he'll tell them what they will do and after they
take care, and even though she's sick, support her, and like
it says in the Bible. They were like birds, so when they're
having children, they will both have to look for something to
feed them and take care of the children and the sickness
and all that, until one of them dies. Then they will be
free to marry another one.
After the one of them dies, there will be...the widow will
stay home, and it will be four months before they will get up
and do anything else. They have to be all dressed in black
and stay home four months, and after four months is over then
they're free to do anything they like. If they tell them
that when her husband or his wife dies, that the one that's
already been a widow is supposed to baptize them and tell
them what to do and do this and all that. They're the only
one that can take care of them, tell them not to marry the same
clan you was married before. Tell them that if they don't
have to get married, they'll say that, or they'll say, "You
go ahead and do what you like and marry the clan that you've
been married before." They can do that, and that's what he
did. He will that they should do this and all that. That's
what I heard. I was there. This one time it was about ten,
fifteen years ago.
I: Does the medicine man usually marry them? Who is it that
does the marrying?
S: The medicine man. That's the one that knows things about
I: He really has a powerful standing. He played a function
in everything. He really sort of ruled the roost, so to speak.
He's a tremendous man.
We've talked about almost everything. Wouldn't you like
to see some textbooks written telling the Indian side as
far as its contributions go?
S: Yeah. I mean, it really does, but only they use the whites
in the Indians' place.
I: Do you think some of the Seminoles will be writing their own
history and writing their own books on Seminoles themselves?
S: Yes, I think so.
I: Are they doing it now?
S: They have, I think,some.
I: Does this really give you pride in your people to see it?
S: Yes, it does.
I: Would you like to see some textbooks rewritten?
U: Yeah, by an Indian, of course. They know that the one that
was heard from their grandparents, that's the one that should
be the truth, not the white people what they think that's
been writing the stories about it. You know, that isn't true.
It hink it should be the Indians, telling what used to happen
a long time ago. We can get it out of our older folks,
you know, and that way I think is should be true.
I: Are you going to the Green Corn Dance that they're having
I: Are you going to dance?
I: Do you know how to shake shells?
I: Who would teach a person how to shake shells?
S: Well, there's a lot that
knows. There's a lot of people that
I: What kind of shells should they use? Turtle shells?
S: Yeah, turtles.
I: What kind of turtles do they use?
S: They used to be the box turtles, but now they can't
get them, so they have to use a can.
I: What kind of can?
S: Tin can.
I: I'd like to have a pair of shells. Do you shake shells?
C: Uh huh.
I: You can really get with it.
U: Yeah, I learned how to do it when I was around five years
old. I could dance and dance and dance because I enjoyed
it so much. My daddy would be sitting in that [Indian
words], and he'd be watching us, and we'd just love it.
My sister and I used to dance all the time.
I: How many turtles do you have on one shell?
U: The turtles, I don't know, but we usually carry six cans on
I: What do you put inside of the cans?
U: Beads, or either the....
S: Shot gun shells.
U: Or either that, or little seeds out of swamp...you can find out
of swamps and they're real good. You have to find those
and they're in the We'd go out in the swamps, and
they're the good ones. We used those too. I don't know
what they called those plants, but they were good ones, and
I: Oh,you put corn in it too?
S: No. In the cow bells we do. Just for fun of it, we used to
put the rocks in it or....
I: How many shakers should there be for each group of dancers?
U: Just as many as they can get ahold of.
I: Oh, the louder the noise, the better it is.
U: Yeah, the louder; and it looks better for women to dance with
the shell than without it, you know.
I: Do the men shake shells?
I: Why is this?
U: They're not suppose to. I mean, it's just for the women.
I: Do the men lead the stomps?
U: Yes, they do.
I: How about the women?
I: Why do they discriminate against the women? Isn't there any
women's lib around.
U: No, no way.
I: That's the way it is.
U: It's how it should be, I guess.
I: That's right. Are there young people learning how to shake
U: Yes, we teach them. They learn.
I: There are some young kids learning how. How about [Indian
word]--is she learning how to shake shells?
I: But she's going to the Green Corn; maybe she'll learn.