Title: Interview with Betty Mangum (July 1, 1973)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007104/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Betty Mangum (July 1, 1973)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: July 1, 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: UF00007104
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 117A

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Full Text


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and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

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LUM 117A Typist: Margaret Lenkway
Subject: Oral History on the Lumbee Date Typed: June 18, 1974
Indian; Interview withBetty Jane Oxidine k^f dr 'a1tccv utv
Interviewer: Ti tlorwit Lttl I0c-t r
Datlof Tape: July 18

I: Foundation under the auspices of the University of

Florida. I am doing an Oral History of the Lumbee Indians. Today is

July the 18th, ^nd I'm at the home of Mr. Clifton Oxindine, about

two miles West of Pembroke, on the Bud Oxendine Road. I am interviewing

Mr. Clifton's daughter, Miss Betty Jane Oxkndine Mangdum. The time

is 1:40MK.

I: Betty, let's begin by you telling me a little about your family.

You were raised here in Pembroker ere you now?

B: Yes I was, and I lived down on the College campus until I was

almost 19 years old, and then we came up here when I was abot

-19 yeg-sm^ a sophomore in college

I: For what reason were you living on the University campus? That's

Pembroke State University you are speaking of?

B: Un, uh (Affirmative). My father was Dean at that time, and was also

working in the History Department axd Sociology, teaching classes

in Sociology.

I: He's now retired f there?

B: Yes, he is.

I: How long has he been retired?

B: I think -a...-.e about four years. Now I might be mistaken,

I: Alrgh, now do you know)ihow long he worked down there?

B: 35 years?


Lum 117A Typist: Margaret Lenkway
June 18, 1974

I: Approximately?

B: I thinkT approximately 35 years.

I: -; where did he get his schooling?

B: He went to McKindery College, in LebanonIllinois. And he did his

Masters work aAGeorge Peabody College in Brownsville, University

of NashvilleJ Tennessee.

I: Um, do you have Can you give me your mother's nameTnd

something about her.

B: O.K. My mother's name is Fora Lee Wilkins.Oxindine. She was

reared in South Carolina and went to school ec. and met my

Dad at the building o history of Old Mainp.he was going to

Yigh Shool there at that time. I have one brother who is

now married and teaches school, and lives here in Pembroke.

I: And his name is?

B: Jerry Clifford Oxindine.

I: GouMd tell me a little about your family now J-

B: O.K. I married here was a white minister who came into the

area and was a minister at the First United Methodist Church7

here in Pembrokeorth Carolina, and he had a brother who came

at one point to live with:him in h4- home in Pembroke and wes

attendina the University his name was Albert. And we began dating

while I was going to the University, and he's inAadio. And we

were married a year later, in the year 1661, and we have two

children'from that marriage.

I: And what are theb names?

B: The girl's name is Dawn, and she will be 9 this October. And

LUM 117 A Typist: Margaret Lenkway
June 18, 1974

the boy's name is Troy, and he was just 5 this year.

I: O.K. You spoke about the white minister& what is his name
and what is he presently doing now.

B: O.K. His name is Robert L. Mang um, and he lives about a mile and

a half out of Pembroke, and he is in charge of the Robe son -

L* County Church and Community Centerind he also is astor at
9 ^kt-
that same United Methodist Church.

I: Um Mr. Mangnum has been in the area since about, for about

15 years, has he not? And is very well respected in the Indian


B: That's correct. I remember when Bob first came to Pembroke,

te people at that time we were very sceptical of the white people)

aindum,_ R4Jt took him a long timetazgs = trust and

influence the community in any way, but people now really

respect him /and turn to him in time of need and also he has been

a good community leader. T6-ga LbeC( \ V e Ia S.

I: He's gotten kinda' involved in the Indian movement, so to speak,

Where were they originally from?

B: Bob Mangum, or Robert Mangum is from Brandywine, Maryland,

which is about 25 minutes out of Washington, D.C. He comes

from a family of five children: two boys and three girls)They

lived in a Aural rea and he grew up and attended the Brandywine

Methodist Church, which is called the Emanuel Church And he got

his degree at Asberry Seminary, at which time he met his wife, who

was from Michigan.


LUM 117 A Typist: Margaret Lenkway
June 18, 1974

I: Bob and hits wife' -\wd t, i-- and they have how many


B: They have 3 childrenpThey have a girl who is 15, a girl who is 12

and a son who is 10.

I: WTell me a little about your educational background&

B: O.K. I attended Pembroke Elementary School, I attended Pembroke

High School,and I attended Pembroke State University. And until

I was age.19--e.ua, until I was the age 21,my whole world was in

about a five mile radius. I walked just the short distance to the

elementary school, the short distance to the digh school, which was

just directly behind the house we lived in on the College Campus,

and a short distance to the college campus where I finished school.

I received a BS, degree in 1961, from Pembroke State College, which

is now the University.

I: And your degree was in -

B: Elementary Education.

I: What did you do then, Betty?

B: Well I went to Maehigan. Madison Heights, Michigan to teach, I was

single at the time but I was engaged also, so we were saving money

to be married. I taught three Q years straight, Madison Height,

Michiga Michigan Za LL> y f( O a

1 /I ea'TChen at that time I stoppecdut to have my daughter, and I stayed

home about a year and a half, and then I also taught school in

Ontseagle, Michigan, Bell Creek, Michigan,and then we left 4Be- Creek

because my husband was transferred with his job and moved to

Lincoln, Nebraska, and I taught school there about 2 years.


Lum 117 A Typist; Margaret Lenkway
June 18, 1974

Um, and that's the last time I taught. I haven't taught, but I'm

looking forward now to getting back to teaching.

I: And you're living where aew? a F

B: I live in Sioux City, Iowa, at the present time.

I: How long have you been ---------------?

B: We've been there two years, and we anticipate another three years.

I: When you were finished with college, why did you leave the area,

and why did you choose Michigan?

B: O.K. I probably, I graduated n January of '60, and that's after

I finished I finished at a semester break and I was editor of the

yearbook at that time, so I had to stay to complete the yearbook, which

was not completed tiXl late that pring jand I was also staying for

graduation since they did not have any half-year graduation. I spent

a great deal of time begging for a job There was an opening at

Pembroke Elementary School/where I had attended as a child. I

Asked for that job but I did not get that position, and there were

not any other positions open at that time. So I continued that semester

until May of '60, just taking a few courses and working on the yearbook.

Now the reason I left North Carolina was probablyI because I did not

get a job when I had sought a job in Januarypan I had two cousins who

were living in Madison Heights, Mifhigan:- Magnolia Oxindine Griffith,

now she is, and there was a Ruth Oxindine Turnervitch, who were living

in Madison Heights, Michigan. They were working in a good school system,

that paid 12 months to the year, and they had several positions open.

end I applied for a job there and did get a job teaching the Aird grade.


LUM 117 A Margaret Lenkway
June 18, 1974

I left mainly because of money. I'm trying to remember now what I got

that first year. It was much higher then I would have gotten had I

stayed in North Carolina, plus they were begging for teachers and at

that time there were just no openings, and there were a lot of politics

in the school system at that time, so you be related to

someone, or ,.

I: What do you contribute the surplus of teachers in the county

at that time to what it wagenerally nationwide at that time?

B: Well, ne reason I suppose for the surplus in Robeson County

was the availability of the college. It was very eovi to go to

school, most of the Indian people at that time were going to school

because education was very inexpensive at that time.

I: Would you not say that most of the Indian people who aa college

degrees do teach school?
B: Yes. Most family units were made, at that particular timeof

maybe a farmer husband, and a teacher wifeAnd they were able to

make a income, because Pembroke as a rurul community and they can

raise cattle and vegetables- things, and they could live real well/

ith that combination of a marriage.

I; After you had moved away a, d your vast experiences from one

community to another, how have you been treated by the white society

due to the fact that you were Indian? Has it been a.aesty experience?
kio &4te-.
B: I feel it ip.haa& probably when I left North Carolina I

didn't feel that strongly. As I left Pembroke I had a lot of mixed

emotions, and emotions were brought about because there was a lot of

discrimination in Robenson County. It was very difficult for me to marry

LUM 117 A Typist: Margaret Lekkway
June 18, 1974

my husband/who was white and he had to go to great length to obtain

a marriage lience and this place --

I: Would you tell me a little bit about that1 deal3

B: O.K. At the time we were married in '61 it was against the law

on the North Carolina Law Books for Indians and whites to be married.

Now there had been a lot of Indian and white marriages, so this was

nothing newbghut most people went to South Carolina, where it was legal,

or were being married in the North. Now in my particular circumstances

my husband and I were married in a courthouse in Madison Heights, Michigan3

p e week prior to my wedding date at the LaRear Baptist Church here

in Pembroke.

I: You wanted to come back home to have a weddin- t ^ ,

B: Right, but I could not legally do it. Now, my brother-in-law,

Bob Magnum encouraged us to have a court fight and the laws were changed

in the fall of that year, but of course being young and so in love we

were anxious to get married right away and did not want to have all of

this in the newspaper. It was just a rather embarrassing situation and

we just did not want to go through the hassle* za-- 0 d v

I: Something you would rather not talk about--

B: That's right.

I: So as you got out, since then the laws have been changed. I think

many other people have faced the same situation, back during those days,

as far as the interratial marriages goes.

B: THere's a I wanted to say this and I don't know if you will

feel its worthy of being on the tape and you can erase it if you feerpi

it is not something that might be, but you know as you leave Pembroke


LUM 117 A Typist: Margaret Lenkway
June 19, 1974

as an Indian, your emotions are so deepin ground, and you have such

deep opinions about the situation here, um, it just ceases to amaze

me that we have all come out of it, and that we are whole people and

are able to contribute a lot to the society. You know that even though

you live in a community where you are well thought of once you marry

a different race and go out into a new community you cannot erase

the past. And I could not help but remember, um, what it was like to

be asked out of a restaurant in Robelson county, and then move to

Michigan where I could eat in any restaurant I wanted to or sit any-

where in the theater that I wanted to. Now I have never encountered

any discrimination. One reas-being that they are not exactly sure

what my race is,
concerning my race) aws I left home as an Indian and I have always yot kor

been an Indian and have been proud of it. But at the time I left

Pembroke, I probably would not have stood behind a podium and said

"I'm an Amercan" probably
"I'm an American India I probably would have Asaid it somewhere

very-quetr ly in a corner. Now I've been away so long that, you

know you just have to accept me as I am, because I don't care at

this point.

I: Uaelince your moving away it's been brought to my attention

that you've been very active in the Indian worldd through the Methodist

Churche)an you tell me about how your involvement in this came about?

B: O.K. During the time I lived in Michigan I was jI suppose kind'a
of finding myself in teaching school and I did not get involved at
all in the State of Michigan with any Indian work at all. Upon

moving to Lincoln, Nebraska.I was just appalled with the conditions

LUM 117A Typist: M. Lenkway
June 19, 1974

that the Indians were living in that particular city. There were about

250 families there and most of hem were tin >C-c. efadJt was just

a pathetic situation where there were reservations within 100 miles

of the city, the Omaha Reservation specifically, and many of the Indian

pPople would come into the city of Linc61m, Nebraska looking for work,

not knowing simple things, such as how to get on the bus, how to call
10,0 aboe t6eefi4
a taxi cab, how to s. legal help, where do you go to get food when

you're down and out) and this type thing. So through the Methodist

Church that I was attending in Lincoln, Neb I learned of an Indian

/enter that was opening. And I was teaching school at the time, and

I was very hesitant about going down there because I felt I had all I

could handle with my two children. But finally I decided that I should

go down there and see if there was something that I might be able

to do. So I did go down to the center and rdid serve on the Board

while I was there. We dx help find housing. _food, and

medical help and jobs, and this type thing. That's how I got involved

withr. a the Methodist Church part. We also became Methodists when

we went to Nebraska. And through that time back in Lincoln, Neb I

have since been involved with Methodist Chuch work with Indians. Now

the area where we live there are few Indian families, most of the

Indians from 9sas City, Iowa do not belong to the Methodist Church.

They either have no church affiliation at all/or they are Catholics,

or they aR -th- belong to the Native American Church.

I: Um, I noticed that you served on several committees gan you tell

me what they are and what cbndtins- in these committees that you a

serve r on.


LUM 117A Typist: M. Lenkway
June 19, 1974

B: O.K. I am presently serving on the commission f- Religion and Race.

This is a committee of the United Methodist Church: headquarters are

located in Washington, D.C. On this committee I am one of five Indian

members; the membership is 54 peopletb heecomposed of all minority

races;there will be about 10 white people on the entire committee. On

thecommittee I am secretary of the Indian Task Force Group. Our group

is made up of 11 but only five of these are Indian and have ever had

dealings with Indians)the other people have been appointed to our

committee and are trying to get to know us and what our problems are.

The other committee that I am serving on is also with the United

Methodist Church, and it's the National American Indian Committee

of the United Methodist Church& and-our job is to trouble-shoot

throughout the entire United States any trouble areas where there

would be Indian Churches who are having trouble communicating with a

Bishop or minister, or having trouble wiAhit the community e try

to send a representative there. This last year the biggest problem

has been difficulties between the Amish people and the Methodist Church,

and trying to keep communications open. I did not go to Wounded Knee,

but we did send two of our Indian ministers out there to act as the

laifson people.

I: In meeting Indian people from across the country, when patell them

that you are Lumbee, how is this responded to?

B: Most people have never heard about us, and then when you get to

talking about the differences in features, or the differences in back-

ground since we were not raised on a reservation, we have not had the

binds on us like reservation people do have, they find it very difficult

to understand how we could prosper and many of them express a desire to


LUM 117 A Typist: Margaret Lenkway
June 20,1974

particularly in the Midwest the Indian people are raised to take care

of their owna f there are children born out of wedlock a family will

just absorb this child before it will be placed in an arphange.

This child will never know discrimination because he was born out of

wedlock. Now, I think you would agree that this would not be true

in Pembroke; there would be some shame, somewhere. And another things

they do they believe ifou have somethingAbe it money, or food, or

extra rooms for people to sleep they would think nothing of just

moving in with you for a month. Well, in Pembroke we just don't

necessarily do W6at. Ah, for instance if they have a paycheck and

they know this particular Indian has gotten paid all the friends and

relatives that he has will come in on Friday night and will be fed/

willingly. And they will eat and drink until all the food and money

is gone. But then the sad point is that Monday morning the man or -

women, whoever had the paycheck is back where they started a week

ago. They're broke and they still have five or six days to go before

another pay check. Now this is completely foreign to my upbringing

because I was tulgh4e you take care of yourself and your family/and

you look after your own', but you don't -e:c invite all the

relatives in to eat a e-until all of you are poor together.

2: &-^B n being brought up in your own home, what values were

placed on education to you as a child

B: Well, of course my parents gave me a lot of encouragement to go

to school, and I never questioned iti-t was just expected that I would

go to school. I suppose, I wi be raised under kind's of Purtian

ethic, the work ethic where you work.jf you want to do things, you work to

make these things happen. You just didn't think of being lazy.

LUM 117 A Typist: Margaret Lenkway
June 19, 1974

that they would like to come and visit this area and see what it is like

because I describe the community as most people have nice homes and two
cars and a//ir t/ and a working wage al t weekly or bi-weekly,

and it just sounds like a dream world to them since the ones on

the reservation f course, there is not much employment on the

reservation most of the land is not that good and there is not

enough land to support the number of people that do live on the


I: Have you been accepted by other Indian people as an Indian :S.f

B: I ometimest is\very difficult you have to win them and show

them that you are sincere &kaIt's very difficult because my ways and

the waYd ITve-learned to act through my experiences in college, being

with other races, since when I started college Pembroke State College,

which is now the University, the college was suddenly also open to

whites or the first time. This brought in a lot of different influences

since most of my history teachers were also white, the history that I

learned was white Histor ynd it's terrible but I believed it. I don't

exactly believe all of it now. But what I wanted to say was that

sometimes Indian people are very skeptical when they first meet me

because I might dress a little differently then they would be

accustomed to, or I might entertain a little differentlyobut as far

as the seeeity, the sveny is there but it takes them awhile

because they are,very letry of ae different customs. I do find

one thing different in the mid west, and I don't know if this is a

personal thing or if all ndian people would find it this way, but

i _il

LUM 117 A Typist: M. Lenkway
June 20, 1974

Ae,--1 anyway if you had brainpowerr and money backing it was just

expected that you would go to school. You just never wasted any talent,

what ever your talent was you were supposed to use it, because that

was just part of our ethnic. But I did, my brother and I both were

encouraged to go on, and I'm sure our parents would have liked us to

go on and further our education by getting a masters, and I may do it

someday. I'm undecided at this timi. iit,

I: Since your father was av a college professor was this his only income

or did he also do some farming, did you ever know what it was to

work on a farmr& Gl o (7

B: I certainly did I suppose my dad would also be called a

country gentleman)he loved his school work, but his heart was also

in the farm. He was a farm child and was raised with a family of eight,

and they were raised on a farm and they knew what it was to work

hard. And as I grew-up, -s., even livinggone a college campus I

knew what it was like to put in tobacco a4least six days a week,

and I mean hard labor. This is getting up early in the morning and

then working til the middle of the afternoon before you completed

yer job.

I: What type of wages did you get?

B: I'm just trying to think what I might have gotten an hour.

I: Well I kehtght yourmight-hee- got-ee paid by the day, didn't you?

B: Maybe it was $3 a day, and of course I didn't mind the tobacco, putting

in the tobaccoTso much, although it was hot under the shed. My job

I never did learn how to string tobacco, but I learned to pand it and
I was a pretty good sander, and I enjoyed that because you were in the


LUM 117 A Typist: Margaret Lankway
June 20, 1974

shade most of the time and a\least we didn't have to get out into

the field. But the hardest labor that 1-did I did as a child was

*o pick cotton, because that's back-breaking work
good pickerpae& I picked all day and I never picked a hundred pounds

in my life. I would pick I l

I: It was also being under the tobacco barn putting in the tobacco

was.also a means of social exchange, was it not?

B: That's right. That certainly was. You could hear mo re gossip

and more things that were going around town. It was funeThere was

always a radio playing and people were happyowe'd sing and >r f


I: A lot of times they would be your own friends who had worked for

the same people, on the same days,

B: Right

I: They were around, and it was a chance to get to see them and -Bw

wa converse with people your ame age) pai it AOl7

B: That's right. There would always, of courses a teenager, of course

we- were always anxious to see the clockers, these were the young

boys that maybe we had our eye on in the community. So there would be

girls whe would be my age under the barn and maybe two or three

mothers, that of course were good stringers and worker a little

harder then the teenagers who were working the jobs.

I: WF ==-, As you were a teenager, Betty what were some of the dating

habits that were enforced in your home?

B: Well, in my home it was early hours and this was one of the hardest

) L'

LUM 117A Typist: M. Lenkway
June 20, 1974

things that, I don't think that I ever quite accepted that t1O-30lom.

I was expected to be home even througifirst year college. Now, I

did not always abide by this, but this was the rule.

I: What happened when you didn't?

B: Well I was spanked, or I was made to stay home for an entire
week. %X, a lot of young boys when I was growing-up I was kinda' the

younger one in my high school class, so most of the young boys were

already driving cars aad-at that time, tm drive-in theaters were

really a big thing, and I was just never really allowed to go to

the drive-in theater. You know, to get in a car and leave home7was

really quite an experience, and yet I just looked forward to it

because -K- e other girls were also doing this. Most of the things

that were held at the school, school activities, even though I was

a cheerleader and was involved with school things regardless to what

point the basketball game was at, nonetheless that I was a cheerleader

b- 10:30 if the game was still going was expected t leave and come


I: And um, when you look back over this, how do you feel about tea&.

B: Well of course I feel the restrictions were a little "e strict.

Now that I have a daughter I'm just not quite sure how I will handle

-T-he-d3aeis g course times have changed and the dating situation,

and most people do have cars now and it's just expected that the child

go on a car date. I don't know what my reaction will be. At the time

I was constantly upset because in my class I was trying to do all

the things that everyone else in my class was doing even though I was

LUM 117A Typist: M. Lenkway
June20, 1974

almost a year younger, and it was very difficult and I had a lot

of crying spills as I grew-up.

I: What were some of the social events that took place in the school?

B: Well, of course the big event was the Junior-Senior Prom.

I: Was it a dance?

B: It was the last year I was there. The year before, when I was a

JuniorI it was not a dance,--L

I: In high school. You're talking about High School or college?

B: I'm talking about high school. I'm talking about high school at

this point. Now religion played a big part of any humbee Indians

background. And there were certain restrictions that were dictated

from the pulpit in the church uch as no dancing, no smoking, no

drinking, no going to the movies and this type thing. For a long time

there were overtones in our school .whieh helped the church enforce

these rules and if that were not enough you were re forced by

your parents constantly telling you this. Now when I was a senior

in high school there was a dance, Junior-Senior Prom. But you

know most of us would danceout behind the house/ or dance out other

places, but we really did not feel as free to et*all-dance.

I: Even when I finished high school in '66 we didn't have any dances

during my -ea 4ro/ ]'o .

B: We didn't know what it was like to have a record-hop that's for

sure. You did a lot of dancing, you just didn't get caught dancing.

aad.t was very difficult when you were finally a senior in high school

and thyyzSaid they were having a dance, and here you are dressed-up,

at that time you wore big erimlins, the great big stiff, starched

slips and we were just so dressed up we really felt like we really
/ \


LUM 117 A Typist: M. Lenkway
June 21, 1974

shouldn't turnfa-loose and really have a good time. We probably didn't

have much fun at those proms. We looked pretty.

I: Other then that there was basketball--
woI)OUbd 4.,e
B: Basketball games, there was.ie conventions where we would be able
F '
i v
to go away from our school and see other teenagers and-other high

schools. But there were not a lot of this sharing at that particular

point among the area schools.

I: Were the FHA organizations integrated?

B: At that time I don't think so.

I: Well who did you go with? What group did you have meetings with?

B: Mostly Indians, other Indian groups.

I: Did you ever attend any state conventions?

B: No,

I: What about Junior College years. Now, here is the college that was

all Indian i he years when you started. How did the white students

accept social standards that had been established at the University

at that time. Did you hear much complaining about "why don't they
do so and sco or were they caught up with other schools in other

areas, or can you remember?
B: I don't think, maybe I don't remember so much about that. I

think probably it was, it was really an adjustment just to be suddenly

in school with white people. Now prior to this time the only white

children who were ever in our schools were maybe te- half-white children,

maybe where there:;had been an Indian-White marriage, and the white

person had moved into the areaand-hka decided to become Indian as

such by sending their children to the Indian schools.


LUM 117 A Typist: Margaret Lenkway
June 2], 1974

I: How 4-s it looked on by the community and the real estate

B: Not very well. It was just not an accepted thing. Maybe one

of the reasons was 4is we just did not know each other very well. We

had never lived amonit whites and known then as friends and dated

them. We knew them and we called them by name, but we did no social

things together prior to a few people leaving the area and

meeting some whites. aadThen of course, when I was in college in

the fall of'56 the white people did start coming uia*-yA- at a

time, and we got to know them,but we were very sceptical of the

white person, and they probably were afraid of us. There was

kind'a mistrust on both sides. Maybe one of the reasons wee

beeeer- there was an Army base at Fort Bragg and there had been a lot

of handsome white men come into our community and date the girls,atd

.s they were transferred there were a lot of illegitimate children

left in our area to be raised by the mothers _so there was a bad

feeling about white people, in that they're just not sure they're

up to a good cause.

I: You said .ta you did date some white boys who were atte ding

school at that time. Even though it was not acceptable by the

older adults in the community at that time, did you find a different

acceptance by the let's say younger girls/your age.

B: Well, I think so. Naturally, Janie, if you have never dated a

blond boy, blond haired boy with blue pyes there's going to be a

natural curiosity /or an attraction to this particular person.

So I didr what had brought this about I had worked at Ridgecrest,

which is a Baptist Assembly6 I was reared Baptist and had left after

*he completion of High School to go to Ridgecrest, North Carolina

LUM 117 A Typist: Margaret Lenkway
June 2], 1974

and worked there the entire summer as a waitress. During this time I

was idorm& with all white people with the exception of two Indians

from Florida. It was a completely new experience for me because I had

never been away from Pembroke fo-stay any length of time, not to any

other town had I gone and stayed where I was not around relatives.

So this was a very frightening experience for me as I watched my

parents drive and leave me there, because suddenly I was going to

make it or not, and I became very homesick. But during this AI

wanted to say that I did meet some white boys and did date a

couple of boys kinda' steadily that summer. So I had dated them before

but as I came back to PembrokeI was dating my first two years in

college I was dating an Indian boy so it wae-my third year in college

before I ever dated any white boy.

I: The summer at Ridgecrest did you find a difference in dating

habits with the other girls that you dormed with than what you had been

accustomed to?

B: Yes. They were just much free r then we were accustomed to in

Pembroke. Also I found out that they were willing to accept me;

I was the one having trouble accepting them as an equal. But there

was noti I don't know if I met anyone specifically from Lumberton,

or Repring or Claremont, that he white people that I did meet were

^\ do-


LUM 117 A Typist: Margaret Lenkway
June 21; 1974

willing to accept meand I was the one who was having trouble

accepting them as an equal because I thought they would not see me

as an equal. So it was mory problem thfn th-re's that I had to

work out.

I: It is generally said about the Lumbee Indians that even though

they go away they eventually have a yearning to come back home.

Have you found this to be true?

B: I find 9has to be very true. It does happen. It's hard to ever

get away from your up-bringing and environment. You can run all the

way to Europe and you will still find people who have been away for

years and years come back to a surrounding that is very familiar.

to them. Someone has said that once you get old its just too hard

to make new f iends over and overt it's better to go back where you
know the people and know the families. I find it to be true. I

never ely-lived in Michigan that the people from "the^-Pembroke

area or the Robe son county area generally kept in contact with each

other/so they could hear the news from home or c-.ay =5L4, have a

ride back to Pembroke with them, or visited among each other and were

friends among each other, so it was like having a little Pembroke

away from Pembroke.

I: Well, ir how frequently do you get back home now that you're
staying so far away.

B: I come home once a year. I usually stay a month when I come, mainly

because I have two children. I get lonesome to come home, and my

husband.'does not get a vacation except in the summer months and only

two weeks9at that particular time. If I had my choice, I would come

at Christmas. I have been home one time in 12 years at Christmas time.

But since I don't have a choice, and I really don't care to leave my


LUM 117 A Typist: Margaret
June 2], 1974

husband alone at that particular time and bring the children down, teE

I choose to come in the summer.

I: How does your children respond to the fact that they are part


B: Well my daughter of course is very proud of ity she has, wl

you know in our school they start the Indian Unit in the third grade.

and when she was in third grade she tust wanted to share so many things.

Now my little boy is just now beginning to get caught up in it,

because he's age five and or a longlong time he was going to be a
Uoa'v e Ai -- to 0 ea
cowboy and we'd say no ye-aft Indian, and-haZ dseainand -argue teat

h -wn"_ac y So I do feel that TV probably influenced this, -theh

we are trying to do---

I: Cause the Indian always looses.

B: That's right and he's very smart he wants to be on the winning team.

But we're trying to change:this now because his little cousin, my

brothers' boy, my nephew Todd Oxindine, is just an avid little-ndian

promoter, and Troy now thinks it would be really neat to be an Indian

chief. I said he probably wouldn't get much done if he thinks all .

they do is wear feathers. But at this point he is changing his opinion

of an Indian. But my daughter, I took her to see the play "Unto These

Hills'j and she was just very upset, swhen he saw the "Lost Colony "

last year, when she was nine years old, and she gets very upset

because the Indians were so mistreated and thought of less than

citizens of the United Statesaa4-I want her to know all of this

I don't want to keep any of this hidden, because I will not always


LUM 117 A Typist: Margaret
June 2], 1974

be around to correct her thinking or to tell her my opinions on the

different things.

I: Do you think you'll ever return to Robenson County to live?

B: I don't know. There was a time whn I thought we would\surely

get into Winston, this was some five years ago. My husband had applied

for a job there and we just felt certain that he was going to get ito
I~: r1K'-e ~LA;> otL40C4-t AA-A 1 -
p Winston-Sal&m, North Carolina. But he did not get the job At this

point I don't really know,,his goal in life is to own. partially a radio


B: Being a goal in his life, um, and the Indian Movement to the extent

that it is growing here in Robenson County, can you ever foresee I

know I've thought about it/ ::: 1

B: I know he keeps in close contact with his brother B/b Magnum, who

has been here for a number of years. And there are possibilities of a

radion station being ere)eve in Pembroke. So there are possibilities

of us coming back.

I: thr-t=dye., hen you would not f the time was right and so

forth, you would not hesitate to enter back into the discrimination

which you had=A& f. anrwould have to face and the battles that would

have to be overcome here after you came?

B: No, because I'm at a different stage in my life. It would not

frighten me now. At the time we started out our marriage/as an Indian-

White marriage that would have been a frightening thing, because had

we lived here as newlyweds he would have had to decide that he was

Indian. Because there would have been no whitenan who would have
accepted him equally as a man, even though he was white had they known
accepted him equally as a man, even though he was white had they known


LUM 117 A Typist: Margaret Lenkway
June 2], 1974

he was married to an Indian person. So he realized that he was not going

to be able to work here at the time that we left.

I: He did work .here during his schooling?

B: Yes, he did work here at WTSB in Lumberton, North Carolina. I think
F his job _probab that
Shis probablyat that point terminated shortly

after his marriage to an Indian person. I don't know that that would

be the case now&>I'm just not sure because there are a lot of

intermarriages, but at that particular point neither one of us were

that strong. At this point as my children are getting older and we

are older and have gone through a lot of a. Fa -5a^^ vgPal ,s -a 'a 9a e $ 4a 4 c1-9,.
" e t*aaccepting each other just as people, and since we have been away

along time where people never question so much what you are Mgt what

you can do) I think at this point we're strong enough that we

e do it. Now I'm not saying that I would be able to go to Lumberton-

or Re springs and shop without becoming angry. I!'m not saying that I

would be able to speak to people, peak-to white people that I have known

all my life and accept them as equals I think I would probably reserve

a certain opinion about my relationship.

I: But you don't feel this way about whites thb- ju li-j. *--- __

B: No, there is a different feeling about whites in Robe2son County.

Probably one thing that would help me grow more than anything else

if I could meet a white person from Lumberton7or Red rings in"Ilwa

where I would feel they are equal& it would just be interesting to

see if we could have a friendship One girl that I grew-up with,

her name was Janet Kennedy6, she lived on the college campus. ,he-

was whiteg&he lived on the college campus next to us6 e played together

as children, and our brothers played togetheias we grew up, but I was


LUM 117 A Typist: Margaret Lenkway
June 2], 1974

never invited to her birthday parties. Well this was a very difficult

thing for me to understand, because everyday we played together and

yet when it came time for a birthday party) her white friends came.

But I also understood that when they left I was free to go and play &-d-

3st as we did before. Strangely enough I have continued to hear

from her through the years, with a Christmas card every Christmas.

Now there has never been a ne exchanged between the two of us. I

tried to look her up at one point and they had gone away on vacation.

He is a doctor in Columbus, Ohio and they have five children. Awd she

married a doctor. I would like someday to meet her and visit with her,

but I have never felt free to say what I wanted to sayts like

opening old wounds, to say what I would like to say and have her,..
-Is^- 9- /
and-I wish so much she would say the. to me/something like you have

proven yourself, or now I see you as an equal. But we knew each other

as children and this is something I'm not sure wi+i-ever go away, but

we do exchange a Christmas card.

I: You have several friends that you attended/aigh S/hool with, and

some moved awayatd do you still keep in contact with people other

than your relatives who are from this area?

B: I do only at Christmaa time. The first years that we were away we

kept in very close contact. I mean we would write several times a

year and we- would correspond at Christmas time long lengthy letters

about what we were doing and what.lour children anehusbands were

tdng, and this iS= Gf thing. But the longer I am away the less I

do this. I've just been away a long timgeI su ose and we have moved
l j -

LUM 117 A Typist: Margaret Lenkway
June 2], 1974
page 25

quite a bitoand& I don't even get frightened with the moves, because

once we-left Madison'Heights, where I was completely surrounded about

with relatives that knew me as a child and kinda' protected me, because

I had never been to the city if you can believe, and stayed It was

a fr tightening experience my first year. as an Indian in a completely

different environment where whites would accept me. This was

frightening. Once I left Madison Heights, from that point on my

husband and I had been on our own/because only one other time have

we lived in a town where there was another Lumbee Indian. Now this

hasn't been by choi e, this has just happened that where ever he is=*

transferred, there &Lumbee Indian there. But

at one point when my daughter was four, we lived in Battlereek,

Michigan)and a girlfriend of m Vinnea Warre, who lives in the

Rollin areamarried, Battlqreek, Michigan boy, and they moved to

Battlehreek. Well she had met her husband at Merta e Beach, South

Carolinaigso that was just a rare circumstance that I had been very

close friends with her throughout 'igh Achool and then/ollege, and

then she finally moved where I was living. And we were friends and

did visit back and forth.

I: When you come home during the summer do you see,deoyou visit

other then your,-ah relatives?

B: Not a lotI do get to see when I'm home, I try to see Joy Brayboy

Locklear, who was a close friend throughout elementary school, %igh

school and ollegee.-and she is married and lives here in Pembroke.

LUM 117 A Typist: Margaeet Lenkway
June 24, 1974
Page 26

So when I come home I normally call her on the phone and find out

when it would be convqjent that I visit her. But maybe in a month

of time now I will see her tonight, and I have seen her one other time

When you move away, you come back to the area, even though I'm on

vacation other people have things to do,and I just call and say

when can I see you and when is a good time, and then I kinda' go

by that.

I: You say you get home once a year. Do you keep any contact on

what's happening in Robeson county, anyway?

B: I get the Carolina IndianVgL. which your mother, I think has sent

to me and I appreciate that because it keeps me informed with what

going on locally& I really miss the Indian newspaper when I am not

taking it. I do not get the Robesonian. And then I talk by phone

with my mother every Sunday so I have quite a high phone bill, but

she keeps me posted on the deaths and marriages and the births of

children, and this type thing.

I: The Carolina Indian Voice is an Indian-owned and run newspaper

that's a weekly.;-: that has been in operation abott six months.

Do you look forward to seeing it come in the mail every week?

B: I certainly do. It's like a visit from home. I wish they would

have more news I'm talking about who visited who, who's in the

hospital, who was home visiting their parantsga&d- I would like of course

to see a lot }ore pictures in the paper, of who's having pictures

taken at a birthday party, or pictures of a bride, or an engaged

LUM 117 A Typist: Margaret Lenkway
June 24, 1974
"Page 27

person, this type thing. But I appreciate getting the news, it's

a good paper.

I: Have you followed any of the issues that have been

in the past year/or so, for instance the Old Main Issue? Were

you aware of what was happening there.

B: I was very much aware, and I just can't believe what happened

to that building. In fact I was at the drugstore this morning and

I thought I must go back and buy some of those postcards Roger's

drugstore ha these postcards that were taken years and years ago

of Pembroke State College, the Old Main Building / with the

Pembroke State College written on itCae I was looking at those

this morning and I thought I should go back and buy some of those.

because as I look at the building it's hard for me to believe that

this really happened in Pembroke.

I: -L =ow-- Jow do you feel about the controversy on as far as having

the building remain?

B: Well of course, I would like to have the building rema4i on the

campus. I feel it was apart of Indian,..it was just part of the

Lumbee Indian. It is one of the few things that we can say is our

own thing. Now there are lots more beautiful buildings, as far as

more modern and nicer facilities, but I just have fond memories of

that building, because as a child living on the campus, we played on

the stairwells and we'd climb up on the top of Old Main there was a

way you could get up on top of the entire building. We danced around
the columns on front, and watched a lot of couples get engaged and -ea

even as a child I remember many couples standing by those columns

LUM 117 A TYpist: Margaret Lenkway
June 24, 1974

Page 28

I have strong feelings now o the other part of the University, I

donk have any strong feelings towards any of the other buildings.

I would have probably had strong feelings about my home, which is

now no longer there. There is a tree remaining that stood in the

yard, by the house where i as a child and I always look at that

tree aand-I always look at a place where there was a- ile pool area

on the campus that ve- -- o,- lots of goldfish, and I have fond

memories of that because we used to take our shoes off and wade in;

that when we were not supposed to be doing that. But Old Main7/

was really, it was a gathering place for Indians on Sunday, and at

Christmas time anyone who got rollerekates was skating all around

Old Maingaa4-I just=have fond memories, and then of course my dad

all his years of teaching were in that particular buildings and-I

took many classes in that building. I attended many social

events in that building, I we talking as far as college plays,

dramas, graduation I graduated, the commencement ceremony for me

was in that particular buildingpSa lot of things have happened on that

stage, and I just have fond memories of them.

I: What do you see as the future for Lumbee Indians in Robeson

County, as far as social change is concerned?

B: Well conditions are better now than they have ever been in any of

my life,,as far as the Indians are right at the point where they can

begin to control their school systems They no longer have to be

e4.. You know for a long, long time we were good Indians, but

the reason we were good was s bc'o we never caused any problems

with anyone, ead Tf someone transferred you to another school you never

LUM 117 A Typist: Margaret Lenkway
June 24, 1974

Page 29

questioned it/one moment. You never questioned who was doing the

transfer, whether he was Indian or White, or who was controlling your

school because at that time if you griped too much you could be

removed. Now the situation at this point is just excellent. The only

thing is that I wish so much that we could keep a lot of the good

Indian teachers, and probably we will because many of them live in the

community. But had conditions not begun to change with the double

voting/and with he politics I don't know,I'm still suspicious of

the politics in the school systems here.

I: Well it's still in existence, and right now you ntieL athee its in

the state of a law suit, which is pending and hopefully I be
4pen i,)and hopefully i be
victorious. If you lived in Robeson County today Betty, what would be

your attitude as far as the whole Indian Movement for that which is

right and just, do you feel like you would be an active participant

in this movement? Would you feel like you would be passive in the

movement? Do feel like you would-- what do you think your attitaes

would be as far as the Indian Movement.

B: If I were back here today I would be active 'I suppose the reason

being J probably would not be employed and I would be akittle freer

to speak ando without fear of a job. There are a lot of people who--

I: Do you see this as being a main handicap?

B: Yes. A lot of people do support the movement secretly and maybe

financially, I'm not sure of that but they are not willing to stand up

and be where the action is and have their picture taken or be quoted.

Maybe one of the reasons is their parents might not support them and

LUM 117 A Typist: Margaret Lenkway
June 24, 1974

Page 30

it might reflect on their parents. But I see a lot of people holding

back because of the job situations they want to protect their weekly

rwwage and I can understand that because they do have families).kut if

I were back and were not employee, I would feel very free. My husband

would certainly want me to b ctive, so he would not fear.he would not

have any strong feelings that :Ishould not get involved.

I: I know many people who were Indian people, who are Indian people

and have married whites away from here4gaeia bring y4mi&sa- back

to mix with the Indian communityG.ave you found this true?

B: I do find that true. It's kinda' unfortunate,but a good rule of

thumb is you should bring the guy to Pembroke first, let him see the

people, lsa-thm get to know them, then if he still wants to talk

marriage this is fine. I suppose one thing whie mig t have been an

asset in my particular marriage was that my brother-in-law, Robert Mangum

was already in Pembroke, hiiarents already knew the situation in

PembrokepI'm not saying A.m they fully endorsed it at the time we

were considering being engaged, but by the time we were ready to be

married, both my parents and his parents were in agreement, because

even my parents did not endorse the engagement. Not because he was not

a good person, just because he was white and they were apprehensive

as to what might become of our marriage and any children we might have.

This happens quite oftenra Lumbee Indian girl is able to go into the

city, and find work and meet someone who accepts her as an equal.

Sometim out of shame maybe) she doesn't bring him back, or maybe

he doesn't care to come back I'm not sur what all the reasons are.

But it does happen.

LUM 117 A Typist: Margaret Lenkway
June 25, 1974

Page 31

I: Do you think, do you think in- marriage 44-as become more acceptable

today, then what it was even 10; 15 years ago?

B: Sure, and it's going to be more then it is at this particular

point. I have very strong feelings about it, and I'm not sure you

would agree with me, Janie. I have worked on a church committee on

racism for a good long time and I feel very openly about it. The

best thing that has happened in Robetson County is that the Blacks

and Indians are uniting. You know for a long time in Robeson County

the fiite people were so smart they kept the Blacks pitted against

the Indians and the Indians pitted against the Blacks. And I suppose

the Aites were really smart because they knew they would be greater

then either of our.numbers if they could keep us separated. I believe

that intermarriage is going to be a thing of the future, and as long

as you have/ I will never be able to dictate to my children. Now,

I may try to tell them, but you know when you fall in love with

someone it's not the race you fall in love with, it's something about

the person that is appealing to one, and I really believe it's going

to be a thing of the future. /,Now, I've taught in mixed schools, every-

time I've gone to work I ask to work in a lower income school. I've

worked in white, suburban schools where most of the enrollment would

be white, but I tend to identify and communicate better with children

from low income homes and specifically since I have been in Nebraska
I have always specified a school where there would be Indians, Mexicans,

or Blacks because I feel like there is something I can contribute and
maybe help them seek a little higher goal in life. But there is also
maybe help them seek a little higher goal in life. But there is also

LUM 117 A Typist: Margaret Lenkway
June 25, 1974

Page 32

a job you can do in a White school, because one particular year I

was assigned to a school that would be, in my opinion strictly

school 6f children of bluecollar workers who had "raised themselves

up by their own bootstraps" and would probably be Wallace supporter's

and I worked on their attitudes the whole year, and I feel they

probably think a little differently, maybe of Indians in particular

then they did at the time I started working. So attitudes aan be

changed anywhere in your neighborhood, in your school, in your church,

but I do feel that brotherhood has got to be, because the day of the

pure race is no longer.

I: Growingup, how was the church valued in your home?

B: Well the church was-kinda1 the backbone of our home in that we

spent a deal o1time preparing to go to church. It was just expected

that we go twice on Sunday, and at one point we went to mid-week i

a.fservice. It just had a very strong influence on my life as far as

values I was taught to believe in at that particular time. You know
the Southern Baptists are a pretty strict in their background and beliefs

and doctrines, anyway.

I: Umt, have you ehese beliefs and doctrines,as far as the Methodist

Churcbhhas/put a lot of money into Robeson County voter registration,

things that will help bring about social change. Do you feel like the

churches on the local level, do you think they've made much progress

in this direction?

B: Well I think so, and I really can't qualify that statement though.

I don't know that Robert Mangums' church, his congregation) completely

understand all the things that He hao taken on that the United Methodist

LUM 117 A Typist: Margaret Lenkway
June 25, 1974

Page 33

Church nationally has contributed money to. Locally I'm not sure they

would endorse the thing if they completely understood but I am glad,,-

and that's one reason I am Methodist at this particular point, you

know the Baptis have been dragging their feet on this racial

question, they have not wanted to get involved because the people

who were supporting the church were the older people who believed

in complete separate races and separate church systems&, o that's

why I am Methodist at this particular pointbecause the Methodist

Church has not been afraid to get into controversial issues. In

Iowa the Methodist Church appropriated money for Dennis Banks, for

his bail at the Iowa Conference, -tke-eww Methodist Conference this

year. Now this is something that hasn't been done before.

I: What are your feelings about Dennis Banks and

and the American Indian Movement? The organization?

B: The organization as such?

I: Un, huh (affirmative).

B: Oh my, that's a hard question. I don't know. I was happy to

see the Church provide lail, because I believe everybody needs a fair

day in court,and if the Methodist Church can step in and assure

Dennis Banks that he is going to get a fair trial, and then I

see this as an action the Yhurch should take. As far as the AIM

movement is concerned I know many of the Mid7western Indians who

are at the same point because they have friends that are joining AIM.

I don't believe, I just don't believe in some of the things that

took place in Wounded Knee, and yet I suppose every pioneer that has

LUM 117 A Margaret Lenkway
June 25, 1974

Page 34

ever been has had to scrkfice something and stand alone. I suppose
what frightens me more thin anything is that I don't like violence.

Unfortunately in the United States there has to be some act of violence

from minority races almost before any course of action is taken. It's

unfortunate that this is the way it kinda' happens. I have not joined

AIM there is an AIM chapter in Sioux City, Iowa, But the Indians in

Sioux City are dividedT he younger ones belong to the American

Indian Movement. They haveAno violence or destruction at all in

Sioux City, Iowa, but they have marched throughout the state and

did camp on the Iowa Church Conference grounds when the Methodist

people dihave their annual conference. So they have done no damage

locally, but most Sioux Citian's are friglened of AIM because they are

afraid they are going to do burning, or tearing down, or shooting.aad"

I must admit I am a little apprehensive.

I: Have you ever met Dennis Banks? Or _

B: I have not met ens-- I was iff to go out to Wounded Kneeg)

at the time things were very difficult I was supposed to go out as a

Methodist Church member to be a lia on because they needed Indian people

out there to communicate with the AIM peoplea4-I choose not to go, and

I suppose because I was frightened. When it looked like it might be

my neck or maybe my life that I was putting at stake, .af then I thought

of my children and my husband, and it was very easy for me to figure out

a reason why I should not be there. It just was frightening to me. I

have not met them They're very dynamic people. Russel Means was

published on the A- Notes Calandrr, I thinkfor the month

of July as one of the dynamic Indian leaders. His mother is from

LUM 117 A Typist: M. Lenkway
June 25, 1974

Page 35

Sioux City, Iowa, but she no longer lives there. Bt she was the

director of the Indian Center, which is the center wha44er is opposed

to the AIM movement in Sioux City. But I haven't met him.

I: What are some of the conferences that yo'u Teattending through

the Methodist Church? What type of activities have you participated

in, other thn just committee meetings?

B: Nothing other th n just trouble shooting at the different

Indian churches. Most of the time I have been going to Oklahoma City.

because there is an unfriendly Bishop in the State of Oklahoma. He

is a Methodist Bishop, a white man, who is having trouble communicating

with the Indians. In other words he is the leader and he will not

let them have any part of the leadership& je's kind of a dictator.

And this has been where most of our meetings have been, to go down

there and try to communicate with him and -tge point out to him

areas where we feel he needs to change. He has not changed at this

point because he says the local Indian people do not want this

leadership, and we're saying "how do you know they don't want it _

This is mostly the type of activity that I've been involved with.

Now I'm also on an Indian Board for the Sioux City Schools, and we

have not functioned at this point, but we have pending workshops when

I get back, and I will be a participant in two of those days. This

was, the workshop was setlp with Federal money' here was a grant for 0^

Indian studies orkshopjgaAd- what we are trying to do is point out some

of the resources available to teachers who are interested in bringing

in minority race people, pointing out what contributions they have made

to society, how you could intergrate it into a normal classroom situation

LUM 117 A Typist: M. Lenkway
June 25, 1974

Page 36

and point out some of these things that maybe my elementary schooling

did not point out.

I: Well it's sure been nice talking with you. Are there any words2

or comments you would like to leave with history, Betty?

B: Oh, jhjad known this I probably could have prepared a long,

long statement., Yes, I would have been glad to do that. Nothing

- other t ime I'm just so happy that Robeson County is beginning

to change. It's a new day in Robeson County. I see people who are

proud to be Indians9and are not afraid. This was not the case when

I was growingZupt we were nowilling to take a stand, even if it ment

stand alone. So, this has been one of the best signs of progress that

I have seen in all the years coming home, this summer I feel new feelings

in the people. I see people who would be willing to wear a headband

or who would be willing to be called Indian.

I: Thank you, Betty.

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