Title: Laura Mae Osceola ; Betty Mae Jumper ; Carol Cypress ; Priscilla Sayen ; Rossie Billie [ SEM210 ]
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00091797/00001
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Title: Laura Mae Osceola ; Betty Mae Jumper ; Carol Cypress ; Priscilla Sayen ; Rossie Billie SEM210
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Interviewer: Harry Kersey
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, FL
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Bibliographic ID: UF00091797
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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K: Our panel this afternoon are five really distinguished members of the Seminole

Tribe of Florida. Let me introduce them to you: Laura Mae Osceola, you have

heard her referred to earlier in the day. She is very shy and retiring. When she

appeared in the House and subcommittees in the 1950s, I think the congressmen

were permanently scared by her appearance. She served as the Tribal

secretary/treasurer for ten years, a real pioneer. Next to her is Betty Mae

Jumper, you may have also heard some of her exploits recounted. She is one of

the first high school graduates in the Tribe, certainly one of the first elected to

office. She is the first and, to this point, only woman elected chairman of the

Seminole Tribe of Florida. Carol Cypress, whom you saw on the tape at the end

of the first session, has held a variety of offices within the Tribe. She will be

talking about her various commitments. She is now involved with Tribal housing.

Priscilla Sayen is the current secretary/treasurer of the Tribe and has been since

1979. She can offer some really valuable insights into how the Tribe is

functioning today, the politics, the economics and the issues and the problems.

Rosie Billie, who was also a member of the Tribal Council. We were chatting

about this at lunch, in the early years of the Tribal's existence women seemed to

be selected for leadership positions and asked to accept the challenges to meet

the crisis and then in the last few years there seems to be a dying down of this.

These are some of the issues that we would like to get into.

I think that I am going to start this off by asking a couple of questions of my own and

letting the members of the panel respond to them. I am sure that will lead to a free

flowing discussion.

I would like to start with Laura Mae. What I would like you to speak to is, when

you think back to the 1950s, when there was this threat of termination and you

and the others went to Washington, first of all why were you selected? Why do

you think that you were the one chosen to speak for the group? Something that I

have never asked you, and I have never seen it written down, even though they

depended upon you, how did the men treat you, really?

0: I do not know why they selected me, but I have always been involved in

something, even when I was twelve, thirteen years old. With the elders, I sat and

listened to them when they discussed their problems about the tribe or own

family growing. They have always talked and I would sit there and listen from the

side. So, I know what the problems [were] that they were having. Like this lady

brought out about purchasing the cattle from the government when they divided.

I remember, because my step-father was from Brighton and he was a cattleman.

He knew about raising cattle. He worked with the ranchers for a long time. So

when he would talk about the cattle, I listened to him and he would discuss it with

the elders. I listened, my ears were always open. It seems like every time

something had to be done, I was there to either listen and do it, what they asked

me to do. So they got used to me. I grew up with the elders. I spoke a little bit

of English at that time, and they depended on me to be an interpreter among

them. I remember I was sixteen years old when we moved to Big Cypress. The

government gave cattle to Brighton first, and he, my step-father, worked there for

a while, then the government gave cattle to the Big Cypress Reservation. So he


followed over there. When they formed the cattle association there, they

selected me as interpreter and secretary-treasurer. That is how I exercised my

brain to remember. When they said something, like you said, I am not bashful, I

would get up and say, this is what you all said. That [helped] me to remember

things, and then they got me to be an interpreter. Then I got involved with

Christianity, Southern Baptists had started Christian churches. I got used to

getting in front of the church talking and teaching my elders their bible verses. I

was involved in things like that, and they were used to me, and to this day I look

up to my elders and I listen to them. I am still learning and I am sixty years old.

As I go along, this is why. If my uncle is riding with me and we see something as

we ride along, from what I read in the newspapers, even to this day I say, you

know what is going on over there, and he would ask me and I would say, this is

what is happening. Or if I would read the newspaper, I know my Uncle Brownie,

he passed away a few years ago, I would say, this is what it says on this

newspaper. This is what made me become interested in what the tribe was

doing or how my elders were in my family. I know where I come from, from my

family tree.

They said that this lady, when they were taking their people in Tampa Bay and

shipping them off to Oklahoma, there were three ladies picking berries and my

great, great grandmother was out there. She was left alone with the other ladies

and the soldiers came. The other two ladies left, but she was left alone. Most of

my kin folks left for Oklahoma. There was one lady that was left, and she walked

from there to join the others that were hiding in the Everglades. The


determination to survive. She was a fighter. So my family tree has always been

fighters. When some of my kin folks are not assertive, I get after them. You can

listen to a man talk and talk and talk, but I always know that it takes a woman to

do things. This is how I grew up in my family.

I learned from my uncles, I helped them and then they taught me lots of things.

One of my uncles, he is the youngest of my Grandmother Annie Mae, Seminole

Annie they called her, and she is going to be honored tomorrow afternoon in the

Museum in Fort Lauderdale. She lived in Fort Lauderdale, her son was the first

that went away to school. He went to Carlisle Indian School with Jim Thorpe, the

great American football player. He went there and then they found out that he

had TB, so they sent him to Shawnee, Oklahoma, to the hospital. After that he

came back. My family tree has always [sought] to better themselves. That is

why he went away to get an education. This is why I am always talking about

education. My great grandmother was the only one that was left when they were

removing them, so I know that we have to keep our tree growing.

My son, Max, graduated. He was about three years old when I appeared before

the committee in Washington, and I said I want him, Max, to grow up to be a

leader. So he is a leader today. He is a leader of the Hollywood Reservation, he

is a councilman. My other adopted son, they knew that I wanted to educate the

leaders after we appeared in Washington, so there was this young orphan boy

who was half white. They did not like half-breeds in those days. He was born in

1945, he was a war baby. He came out of that Foreman Field at the Naval Air

Station. We never found out who his father was, even though he tried to find out.


He was living in my house, and I educated him too and sent him away to school.

He went away to Vietnam and came back. Today he is the Seminole Tribe of

Florida Chairman, James Billie. So to survive among the white peoples, I feel

that the only thing that we can depend on is education to get along with people.

Some Indians say, you took the land away from us, you did this, you did that. I

don't believe in that. Everybody knows that you took the land away from us

[laughter], so why should we keep going on and harping on that. I taught my

sons to take the good out of the white man's way and the good out of the Indian's

way, put it together and you rule your people the way that you think that they

should be ruled or help them out.

This was my feeling working with the elders. To this day, I love senior citizens. I

go with them where they want to go. I listen to them today, they teach me

everyday. This is me. I am Laura Osceola and I am sixty years old. I enjoy

people, I love people, and I have compassion for everybody. It doesn't make any

difference if they are white, black, or Indians. They are all the same to me. This

is how I taught my sons to be. This is why they picked me, because if you can

tell somebody your problems face to face instead of gossiping about it, you [can]

get across to people. I am glad that Dr. Kersey invited us here so that I can meet

you and exchange cultures. That way I will know more about you and you will

know more about me and my people. I think that is probably the reason that I

can get across to people, even in my broken English I can make my point known

without getting somebody mad. That is probably one of the reasons.

K: What you need are firmer convictions. Betty Mae, I would like to ask you to

share with us. I know that your mother was a great influence in your life when

she brought you and your brother down from the Indian Town area and that your

pursuit of education is sort of a legend. Did you feel the same way, that there

was a strong influence from your mother to go get an education, or how did it

work that you wound up at Cherokee?

J: I came down from a line of Indian doctors. My great uncles and grandfathers

were all Indian doctors. My mother was an Indian doctor and she traveled.

Wherever the Indians called her she always went and doctored. She was a mid-

wife delivering the babies. I used to follow her around. My grandmother is a full

blooded Miccosukee on this side, and my grandfather was a full blooded Creek

on this side. So between Creek and Miccosukee, I was raised with both

languages. My grandmother talked Miccosukee all the time, and my great uncles

and my mother's father's family talked Creek. So I learned how to talk

Miccosukee and Creek. I can understand anybody that talks to me. [laughter]

Even if they are fussing at me I know what they are saying. I used to follow my

mother when she was doctoring these Indians. I was about twelve or thirteen

years old when she helped deliver babies in Hollywood, and one got choked.

She didn't know what to do, she just patted her on the back, but finally it died.

Young as I was, I thought, there must be a way to un-choke that baby so it won't

die. It was very much alive when it was born. But she didn't know how to get

that mucus out of her throat. So it died on her. After that we were wandering

around. In those days we used to pick beans and tomatoes and all that to

survive, oranges and everything. That is what my folks did.

One day I was talking to my mother and I told her that I would like to go to

school. In the meantime a school bus rode down from Oklahoma and they

picked these Seminoles to go out there and see how they worked the churches.

These were church groups. Laura was about two years old then. Her mother

and a whole bunch of us went up there. While I was up there I met a girl named

Juanita Tiger and we used to talk about school. She would tell me all the things

that she learned at school. She read funny books, and I can't read. I wanted to

read funny books, but I can't read. She said if you go to school you will learn

how to read and write like I do. So when I came back, Mr. Scott was the

superintendent then and I asked him if I could go to school in Dania. He said, no

trouble I will get you in there. I asked my mother and she said all right. My

grandmother, who lived to be 104 years old, was dead against me going to

school. She didn't want me to go to school, her answer was no, you can't go to

school, that is white people's books and their telling. But when Mr. Scott went

to Dania and wanted to put me in there, my cousin, Mary Bowers, decided to go

to school too. They told us that we were Indians and that we could not go to

school there. They wouldn't take us. In Fort Lauderdale, Tony Tommy in early

1980s used to go and play ball with them. That one was against us too, they

won't let us go in because we were Indians. So he said, I just can't get you in

there. Then later on he said, I will try to find a school and send you to school

somewhere else. I forgot about it. One day I was picking beans with my mother


out on a farm, and Mr. Scott came out there and said, do you still want to go to

school. I told him yes, I want to go to school. He told my mother to get me

ready, within two weeks I would go to school in Cherokee or Oklahoma school,

they called him. At that time they had those grade schools. I came back and I

told my cousin Mary, we are going to one of those schools. We decided that we

would go to Cherokee. That is how we could land there. I stayed there eight and

a half years and graduated from high school. In between times I used to come

back and interpret these Indians when they wanted me to do it. I would come

home and work for them and all that.

After I graduated I went to Carlisle Hospital and took nurses training. I came

back because it was my plan to work with my people. We really needed nurses

and doctors on our reservations as well as on the Trail. Lots of people believed

in Indian doctors and all that. They used to get mad at us. When I came back

the government put up so much money and gave us a government car to work,

and a public health nurse came. We used to travel. We had a little house out

there and we had all our medicine there. We would get what we wanted on a

Monday, and then we would go out on the Trail all the way around into Big

Cypress. We could not go out into Big Cypress unless we went out in big trucks

because there were no roads. That is how we got in. Then we would go out and

go to Brighton, then on Friday we would come back in. Every two weeks we did

that. A lot of those [people] couldn't accept doctors and a lot of them didn't want

us to come into their camps, but finally we talked them into it. A lot of the kids


didn't have shoes and would go barefoot and they had a lot of hook worms or

whatever it is. We lost a lot of kids, but we got there on time for a lot of them. In

those days they used to give you some kind of a syrup and they drank it. In three

days you gave them castor oil or something like that and they just hated that.

We would leave that. We would give it to them and then go off. By three days

later their mother give them castor oil and stuff like that. We finally inoculated a

lot of them for measles, whooping cough--a lot of them died with the whooping

cough. We finally stopped that. That was my intention, to bring good health on

the reservations. It was the sick people that were always interesting because,

like I said, my mother and my people were doctors. I wanted to be in some kind

of medicine, to give to the people to get them well and make them educated in

health so they would help themselves. This was what my plan was. I worked

twenty-one years in health. Now today we have beautiful clinics on reservations.

We have doctors that go out on the reservations. It has come a long way since I

came back to the reservation and helped them.

Later on when the tribe became organized I was the vice chief the first time, and

then I became a chairman for four years. I have been working with my tribe

pretty close to forty-two years and I am still working with them. Now I am

working with the paper, I don't work with health any more, I work with the

newspaper. I run a paper for the Tribe. It has been a long hard struggle to get to

where we are now. Today I can sit down and look out and see the most healthy

kids playing out in the streets around where I live. It is wonderful to have

education. If we didn't have education, we wouldn't be where we are today, and


if it wasn't for our older people working hard. We have a lot of women who work

hard on the reservations with education and organizations. We have a lot good

men that work with us too. Today, with the young generation that is taking

footsteps of the older people, today all of you are invited to the reservation, and

you can see what I am talking about. We have homes, lot of things that we used

to wish that we had. Sometimes when I look at them, I tell my grandchildren, if I

lived in your age, there are a lot of jobs out there. I say, don't be lazy, get your

education. Today we are still pushing our young people.

K: Carol, let me throw the next question to you. You are an administrator in a

housing program, you have worked with the education program, they saw you in

the film before the break with the bilingual program, and so forth. As you were

growing up did the example of Betty Mae and Laura Mae influence you in any


C: I have to say that they were the pathfinders for us, they made the paths for us to

go along. What they are talking about, my father had been in tribal government

for twenty-two years before he retired. When they started these two ladies were

there, and other ladies were there, and they were my leaders, the women. I

would have to say that they did influence me a lot.

K: This in essence told you that the women could assume the leadership positions.

I know after you moved back, you had lived in the Washington area a number of

years, did you come back intending on getting involved with tribal government, or

did that just happen?

C: I am not really involved with the politics. I was working in education. I have been

a homemaker, and then when my kids started going to school that is when I got

involved with education. My part is concerning the culture. That is where I have

been. As I have progressed as a woman, learning new things and living off the

reservation for four years, which I had never been off the reservation for that

long, I learned a new experience. When I did come back in 1988, I went to back

to teaching culture. And then I wanted to try a thing, as a woman growing, I

wanted to try a different field. So I went into the health program and trained to be

an outreach worker. Then the housing thing came. That has to do with

business. I have no training at all, but I was asked if I would consider applying

for a job that was held by a non-tribal member. They wanted to encourage tribal

members to get into high positions, and I had to think about it. It took me about

three times of them asking and I said okay. Mostly I didn't consider it because I

did not have any training at all in business, mine was just dealing with people and

dealing with kids. I decided I would take the risk and I did. I have been in the

program for just over a year. I have learned a lot working in that job. I found out

that I am still dealing with people, except I am dealing with grown up people like

kids. So it was good that I did have that training because my job is housing

manager. I deal with a lot people, the tenants, collecting money. That is where I

am right now. That is my own personal taking a risk as a woman just growing.

My upbringing, I was raised and influenced a lot by my aunt and the way that she

taught me I was more a woman to be there for the man. I was there to take care

of his kids and his home, be there whenever he needed, have supper on the


table when he came home and all that. So I did that. But as I got older and my

kids got older, I ventured out more and got more education, I found out that I did

not know myself. That is where I started to learn about myself. Some of these

new jobs that I was offered, it was a risk taking for myself as a woman, as a

person. That is where I am coming from. I will probably take other risks too. A

lot of my growing was, like they were talking about earlier, that a woman's job

was to take care of the kids. That has changed. When I grew up, I grew up in a

village with my grandfather, my aunt lived there, my uncle lived there, and we all

lived there. Now we don't live that way. We live in our own single home, and I

have just one uncle. He is the uncle that lets you do anything you want. He is in

that picture [gesturing to a photograph]. I could never go to him to discipline my

kids. He is a good person. That kind of family structure changed.

Betty was talking about going off to boarding school, that was another situation.

[People about] my age, I am forty-seven, so my age and a little older sent their

kids off to boarding school, because that was the only place you could go. The

relationship you'd have when your kids were gone about nine months then they

came back [changed]. A lot of women today have a hard time dealing with their

kids. I went to boarding school one year and I did not like it. When I got back, I

told my parents don't ever let me go. So I stayed home and my parents dealt

with me. So I feel that I had that opportunity where I was trained to deal with my

own kids. A lot of kids went to boarding school. When you were having trouble

with a kids, send them to the boarding school for nine months. They will be back

for three months, and some parents could not wait until September came so the


kids would go off. There is a lot of family structure change. There were no

uncles or other aunts. When we lived in that camp, if my parents went off to

work, there would be my grandfather, my grandmother, and maybe my uncle

there. They would provide the food and there was shelter there. It is not like that

now, it has changed. I saw a lot of those problems coming up.

We ran into alcoholism, and that really tore up our family. Now my kids are in

their twenties, my youngest is sixteen, they got into drugs, so we have those

problems like over all the United States. We have those problems to deal with.

When Betty was talking about hook worms, I was one of the students. They

showed us pictures, that we needed to wear shoes and all that. So we have

those other kinds of health problems that we have to deal with today. We do

have the facilities, we do have dental services, and mental health programs on

the reservations. We are dealing with it. As a parent and a woman, I wanted to

be involved with the community. I am not really interested in running for

representative or anything like that. My community is important, and I am part of

it. Being in this job, I have seen a lot of things and learned a lot of things. I was

scared of computers, but I am learning. That is a new thing for me, it is learning

as an individual person. I am going to bring Billy in, he is here. When we first

got married, our marriage was that kind of situation where I did the taking care of

the kids, but today, he and I view it differently. We are fifty-fifty now. Since my

older daughter is twenty and we have a sixteen year old at home, he takes her to

the dentist if I cannot make it, before it used to be all my responsibility. He

washes dishes today too, I will tell you. [laughter]


K: To say a word for Billy, he waited till they were old enough.

C: It is different. You have to work and a lot of Seminole women work, and a lot of

us are single parents. So right now Bill and I have a new experience in our

marriage too. I hope that he doesn't mind me saying that. My life is still

changing, I will be taking new risks, new changes in my life. I like it. Someone

asked me earlier if I wear Seminole skirts all the time. I told her that it depends

on the day that I get up how I feel. If I want to wear pants, if I want a long skirt

with the patchwork or whatever, sometimes I wear those tight exercise pants with

over size t-shirts. I walk in and surprise some Seminole ladies, I wear whatever I

feel like and whatever I feel comfortable with. That is how I feel today. One of

the things that Mr. Kersey was talking about, the decline of women in politics, he

talked to me earlier on that. Do you want me to adders that?

K: Sure. Go ahead.

C: I was telling him, as a housing manager there is another step which is executive

director, where I am working, and I would like to apply for that job. Right now we

have a lot of men in our government and it seems like they are looking out for

each other, the men. I was telling him that we women were behind the men,

pushing them, now after some of us women are doing things that we want to do

for ourselves, and I think that frightens them. They really don't want us to do it.

They kind of gang up on you. They don't want the women there. We are not

showing them up, it is because that is what I want to do, and I am capable of

doing it. I think that frightens some of our Seminole men. It is hard for you to

understand and I have felt that resentment when I speak out, that you shouldn't


be talking like that, that is not the women's place to say that. I think some of our

younger women coming up are going to go ahead and go through and I may not

do it, but there are going to be others, and they are going to have to deal with

that, the men are going to have to deal with that. I think that is where the decline

is. The women that are younger than me and want to get in politics I am right

behind them.

K: Your turn Priscilla. Priscilla Sayen has what some observers have called the

third most important job in the Seminole Tribe of Florida, behind the elected tribal

chairman and the elected president of the board of directors, the business branch

and the government branch, as secretary-treasurer, the same job that Laura Mae

had. They provide continuity. She is in charge of records, finance, and the

bookkeeping. The tribal counsel members come and go, and chairpersons come

and go, but the secretary-treasurer is almost immortal as long as they do a good

job. Could you tell the people a little bit about your job and the trust that the tribe

has placed in you in this important position?

S: Thank you, Dr. Kersey. It is a pleasure to be here among you today. First of all,

I would like to say that commenting on the previous women's comments, as far

as taking part in politics and taking part in business, and the social life of the

community, as well as our own over all community that we live in, we have come

far in the last ten years that I have been involved with the Seminole Tribe. I went

to work for them in 1979 and my experience in the last ten years, seeing the

tribal growth in the economic field as well as the social field, education, has been

tremendous. I have been very fortunate to have been a part of this organization


since 1979. I went in simultaneously with James E. Billie as he was elected in

1979. Our previous tribal treasurer, Dorothy Scott Osceola, passed away in

1979, and they opened that vacancy to the tribal members as well as out, and I

applied and I was fortunate enough to be appointed by the tribal counsel as well

as the board of directors. From that time on I have been involved. Today, we

have over 100 programs funded directly by the tribal treasury as well as state

treasury, county treasuries, and the federal government treasury. We employ

over 400 people, and almost half of that is our tribal members spread out

throughout the federal reservations located throughout the state of Florida. As

far as the economic growth, we have almost 100 fold since 1979 up to the

present and we fund almost totally our social expenditures of the tribe. We have

taken on a lot of the funded projects from the counties, such as the funeral

expenses. We fund our own, totally through tribal treasuries, and we have

limited most of the welfare recipients to our local treasuries. We fund totally,

sometimes, our people who are gifted in the education field, the tribal treasury

funds them totally without scholarships. But we do have the opportunity for

scholarships as well. As far the reservations, we have been expanding land base

through our economic means. We have expanded the Immokalee reservation,

which is located in Lee County. We purchased 566 acres and the previous acres

was only a little bit over four acres at that time in 1979. We have increased that

by 566 acres as of present. And we purchased a little over thirteen acres in

Tampa. We purchased another ten acres on the Hollywood reservation. Our

total membership today numbers 2,010, and that changes every time the tribal


counsel meets, every other month. Our membership changes at that time

because we applicants that the tribal counsel reviews and approves at that time.

It changes constantly. If you have any questions, I will be glad to answer them.

K: Priscilla, I know that there will be 1,000 questions, so we want to get them all in a

group. I want to ask you to comment on one thing. Of course, everyone here is

well aware that the Seminole Tribe is engaged in bingo operations and the tax

exempt at certain levels--cigarette sales. I don't think they realize to what extent

this money has funded these exact programs that you are talking about in lieu of

federal funding, how the tribe has had to pick up the slack.

S: The tribe has been picking up a lot of the slack from the mid-[1980]s since

Gramm-Rudman [Senators Phil Gramm and Warren Rudman] enacted the act of

cutting back tribal programs funded by the federal government and some of the

Indian tribes throughout the United States have suffered through that act,

whereas the Seminole Tribe of Florida has kept our programs, largely due to the

cigarette sales and the bingo revenue that the tribe receives. We have expanded

our funds and therefore expanded the programs.

K: A last statement from Rosie down on the end. As a representative from Brighton

Reservation, do you face any particular situation up there that is different from

the Big Cypress and the Hollywood Reservations when you represented your

people up there? Were women looked to more for representation from that


B: Not really, but I will say that there were some women that ran, but they were out

voted I guess. There were some men when I got in, before I got in, I was growing


up where I was born at Brighton Reservation. That was where I was raised and I

knew everybody and I knew what they had done, and what they needed to do. I

knew what needed to be done on the reservation. But we never had it done.

The first school we had was the one that they were talking about, Brighton Day

School. That is where I went in 1940-something. That is where I went to school,

but I never did finish. I got married and had children and then I fall back, like they

said we need the education, so I need education to lead my people, to represent

my people so I could understand a little bit of the English and translate to my

elderly people. My grandparents wasn't living then, after they passed away, that

is when I started getting into politics. Like they were saying, I was in the Indian

tradition. They were teaching me how to take care of my kids and how to teach

my kids because on the mother's side there is the responsibility to teach your

kids. The father was suppose to provide food on the table, take care of kids and

you were suppose to teach your kids. Today it doesn't work that way. If I was

waiting on that, me and the kids would be starving. [laughter] I had to work and

support my kids and my husband at that time. When I was growing they taught

me [this], and I said that after they are gone I will have to change this. So I went

back to school and got my diploma and then I started getting into politics.

The only reason I went back to school was because my aunt had been into

politics and she was telling, I have a lot of certificates, I went to training and all

this, and take this, and they gave me credit for it, and you could get your high

school diploma. Well if you did it, I can do it too. So I went and followed my

aunt, I went to night school and graduated in 1967-1969, that was when Betty

Mae was elected chairman, and I was a representative for my reservation.

When I got in I didn't know what I was getting to. [laughter] After that I said well I

said that I was going to represent you all and I will do the best I know how. I said

whatever they need to have changed, or whenever they ask me, I will bring it to

your community and lets all approve it before I present it again. I said, I can't do

it by myself, you all are the ones that put me in, so I will do what you say. I said

that I am not greedy like the men are, I will do what the community wants. That

is when I went. A lot of Indians were not working and we started talking about

how we needed to bring these programs to the communities or tribes so they can

have jobs. They started talking about Meals on Wheels, and I thought that they

were talking about that they were going to roll down the meal like they do on the

streets. So we went for that, we got that. They were talking about the catfish

project, so I said our people need jobs, so lets go ahead and do that, and we did

that. That didn't work out, we had more outsiders than Indians. Indians would

work a little bit then they were gone. They wanted to hunt all the time. Well if

they want to hunt they can hunt and whatever they can provide in food for their

families, that is fine. We had mostly outside people working for us in the catfish

farm. That didn't go too far. We asked for some different programs for our

tribes. So like she was saying, when I was on tribal counsel there was close to

sixty programs, now they got about 100 programs. I was there back in 1967 and

1969, and then I was back in 1977 and 1979, and then back in 1983 to 1987

again. At that time, we were trying to get jobs. Now we were trying to do


something different for their kids. We built a gymnasium for our community.

There were some kids that started into high school rodeo, that is where my son

is. They participate at the high school for scholarships. We have office

buildings, administrative building, a senior citizens building, and when I was in

there from 1967-1969 we would propose, what would you like to see changed.

We need a fire station, we need a police station, we need a senior citizens

center, we need a clinic.

When I was working at the clinic, I was working for the county health department.

We used to have the county health department come in and take care of our

people. I was working with them as an interpreter. Like Betty Mae was saying,

when she was growing up she had two dialects. That is how I was. My daddy

was Miccosukee speaking and my momma was speaking Creek-Seminole. I

knew both of them, none of them cuss me out, well they don't have no cuss

words anyway, but they can't say something that I don't know. I try to speak both

languages, and I interpret both languages. I have senior citizens, and some of

them act like they don't understand Miccosukee. I even had to interpret for the

Indians, they speak different dialects. I get along with people. I have been in

and out of the tribal counsel and I know how far.... There wasn't anything. We

didn't even have houses when I got in it. I was going to school, we had a

chickee, we didn't have running water, we had to go in the canal to take a bath.

We had to go use the bathroom out in the woods. That is why we had a lot of

hook worms. They said that we should wear shoes, but we couldn't afford shoes,

so didn't have shoes. When I went to school, it was Mr. Boehmer, the first


teacher we had at the school. We would start talking Indian, like we would here,

and he was trying to teach us to speak English. We would start talking Indian, he

would make us stand in the corner. So we couldn't hardly speak in our language,

back then we used to talk Indian all the time. Now my kids don't even speak

Indian, they speak English. They can't understand what I say, by baby is

nineteen years old, I talk to him in Indian and he says, huh? I say, I thought you

were suppose to be Indian. My granddaughter is up there, and we started talking

to her in both languages. They said, don't teach her that, because she will be

saying something I don't understand, and I said, well you are suppose to be

Indian you know. This generation now, I notice that on the Big Cypress

Reservation, those little kids can speak their language. I am proud of them. But

over where I am from, they just speak English all the time. They act like they

don't understand, I have to go in and talk to them.

I used to interpret for doctors, and now I am working with social care for elderly

people and I interpret. I tell them, you are entitled to this, you are entitled to that,

if anybody can get it, you are all entitled to anything if you are on the reservation

or if you are in it. That is what I am working on. Now they have elections coming

up in May, there will be another election and they have started looking at me, [. ..

go through that again]. We got the gymnasium, we got the office, we got all the

jobs, if you want to work you can work, if you don't want to work, it is your

[choice]. We have all these programs that you can qualify, some different

programs that they can work, if they don't want to work, we will have a


community food. They get tired of that because they need fresh food. I say, if

you want a job, it is there, all you have to do is go work. They want some hand-

me-downs, some people do want hand-me-downs. Some of them, I guess they

were raised that way from generation to generation. Then some people try to

work and make a better living for themselves and their kids. But I said we have

all those programs. I hated to travel all by myself over yonder and over there. I

was tired of traveling, I have travel fifty-two states. I only need about six more

states to cover 50 states. I was tired of traveling. I was doing it for my people. I

am glad about what they have now. They asked me to run again in May. I said I

am going to think about it first. [Comment from the audience dealing with the

microphone level.] Some people were asking me if I was going to run again, and

I said I am going to think about it first before I start getting into it. All you need is

ten registered voters from your reservations to put you on the ballot. If you were

going to run for chief you have to all three reservation, you have to have thirty

names on your ballot so you can run for chief. I don't have a problem getting ten

names, I was just thinking about what was in the past that I have done, the

struggling, the people knocking on the door I don't care what time of day or night

or even on weekends. So now there are representatives that leave town on

Friday and don't come back until Monday morning. I wasn't like that, I told them I

wasn't like that. I said I was here for you all. I said the men can take off, but the

women can be hanging around here. The fire is their fire, like they were saying

on the picture. You can't leave, you have to be there, you have to come home. I

said that any way that I can help you, if I could, I will, and I will try. I told them


that. I don't promise to do this and that, I said, I will see what I can do. I said

that I had heard this before, a white person has got a forked tongue. and Indian

people have one tongue. White people have forked tongues, they tell you to go

do this, and before you finish that they tell you to go do something else. The

Indian wants to stick with it until that job is done. That is the way that I was

taught. Before I finish I wanted to say this, it's kind of funny. It's a joke. Indian

men got a short neck, and white people got a long neck, and the reason why,

they used to tell me, is that an Indian would try to duck down behind the bushes

while the soldiers tried to look over the bushes to get the Indians. That is why

Indians got short necks.

[Transcriber Note: Dr. Kersey opens up the floor for questions. Q is for question, note

that these are blank because I cannot hear the person in the audience asking the

questions. The A is for the answer if I could not determine who was answering the

question. This was not easy to do because several of the panelist are hard to

distinguish the differences in their voices, so you need to look at the video and figure

out who is answering, then change the A to the correct persons' initial. Thanks.]

K: I think I will open the floor up to questions. I am sure that some of you have

questions for the panelists.

Q: [ Question about conflicts between Christianity and tribal beliefs, such as those

dealing with the earth.]

J: No, it doesn't. Back in the 1920s, before I was born, there were Christian people

from Oklahoma who started coming back and teaching these Indians about God

and how Jesus came down on earth and died on the cross for us. Willie King,

there were some more before him, but he came here before I was born, and he

was here until I went off to nurse's school. I took him back to the hospital in

Oklahoma and he died. He had been with us for a great many years. He never

pushed anybody into being Christian. He was always telling us that there is God.

He came back to tell us that there is God, that they learned that there is God,

and you can find Jesus if you want to. He never pushed any Indians around. He

used to tell me, when I was a little girl, there is Jesus in heaven and he came

down and died for us on a cross to pay for our sins. So, if you believe on him,

and when you die you will go to heaven. That is what he used to tell us. He

used to teach us Indian Creek hymns. That is where I learned about how

Christianity came to the reservation back from Oklahoma. The Creek Indians

brought it back. Willie King never interfered with the Green Corn Dance that they

called. The Indians, a long time ago, they used to believe in this great spirit, and

every year they would have a Green Corn Dance and worship the great spirit and

thank the great spirit that they had a good year. That is why they have it once a

year. It used to be strong. Today, it doesn't seem to be any more, but they still

have it. A long time ago, they were really believing in that. They used to thank

the great spirit and they used to dance and praise the great spirit. Today it is just

regular dance that they do. A lot of older people have died away that used to run

it. It didn't interfere when I was growing up because we learned the difference


between Indian culture and Christianity. Maybe Laura can tell you a little bit

more on it.

B: Let me say something on the Green Corn Dance. I go to the Green Corn Dance,

and I got a camp, the woman who was the leader of the Green Corn Dance has a

camp. I have a camp, other ladies of different clans have a camp, and I have a

dancing area right there but nobody is suppose to camp out on this side, the east

side, because that is where the sun comes and it falls on the west. When I was

growing up I remember that they had missionaries and I remember that my aunt

was the first one believing in Jesus Christ. My parents and my grandfather did

not have anything to do with her when she changed to a Southern Baptist. She

was a Baptist believer. They didn't have nothing to do with her, and they were

really against it. But now gradually most of us are Southern Baptist. My

grandparents they never believed, they believed what they believed, about the

spirits. They always talked about God. They said that their God would be

coming back. One of these days the earth was going to catch on fire. They

would say that, if you ever lied, there would be a mark in your eye, and then you

won't even go to heaven. But if you were straight, you are suppose to walk on a .

... How would you say it Laura Mae?

O: Like a narrow road ... over a big hole.

B: Like a bog log. You are supposed to through and you would be in heaven. But if

you fell off there, then you were in the wrong. They told us that we can't even eat

deer [meat from] inside of a bone, they called it the [marrow]. They said you

aren't supposed to eat that because you would be sick and try to pass that hole.


I was in a Baptist church one time too, and I was listening to a Sunday School

teacher. I am a backslider and I go to the Green Corn Dance, I got a camp there.

I know both are part of the religion or religions of my grandparents, what they

had taught me and these new religions and it is about the same thing. Maybe

older than what I know. I still go to church every now and then, but I go to the

Green Corn Dance. We have them every year in July and that is the believe that

men are supposed to share the blood because the women get rid of their blood

every month, but the men don't. That is a traditional way to go to the Green Corn

Dance. The men get scratched all over and the medicine men or the other

elderly men scratch them and share the blood before they eat the new crops of

corn. That is the traditional way for the men to get rid of their blood every year.

O: My personal opinion of the religion and culture, this is the way I believe. My

grandmother, my great grandmother was into going to the Green Corn Dance,

which was our celebration of everything--the men purified themselves, their new

blood. Like the Jewish have their bar mitzvah for a young boy turning into a man,

they gave them a man's name. That is when the little boys were around twelve

or thirteen years old, they changed their name at that Green Corn Dance. Then

they have great dances, they have bird dance, they had feathers that went

around [the head] the people carry it, and the men dance. Then the ladies cook,

they had a certain time to not eat all day and then they have ball games. During

that time, my grandmother used to say, if you had done things wrong through the


year or if they had talked to the women or done things like that, they would go to

this big house and their kin folks talked to them and straightened out their rules.

It used to be like that years ago. I remember as a little girl my mother would sew

and sew and make nice beautiful shirts for my step-father and we used to go

there. All the women would cook in one place, like the panther ladies in one

camp, and the bird ladies in one camp, but today I don't know if it is because of

the big space that we took up, today you can't go into whose camp it is. I

remember, if you are married to a bird and he could go into his clan place and

eat there if he wanted to. And the panther clan would come over and eat. This is

what I remember. I told you that I am sixty years old, so I am way older than

these girls here, except Betty. [laughter] So this is the way that we celebrated.

The things that were taught to me, you don't steal, you don't lie, and you

appreciate the trees because that is mother earth and the great spirit. You don't

talk about it. These are the rules that I grew up with. If you stole, that was really

bad. If you lied that was bad. These are the four or five things that were taught

to me. When the white man's religion came later, I went into that a bit and it

wasn't, it just wasn't, I am sorry, that the Southern Baptist believe this way and

you have to believe that way. I think about my upbringing with my uncles and

them. There is today, like you have to love your neighbor. Doing Christianity you

have to hate the drunks, and you have to hate the addicts, or somebody that was

different. When a white religion came into my life, that was not for me. I went

back to my culture. My culture as it is today, we have to nurture it and bring it

back into the tribe to learn to get along. Don't steal and don't lie, this is


something that we have to work on. In the Indian culture you appreciate the tree.

To this day, I see a beautiful tree I will make a remark, what a beautiful tree that

the spirit has brought to me. This is the way that I appreciate nature. When I

see a Winn Dixie being made over there, I say, oh, they cut down the trees, I

hate that. Because my grandmother told me once that there will be a lot of

people coming to Florida and it is being fulfilled today. She said that they are

going to build something that goes upon rocks, that go on top of one another,

and that was the skyscrapers and cement buildings. Pretty soon the land is

going to be cut off where it points out and then it is going to sink because it is

going to be heavy. So she used to tell me, you know what I am trying to tell you,

I said what, and she said you need to learn how to swim, that is what she told

me. [laughter] I respect Christianity and I respect my tradition, my culture. This is

what I am trying to teach my grandchildren. I try and beg them not to talk about

people, love people, teach them, and this is the way that I will appreciate nature

in my spirit. What they call today God, they call it breathmaker. He truly is, but

this is what they used to tell me, it is a breathmaker and a spirit. So what you

see when you walk out there, the sunshine is brought to you by the spirit, so you

better appreciate it because sometimes we have rainy days. That is spirit too.

This is the way my belief is.

B: Someone asked a question and I wanted to tell you what was told by my

grandmother. There were no Seminoles, they were either Miccosukee or

Creeks. When they used to chase them from up north, they went into these

glades and the soldiers used to try to get them out. This was told by my mother.


The reason that we became known as Seminoles was that "ista" means person

in the Creek language, Seminole means wild in the Creek language. So

Seminoles means wild person. Well, when the soldiers used to chase the

Indians into the Everglades, they knew how to run and hide, they could hide from

them and they couldn't get them out. So they used to call them wild people. So

finally it came out that they called them the Seminolia, that meant wild people out

there. Finally the soldiers didn't know how to say Seminolia, so they started

calling them Seminole, so that is why we got stuck with the Seminole. That is

where we got our name. Although the wild person, they used to call us wild

person all the time, so we became known as Seminole. Miccosukee and Creek

both were in the tribe until the Miccosukee broke away and elected their leaders

and they became a tribe out on the Trail. We have kin folks on each side. We

have a lot of Miccosukee in the Seminoles and also Creeks. The Creeks live

around Okeechobee Lakes, and that is where my grandfather came from.

Miccosukee is further down. So we are all some way kin on each side. We have

two tribes in the state of Florida that are known as the Seminole Tribe of Florida

and the Miccosukee Tribe of Florida.

Q: ... describe how, in their maturity, mature years, tribe women [devote] to the

needs of their tribe and their people. I'd like to ask, do you see a group of young

women or young men coming along who have the same devotion to the needs of

their people as you did?

O: Do you see these three over there? [Gestures to C, S, and B] There are three of

them .... We call them young. [Laughter] We have some of them that are going


to college, your daughters and your sons are being educated now and my

granddaughter is fourteen. She goes to Pinecrest School in Fort Lauderdale.

She wants to become a baby doctor and go back and help the non-Indian and

Indian people. She is educating herself. She aims high. She has her hopes set

on one of those ivy league schools. We don't know where in the world we are

going to get the money, but we will send her.

K: I did check over the break. There are twenty bachelor's degree both equally split

among men and women in the tribe. There are two attorneys, both men, two

master degree holders, and about thirty or so of the associate degrees. This is

an incredible increase in the last ten years, but interestingly enough among those

holding bachelor's degrees it is equally split among men and women in the tribe

right now.

O: We have only been organized since 1957. We started in 1953 when the leaders

in Washington were trying to tell us that they wanted to quit having reservations

here and turned that over to us. We did not have any college graduate at that

time. She [Betty Mae Jumper] was the only high school [graduate] and a couple

of other Indian people during that time in 1953, but they were going to school, so

we made it our point to send our kids to school. So they graduated high school

and some of them came back and worked for the tribe. That is why we wanted to

have our own constitution and corporate charter. There are two organizations.

We have the Tribal counsel which goes on the constitution and by-laws. Under

that we have a section that is corporate charter with a board of directors. That

takes care of the business, and Tribal counsel takes care of the needs of the


people. This is where the cigarettes come under is the board of directors, which

makes the money come in to the secretary-treasurer, bingo and all that, and then

we divide it to each reservation to use it. If they need a big thing, then they

budget for it and get it. I remember when I was secretary-treasurer that our

budget was $6,300. Today I guess it is about $1,000,000. What is our budget


S: In excess of a million.

O: So this is how much we have come from 1957 to 1993. They told us that we

were the fastest growing Indian tribe in the United States. It is because we work

with people, plus we know what our people's needs are and we use it. Thanks to

the cigarette smokers [laughter] that we have this and thanks to the bingo players

we have this. I don't know how it is happening in Florida state, and I know some

of you people don't like it, but we are trying to have a little Las Vegas on the

reservation. You don't have to go to Las Vegas and spend a weekend, just go to

the Seminole Reservation. This is what we are doing. We don't mean to hurt

people's feelings, but we have to make some money somewhere to exist.

K: You should make an offer to Governor Chiles like the Pequots made to the

governor of Connecticut, where the Pequot Tribe guaranteed him $100,000,000

a year, like your prophecy will help you out.

O: When we get the money and it goes to Tallahassee, they don't give it to the

education like they are supposed to.

K: Oh, you noticed that.

O: Yes. [laughter]

K: We found that too.


K: Her question was, she understands that they are selling cigarettes to raise funds

for the Tribe, but do they inform them of the health risk. Is that essentially your



B: We know, but they can go buy it everywhere. They go to Winn Dixie and buy a

whole pack.

C: I'd like to address that. That is not the opinion of every Seminole Tribe member

now. I am not a smoker and my young daughter who is sixteen is not a smoker,

and we fight against smoking. We fight for better health for people. We have

asthma problems. When I go into a restaurant, I can't sit beside people smoking

when I am eating. That is not an opinion of everybody. You need to remember

that. When there is a statement, and there is another thing, anywhere that I go,

not just non-tribal members, other Indians, just because we have bingo and we

have cigarettes, that is individually owned. I don't own that store. It is an

individual enterprise. Only so much of a percentage comes into our tribal

government, these are the funds we use. The rest of the money goes to the

individual who runs the cigarette shop. The only thing that we get out of it is the

percentage that we get to use. My older daughter does not want to work in the

cigarette shop because she is against smoking too. We all have our own

personal [beliefs], just because the Seminole does that doesn't mean that every

single tribal member believes that. We are trying to start other businesses. We


have orange groves on the reservations. That is a good business that is coming

up. We are trying to start other businesses. The state of Florida commits us

each year, the individuals to sell the cigarettes, and one year they are going to

say no. The tribe should have other businesses to run. That is what is being

done today. That is not brought up. A lot of people focus on that, and I don't

even go to the bingo.

K: Let's take a few more here, then I want to go up here.

Q: I was thinking that it must be a great concern ... being a Seminole. It must be

especially difficult to do that since you don't have Seminole elementary schools,

or Seminole community colleges, are you really worried about the languages and

traditions dying?

A: With inter-marriage we have other tribes, non-Indians, and non-Seminoles within

the marriages, so within the marriages they talk English to each other, and this is

where we lost our language. Like a man married to an outsider, a white girl, or

[one] from another tribe, and bring it in, they don't understand each other, so they

talk English. This is where our kids learn how to only talk English and they loose

their language and our cultural life. That is why we have tried to get schools on

the reservations to teach them. They do some, she [Carol Cypress] used to do

that and she would tell a lot of kids how to make baskets, beadwork, and

everything else, and they did pretty well. Some of them are still doing that on the

reservation. If we don't do that, then we are going to loose it. We are looking

forward to keeping it alive.

K: Who else please?

C: One of the frustrating things when I was teaching was that the language is not

spoken at home. You can teach the child in school, and they can go home and

speak English, and the parents don't speak it. After they reach about eleven

years old their attention went to game rooms, and you lose them, you lose the

kids at that time. After that it is very hard to keep the kids interested in teaching

the language to them. The biggest part I felt was that the language is not spoken

by both parents at home. That is where it continued.

Q: Are there language tapes available .. .?

C: We do have, we are developing books and tapes and recording as much as we

can. With the museum going right now, we are still trying to do that, to record as

many as we can, with people like Laura Mae and Betty, on how they helped the

tribe to get established and all that. The language, I don't know where it is right

now really, because I have been out of it for two years now.

Q: What would you consider to be the most serious problem facing you on the


J: We have the young people getting into drugs and drinking and that is what I see

as the serious trouble.

K: Laura Mae doesn't need it [the microphone], so leave it with Betty Mae.

J: It is just like young people everywhere, I guess, a lot of drugs and a lot of

drinking and a lot of diseases. The different things that come with the people get

into our tribe because we go to school with them and we associate with

everybody, so we aren't closed in like we used to when we were by ourselves.

Today we mingle with everybody, so we have a lot of drugs coming into our

reservations. That has really hurt my tribe that I see for me.

Q: It seems to me that you all, as women, help push the Tribe along What is

your opinion of the __ Seminole controversy?

C: I've got more important things to do than to worry about it. [Laughter.]

J: We have our own businesses that we run and we don't have time to see what

they are doing, but they always come down and see us. One of their lawyers

was down here doing a powwow and was looking into our programs and was

trying to get the Florida Seminoles to take that name off of the [Florida State

University] Seminoles. Our chairman said no, we never had any trouble, so we

are not going to do it. I don't know what they are doing now.

Q: I have very little knowledge having been a Florida resident all my life

Assimilating new ways __ commercial aspects of life.

O: My belief on that, I just expressed my own belief on that. When we were with the

men, when we first started organizing this tribe, I lived at Oklahoma and the other

tribe that was sent over there, the trail of tears they call it, when they got them

there they gave them allotments. Each one of the Indians there owned a piece of

land. Later on, in my days, when I went over there to visit them, some of them

did not even have land at all. When we organized in 1957, and we were talking

about between 1953 and 1957, I gave my personal opinion that we stay together,

there is no dividing of the land among us, because if we have that, then all of us

can't agree to sell it, so we will always have a home. We will be together. This

was my belief, and to this day I still believe that because in Oklahoma, they found


oil on their land and some people were killed, some got into tax problems, and

they sold the land, and the ranger bought it, and they didn't have no home at all.

So I talked to the men there and I said, let's not divide because we want to stay

today. If one Seminole is drunk on the road somewhere, we can drag him back

to the reservation, sleep it off, he has a home. That is why we have the whole

land together. Whatever money is given to them, when we make a profit from

the cigarettes and bingo, everyone of us gets dividends like every three months.

That is for their own spending money. I don't like smoking either, but then when I

see that it helps the other Indian people, plus I get a little bit of money out of it, I

don't say too bad. I say, it is your own business if you want to smoke yourself to

death. I always say that. [Laughter.]

K: Priscilla, we had a question earlier in the morning session about the division of

the land claim. Would you care to speak to that? On the final settlement, or

would you like me to address it?

S: Go ahead.

K: No, well, I was just going to say in very general terms the final settlement of the

land claim distribution in 1990, when Congress finally had to dispose of this.

Finally the issue came down to how should the money, an award was made in

1976 somewhere in the neighborhood of $12 million, it came out to be. It had

started at $16 million and worked its way down. But finally after Congress kicked

this thing around the distribution was roughly 75 plus percent to the Oklahoma

Seminoles, based on population, and 24 plus percent to the Seminoles here in

Florida. So that money has been distributed.


Q: ?

K: Well, it took them fourteen years, from 1976 to 1990, and Congress made the

decision. I don't think that either tribe is absolutely pleased with it, but that was

the finally Congressional determination.

Q: Someone spoke in the morning session saying watch out for all the strangers

coming in to Florida. As I understand it, 300 people a month are moving just into

Palm Beach County. And they are bringing 300 automobiles with them. This

makes me think of environmental problems. I know for the white side of society it

pits the developers against the environmentalists. I'm very curious to hear what

the Seminole view is about environmental problems, and what should be done,

and how __ river of people into the area

C: There was a question earlier about why we want progress in our business. I feel

like before we didn't own the land and we could go anywhere we wanted and

garden anywhere we wanted, but as more people move into Florida, people start

buying land and we could not live there. We were trespassing on this property.

It developed, and more people move and develop more. The things that we did

to survive, we didn't have them any more, so we had to go out and get education.

I think that helped us to learn how to survive in the main stream. They say white

people, but it is the main stream of life today. You have to have education, so

you learn how to do business or whatever to survive. I think that helped us push

our people into getting more education. Maybe it did help. There were just a few

of the Seminoles left and we did survive. But I think that had something to do with

that too, that we pushed to find other means to survive.


Q: how do you feel about that?

O: It is about the same thing. There are people living all around us, when

Hollywood Reservation used to be Dania Reservation, there used to be a big

land beside us that raised hogs. When the city came, all around us, they had to

leave, the people that raised the hogs. So the city is around us. Because of the

smell and all that, they were moved out. We are buying the land now to build

homes on because we need more land. Anyway, today any buildings that we

want to do we have to go by Florida laws now. We can't just go in and build

where there is a wetland, we have to go to the environment and they inspect it

and everything. So we have to abide by the state of Florida, whatever laws they

tell us. I think that is good. We have other problems where we had some people

that make chickees for a living. They come on the reservation, they cut down the

cypress trees and palm fronds, and that has to be controlled. If you really over

use it and the cypress tree doesn't grow back, we are destroying. They enforce

those kinds of laws. I don't know if that is what you are asking me. Right now

we have the Bureau of Indian Affairs that handles the forestry. We have to abide

by laws of the United States. I think that is good for us. I don't know if that is

what you are asking.

Q: I cannot understand anyone who questions why you sell cigarettes. In order to

help you survive. They polluted the land, cut down the trees, and did everything

they could to __ And they are going to harp on you for selling a few

cigarettes. [Laughter and scattered applause.]

Q: your culture and your children. [Applause.]


O: Thank you.

K: Before I take one last round of questions, let me remind all of you that there are

evaluation forms for the program. We would very much like to have those when

you leave if you will leave them on this chair or in that box. We would appreciate

that. Maybe two more questions. I promised the ladies we would get them out of

here and on killer 1-95 before the crowds.

0: I wanted to say something about the Seminoles of FSU [Florida State University].

The only complaint that I have against them is that they don't win all the time.

K: She is biased, her son is a University of Miami graduate.

Q: My class has studied Indians all over the United States, and we have found

books of legends of other tribes all over the United States but not anything about

legends here in Florida. Do you have any books that are being written?

K: It just so happens Betty Mae has written one.

O: It has a video and a cassette.

K: I think after the session if you want to talk to her or to Billy Cypress they can give

you information on how to do that.

J: We are loosing a lot of our Seminole language and everything else. When we

were small, we would be under the mosquito nets and our grandmothers, or our

great uncles, or aunts, or whoever were the older persons of the village, would

gather around the campfire and they used to tell us stories over and over. There

were lots and lots of stories told to us when we were growing up. We were

taught never to bring that out to other people, but just keep them within the tribe.


But it seems like now, within the marriage, like I said, they are loosing

everything. So for the last ten years I have been writing these stories. Every

time I remember one story I write it. So I have finally got a cassette out and a

video. Now I have a book that has quite a bit of stories that is coming out

sometime during the middle of the summer. And Guy LaBree, who is a real good

painter, every time I tell a story about an animal or a person, he paints the story

or pictures of them. I tell that story, and it is going to come out. My son, Moses

Junior, is good at poems and he has a poem book out. Then he has another

book that came out just lately and so we are writers. I think that more is coming

out. I have heard some of the others say that they are going to start writing too,

things that they know about on what they did in their lives. I think that there will

be more books coming out from the Seminoles because we are loosing it, and

we have to write something for our young generation to know and read about

what we used to do. When I moved to Dania Indian Reservation then, back in

1928, I was about five. I barely remember it. That place was just full of forest

and we had animals like deer running around, and birds. Behind the Southern

Baptist Church there was water and a lot of birds used to come. I never thought

that we would be surrounded by town, but we are in the middle of the town now.

Some are living on this side, and some on this side, and everything is all around

us now. We have to preserve some things, so I think that these young

generations will start doing this. Billy Cypress started doing this museum and all

that. Our chairman is writing songs and singing them. So we are coming out of

it, slowly, but we are coming out of it. [Applause.]


K: I want to thank our distinguished panel. I hope you found them as enlightening

and articulate as we normally do. We appreciate you all coming. Have a good

trip home. Thank you very much.

Transcript of the video of the panel discussion with Dr. Harry Kersey

K: Dr. Harry Kersey

O: Laura Mae Osceola

J: Betty Mae Jumper

C: Carol Cypress

S: Priscilla Sayen

B: Rosie J. Billie

[Note: The video credits indicate that Jeanette Cypress was among the panelists but not

Priscilla Sayen.]

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