Title: Interview with Keith Harris (November 23, 1973)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007121/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Keith Harris (November 23, 1973)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: November 23, 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: UF00007121
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 134

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Full Text


This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.

This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
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LUM 134A
Date: November 20, 1973
Subject: Keith Harris
Interviewer: Lew Barton
Typist: Josephine Ann Suslowicz


B: This is November 20, 1973. I am Lew Barton interviewing for the University of

Florida. Today I am in the home of Mrs. Rose Jones in the Magnolia (M-A-G-N-O-L-I-A)

Magnolia area on highway 301 in Robeson County, North Carolina. This is the

American Indian Oral H$story Program. With me today, consenting to an interview

is Mr. Keith Harris of Fayetteville, who is a guest in the home here for the

time being. Keith is quite young, but we would like to include him for the sake

of a good cross section. Sometimes in talking to people who come in and out, and

who are friends of the Lumbee Indians, you get different viewpoints, and I think

this is always interesting and profitable, information wise. Keith, you and I

ought to have a lot of fun with an interview, you know. You and I are buddies,

aren't we?

H: Yeah.

B: How old are you Keith?

H: Eleven going on thirteen.

B: This is K-E-I-T-H is the way you spell it, right?

H: Yeah.

B: And I got your last name right, didn't I?

H: Yeah.

B: Uh, how do you like it in this part of the country?

H: I love it.

B: Do you like this county and this part of the country better than you do Fayetteville?

H: Yeah. In Fayetteville you can't shoot guns. Cops get you.

B: (Laughs) Out in the country you can at least, uh, um, go hunting when it's hunting

season, can't you?

LUM 134A 2

H: No.

B: Would you mind telling us what's your mother's name?

H: Wal--Wally Harris.

B: Is that spelled W-A-L-L-Y?

H: Yeah.

B: Hum?

H: Yeah.

B: Uh, do you ever play cowboys and Indians?

H: No.

B: No you don't. Do you consider yourself and Indian too, Keith?

H: Partially--Shawnee.

B: Uh-huh. Well, you sure have long pretty hair. Uh, very beautiful blond hair.

Um, I think I'm going to let mine grow out like yours.

H: (Laughs)

B: Mine just doesn't grow that fast now. You got a girlfriend?

H: Yeah.

B: In this area or in Fayetteville?

H: Fayetteville.

B: What grade are you in school?

H: Seventh.

B: Seventh grade. Have you lived in Robeson County all your life?

H: No.

B: No. Where did you live? Oh, of course, you don't live in Robeson at all. You

live in Mecklen e

H: No.

B: What's the name of the county you live in?

H: Cumberland.

LUM 134A 3

B: Cumberland County, I'm sorry. Um, have you lived in North Carolina all your life?

H: No.

B: Where were you born, Keith?

H: Texas.

B: Texas, uh, uh, do you enjoy it in the Tar Hill states?

H: Yeah, they have some pretty good sights, but I don't like the Tar Hill states.

Uh, after all the roads they built, it's probably why they call it Tar Hill.

B: (Laughs) Uh, I believe that dates back to an old legend about something that

happened during the Civil War. After there was a troop which was holding its

own, you know, in a battle. As I remember it, and, uh, somebody says, those boys
hold on like titls tarred to the ground. They didn't move, so this is--I think

this is really how it came to be called the Tar-Hii- state. Uh, Tar Hills are

supposed to be people who stick to whatever they're trying to do, you know.

Whether it's in war or peace, or whatever. Um, uh, you mentioned liking to hunt.

Uh, what do you hunt?

H: I mostly like going after afoot on small game like, um, pheasant, quail, and rabbit

and squirrel, and they have another bird up in West Virginia--I believe that's

the only place where it can be found. I like to hunt it, too. Idkaie know

the name of it. k

B: Uh, the Indians have a word, (AkI/d Sa flt I ch means where the partridge

drum. Uh, very old word, but, you know, when, uh, when, uh, quail take off, they

have a--they make a sound like they're beating their breasts with their wings,

and they make a sound a little bit like a drum, and, uh, this is where it's

from--the expression comes from, I think. What grade are you in in school?

H: Seventh.

B: Seventh, huh. You like to go to school?

H: Mmm, not too much. I get into fights with people, and.

LUM 134A 4

B: Say you do?

H: Um-hum. (Affirmative)

B: How come?

H:: Oh, I don't really know.

B: Just because it's a big-is it a pretty big school, where you go?

H: Yeah, Alexander Graham.

B: Um-hum. That is a large school, and of course, that's--is it in the Fayette-

ville city limits?

H: Yeah, it's downtown Fayetteville.

B: Um-hum. What other hobbies have you got? What other things do you like to


H: Well, I like--really I like a lot of things, or what I mostly like is a hobby

model--model ships; big large ones.

B: You're Indian and my Indian they don't show too much, I'm afraid. Do you wish

they did show much? Do you wish our Indian showed a little bit more?

H: Yeah, like they have books about your Indians, yeah, a lot of other Indians,

but--and all the libraries I've been to I've tried to look up life history of


B: Um-hum.

H: Haven't found a book yet about it.

B: Uh, maybe you don't know Mr. Sam Oxendine, uh, but he's the one who led the

charge, uh, on the EKu Klux Klan in 1958 and drove them out of Robeson. Uh,

at least he's-he's given the credit, or discredit, or whatever for doing that,

and the Shawnees made him, uh, an honorary member of the Shawnee tribe, uh,

because of this feat. Uh, maybe you just haven't looked in the right place.

People don't have as many books on Indians around here as they should have. Uh,

lots of new books coming out. There's a new book now out on the market, uh, it's

LUM 134A 5

come out. It's.called A Hundred Thousand Acres which talks about Indian land,

you know, that was confiscated, you know, appropriated. Whatever you want to call


H: Oh.

B: Uh, I think it's called A Hundred Thousand Acres and it's written by an Indian

girl who's a friend of a friend of mine, who lives in Washington D.C., Li Y)

Oxendine. Uh, you don't, uh, people don't seem too prejudiced against the Indians

around Fayetteville, do they?

H: No.

B: Do you ever go horseback riding or anything like this?

H: Yes, over at Archie's house. I used to go on Sn4ee s horse a lot.

B: Um, who is Sneleey

H: SnAe is Archie's brother.

B: Um-hum. What kind of horse does he have?

H: I don't know.

B: I mean, uh, is it a little horse, or a big one, or. .

H: Medium.

B: Uh-huh. You don't ever fall off, do you?

H: No.

B: (Laughs) Uh, you're lucky because you could, uh, perhaps you could pass as a

cowboy or an Indian. That's--that's kind of ani:ateresting switch, isn't it?

H: Uh, I would be a cowboy since there's German coming out in me.

B: Uh-huh. Are you of German ancestry, too?

H: Yeah, my Mom's full-blooded German.

B: Um-hum.

H: My Dad's part Shawnee, and I forgot what other.

B: Uh-huh. Um, do you know this lady over here?

LUM 134A 6

H: Yeah.

B: She's very pretty, itn't she?

H: Yeah.

B: Are you liking girls)girls +- boys?

H: Um-hum. Affirmative) ?

B: Um-hum. ThlvawaTL L-Lf? How many brothers and sisters do you have?

H: I've got. .

B: You'll have to count over, won't you?

H: Yeah. Got one sister and two other brothers.

B: Uh-huh.

H: Older.

B: Would you mind giving us their names?

H: One's name is James Harris, the other one's name is Bill Harris.

B: Um-hum.

H: And my sister is Rita Harris.

B: She's a very pretty sister, too, isn't she?

H: Yeah, but kinda mean at times.

B: Kinda mean at times. You said something to me about your mother being sick. .

H: Yeah.

B: In the hospital. Would you mind telling me that again? Does she have to go to

the hospital? When?

H: Yeah, ten years ago she had an operation on her gall bladder and part of it's

plastic, and now she. .

B: It's acting up?

H: Because it's--they found a growth where her gall bladder is, and it's pushing back

her intestines.

B: Um, and you say she went to the hospital. When? Is that the, uh' hospital in

LUM 134A 7

Fayetteville, or which one. .

H: No, it's in Fort Bragg.

B: Fort Bragg.

H: (CL M k ?rmy Hospital.

B: Um, have you got a dog?

H: No. We used to have a'lot of them, but Mom won't let us keep any more, 'cause we--

we'ld get to loving it so much, and then it gets killed. We live right near a

highway and they get run over.

B: Um, that is heartbreaking isn't it? The thought of dogs get killed?

H: Yeah, some of them run away, some get killed, some get put to sleep because of a


B: Uh, there's a little dog curled up behind you now. Whose is that?

H: That's Miss Jones'. Her name's Sally.

B: Her name's Sally. She must be a girl.

H: Um-hum.

B: Of course you don't have to name them according to sex. Uh, you know Johnny Cash's

song, A Boy Named Sue.

H: Yeah.

B: What kind of music do you like?

H: Um, vibrate on a electricc guitar. They hook some kind of instrument up to it--

vibrates the sound. They play it--they have a song named Shaft and at football

games they play it during football games--before or after.

B: Um, sounds interesting. It wouldn't be a wa-wa paddle would it?

H: I don't know.

B: You know you can either--there's an attachment you call a wa-wa paddle which

you attach to your guitar and it makes--it gives it something like a human voice.

It sounds like it's crying--you can make it cry, uh, or you can do a lot of sound-

effects with it. Uh, have you ever tried to sit down and playing an instrument yet?

LUM 134A 8

H: Well, I have the guitar, but I've known a lot of people that play, and, uh,

and they're in the army and they have to leave, um. .

B: Well, you live near me, don't you? Lew Barton will teach you how to play.

H: Yeah.

B: It's what I know, anyway. I know a whole lot.

H: Yeah, well, I don't have an electric guitar. It's a wooden guitar.

B: Well, they sound good too. Sometimes they sound better than electric, I think,

don't you? For accompaniment, anyway.

H: Um, I don't know. I haven't really played. I haven't really seen anybody play

a wooden guitar.

B: Do--you said you had a. .I do sometimes. Uh, this girlfriend you have, what's

her name? We ought to put her name on here, too, shouldn't we?

H: Um, her name is, um, Vicki Shelton.

B: How do you spell the last name?

H: Shelton is S-H-E-L-T-O-N.

B: Um-hum. Do you like baseball?

H: I don't like any kind of sport in particular.

B: So you don't.

H: I like horseback riding, swimming, and skating.

B: Um-hum. What do you want to be when you grow up?

H: Um; might go into the infantry.

B: The infantry.

H: Yeah, army.

B: Um, think you'd like to be in the military service?

H: Yeah.

B: Any particular reason?

H: No, not really.

B: Just getting on the year--the end of the year now, and, uh, people start thinking

LUM 134A 9

about Christmas along about now, and from now till Christmas this is all you're

gonna hear, just about. Are you looking forward to Christmas?

H: Yeah.

B: How would you like to live around here permanently? You got some friends, I know,

around here who would love you, and. .

H: Ur, I--I wouldn't know.

B: You don't know what you'd like do.

H: No.

B: Gonna leave it up to Santa Clause? He's a pretty good guy to trust, I guess. He--

he usually has pretty good taste. Can you sing, uh, Rudolph the Red Nosed


H: I know parts of it. I haven'tising Christmas carols since I was young--real small.

B: You don't like to sing Christmas Carols?

H: I like to sing some.

B: Ur-hum.

H: In German. Helps me--helps me remember my German.

B: Do you remember any German? Can you speak German fluently?

H: Yeah.

B: Can you say something to me in German?

H: Uh, (I

B: Now what did you say?

H: How are you.

B: Fine, thank you. How are you?

H: Uh, good. P fMCte-u I

B: The only German expression that I remember ( ) am I saying it right?

H: ya.

B: Um, is this 'until I see you again,' or something like this? Good bye, or. .

H: It's good bye.

LUM 134A 10

B: Uh, and the only way I know this is from a song () Uh,. .

H: Yeah.

B: One of the songs first sung--three years in Germany. 1 's IS jrlttce

w who runs the newspaper.

H: Oh. What's the name of his newspaper?

B: It's the Carolina Indian Post.

H: Hum.

B: Anyway, he, uh, fell in love with a girl, and, uh, uh, she never did go over to the

states. It was just too bad, wasn't it?

H: Yeah.

B: Where--where were you born? Or did I ask you that?

H: You already asked me.

B: Uh, I don't know. My memory is taking a vacation, it seems.

H: (Laughs)

B: I've been pretty sick with a cold. Nobody's sick at your house with cold--with


H: 'Cept me, and my Ma.

B: Yeah, your Ma.

H: Yeah.

B: I'm not surprised. How long are you going to be over here at Magnolia?

H: Until we get word that my Mom is coming home from the hospital.

B: That's right. You, uh, were telling mathis /t)W 3lA you got there. Is this

it over there behind you?

H: Yeah.

B: What kind is it?

H: Four-ten bolt action, three shot.

B: Um, that's nice, isn't it? That--that fires very rapidly, doesn't it.

LUM 134A 11

H: Um-hum. Once you get used to. .

B: Of course, you don't get very.

H: Bolting it.

B: Does it kick you over, just about when you fire?

H: No.

B: Of course you're going to be very careful with it, aren't you? Not point it at

anybody, just point it at the game, or point it at the ground. Uh, that's--

that's quite a--quite a gun. Uh, are the shells for four ten? That's smaller

than a four gage, isn't it?

H: Yeah.

B: Um, you have to be pretty fast to get quail when they get up. They get up in a

hurry, don't they when they get going?

H: Oh, in one place I know where I can hunt, a green bird is a pheasant is in West

Virginia. They have them all over the place right where my Aunt Zircle lives.

Out in West Virginia she lives way back up in the mountains. No hot running water,


B: Uh-huh.
H: But they got--they have mountains all around them, and, well, one day we wren taking

a walk in the mountains and two large pheasants just popped out of nowhere.

B: Um-hum.

H: And then while they was flying they scared other pheasant and they was flying all

over the place. They was flying in herds of about fives. About two herds. There

was about five or six in each one.

B: Have you gotten any lately?

H: No. I don't think they have any down here--pheasant. Haven't seen any.

B: How far out of Fayetteville do you have to go to hunt? Do you find some place to


H: I go to here.

LUM 134A 12

B: There used to be lots of them around. I don't know how they're holding out now,

whether we have any left or not. There must be some around here.

H: Hum.

B: Of course Earl's your friend. He'll show you right where they are, won't he?

H: Yeah, I think so.

B: I think he will. Do you find any difference in, uh, this part of the country and

in Fayetteville, and in other parts where you've been?

H: Yeah.

B: Like this is mostly rural, isn't it?

H; Um-hum. (Affirmative)

B: Would you rather live in--in the country, or live in town?

H: Country.

B: Kind of crowded in town, isn't it?

H: Yeah.
C M 4 Ay VO ?CIMPS If Cr U4
B: Well I sure appreciate you talking with me Keith.

H: You're welcome.

B: And I sure sh fr I? jk ^ and, uh, be

very careful and when you get--when you back from quail, be sure to send me one,

will you?

H: Okay.

B: Thank you very much. Keith couldn't wait to get outstoetry his new gun, and I

think he's going hunting with, uh, Pat, and they're roughly about the same age,

aren't they? Um, aren't they about the same age Ma? Anyway, the two boys are

going hunting, and, uh, it was very difficult to hold him back this long. Well,

uh, we got to talk to him a little while, anyway. This is the end of the inter-



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