Title: Interview with Katherine Kingland Weber (March 22, 1973)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007045/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Katherine Kingland Weber (March 22, 1973)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: March 22, 1973
Spatial Coverage: Lumbee County (Fla.)
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00007045
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Lumbee County' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: LUM 55

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LUM-55A Transcribed: 2 75-
03-23-73 Johnson
INTERVIEWEE: Katherine Weber

B: ...23rd, 1973. I'm Lew Barton, interviewing for the Doris Duke Foundation

American Indian Oral History Program, under the auspices of the University

of Florida History Department, Dr. Samuel L. Proctor, Director. This after-

noon we are in the home of Mrs. Marilyn Taylor, in Pembroke, North Carolina,

and Mrs. Weber, the wife of Colonel Weber, who is head of the Republican

Party in Reoberen County, North Carolina, has favored us with an interview.

We are so r t to talk with you, Mrs Weber. Would you give us your

full name, please?

W: I'm Katherine Kingland Weber, Mrs. F.R. I was born in Savannah, Georgia,

I studied here at Pembroke University, and I also taught math here. We have

gotten late into politics because our thirty-seven years of survival activities

were spent in the Army. As an Army girl I realized that I was brought up on

thetheory by a father who was a colonel and by two grandfathers who were

.generals that an Army officer did not participate in politics. They supported

the country, the President was their Commander-in-Chief, and regardless of

his being either a Democrat or a Republican, he was their Chief, and they

didn't try to vote for him or against him or have anything to do with his

situation. It was do or die for the country; so we did come late. I think
/ f
my leanings were toward being a Democrat because I did spend that much time

in Savannah, Georgia, and at the University of Georgia when I was a girl in

the South.

B: Did you give it much thought when you were deciding?

W: Actually, not. When we registered here in North Carolina we were immediately

told that we could be either Democrats or Republicans, but if we were Republi-

cans, we couldn't vote except every four years for the President, that there

Continued(page 2)

W: were no primaries. If you buy a home and decide to live the rest of your life

in a country,you feel that you would like to be involved in its government,

so I became a Democrat and I have been a Democrat...I had been a Democrat for

fifteen years when Colonel Weber ran for United States Congress, and then he

said to me, "Kate, I don't think you should be a Democrat when I'm running as
rr-r &
a Republican," so I said very well and I registered as a Republican just two

years ago. Since then I ran, as you perhaps know as the Republican, the only
ob r
Republican on the Board of Education in Reber o County, and I got over two

thousand votes, which I thought was perfectly marvelous.

B: Oh, it certainly was.

W: There were eight Democrats running...

B: I voted for you, I want you to know that.

W: Thank you sir, I really appreciate it. If you have a baby I will kiss it.

B: I'm wondering if you mind telling us what you think the Republican Party has

done, what it has done' I the past few years. As you know, this has been a

one-party county for a long time, and it's been referred to as the Democratic

stronghold, and yet we are making some inroads, are we not?

W: I certainly think we are, having gotten a Republican, Jim Holshauser; elected

after...as a first in seventy years. We could say that as Republicans we've

made great steps forward. Of course, what we've done is to have discontented

Democrats decide that change is necessary, and we know as just residents of

North Carolina that change is necessary, because we're so low in so many areas.

Our education, like we're 49th, 48th, 47th, in all sorts of things, and we

shouldn't be because we're one of the oldest colonies, oldest states. We're

in a beautiful location in the central coastland, where we have people coming

through us from North Carolina to New York tourist trade, and we're accessible

to everywhere, accessible to the north and to the west and to the south. We

Continued(page 3)

W: have beautiful everything. We have gorgeous mountains and wonderful sea

coast and the land is so beautiful, and the people who are here are so

wonderful. I've always liked North Carolinians, whenever I met them around

the world, and I certainly feel that it's a wonderful place to live. We

elected to come.

B: And now you're a North Carolinian.
6:** 1i fla /t
W: Now I am...I certainly am.

B: How does it feel? You fit in so well. Could you tell us something about

your experiences as you campaigned? Did you get around and talk to a lot

of people?

W: Wll, I was awfully interested in it because I got into education late in

life. I was asked here in Robeso County to teach...teach French because

we had come back from Paris, stationed in Paris. Well, of course if you

live in Paris you can teach French, so I did teach at St. Paul's, but it was

my first year of teaching after I had gotten my degree from Flo O-
13. oh IZ co,,, -...h/
McDonald College, the beautiful little college that's been absorbed by St.


B: A very historic college, the most historic in the area, I'm sure. Or it was.

The building's still standing, by the way. What are they doing?

W: Oh, it's a very expensive girls' private school now, and I think quite a

good one, with good possibilities. We taught there the first year they opened

it as Vardell Hall. I taught geometry and English. Well, my first year of

teaching was a mixture of history. I studied enough, been an American History

teacher in an American dependents school in Frankfurt, Germany, and also here

in St. Paul's, so I studied the history of our two parties and they've

changed the names, you know, from Whigs to Republicans to Democrats, to this,

to that, to Tories, and so forth, and of course we have the question of the

Continued(page 4)

W: Left and the Right, and which we mean by what we say, and people change and

a name gets to be a question...the labels change and get to be a matter of

semantics. I think, actually, it's a question of perhaps older people, I

think a great many older people feel more conservative than younger people

do. I think younger people are full of get up and get and violently anxious
tiKtCwr q<\f
to doA greater things, but as they get older and more settled in life they

realize the sensibleness of conservativeness.

B: Yes, they are so idealistic, but we need this too, I guess.

W: Oh we do. We certainly do.
Some o
B: Would you give us your impressions of this area, since you've been here? I've

often...I've alwfis taken pride in the fact that our people are very hospitable

people, very kind people, easy-going...

W: No question about that.

B: I'm wondering about your impressions, because this helps us, helps all of us

to see ourselves here through your eyes when you came here new and fresh. Of

course, we've lived here so long that we take many things for granted, and we

don't even know what's different from other parts of the country oftentimes.

W: Well, I did come in with new and fresh eyes, I believe, because I had lived all

my life as an Army dependent--a word I'm not too fond of, but--daughter and

wife...as a daughter and wife I've lived all over the world, in foreign coun-

tries and all over the United States, and I've gotten along wherever I happened

to be, but the Army takes care of its own. It hasn't been difficult. This
ts the first time that we lived...were out on our own, and I must say that

we were received with open arms and open hearts by the people who are our

neighbors and the people that we've met in the schools where we've been and

where we've worked. They did elect my husband Mayor of the town before he

retired from the Army, which you can't do, but he told them he couldn't be

Continued(page 5)

W: it but they said, well, we won't have the meeting till after you're retired

and then you'll be it. So he did, and that's how he got into politics, more

or less. They didn't ask him he was a Democrt or a Republican. They

just knew he was a good man.AMy feeling about politics here is that it needs

good people in it. Terry Sarford, who is an outstanding Democrat in these

parts made a speech at the college, Flora McDonald, one time, and said, we

want you ladies to get into politics, and if you say that politics is dirty,

then you should get into it and clean it up. Which is pretty good sense.

They said that a long time ago. I thought about it myself...when I did get

into it I thought of that. If I am an honorable person, if I do have the

good of my country at heart, which I feel sure I do, with father and sons,

and husband and brothers, and grandfathers West Pointers, I feel very strongly

that duty, honor, country are of vital importance. My grandfather on the

northern side married a southern girl from St. Augustine, Florida, and they

had great experiences there with the Seminole Indians. He helped, interceding

with the president. Later McKinley...I think it was not McKinley the first

time, I'm not exactly sure of the dates or the time. He did come to St.

Augustine in 1836, and it was ik that time of the Seminole uprisings that

he was involved with it. That's the wrong grandfather--I've mixed up my

grandfathers. My other grandfather--that's the great-grandfather on my

mother's side--my mother's father--was my mother's grand-father--my mother's

father was captured at Chickamauga Park as a Union captain and was in 'iy1

Prison for sixteen months, and then was out west on the...in the fighting of

Indians. Mother wrote a book about...grand-mother wrote a book about it

which is extremely interesting to me, and would be, I think, to Indian cul-

ture. They were at Ft. Apache and te troops, the company was out and the

troops for wives and children were left at the fort. This is a thing that

Continued(page 6)

W: frequently happened. Grandfather got back and went down on a dam...they had

"a dam holding back the water for making the...keeping the fort going...and

"a young group of Indian chiefs galloped across on their horses with their

rifles drawn, and they saluted to him, waved to him, and he waved to them,

but it was kind of at the time of an attack and the next day one of the

Indian women said to grandmother, you know the captain was perfectly safe--
or the colonel, I don't know what he was at that time--was perfectly safe

because we know he is our friend and we know that he's not the one, not

among the people that the young chiefs would hurt, that anyone would kill in

an uprising. So I thought that was more...then there are stories about the

blankets, having to move them from reservation to reservation, or south, I

guess, bringing them south for the winter, making them go south. Dreadful,

dreadful things. Of course, I was brought up scared of Indians. I have to

admit that. My mother and grandmother were very frightened of Indian attacks,

and an Indian was a scarey thing to me, as an automobile is today, or an
,f c
airplane, although I'm a pilot and love it when I'm flying,Ay myself I don't

like to dri4e with other people driving.

B: When did you learn that Indians were not all that bad?

W: Well, here at Pembroke. I think this is the first time since we moved into

Robefson County it was the first time...well, I had an Indian nurse in

Alaska when I was a small child, but I didn't know the difference between

an Eskimo then, or an Indian. There was...tfe were Indians.

B: The knowledge we get about Indians, unless we actually come into contact with

them, we get it from movies and-seo-on, and television, and so forth.

W: Yes definitely. My movie...of course, when I was a child...I'm rather old,

I'm up in my sixties..when the movies came out the Indians were all the bad

Indians, there was no question about it. And then suddenly, on T.V. recently

Continued(page 7)

W: they began to be good. And of course, we've got Tonto, good Tonto, and the

good one with Daniel Boone, but I don't know whether there really was a good

one with Daniel Boone. I don't know whether he was friendly with them or not.

B: You know, there was a little girl in Charlotte several years ago when I was

visiting my sister over there and she said to her mother, "Those Indians will

kill you." And the mother says,/4 in the world i/ \/Vc frT Indians, what
makes you think that? She says, "I've seen them on television. I know they

will." And so these stereotypes do hurt, you know, they give the wrong impres-

sion very often, but of course the Indians are not the only scapegoats, Lit-

erature has to have scapegoats, and newspapers and so on, but I think we're

living in the most benevolent period for the American Indian ever, and I am

so proud of the things that President Nixon has done for the Indians. His

Indian program is so far-reaching, and I'm very thrilled about this and I

know you are. Maybe at last we're on the right path.

W: I have a question to ask you about Indians. We were stationed at Ft. Sill,

Oklahoma, in the late 30s and Lawton, the town there, is among an Indian

reservation. It' an old Indian area, and there were always Indians on the

streets that we saw when we went into town, which was not often. But some

of them had blankets around their shoulders, and then there were other Indians

who drove in to market in their Cadillacs, who were richer, so much richer

than any of us were, that they were, you know, millionaires from the oil

fields, from oil that had come in on their land. And so, we've always known

that there were milXioiaire Indians, whose daughters went to college and


B: Very few.

W: ...lost being Indians, maybe? Or the ones who stayed on being Indians, and

I've heard people say that people o are on the reservations are the Indians

Continued(page 8)

W: who really prefer to be Indians, who want to live in the wilds--as wild as

they can get--of course, you don't have a buffalo herd anymore. You don't

have the good economy you had. But I agree with that a hundred percent.

To me, my dream is not to go to Holiday Inn but to go to a cabin in the

mountains with no electricity, but with a bubbling stream down the side of

it, and a beautiful view, and starlight, and peace and quiet, and no gas

fumes, and no nothing. Of course, I think I'd have a hard time shooting

a deer or a buffalo if I had to waitrktilPl got that shot to live off, I

would probably want a few modern conveniences. I have to be honest and

admit that this coffee is wonderful, and I like it. I like it hot and

ready! But I was wondering if you aren't so far, as Indians, so far ahead

of us in the important things of life--the spiritual, calm, beautiful, time

to think and time to dream. The words, the vocabulary of the Indian were

so magnificent. The names were so great and wonderful, that that seems to

be so much more important than this rat race we're living now. My kids

going to New York, and living in a hurly-burly of horribleness.

B: Do you remember Henry David Thoreau's Walden Pond?

W: Oh yes.

B: I think he had the right idea, and I think he had,he must have had some

Indian in him. One...the Indian philosophy is -s- h different from that

of the Caucasian, and- the complaint of the Indian is that my white brother

is never satisfied with things as they are. He's always changing something.

If the furniture is perfect in the room, it has to be changed, and the

Indian is more content to leave, especially natural things, as they are,

and live in-harmony with Nature. By the way, the Indian is the one ho
U f' '* I Cc.i.,Y?^ .'6
has preached about preserving our natural resources for so long, and now

finally, at last, we're coming to see this as a nation, and we're coming

Continued(page 9)
B: to see the necessity of it. There is a song out, an Indian song that they

wouldn't listen...I told them if the eagle died...you know, it starts with

the eagle...that there would be no ruler of the land...they wouldn't listen...

they wouldn't listen...they wouldn't listen to me...and then it takes the

story...it's sort of an "I told-you so" song, but it's a simple philosophy of

life they have. The.. Sioux Indians, by the way, are operating a factory

and they run on Indian time, which means that everybody, they own this factory,

and they go over there and each person works as long as he wants to and

quits when he wants to. You wouldn't believe it, but this this is a very

successful and very efficiently run factory, because one person may come and

he feels good and he may work right through the night. He may rest for twelve

or fifteen hours and then come back. I guess you've noticed around here that

when you go to an Indian meeting, it never starts on time and never ends on

time, and when it's over everybody jst stops and talks and sort of acquaints

themselves with the happenings of the day. This is very irritating if you're

used to a rigid schedule, and I'm wondering how you feel about this, being

an Army wife.

W: Well, I was brought up on...my father brought me up to be on time--on time

for a party and on time for dinner. I think after the cocktail hour started

then people could be late for dinner, because if they didn't want to have

a cocktail they could come a little bit later. But it certainly a discourteous

thing to a hostess who's trying to have food ready and hot at a certain time.

I was brought up to feel that way about it. But staying late--the good parties

did stay until two or three o'clock in the morning--people singing and talking

and visiting. I do think that anywhere I've ever been there are always people

who come in late, and as a matter of fact I believe my dear husband is one

of the people who feels that nothing starts until he gets there.

Continued(page 10)

B: And it probably does.

W: And it's a little hard.

B: Well, you have a great husband. I wonder if you've noticed, well, I know

you've noticed some of the problems--could we talk about some of the prob-

lems you've encountered since you've been in the Lumbee Indian...the Lumbee

River Valley?

W: Well, my great sorrow was this firig-old Main, last week, because my husband,

again, Colonel Weber's office was there for four years, and I studied there,

and my daughter studied there in that building, and my grand-daughter studied

there in that building; so our family haq four people who liked it very much,

who felt it was a tradition, who remembered the high ceilings and the big, old,

comfortable lecture halls, and the nice auditorium, where so many graufiations

took place, the stage where we saw some very fine plays on tour, fine Shakespeare.

It was the kind of building that could be done over so easily, I mean, of

waxed polish, resanding the floor, just the plain, beautiful old wood in it

would have been great to do. The wide windows were fine. I think it needed

very little. It didn't need to be redecorated, it was a handsome, strong

structure the way it was. I hope that they will just do it over again.

B: I seem to remember a letter to the editor you wrote when A 54ve O/0 /', r

ag movement was in full swing, and it was so...r=3pyeu ..it was so eloquently

put. I wish we had a copy of that to read on this tape, because it was beau-

tiful, the way you put it.

W: Oh...I think maybe I can remember what the concluding line was, that we should

throw away the Liberty Bell because it had a crack, and we should take down the

Tower of Pisa though it was...because it was leaning, and we should get rid of

Old Main because it was...whatever it was they were complaining about. Of

course, now that we settled the main thing, which was to put the auditorium

Continued(page 11)
4O :. t 4'
W: in a new spot, it would be ridiculousAa new auditorium in that crowded spot,

because there's no parking and the proper facilities...it wasn't the place.

B: Well, you may be interested to know, if you haven't heard yet, that we're

not discouraged at all about renovating Old Main. We have assuracSe that

Old Main will be renovated, and the only thing you can burn about a brick

building is the woodwork. Of course, that has to be torn out anyway, which

would have cost money, so your good friend, United States Indian Claims

Commissioner Brant /Ir (/ told me in a phone call several days ago, Lew,
I! it
they did us a favor, he said, they saved us some money. We were going to have

to tear that out anyway, so don't despair, because if it's at all renovatable,

it will be renovated and used On) O r / sc ----

W: Very-Hre...v ey-rtle.

B: You know him personally, don't you?

W: Oh yes, I've met him at the meetings here 6-/ -, I found him very

friendly and understanding and understandable.

B: Could you give us any hints or suggestions or any ideas about improving any-

thing in the county ? This is generally an easy-going, lazy, lacksadaisical

county, all of us in it, I think. We're not...we're not on the move as we

might be if we were in Chicago or some other place like this, Ne ) us

And we do let out problems pile up4 but have you been encouraged by such

changes as have been made since 4.ou -med here?

W: 4Hy.gracious, yes. In eighteen years, unbelievable. I think the housing, of

course, is the most noticeable thing--the lovely houses that are being built
rand lived in
Sby everybody. We have an old house about, going on a hundred years old .qi, I
guess, now, and I find it, like Old Main, something beautiful and old I like

to keep. I do think that new, comfortable, modern houses are wonderful Now,
as having run for the Board, the School Board, I would like to say that I

think one improvement we could make is to go backward, and that is to have

Continued(page 12)

W: small, neighborhood schools that are easily accessible to children. I rode

buses from Ft. Benning, ten miles into Colombus, Georgia, ae-a-girf when I

was in high school, and I found it wearing and exhausting and not particularly

uplifting. If you were terribly in love with somebody, or you have a crush

on somebody, you want to be on the same bus he's riding on, but other than

that, it's not, to me, very worthwhile. You don't study well on a bus, it's

too noisy, you get throwing egg sandwiches up the aisle, and I couldn't eat

an egg for two years after riding a bus and having an egg smeared down the

front of somebody else's sweater, but I do think that I have...did go to

fourteen different grammar schools, so I had convents and private schools

and expensive schools, and schools in beautiful buildings, and I had little

one-room schoolhouses at Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia, during World War I they

put...took a rom 'r J+e bLCk of headquarters and got a young sol-

dier who was a college graduate to teach all the children on the post, and

we were from first grade through high school all together. And it was wonder-

ful. I was about in the second grade, first or second grade, but I had all

these older people doing all these fabulous things, reciting poetry, and

talking about history, and talking about the world, and talking about arith-

metic, that I eventually would have a chance to learn, and I didn't under-

stand, perhaps, then but 1:h'?y could do it, and I thought, well if they can

do it next year I'll be able to do it, because next year I'll be eight years

old, or I'll be nine, or whatever I'll be, and I'll be able to do all these

things. I remember what the teacher said about. .showed us the importance of

a decimal point, and I've never forgotten it. One young man was enthusiastic ,1//

and he said, tomorrowI'm going to show you the most important thing in the
and he said, tomorr6c Ar

world, the thing that you really need to know. It's true if we couldour

Congressmen, either Democrats or Republicans, to understand the importance

of a decimal point, we might not be having all these budget troubles, and all

this business of appropriating millions and billions of dollars--they don't

Continued(page 13)

W: even know what it is. You can't conceive of it. I don't even...it's hard

for me to count to a hundred for my grand-daughter, for my grand-daughter

to count to a hundred and then you talk about thousands and millions and

billions. The human mind can't conceive of that much money any more than

it can understand Cod.

B: Was it a little unsettling to move, you know, from place to place?

W: Unsettling is probably the word., ;i probably was perfectly unsettling ..the

way you use that word, but to me it was always joyful, and after a year I

began to paw the ground, I'd want to go on to the next place, wondering where

we would be later. We were stationed in Washington a lot, and in Boston, and

in Alaska, and Hawaii, and France, and the Phillipines, and Germany...

B: The Phillipines I've been to.

W: San Francisco, thep, treS o 1 San Francisco, which is a beautiful place,

and Ft. Benning, Georgia, nine times, the Infantry Post, I was infantry, or

my father and husband were infantry. BApically, air borne paratroopers.

B: We have a good many problems, but inttime, the Indian$ Ceguk,;V-\ rff"

with other communities throughout the United States. You know, I'm of the

opinion that every community is a unique community, that we shouldn't try

to make old communities reform any more than we can make old people conform

to certain things. It's good to drive across the country in this great land,

and notice that there are differences. Every community should have character.

Do you think we're losing some of that, and everything is tending to be

conformist? -

W: Well, yes, you do. mathematically, you know, you have your ups and downs,

and if you have fewer ups and fewer downs you get a level, straight line going

along, you get mediocrity, so that's what we want to try to avoid. That's the

way I feel about our private schools, our little schools, I mean, our neighbor-

hood schools. If you have your children close in...now that the truth is coming

Continued(page 14)

W: out that money, the size of the lights in the room and the softness of the

chairs has nothing to do with how much children learn, aside from having an

inspired, dedicated, happy teacher--now, you ctn have a teacher who's very

inspired, and if she has forty children, she can't possibly keep them quiet

and teach them. You don't want them quiet. I like a noisy class. I like my

children bubbling over, and going ahead, but the bubbles can get pretty loud

if you don't have a sound-prodf door between you and the next class, or a

sound-proof wall. But I feel that children educate each other,nthat our

schools have reached a terrible low, all our schools, in learning anything.

We were always involved in getting young men into West Point, having them twd;,

GO a 1l examinations. It's a beautiful, $50,000 free education if

you earn it, but you have to be appointed. That gets back to Congressmen

again, or _yi -_ presidential if your father is a military man, or

killed...Medal of Honor winner...died for his country. My brother's son

has just won one. His older son was killed in Viet Nam, shot down flying a

helicopter. His youngest boy, was the one who won the appointment to West

Point for this year, and they're so happy about it. He went to Army schools,

wherever he could go, wherever his father was stationed, and it hasn't hurt

him. I've never heard of moving around from school to school as having hurt

an Army child. There are some who don't do well who weren't going to do well

anywhere. You can put th6m in the finest schools and they don't do well.

B: Do you think people who travel most and who move about most in this country

love it and appreciate it most?

W: Well, I think they do love it and appreciate it, Iut I don't know that they

do more than the people who love it who know a smaller area. I think that

you can't...it's impossible to measure it. W!s just like it's impossible

to me to say whether capital punishment is a deterrent, because the only way

that they can judge it is to say this many people are murderers and they

Continued(page 15)

W: weren't deterred. They can't possibly count all the other millions of people

who aren't murderers who have been deterred, because most people don't come

out and say I would have murdered you last night, but I sure don't want to

get electrocuted myself.

B: This is one of those intangibles, isn't it?

W: Yes. We have certainly loved our houser-we have two acres, and this old

house, and a beautiful garden that keeps blooming in spring, it's beautiful.

See the flowers I have on? Narcissus and camelias, the azaleas are coming

in, and the violets are blooming perfectly, purple violets.

B: After ten years of war I think this country needs beauty. This is why IM

Just so thrilled working with the T011_ "_1_ '. program.

W: Oh, I've read about it and I'm so impressed. I think it's wonderful.

B: We were over at Wilkes High School several weeks ago and we asked for total

participation and my duty as poet-in-resident is to teach kids to write poetry,

and you only have a week to do it in. We had almost a hundred percent parti-

cipation. Everybody we asked to write a poem wrote something, and some of

them were great...some of them were great. Young people have so much potential,

they have so much idealism. They are the ones who are seeing things with fresh

eyes for this country.

W: Yes.

B: You know, there was a time when kids-were to be seen, not heard. It isn't that

way anymore, and I think we're better off for it, don't you?

W: To a certain extent I think we've got to have a little bit of strictness, a little
-yo," Coh\ i1
bit of holding down limits, I guess, for our children. Because I was thinking

just yesterday how much I used to be looking forward to bebable to...old enough

to do the things that I couldn't do now because I was too young. Of course with

me, as a girl, mother was saying when you're a young lady you can go to parties

and have beaux, and have orchid corsages and you mustn't have your vaccination

Continued(page 16)

W: on your shoulder because it will leave a scar, that.sort of thing.

B: Right.

W: The poetry, when I was teaching English, I found that if I said to a class,

tIwhen I was a child they didn't tell me I could write poetry, and I thought
poetry was written by old gentlemen with longAbeards--Longfellow and...but

I found out later that"Thanatopsis" was written by William Cullen Bryantwhen

he was seventeen or nineteen, when he was a very young man. So you can write

poetry and I want you to write it, just go ahead and write it. You can do

it as well as anybody else, because the spirit of poetry is the important

thing. It's the feeling you have, the appreciation for beauty. It's not

whether it rhymes and it's not the meter--that's the mechanical thing that

comes in later..

B: It's the expression that counts.

W: ...but it's the words that you're saying. Of course, blank verseAwas intro-

duced as a possibility, I think...opened up great challenge for a great many people.

Because the structure of the old thing was so difficult.

B: There was an expression that came out of l '' program--

"All I have for tenderness are words." I like that. I don't know why,

exactly. Some kid wrote that, some young person.

W: I was working with the Red Cross in greeting the wounded soldiers brought back

from Korea to Japan one time, and in our training they told us that work was

love in action. That,your expression...tenderness...all I have for tenderness

is words, sort of goes along with that., that Cor PaNi J CCec.

B: We are so...we )re living in a scientific age, are we not? When we rush along

pell mell and we never get caught up and we don't have time to pause and medi-

tate, we don't have time to think and feel and enjoy as we once did, when we

were leading a more casual life. But I think this is necessary for our res-

toration, for our renewal, all these things--pause and pray, or think and feel,

Continued(page 17)

B:O, try to get in touch with your subconscious. It's very difficult to do in a

busy city, when everything is going at break-neck speed, but I think t-hat

human beings need this. It's vital to our human, to the things which distin-

guish us from the lower animals. But I'm not supposed to be expressing ideas,

I'm interested in your ideas, and particularly your impressions in the community

here, anything that you have to say, any-suggestions or any recommendations

for change. If you had the opportunity to change anything in Robeson County

that you could change, if you could just wave a magic wand and change anything

in this county you wanted to, what would you=ehange?

W: Well, I've had a little dream about my town, you know, Lumber Bridge is...has

ninety-eight people in it.

B: Ninety-eight?
W: Ninety-eight people in it. Well no, that's wrong. It had largest increase

in the last census, because it went from ninety-eight to a hundred and sixteen,

which was a tremendous, percentage of increase. But I would like to put a

glass dome over it that would reach about a quarter of a mile--it's just about

that big, it's just a crossroads--and restore everything that's there. Rebuild
red brick
the old \school with the old white collins, and put it back just the way It was
1900 or and
in.1905, all the old lovely antique furniture / the families. Of course,

it couldn't be, there...the descendants-have even left now. But just to keep

the old houses with the cupola and the building, and the high tower in the

corner, and the houses built like steamboats that are now deteriorating, you

can see through them. The stores, it's said there was a hotel, an old rail-

road station. The train goes through every day and blows its whistle and I

love that.

B: Oh, you've got me dreaming, fro/1y

W: I'd like to make it a museum and open houses, have little velvet cords across
and let everybody come in
and see how people did live. The washing was done in the back yard and the

Continued(page 18)

W: pecans were picked there and the fields were full of cotton, and people in

beautiful...well, when we moved here people were still in beautiful, faded

pastel colors, picking cotton, and the cotton machine came in. You were

talking about meditating a minute ago and I was thinking about the Tibetan

monks...the Llamas, who we study as having been thinkers...but didn't the

Inidian, wasn't smoking the pipe of peace and.... didn't you, or don't you

still sort of sit around the campfire and have thinking and thought.Q'.' ,Ci 'j

B: Yes, I expect this is the idea behind it.

W: ...meditation.. liife.

B: Of course, when the European Americans came to America there was no alcohol

here, so you brought us alcohol...

W: You know...

B: ...we gave you tobacco, and probably lung cancer.

W: I appreciate your apology, however, I don't smoke 5o / a, but I

do like a cocktail before dinner, so I...I'm continuing with my own sin that

was brought in from Europe.

B: I remember a passage I read somewhere...a native from _1bo .\o way

back in 1584 gave some Indians some wine "which they liked-very well."

W: Yeah, I imagine they did.

B: They have been liking it ever since. However, more seriously, there seems to

be something about the Indian personality which cannot tolerate alcohol, and

for this I'm sorry.

W: Well, I didn't know if that was true or not, it's sort of a superstition that

we have, or t'at I was brought up to believe, but I had thought it was something

to do with the 5/rer --are those the people who were on the edge of the

plantation,-the people coming into the reservation as traders that bought

skins and furs and the things that the Indians brought in and traded to them...

they traded them some lousy, rotgut liquor for it, and they'd take it because

Continued(page 19)

W: they'd been out in the plains and were hot and tired and thirsty and they

would enjoy having a good drink. They could rob them.

B: It probably wasn't very good liquor.

W: It's been going for years. Well, it probably was getting a lot of beautiful

skins, too, for practically nothing.

B: )I think it's just about universally accepted that the way to get together on

a business deal or a political deal or anything is to have a little alcohol


W: A little instant relaxation and friendliness.

B: Unfortunately, I can't participate because I'm one of those people who can't

drink, so I don't. I haven't enjoyed alcohol in about twenty-two years...I've

known that I couldn't.

W: Well, that's probably the whole thing in a nutshell. I think there are prob-

ably as many that haven't got anything to do with the way the Indian, or black

or white, or green, or brown, or yellow, or what...if you drink too much it's

not going to be any good.

B: Right. It's the personality, I think, of the individual...that's probably...

W: A policeman Miami was giving a lecture on drugs and he said the difference

between /lcoho and dru was that if you drank enough alcohol you fell off

the stool and couldn't drive home, but you could go on using the drug until

you thought you were flying high andhcould drive your car home and not...you

would be able to drive a car home, to get in the car and start the engine and

drive it but you couldn't do it and you'd go up a tree or down a ditch or

something, or into another car.

B: We seem to be having a new problem in the Lumbee River Valley and that is mari-

juana, which has only reached here within the past four or five years. I

remember doing a story for the newspaper, called "Strange Grass Comes to

Continued(page 20)

B: Lumbee River Valley." It just never got here before, it just didn't, but now

we don't have a great problem yet, but there seems to be a problem in the

making. Does this...does this.

W: 5 sure distress g terrible yes. I have, quickly, a thought of...

a flash of hope comes to my mind and that is, I have a feeling of, it's just

a feeling because I don't have anything to prove it by--my feeling is that

Indian fathers have better control over their families than say, us American

fathers do over teil children, and that you can perhaps influence them to

stop, that perhaps this...the power of the chief hasn't been overthrown yet

among the Indians, and that you can say to your boys when they're young, you

cannot do it and you must not do it because it will ruin us, it will wipe us

out, it's no good, it will wipe you out. We had a son who died of it. And

so I feel...that's why I feel strongly about it. He was very talented and

got to be an actor and was...he had a part in this Bonnie and Clyde movie,

which I didn't think was going to be so fine. He was on television and...

really had the world at his feet. I think he didn't want success and didn't

want to...face up to it, but he was killed on a motorcycle during the New

York __ _----_______ I think he<^ a S/ r/ .

B: That's very bad, I'm very sorry. There are certain advantages in living in

a quiet community and certain disadvantages. Maybe we should think about some

of the disadvantages fVDo you find them very pronounced and very numerous?

W: No, the only one that I can think of instantly is if we have a fuel shortage,

we're going to be out in the country, and have to go a long way to get to the

grocery store. Twenty miles, forty miles round trip. That takes a lot of

gas. Of course, you can make it once a week or once or twice a month and get

a lot at one time if they do ration it as they did sff-Wrld WarII, we're going

to have to start thinking about that. But that was also a good thing, because

Continued(page 21)

W: people got together. If you were going someplace you called two neighbors and

you went as a group, and there weren't half so many cars on the road. A

third as many cars on the road would certainly be an advantage to this

country. I'm very much in favor of not building any more highways. I think

we're soon going to have something like a snowmobile that will go through

fields and over grass and through woods and won't have to go on a muddy road

or a dirt road, and we won't have to have all these highways.

B: Maybe something like the...the little contraption they had on the moon.

W: Yes, little beach buggies, little dune buggy type things, and of course, the

snowmobile, which is for snow, would certainly go well over mud, I should

think, or dirt. And this hovercraft, you know, that sails a little bit above

the ground doesn't even leave any tracks. We've got that and the we've got

the Buck Rogers ,is s --the paratroopers at Ft. Bragg, you know, can

fly with a little jet...

B: I'm very sorry we got interrupted by coming to the end of the tape and I was

so fascinated that I didn't realize that we had gone through one side of this

tape. You're such a fascinating...such a fascinating conversationalist and

so forth. Do you think we can re-cap some of the ground we covered and lost

on the other side?

W: I'm afraid our priceless words have gone off into eternity and won't be cap-

tured,but isn't it wonderful to think there is a way to make them permanent

on a tape? We were talking about the hovercraft and not tearing up the world

for ecology, for highways and bird's nests, =B rooting up the bird's nests

because we think that modern transportation will soon be available for indi-

viduals and we won't need roads, so we don't need to destroy. That was part

of it, and then we were talking...I wonder if we have the part talking about

Continued(page 22)

W: the simple life that we both approve of and like, the beauty of nature and

the sadness of what can happen when modem technology comes in, as the

tourist trade builds up. If they're coming for cultural reasons, for the

beauty of the memory and the history of Indians in this area, through the

pageants and through the beauty of the University cultural side...

B: I think there is great beauty in simplicity, myself. Maybe it's simply

because I'm a simple soul, but I tend to write that way and speak that way,

and I think to be simple...well, if you can be beautifully simple you can

reach a maximum audience this way, or a maximum readership this way.

W: No question about it.

B: I...we were talking about politics and good politics and bad politics, and

I think we mentioned something about one very objectionable practice that

you probably find in any community where people are set at odds with each

other in order to gain some political advantage. I recall that several

years ago a gentleman was running for governor and came to this county, and

there was a fish fry given and the opponent slipped something into the fish

fry, into the fish, so just about all the Indians who came out that night

got sick.

W: I think I remember hearing some-t-hing-about-it, but I didn't know that it had

been done, I just knew that it...oh, gracious.

B: So it can .degenerate into a low, pretty low level.

W: Incredible.

B: But I think efe- Republican campaign was a beautiful thing...I don't recall

anything like that at all.

W: I think there's a great thing to be said for the elder statesman type person

in politics. My husband, for instance, has made his mark, he's fought his

battles in war and won them, and he's doing this as a retirement activity,

Continued(page 23)

W: more or less, so that he's not trying to make money, he's not trying to

make any more name for himself. He's able to be dedicated doing what he

feels is the right thing to do and helping people who need his help, and

I admire this phase of it very much. I find it quite an effort, quite a

struggle in lots of ways, but the main object, to me, is rewarding. I

wouldn't like to have to go to live in Washington again. I love it and I

could do it if I did it simply in a hotel room somewhere, but, even going

to Raleigh, ifl-I. had to do -6 I would face it, I would do it, but I'd hate

to have to close up my pretty home and move away, although I have been

doing it all my life and I'd do it again, I'm prepared for it.

B: Can you tell the difference in the air, the very air you breathe here?

W: Oh, heavens yes!

B j'Very invigorating.

W: Flying as we do, you know, we go down over Jacksonville and Charleston

and we go up eOWL Washington and New York and we see this purple cloud of

fog and smog across the earth's surface below the...just above the horizon,

we get above it and then we're all right.

B: Have you ever flown over the Outer Banks area?

W: Yes, yes we he.

B: Around Cape Hatteras?

W: We went out over...about Wilmington, and then out and then up through to

Manteo, and back in to ,. '. .- and we went out the other way, down

and around, so we'vebeen out several times. I landed at Cherry Point one

time; we had a North Carolina Petticoat Pilots meetingand -the-field, that

field is so long and so wide at Cherry Point that you think...I looked down,

and I said, "Is that a bug on the field or an airplane?" It was a /<./6I.

just like ours, that landed ahead of us. The field was ten airplanes wide,

Continued(page 24)

W: and the plane, instead of taking up most of the field takes up a mere tenth

of it. It's three or fours miles long.

B: But it was right in this area, as you know, that the present United States of

America:was born, had its birth, and our people, the Lumbee Indians of North

Carolina, had their births there too because it was there that they came into

contact with- /MffvwJi/- and Barlow, also with the other two colonies

thht came later, and finally they joined w t-fc y called rte Lost Colony and

moved inland fifty miles and kept coming in this direction...the settlement

took place on the coast and moved inland, but our people have allong history

of friendliness with the colonists and with other people as they came. But

you were talking about flying over the Outer Banks--there is a place there

where the Atlantic and the Pacific collide. This is a geographical curiosity

and there's a place where the water shoots into the air. Do you recall this?

W: No, I'm fascinated.

B: And they say that the coast has recessed and moved considerably from the time

that j',;S 2! and Barlow came over here, but I tried to cover some of

this in my book The Most Ironic Story in American History, because I did a

lot of research in that direction and I was proud that our people can identify

with these things and can actually claim "Well, I (r,frp'i a birth &aim
to this country." I think this...I think a certain amount of pride is neces-

sary for any people in order that they may advance, that they may take pride

in themselves, but there's always the danger that when we do this that we may

go to extremes, you know. I think Hitler was an example of extreme...far-

reaching extreme...what something like this can do when it's completely out

of hand.

W: Yes, because his start was quite good, his was down and hungry and he

united it and got it going. We were there for the 36 Olympics, you know,

Continued(pg. 25)

W: and at that time it was a joyful place. They were united and happy and all

working together for one thing and he hadn't begun to do the bad things that

he later did. He got caught up in a tide of evilness and wickedness that

swept him, virtually, to destruction. But actually when attacked the

Russians, well, I thought, maybe he's not as bad as we thought he was. It

was such a new thing. I think with -Linburgh trying to help us, if we could

have stayed with him we might not have had that war at all.

B: Right. And the world is really a small place. I remember just a couple of

years ago when he was interviewed by a reporter from the Tokyo News Service-

and he was sitting on the couch with me in my humble home on Barker Street

here in Pembroke and I looked at him and I said, "This is almost amazing.

Just a few years ago we were shooting at each other and r=a here we are

talking together peaceably." And this was not Indian and Caucasian fighting...

this was on a much larger scale. Being a military wife, I hope you won't

object to that description.
when /.: -'
W: Oh No. We had a friend, Colonel Weber's commanders Ser Go n7the Navy

post nearest Japan...nearest Korea in Japan, the Japanese Admiral and

Commander of the Japanese Naval Base had been a Lieutenant...a Captain in

the Embassy in Washington on the night of December 7, December 6...and we

were sitting there at a dinner party at his house on the floor...it was a

small, intimate dinner of eight people, and I said, "I understand you were

in Washington, that you were responsible for bombing us at Pearl Harbor."

We were stationed in Hawaii at the time it happened, and "You almost got

me," and he said, "Oh, I'm glad we didn't." And I said, "Tell me about

it." He said we got messages, well, he told the part about they had tele-
tAc-, tapoa ves ;
graphed it and said what would we do if...what would America do if tfy

went into Singapore and they said nothing at all, and they said what, they

Continued(page 26)

W: do in the Phillipines, if we want into the Phillipines? They said we wouldn't

like it, better not do it. And they said what would they do if we went into

Hawaii? And they said all hell would break loose, don't do that. Then they

got the message to destroy the papers and they were up until two or three o'clock

in the morning of December 7 burning important papers, what they thought were

important papers. Oh, while you were talking about...before that I remembered

that in the 21st Infantry in Hawaii, the regiment we were stationed with, there

was a beautiful Indian, a young man probably twenty-one, who was the drum-

major of the band. He wasn't the musical leader of it: Sgt. Courtney was the

band leader, but he was the one who wore the tall bearskin hat and carried the

stick, and did the march, the beat march for parades, you know, leading the

band. And he was the young man who came to help me out with my domestic

arrangements. The December 5th was our oldest son's birthday, and he came

to do the party. I had the party on Saturday, the 7th, 6th, I guess, before
H69O li- /U.
Pearl Harbor and he was off, had a pass to go off to hunt-a-i-tt4e- and came

back early to do the birthday party. He said, "Oh, Mrs. Weber, I didn't

want to leave you alone, having a birthday party with all these children by

yourself, so I gave up my day's pass and came back, and that was probably the

last day's pass he had for a long time, because after the attack our troops

were out on beach-heads and that was therend of comfortable living for a

year or two.

B: I would imagine. I can remember December 7, 1941 very well because a Lumbee

Indian friend of mine was home and he was in the service and the news came

over the battery powered radio, and I was living in a little shack at the

time, and he turned to me and he said, "How would you feel to be wearing the

uniform of your country and hear this news like this?" and I said, "It's

terrible." And it seemed that I could never be satisfied after hearing the

Continued(page 27)

B: description of what had happened at Pearl Harbor, so I asked my local

draft board to induct me, although I had two children at the time and

was married and...it just seemed so lonesome at home, and that I was

shirking my duty and...I didn't feel good about being left back at home...

it was such a different war from the Asiatic war, you know, which was
a very unpopular war, but World War II.. we were attacked became a very
popular war, and I knew so many people, Indians, who felt this way. I

felt it very definitely myself, I felt a pull, you know, to be involved

in this struggle for the very survival of our country at this time, after

it had been attacked. But those tvo wars have no relationship with each

other at all, do they? I mean as far as popularity is concerned.

W: NOt really, no...noeia4een. Oh, in Hawaii I had another beautiful

Indian friend. Her name was Marian and she was part French

and part Hawaiian and part Cherokee. She was as tall as I am, or slightly

taller, and dark, and beautiful and she had the most lovely, long hands

and long fingernails. She was perfectly lovely. Her husband was in the

class of '36, which is the class of General Westmoreland, our present

General, Westmoreland, was a member of...my brother was in that class.

They came back and were stationed with us at Ft. Benning after the war,

and Connecticut, where he lived, Bridgeport, kept sending for him to come

up and run for Congress, and finally he resigned from the Army and went

up and ran for Congress as a Democrat, and the only way they were able to

beat him, because he was such a war hero--he had gone into the Phillipines

and rescued our prisoners who were in (&,;u?.j, / AVad gone in quickly

and secretly, and gotten there before any massacres could take place, and A/

rescued all the American prisoners who had been held in the Phillipines.

It was a marvelous thing. I remember reading it in the Saturday Evening

Continued(page 28)

W: Post, as well as hearing it later directly. Well, these horrible Republi-

cans--now I'm a horrible Republican myself--but the thing tat they did

at that time was to get a very prominent politician from a very good poli-

tical family, who was respected and credited in Connecticut, named Henry

Cabot Lodge to come down. He's the one who's, I think, illAnow but has

been ambassador to Viet Nam recently under two or three of our recent Pres-

idents. They got him to come down and run against this...my Henry /ALlj i

for Congress...and his wife spoke Italian, there was a large Italian dis-

trict--Henry was of Italian di4 a-tac-ion, /Hf/ name, but couldn't

speak any Italian--I mean, he was the second generation or third generation

American, so...I don't know how much Indian you speak, but he didn't speak

any Italian, but Mrs. Henry Cabot Lodge did...

B: Very little, I'm afraid.

W: ...and she came down and spoke Italian, probably just said a few phrases,

like John Kennedy did when he went to Berlin, he said, "Ich frJ rfin

...Americanich..." or no, 'I am a German',' Iguess...what did he say?

B: I don't remember that actual expression...

W: Well, he said one sentence, it was something like...

B: ...I remember he did have a little German...

W: ...well, he had one sentence, practically, that said...that won the people

over because at least he made the effort to speak their language. Well,

she came down and was credited with winning the election single-handed by

having spoken a few Italian phrases to the Italian voters.

B: I wonder if you've come across any speech peculiarities or dialects, Lumbee

dialects that you'd identify as being distinctly Lumbee? That you've noticed.

W: Well, I certainly don't notice any in you, and I...I was thinking about on

the telephone, you don't even recognize it...if you're looking at people you

Continued(page 29)

W: think about their accent, you just think about their faces. Two girls that

I talked to on the telephone who were Indians--I don't notice one of them,

an English teacher, and her diction is beautiful, and the other one is an

older woman and I don't seem to notice any...I've paid attention to...I

don't have a very good ear, I'm not musical, and I have to define it and

spell it out to myself in order to pick it up.
yoa k.o.0
B: Mrs. Taylor refers often,Awith amusement to the use of bes, you know, the

use of bes, and she quotes a girl as saying something like, "If this test

bes as hard as the last one, I don't know how I can make it." Have you

noticed the use of this? Instead of is, it's bes, or...

W: Yeah, that's possible. We have a great-grand-daughter who's learning to

speak now, tet can walk, but our grand-daughter has been visiting us for

two months and seven days, and she has a few of the childish expressions

that we're tempted to correct, but I hate to correct, but I hate to correct

them because they're so babyish and so characteristic of the child. Our

son had a very hard time with breakfast...breakfast...and she does, too,

she has...and spaghetti...spaghetti and breakfast are two of the words

that our children have trouble with.

B: I think dialects are very colorful. I'm fascinated...we have even different

dialects in different parts of the county, and the Indian communities...I

can usually recognize a person who comes from the Prospect area as speaking

a little bit differently from the person who comes from another area of

the county, say, Fairmont, or a place like this...But I'm conscious of

speech. I've paid a lot of attention to it and I guess that's probably the

reason for this.

W: You know, I've been wishing I could have my grand-mother's book. It was
published in 1898, and its out of prin here are two or three in the
published in 1898, and it's out of print." There are two or three in the

Continued(page 30)

W: family but I don't have one. I made a copy, I borrowed one from somebody

and made the copies of it, but the part...I think you would like to read

the part about theIndians. It's first-hand stuff...she wrote her reaction

to them and her husband's reaction, where they went traveling by wagon with

a troop of infantry, a company of infantry, through the west. They went out

all the way to San Francisco and up to Portland and then up the river and

back in to Montana and Wyoming. My mother was born at Ft. Kio, Montana,

and then they went backnto Ft. Walla Walla, Washington, and then they

went down into Arizona and Ft. Apache., They were traveling not by rail-

road,some of the time by railroad, and some of the time by boat--paddlewheel

and so forth. But a lot of it was just marching, and at the time they

marched they had a wagon, a dougherty wagon, or an ambulance, they called

it--four wheels and pulled by mules that the wife and children rode in.

And of course, they did have these Indian attacks and it was in the 70's

and 80's--it was after the Civil War that it happened, because mother and...

grand-father and grandmother weren't married until after the War.

B: I would like to ask you if you would like to comment on it, if you have an

opinion on Wounded Knee and that is happening there.

W: We went out to Texas, flew out to see our daughter, at Ft. Herd, and she

was reading the massacre at Wounded Knee, and she was so angry about it and

so stirred up and so intensely interested in it, that she wanted to send

us book when she finished...to read me part of it while we were there,

which she did. Of course, during Christmas holidays we didn't have very

much time to get away from the children and read a book, but I did know

the word and I was very interested in it when it first came up in the

paper, the original...I.mean, the original story of Wounded Knee was fresh

in my mind when the present Wounded Knee came up. We went down the morning

Continued(page 31)
W: that the Education Buildingfwas trapped by the Indians, and we were on the

Indian side for that. It just happened to be...perhaps that was Republicans

and Democrats...we felt that the entrenchment...entrenchment is not ever

good. Anybody who gets in power and stays in power for seventy years has

lost a lot of his motivation to do...to do good, to put it mildly. This

has to be true, it's just eternally true. A benevolent despot comes up

once in several hundred years, someone who's really dedicated to doing

good for the peoplA. I think the rest of the time he wants to eat and

hunt and do the least he has to...get somebody else to collect the taxes

that pay for what he wants to pay for. I'm afraid that that's true, and

I'm afraid that it's still true in our government now. I think that peo-

ple are in it for money. The fact that they spend so much tremendous

funds, campaign funds...we spent, I think, about a hundred dollars on this

last campaigg,A running for...my husband was running for Commissioner of

Labor on the state ticket, and got over a half a millioti.votes, which is

terrific, in North Carolina for a Republican. Almost got elected, as a

matter of fact, but we didn't spend ymy money for it. We didn't put any

bumper stickers out, we didn't \' any billfolds on it. All we

did was go on a radio station, which invited us to do it, free, and inter-

viewed...any interview that anyone wanted to make for us that would go in

the paper for free. That reaches the people...but I think that's the way

it should be done. I think people ought to be...it ought to be a whispering

campaign, word-of-mouth. People ought to say,"You know, there's a good man

named Weber, lives up at Lumber Bridge. He's good at heart, if you vote for

him you won't be...you won't be mistaken." And if you trust your friends

who tell you that...I voted for a governor here, recently, as a Democrat,

and I didn't know anything about either Democrat. My next door neighbor

Continued(page 32)

W: said, "Oh, this is a good one, or that's...-h4-s better than the other one."

Actually, I thinkthe one w just went out, Bob Scott, I think I voted for

him but I'm not at all sure, and it was just because my good neighbor next

door said...she's a Democrat and I knew she'd lived here all her life...she

would know more about it than I did, but I'm afraid she really didn't.

B: That's often true, but I think it's great that in this country, even though

minority groups don't have the same opportunities as other people always,

there is, nevertheless, opportunity, you know, for all of us. And I know

this from experience because in my own case, for example, I was listed on

the North Carolina Literary Map, the only known American Indian to appear

on a North Carolina Literary Map. I never thought about trying to acheive

this consciously, yet it happened. This past year I had...I initiated two

of the top ten stories for this area, and this is a Lumbee Indian doing

this. I was mentioned in the International Who's Who in Poetry last year,

s*d I was also included in the Personalities of the South...many recogni-

tions like this. I guess the greatest thrill of all, though, was being

recognized by my people and receiving the Henry Barry Lowry Award,because

was local, but when you stop to think that these things can happen and

they do happen. And just because you're an Indian, this doesn't mean that

there isn't opportunity. Ittakes a lot of hard work, it takes a lot of

dedication...maybe these are not as great achievements as some people see

achievements but to me they mean a lot because my life has been dedicated

to expression and to the promotion of understanding between people, and

just the other week when I was poet-in-residence near Winston-Salem and I

reached all those people and they invited me back, and they wrote me a

letter and said, "We want you back, we're going to set aside two days and

call it Lew Barton Days' so we can get acquainted and just think about

Continued(page 33)

B: peace, and love, and things like this for those two days." And I said to my-

self, "Oh, Lord, if I can just live up to something like this!" you know,

this is beyond my wildest expectations, but what I'm trying to say isthis

is still a great country and this is still the land of opportunity, and it

grieves me when many people fail to see this, and they're so demanding, and

they see all those negative things and they don't see any of the positive

things about our country. I think every group has the problem of prejudice,

I think, it's perhaps a universal thing. I remember when I was in the Navy

when we went in a shipyard at Norfolk, Virginia, anx people didn't like

sailors, at all.

W: And they couldn't have lived without them.

B: Right. Soldiers, okay, Marines, fine, but sailors, no. And I wonder why

this is, and I think it's because there were so many of them, you know?

Where there are large numbers of one particular kind of people, people have

tendencies to eet them, and maybe this wa the reason. I'd like to get

to the root of prejudice, and discover, you know, what the socio-psychological

influences which make prejudice the thing that it is.

W: I think the Navy thing is a little bit practical, that when a crew comes

ashore after months at sea, or six months, or a year, they want what they

want in a hurry and quickly. The waterfront gets to be a tough neighborhood,

and for that reason, the people...the respectable people living further back

from the shore want to isolate them or have a definite prejudice against

them, or against ha their daughters go down to the coast at the moment,

at the time a ship is in. I think that's an eternal thing that's been going

on. You answered my question that Trwas formulating when you were talking,

by saying that you had alway-s been dedicated to helping people understand

each other and to expression...expressing yourself. I wanted to ask you."*

Continued(page 34)

W: ...we started talking about the minorities having a difficult time. Of

course, every minority does, if you want to classify it...you could say,

"Well, rich kids have trouble, because they've had everything and they've

never had to struggle against anything, so they're at a disadvantage..."

and they've. provedit...it's very difficult to find a distinguished son

of a distinguished father. I think the McArthur family is one of the

unusual ones, that the famous general of the Civil War, a good general,

and the next son was, and Douglas was, and they carried on the tradition

without, more or less, skipping a generation. Most families do skip a

generation...the child that has everything doesn't strive for it in con-

nection with a majority...with a minority, a persecuted minority, you

were talking about Indians; it also came to my mind that the Jews at the

time of Christ were a tremendously persecuted, poor, struggling group of

people. They had risen before and they had gone down and they had gone

up and ieme- down at the time that He came along they were very down, but

He had motivation within Him, of, perhaps, to help in addition to being

the Son of God, which I think we're all the children of God, so I think

we really don't have any problem. As long as we all are, we're all bro-

thers and sisters and we don't have anything to overcome. As far as I

can see, we don't really have any problems.

B: Well, I think if everybody could see it that way, it would be a wonderful

world, if we could learn to accept each other a human beings, fellow

human beings, and go on from there andg4t some of the differences...

I think some of the differences ought'to be remembered. It's necessary

for a struggling group, or a group like our group--we've been sort of

underlings for a long time and we need to take pride in ourselves and

this is true of,.many groups, I think. I think it's true of the black

Continued(page 35)

B: community also. I think we've been told that we were inferior by expres-

sion and by action so much that we've actually begun to believe this our-

selves, and this is bad, you know, because if you believe that you're inferior,

then your performance will be an inferior performance. For example, an

extreme in this direction happened a few years ago when my mother-in-law

ordered some kerosene delivered to her trailer,her house trailer, and this

boy came over and instead of connecting the kerosene tank to the kerosene

line he connected it to the water line, and when she turned on .the spigot,

out comes kerosene, you know, and when she chided him.about this, or criti-

cized him about this, he sag, well, I'm just a poor country boy and an
Indian boy at that. I'm not supposed to know anything...you know? Sort

of justifying this horrible mistake. Add it's easy to do this, you know,

if nobody demands or expects anything out of Indians, then the Indians aren't

going to produce very much.

W: Well, that can be reduced to the individual situation, too. In a family,

if a mother expects a child not to, he won't and if she expects a great

deal or treats him...he reacts the way he's treated, I think, and with each

other it's true. If you treat someone as though they're honorable and

smart and good and kind, they'll generally behave in an honorable, smart,

good, and kind way, so it's very true in teaching. If you expect your

students to do something and assuming that they can do it, it's like telling

them they can write poetry, and they write it. That's a beautiful example.

B: And they very definitely can and I've encountered this attitude among our

people too often and it's bad to see. Many times we do take it...this

attitude, or some of us do. We're content, therefore, to go along...

W: Using it as an excuse for not working harder, yes. Well now, do you have

a division among the Indians, or is this just a rumor that is...

Continued(page 36)

B: Yes we do, unfortunately. Indians have always been a little peculiar about

names. In the old days, in the early day-s of colonization, if somebody

in the tribe fell into disgrace, they changed hiname4..or if they were

ridiculed. It's sort of like...I don't know if you know much about the

country--poultry raising and that sort of thing--but there are certain

chickens that if you put your hand in erir nest they'll leave the nest

and go build another nest...and Indians are sort of this way about...for

some reason, about names, so our people are forever arguing back and forth

about names. The name, for a while, was okay, and then somebody comes

along and attaches a derogatory adjective to it, and right away the

name starts losing favor, so we rve been changing names pretty well. We

presently have three groups, really, and of course when a community splits,

I doubt if they've had some help from the outside, but most of them are

not responsible for those things t hataipelled. You have the Lumbee

Indians, and this is the official name of our people by an Act of Congress

and also by an Act of the General Assembly of North Carolina, then you have

the Tuscarora, then you have the ECIO, and you have these three groups.

W: What is thi- ECIO?

B: The Eastern Carolina Indian Organization. But I went to a meeting...

W: Are they east of here, or do they...

B: ...no, it's all, they are from east, the eastern part of North Carolina.

But we are all these things, we're not just one tribe, but we're all these

things really. The nucleus was the Hatteras Indians, then there was the

Tuscarora, and during the Tuscarora War of 1711...yes, 1711...there was a

SecitC of Tuscarora proper which fought on the side of the colonists,

and naturally after the cessation of hostilitiesthey were not received back

into the fold with open arms, so they settled here. Our people here fought ,o a

Continued(page 37)

B: on the side of the colonists; the Tuscaroras who fought on the side of the

colonists were those who fought under Tom B'unt. So they settled here, and

the rest of the defeated Tuscarora removed...they migrated to Niagra Falls,

New York, where they could join the Five Nation Confederacy. But during

that war there were some Indians on the other side, captured, hr ___- C

who were also incorporated into the tribe. Also there were some Cherokee

who fought in that...some of them settled in this area, so we are...we have

these, we have all these, and each...you have even today people who are

strongly in favor of the Cherokee, strongly in favor of the Hatteras, strongly

in favor of this or that, but a few years back Reverend D.F. Lowry and other

people thought that we needed an umbrella name f-G/the people, the Indian pfr,/

people of Indian descent in the Lumbee River Valley, and so they formulated

this bill which was passed by the General Assembly of North Carolina on

April 20, 1953 and by Congress on June 6, 1956, and this Bill states that

we are recognized as American Indians, but it also carries the stipulation

that we shall not receive any special privileges because of our status as


W: Now why < that? Afraid to get taxpayers' money involved?

B: Yes.

W: Sounds about like that's wh-at it was.

B: Yes, this was it. And it was passed at a time when termination was the policy

rather than self-determination, as we have under our present President. So,

our people were really, instead of resenting the name Lumbee, they're really

resenting this-Act which is discriminatory, and which has been said to be

discriminatory in an Act in Congress, which hasn't passed as yet. In other

words, we have no special privileges and this law takes it away from us.

It gives it to us in one breath and takes it in the next. And this is

Continued(page 38)

B: what they really resent, and some of our people are so incensed by this.

They just disclaim any association at all with the name Lumbee, and they

hate the name, they've come to hate the name as much as they ever loved


W: Well, can't we have it changed? Can't we get another amendment to the

law and undo the injustice? It seems to me that kind of thing can be done.

B: Well, this is what we attempted to do a'um the Jordan Bill. People were

so upset about it. This law, and it is the law of the land, was read by

a federal julge in a school case in 1970, and the judge who read this

was Judge Al-geen N. Butler, and he read this, he called a recess. He

said, "I've never seen this law before. I want time to study it." And

he did, and he came back and he was very sympathetic towards the Indians,

he SayS, however, this is the law vso he could give no relief.

W: But it can be changed, I mean we put Prohibition on and took it off, and

got income tax on, and here we ought to take that off, that income tax.

B: But the Jordan Bill, which was introduced by Mr. Jordan, seeks to strike

out that discriminatory clause, which is all that's wrong with the law.

But instead of that, there are some, especially our uataught people, who

say, "I hate that name...I hate it."

W: What is the discriminatory statement in the law? That's unfair?

B: The statement which says...the statement which says that we are American

Indians, but in the next breath says that they shall not be entitled to

any special privileges because of their status as Indians.

W: But are they entitled to all the privileges of being an American?

B: Yes, they...

W: Because then, if you're equal to all the rest of us, I should think that

legally, you don't have...

Continued(page 39)

B: Yes, but this is something that our poor people miss, and our uneducated,

some of our uneducated people miss because they've been poor all their

lives, they haven't had the advantage of an education, for whatever rea-

son, they are largely illiterate, and they do desperately need help. I

think this is reall- vterrlre. And so -7 if f ;"4 push the

whole thing out of our minds, like burning down a barn because you expe-t

-tr-os s rodehts inside. But it's so hard to reach the, and explain these

things because so many contradictory statements are made, sometimes by

the press. The press is so mixed up, you know, especially on the subject

of Indians. When you come down to specifics, they know practically nothing

at all.

W: Well, if you think it's mixed up now wait till you see how mixed up it

is if they don't have to quote their sources, they can say anything they

wnat to and say, "Oh, I don't have to tell you who told me that, or where

I heard that." They can print...it will be giving them license to print

anything they want, they can't print it. I think it's absolutely...it's

like gossip, you know.io fu can say, have you heard so and so is beating

his wife, or...you don't have to tell who told you or where you heard it,

you can embellish it and flower it, hold everyone spellbound while you

tell anything you want to tell. No strings attached, no sense of responsi-

bility. I think it's dreadful. I don't see how anybody thinks it's good.

B: Yes, it is terrible. The Indians have alway-s been good for headlines, and

all newsmen know this, and they take advantage of it. They don't bother to

be careful simply because there aren't enough Indians to pressure them into

being scholarly or very journalistic or anything...

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