Citation
Interview with Gilbert Blue, November 22, 1971

Material Information

Title:
Interview with Gilbert Blue, November 22, 1971
Creator:
Blue, Gilbert ( Interviewee )
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Catawba Indians -- Florida
Kataba Indians -- Florida
Catawba Oral History Collection ( local )

Notes

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

Source Institution:
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location:
This interview is part of the 'Catawba' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management:
Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

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SOUTHEASTERN INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


In cooperation with the Catawba Nation


INTERVIEWEE: Gilbert Blue
INTERVIEWER: Emma Echols


DATE: November 22, 1971






















E: This is Emma Echols, Route 6, Box 260, Rock Hill, South
Carolina. I'm visiting in the home of Chief Blue's grand-
son, and I'm going to let you tell us who he is, and his
address.

B: My name is Gilbert Blue. I live at Route 6, Box 426, Rock
Hill, South Carolina. I am the grandson of Chief Blue.

E: Gilbert lives in a nice brick home on a nice hill over-
looking a little stream down below. He's buying his home
and he has a splendid job in Charlotte. Gilbert, will you
tell us about your work in Charlotte?

B: Yes, I'm a machinist for General Tire and Rubber Company
at present. I was in service for nine years and had a
little bit of background in this particular kind of work.
After I was discharged from the navy, I went to a trade
school in Columbia, South Carolina for fourteen months,
taking up the machinist trade. From there I've graduated
up to what I am at present.

E: Are there any other Indian boys working with you in the
machine shops in Charlotte?

B: Yes. Fred Sanders is also an Indian and he attended a
trade school, I believe, out West. He is a machinist in
the same shop that I am.

E: What about your school, did it help to prepare you for your
life's work?

B: Yes. I went to school, of course, on the reservation. We
only had two teachers at that time. Mrs. Ratterree, when
I was a young boy, taught the first and second grade. Mrs.
Hoke taught the third through the seventh grades. I remem-
ber her very vividly because I thought she was a very wonder-
ful person and she had a way of teaching that impressed me.
Many things she taught me helped me in my future life as
far as making decisions is concerned, and I think I'll always
remember her as having been a great influence in my life.









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E: At that school on the reservation, did you have lunches provided,
or did you bring lunches from home? What did you do for lunches?

B: The state provided money at one time for lunches that was pre-
pared in the little small lunchroom on one side of the school
building. There we ate our lunches every day.

E: Did you have a cook to prepare those lunches?

B: Yes, we had a lady that was paid to come and cook our lunch
for us every day.

E: Now you're so talented, all of you are, in art and making
things with your hands, did you have any art training in
your school?

B: No, in the schools that we had, it was not a vocational, but
a just regular grammar schooling, as far as the reservation
was concerned. No, anything pertaining to vocation or any
craft was not taught in our schools on the reservation.

E: Then, after you left the Catawba Indian School, what was your
next school?

B: When I left Catawba Indian School, I went to Rock Hill High
School. Unfortunately, I didn't finish high school. I
dropped out and joined the navy in 1951. I stayed in the
United States Navy for nine years before I came back home.

E: Did you enjoy the sports at high school? I know you Indians
are very good in sports.

B: Yes, I enjoyed sports very well and Iwas rather a fast runner.
The coach was thinking very strongly of putting me on the var-
sity football team and making me a track man also, but unfor-
tunately I dropped out of school and wasn't able to continue
in this particular endeavor.

E: Now, when were you married?

B: I was married in 1963 to Elizabeth, a girl from Chester, South
Carolina. She was a Sharpe before she married me.

E: You now have three children. Will you give us the names and
ages?









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B: Yes, I have Chris, who is seven years old; Denise, who is five;
and Glen, who is four.

E: I know you remember your grandfather. Can you tell us anything
you remember about your grandfather? He was such a wonderful
chieftain in this tribe.

B: Well, I remember quite a few things about my grandfather. Yet,
[despite] being able to live around with him, I didn't learn
as much about him as I would have liked to. I remember in par-
ticular his being a great leader. All the people on the reser-
vation that had children, he could reprimand any children re-
gardless of whether they were members of his immediate family
or not, and the parents of those children would not say a word
about it because they knew he was a just and honest man. He
was a farmer. My cousins and myself used to help him to raise
cotton and corn and various things in the river bottoms. And
I remember that he was always very strict with us about being
honest and doing our fair share in all things. So, for this
reason, the people on the reservation, all the Indians, respected
him as a man and as a leader. And the people in the surrounding
area, the white people that he dealt with in his business trans-
actions, respected him and have nothing but good things to say
about him now as a man and as a leader of his people.

E: Was he active in the Mormon church as well?

B: Yes. The Mixners came here to the Mormon or the Mormon faith
back in the early 1890s and my grandfather later became a mem-
ber of that church. Through the years he helped hold the church
together down here, been a leader in it. We believe in minis-
tering to the sick. Of course, he used to go out to people's
homes when they had sick children or anybody and administer to
them as a member of the church. And they had a lot of faith in
him as a man of this type also.

E: Tell me about the medicines your grandfather used to make and
take with him.

B: Well, grandfather used to go and get a root. I can remember
several names of them. They're still here today that we can
go out and find--bear root, and yellow root, and fireweed.
These particular herbshe would gather and he would boil them
and prepare them in a certain manner. Now, he would have to
put a certain amount of alcohol with these things to keep them
from spoiling over a period of time, but it was only just a









4








very small percentage from spoiling purposes only. I can re-
member people from as far away as Georgia and Tennessee coming
to the reservation to buy these things from my grandfather.
They were supposed to be things that would help ailing kidneys,
I remember that much, muscles aches and things. Evidently they
had quite an effect on some people because up until the day of
his death, why he used to sell quite a bit of it.

E: And you still know where some of those plants are growing in
this area now?

B: Yes. Albert Sanders, who was one of the chiefs of our tribe at
one time, is familiar with this root. He and I were talking
just a short time ago about going down and looking up some so
I could familiarize myself with it again. It's been quite awhile
since I, as an individual, have gone to pick it. But I can re-
member what it looked like, and he and I together thought-we
could go down and dig up some. He knows what it looks like,
but I just don't remember quite well enough to pick it up by
myself.

E: Did your grandfather take this medicine into the homes of the
sick as well as sell it?

B: Yes, on the reservation we had a lot of our older people. Of
course, medicine wasn't as far advanced in those days as it is
now. My grandfather would use this to give to the people of
the tribe and help their ailments. They would tell people out-
side the reservation about it, and this is how the word would
get around about his medicine. So they would spread the word
and that's how the knowledge of his medicine got out to the
public, so to speak.

E: You helped your grandfather gather apples on the reservation
sometime? I think he took them to Rock Hill and sold them,
didn't he? Do you remember helping your grandfather gather
apples?

B: Yes, we had, he had quite a few apple trees around his home
and place as well. In raising particular crops, I notice we
don't raise much that type any more. But we used to raise
sugar cane as well as peanuts and used to sell all of these
things up and around town.

E: How did he travel into Rock Hill?

B: At that time, when I was just a young lad, my grandfather had









5







a mule and a wagon. [That] was the only way that he traveled.
I can remember we used to leave to take cotton to the gin quite
early, real early in the mornings, in order to get there early
enough to have our cotton ginned. Behind Friedheim's old store
in Rock Hill, I can just barely remember an old shed that was
where the wagons and mules were tied up and parked. This has
been quite some years ago.

E: Well, where was the gin you took your cotton to?

B: The old gin on White Street, what is referred to now as the Rock
Hill Feed and Supply Company, but there was an old gin connecting
on to that same building. That's where we took our cotton.

E: Now, I know you heard your grandfather speak the language. I
wonder if you remember any of the language and any of the music
that you used to hear him sing?

B: Yes, people used to come around. Schoolchildren...used to be
a lot of schools and people would come to the reservation, curious,
I guess, a lot of them looking to see Indians and hear them sing
their songs and dance. My grandfather was quite an entertainer
in his own way. He used to sing Indian songs and do war chants
and dance around and play his drum. The chants that he used to
sing, I can remember several of those. I use them today some-
times when some boys and girls I have now, we go out and perform
for various groups. The language itself, I don't speak fluently,
although I can remember some phrases and some words that I
picked up from my grandfather as well as some of the other peo-
ple of the tribe.

E: I'd be real interested in hearing you say some words or talk a
little bit in the language if you can.

B: Well, in order to say "Hello, friend," you would say, "Natcha
day ha." "Omba ocharay," means "Where are you going?" This
is just a couple of the things that I can remember. In the
Indian songs that I sing when we do our dances, we have a lot
of phrases that I have learned. Some of them I don't remember
the meanings of; some of them I do.

E: What about doing one of your chants now, and we'll record it
as we go along?

B: Okay. Would you mind if I stepped over to the closet and get
my little small drum? I might sound a little better if I do
that.









6








E: Yes, that'd be fine. You do that.

B: This particular chant here is one that we use in some of our
ceremonial dances. We use it sometime when the girls dance
to commemorate some of the braves and warriors that have been
out in a particular battle where they'd be fighting the enemy,
or gathering meat. But this is just one of the things that we
use. [Here Mr. Blue plays his drum and sings a short chant.]

E: That was good. Now, do you know the meaning of any of those
words?

B: Well, some of the words. I don't remember the phrases of all
of them. Unfortunately enough, ones that I did learn, I've
forgotten a lot of them. But, basically it's just commemorating
warriors, saying that they were brave and the action that they
had taken against their enemy and that words mean respect for
the deeds that they performed.

E: Now that you got your drum all ready, do you know another chant?

B: Well, there's one that we do when we have, we do a performance
for some of our Scout troops or civic organizations where the
girls themselves do a dance. They just do a slow type of walk
and I chant this song that is commemorating some of our warriors
that didn't make it back from some of the battles. [Here again
Mr. Blue plays his drum and sings.] There's one thing you have
to remember about chants, and if you'll think about it, really
doesn't seem that complicated. A lot of times, chant is not
so much saying different words all the way through. It's just
a chant that goes with the music, so that you can get a rhythm
to do the dancing by. Now, of course, the words do mean some-
thing, but, a lot of times, you repeat them over and over just
to get a rhythmatic thing going so that the boys can do their
dance or the warriors, or whatever the case my be.

E: You have a little boy, I believe, in Leslie School. And what
do you think of the changes in this community from the time
you lived here as a little boy? You think the changes in your
group of people have been good?

B: Yes, they definitely have. We, as a people, were not discrimi-
nated against so much in my time as I can remember the people
out West. Now, when I speak out West, I mean the Navajos, and
the Sioux and people of this nature. I have a sister that built
a church mission out in New Mexico and Arizona. She married a

















full-blooded Navajo, and they're raising a family now out in
Albuerquerque, New Mexico. But those people were discriminated
quite a bit against, a lot more so than we were here. I know
when I first started high school, they wouldn't let the school
bus come down through the Indian reservation to pick us up. I
had to leave early in the morning to go to work with the men
that worked in the textile mills. I had to wait around until
school opened up. But since that time, of course, the school
bus does go through the reservation; and as far as people looking
down on us or anything, you can very seldom hear of any remarks
made of that nature any more.

E: Your little boy at Leslie School is perfectly happy in his first
grade and he's with whites and Indians and blacks always, is
that right?

B: That's right. We have in his class, he has several colored boys
and he has several other Indian girls from the reservation down
here that's in the same class. So, as far as racially is con-
cerned, they don't have any conflicts in the class. He seems to
be quite content.

E: What about church activities for you and your family?

B: Well, of course, we're all members of the Mormon church. I'm
a High Priest and a leader in the church down here. I'm the
First Counselor in the Bishopry, and it is our responsibility
to be concerned about the whole congregation of the church in
this particular area on the reservation. Of course, we in the
Mormon church don't believe in smoking or drinking or anything
like that that is harmful to your body. We try to live a reli-
gious type life, as well as working outside the ministry to
make a living for our families.

E: Do you find that the drinking problem or the drug problem is a
problem with the Indian young people?

B: No, fortunately, due to the fact that they are members of the
church and our teachings are real explicit as to what we believe
and should partake of and shouldn't. In fact, we have meetings
with our youth quite often, and let them ask questions about
drugs and what they think about it and they tell us. We've had
quite a few of them tell us that they know who they can go to
to get drugs if they wanted it. They know where they can get
it, they know what the consequences are, but they listen. So
we have very little problem with our youth down here as far as
alcohol or drug is concerned.









8








E: Do you use your old school house for dances and social events,
or do you use just your church?

B: No, the old reser..., the old school house that I was referring
to where I went, of course, has been torn down some years now.
A new one was built out behind our church building that is exis-
ting now. We do have dances in that building on Saturday nights,
a lot of times, to raise money for our various church functions
and organizations. I also have a band that plays country music
and rock and roll and all kinds of music, and we play for these
functions. I've also produced about four or five country-western
shows myself, and gotten people that I know personally, amateurs,
that would come down and help me entertain for about three hours.
We charge admission for this, or ask a donation, rather, and
we've collected upwards around $700 or so for these shows that
we've put on.

E: What are your plans for Christmas? What Christmas activities
will you have in your church?

B: In our church in Gaffney, South Carolina, which is the head-
quarters in this area, we will have a Christmas dance. Every-
one from the Mormon church in this whole area, which would in-
clude Charlotte or Catawba or Spartanburg and Greenville, all
the people in that area will converge in Gaffney, South Carolina,
at what we call the "Steak House." We have a real big church
building with a big auditorium, a gymnasium, and we'll go there
and we'll have a band that will be hired to come in and play
music for us. We'll have a Christmas dance there.

E: I believe your grandfather is buried in the cemetery at the
new church on the top of the hill here. Do you all, are you
responsible for keeping up the cemetery or who does that?

B: The people on the reservation themselves keep it clean ordi-
narily. It is actually the responsibility of the church, as
the property that he's buried on is church property rather
than reservation property, even though the people in the church
are mostly members of our tribe. But it is mainly the respon-
sibility for keeping that, are you not?

B: Yes, we haven't had anyone buried on the old cemetery (on the
old reservation, so to speak), in quite some time. But we do,
we meet every Fourth of July, and at least once, we hope, during
the rest of the year, to clean off any of the excess grass and


















things that has grown up. We try to keep it relatively neat
down there. I know I've had it expressed from a lot of our
older people, recently, that they would like to be buried on
the old reservation, when they die, rather than on the new
place. Not that we have anything against the new place, but
I can understand it. I would kinda like that myself. I don't
know. I was raised up on the old reservation and a lot of my
memories are there. My people were born and raised there and
suffered through a lot of agonies. They had a lot of joy
there and I would like to be buried myself, I think, on the
old reservation.

E: The old well is there, down on the old reservation, that was
used for the school and for the church. Now, of course, the
church is gone. Do you remember anything of your grandfather's
burial?

B: Yes, this was, it wasn't very long ago, really. It was in 1959
if I'm not mistaken. I was in service at the time in Washington,
D.C. My mother called me one night and told me my grandfather
had passed away, so of course, I got emergency leave. It was
no problem. I came right home to the funeral.

E: Now who conducted it and what sort of a service do you have
for that?

B: We don't have any ceremonial type of funerals, of course, as
they did in the olden days. We modernize more or less; the
church progresses along and the people progress. I can't re-
member, to be perfectly honest with you, who was the man in
charge at the time. There was a lot of people there and it
was quite confused about what was going on, being sort of
shocked about my grandfather's death so to speak. But I do
know that there were several speakers and that's the way we
usually have.
We have usually an opening song with just a group--we
don't have any congregation singing--it's just usually a chorus
sung by some ladies or some brethren. Then we usually have
two speakers and they speak about the individual, of course,
and things pertaining to the gospel. I do know that the speakers
commented quite a bit about my grandfather and things that he
had done for the tribe, helping the people to grow and come
closer together in relationship with the people around the reser-
vation.

E: Your grandmother went with you to Salt Lake City on that won-









10








derful trip and he came back very enthused about that trip.
Do you remember leaving and going on that trip?

B: Yes. My grandfather, of course, was not a wealthy man. He was
a farmer and he just lived from year to year, of course. I
never can remember the time when my grandfather did not have a
lot of food in the house to eat, or warm clothes. Maybe they
weren't expensive, but they were warm. But him and grandmother
were members of the church, of course. And, we, as Mormons, be-
lieve in being married and sealed in the temple. Grandfather
was not able to make this financially, but the missionaries of
the Mormon church that were in this area got together, unbe-
knownst to my grandfather. They collected the money among them-
selves and sent it up here as a gift and requested that my grand-
father and my grandmother go to Salt Lake City with this money
to be sealed in the temple. So, of course, they made the trip.
I know a lot of people have heard of the Tabernacle there in
Salt Lake Ciy. My grandfather was not an educated man, but yet
they called him to speak before that whole congregation of peo-
ple, which would have been thousands. He was quite impressed
about this and the people that he spoke to out there were really
proud of my grandfather as a leader of the church, and as a
leader of his people.

E: Did he ever make a trip to Washington?

B: That, I'm not really sure of. I'm not positive about that. I
don't remember that he did before I went into service. Now, I
was gone nine years. He may have gone in the years that I was
gone that I don't know about.

E: After your grandfather's death in 1959, your grandmother lived
for a number of years. I'm sure she was very lonely. Do you
remember that period of time?

B: Yes, I can remember parts of it. I was in the navy another year
and a half after my grandfather died, and after I came home my
grandmother was quite lonely. I used to go talk with her and
she made the remark to me that she was only waiting for the time
when she could join my grandfather again. They, of course, came
up through many years in marriage together and they were quite
close--had a lot of respect for each other as individuals. She
would spend some time with one of her sons or daughters and then
she would go spend a few other days with another son or daughter.
But, mainly I think, she was just waiting for her time to go
join my grandfather.









11







E: Now your grandmother was a full-blooded Indian, is that correct?

B: That is correct.

E: And I understand that she was a leader in making pottery, indi-
vidual designs and many different types of pottery?

B: Yes, she made things that she designed herself. When the ladies
make pottery of that nature, they make what they refer to as a
mold. And that try to keep that one particular one as years go
along. They can refer back to it to make something of that same
type .again. But we have several ladies that still make pottery
today here, actually much more than some people realize. Of
course, it is becoming a lost art because there are not as many
people involved in it as there was when my grandmother was living
and when I was just a young lad. But, we do have, I know, at
least three or four people that do a real good job of making our
pottery yet. You can go to all parts of the United States, to
any other tribe of Indians, and they'll have their own arts,
but you will not find anything on the same make or order as we
make our pottery here. It is unique in itself.

E: Will you tell me some of the women that make pottery now?

B: Arzada Sanders is one. She is the wife of John Idle Sanders
and the mother of Faye Sanders. She still makes pottery. Doris
Blue, who married Andrew Blue, who was the son of my grandfather,
she still makes pottery, quite a bit of it. She ships a lot of
shipments out of state quite often. Alberta Ferrell, who is a
descendent of the Canty family, she makes, does a real good job
of making pottery. She's teaching her children to make pottery
now.

E: What about the market selling this property? Do you have any
troubles with selling it?

B: No. The ones that make it find quite often that they're, they
have more demands than they have able to supply. I know Sister
Arzada Sanders tells me quite a lot of times that she gets more
orders than she can supply. Doris Blue, one of my other aunts,
she also says that she has a lot of times more than she can fill.

E: Do they still fire it in the holes made in the earth or do they
fire it inside the house in ovens?

B: No, we still make it the way that we did years ago. You have to









12








use two types of clay. My aunt would be able to tell you more
about that than I would because that's more or less a woman's
art than it is a man's. But, nevertheless, you use two types of
clay. Across the river, where we get our clay, there's two
holes; we call them clay holes. You have to get clay from one
hole and clay from another, and you mix the two and from this
you form your pottery. Then, after it is formed into whatever
shape you want it, it is dried out. Then, of course, it is
baked in a furnace outside dug into the ground and covered over
in various ways to see that the heat gets to it properly. Then,
of course, it's scraped and rubbed and one thing and another to
the finished product comes about.

E: Now then, these rubbing stones that each woman has her own,
what happened to your grandmother's rubbing stones?

B: Grandmother's rubbing stones, that they used to smooth the pot-
tery down after it is scraped to a real high sheen, was divided
out. Some.of them were given to some of her daughters has a
couple.... Well, it was just mainly distributed out to her
daughters that were left to still make pottery.

E: Now, your mother and father are both still living?

B: Yes, they are.

E: And does your mother make any pottery?

B: No, my mother is a textile worker and she does not make any
pottery.

E: And what does your father do?

B: My father is not able to work at this time. His health is not
to what he can work.

E: I don't believe there're any log cabins left on the reservation.
Are they now?

B: Not to my knowledge. I can remember living in a log cabin when
I was just a very young boy, I would say maybe five or six years
old, maybe a year younger than that. But I can remember quite
vividly, it sticks out in my memory yet, the one room was every-
thing. It was a living room, it was a kitchen, it was a dining
room or den or whatever you would refer to them today. But we
only had one room. My mother did the cooking over a fireplace.









13








She had an old skillet that she used to set on the coals and
she would put coals on top of it and there she would make her
bread. Of course, she had an old pot she used to hang in the
fireplace over the coals where she cooked beans and other things
that she would make in a pot.

E: Now how many brothers and sisters did you have living in that
little old one-room cabin?

B: I was the oldest and the first child of my mother and father.
I can remember one of my sisters. I believe I'm either two or
three years older than she is. She was just a very small baby
at the time, so at that particular time, there were only two
of us. I had one sister.

E: Do you remember the doctor ever coming to your home or coming
to the reservation to see patients?

B: Yes, there was one doctor. Doctor Blackmon, when I was a young
lad, was our doctor. He used to--of course they don't like to
do it any more, you very seldom see any house calls anymore--
but Doctor Blackmon was forever coming to the reservation, whenever
we needed him. It was no problem; he was there. People would
call and he would be down to see about them. I can remember other
children being born on the reservation, not going to the hospital.

E: Doctor Hill was the doctor, I believe, before Doctor Blackmon.

B: Doctor Hill, yes. He was one of the older doctors before my
time.

E: Now the log cabins are gone, but I notice a variety of different
types of homes here. Would you tell me about that?

B: Well, some of the members of the tribe have been in service and,
of course, they were able to get GI loans when they came out of
service. Some of them used this money to build frame houses.
Since that time, a lot of the men have learned trades out in in-
dustry. Some of them do carpentry work, some paint, some work
in construction work, others like myself are machinists or pipe
layers, welders, and electricians. They have, in turn, been
able to build some nice brick homes. You have brick homes down
there, you have homes that have asbestos siding, and of course
you have regular old frame houses and you have some older houses
that date back quite a few years.

E: Your aunt, I believe, lives among the old houses down on the reser-
vation, doesn't she?









14







B: Yes, she does. My uncle, Major Beck, who was a carpenter, has
not made a lot of money as you would say in his lifetime. But
I admire this particular family. I might mention the fact they
still heat by a wood stove in the living room. Of course, the
bedrooms aren't heated, as it was in the days when I was a young
boy. He's never tried, to my knowledge, to get into plumbing or
or anything of this nature. I guess he's just content to live
the old way and they seem to get along real well. But, as you
said before, the old well is still out in the front yard where
they draw water from, to take their baths and to do their cooking.

E: But I notice how very clean they are. Now, this home you have
you're fortunate in buying it. How did you happen to find this
home?

B: I spent nine years in the navy. I would have loved to build a
house on the reservation, but unfortunately you can't build on
the reservation unless you build out of your pocket. In other
words, you can't borrow money on a home because you can't mort-
gage it, because it doesn't belong to anybody. It belongs to
the tribe as a whole. You couldn't mortgage any land to build
a home because that land does not belong to any individual; it
belongs to the tribe as a whole. But through the GI bill, I
was fortunate enough to get the house that I'm living in now
and be able to buy it for myself.

E: Now with all the different kind of people, do you feel there's
any class distinction among the people themselves?

B: Not on our reservation they aren't. I don't know if it's because
we're few in number or if it's just because we've been so close
over the years. We keep, we talk about this in church quite a
bit, how close we are as a people, and you can feel it. We have
a lot of concern for each other. When you go to church on
Sunday, of course you'll find men there that are dressed up in
relatively nice clothes. But you'll find nobody looking down
on any of the other members of the tribe as far as social standing
is concerned.

E: Do they help each other out in time of distress or trouble?

B: Yes, the church particularly does, but also individual members
of the tribe do. I can remember when I was just a young lad
that if a man's house burned down, in just a matter of a week
or ten days the man would have his house back again. The tribe
would pitch in and just a short while they would have him some-
thing to get back in.









15








E: Mr. Willard Hayes, who was a school teacher here and had a Boy
Scout Troop, do you remember him?

B: Yes, Brother Hayes left here when I was just a young boy. I
was not in his troop because I was not old enough. Brother
Hayes is still living today, and he lives over in Gaffney,
South Carolina. He's a Patriarch in our church, and I speak
to Brother Hayes quite a bit. In fact, I invited him down to
one of our church meetings not long ago to talk. His subject
of talk was his days on the reservation--how he loved my grand-
father and my grandmother, how they helped him, how he used to
teach the Indian children, the hard times they used to give him
sometimes, and some of the good times that he had with them also.

E: How much land is left on the reservation proper now?

B: I believe the size of the reservation is about 625 square acres,
if I'm not mistaken, approximately in that area anyway.

E: The people then do not own those homes on the reservation? They
do not own the land? Is that correct?

B: That's correct. They can't have a deed to the land. Of course,
the homes in which they live, most of them are theirs because
they built them by themselves out of their own hands and no one
else in the tribe would ever dare or think of trying to take it
away from any other individual. The only requirement for building
on the reservation, if you're a member of the tribe of course, is
not to get in the yard of somebody else that's already there. Of
course, they would use discretion in selecting a place, but we
only have about maybe fifteen families living on the reservation
at the present time. There's lots of room. Other people can
and I'm sure will build-homes in the future.

E: Do you remember as a boy hunting or fishing? Has that changed
today?

B: Yes, unfortunately it has. I can remember the old Catawba River,
we used to get quite a few meals out of there by fishing for the
catfish and the perch along the creeks. Unfortunately, as time
has progressed along, they've gotten polluted. We can't even eat
the fish out of there now. You can't hardly even stand the smell
of them as you catch them. So, as far as eating the fish out of
the rivers any more, it's out of the question. We still hunt for
squirrels and rabbits and birds and things of this nature around
here, but we don't do it so much as we did when I was a boy be-
cause in those days we did it strictly to get something to eat.









16








Now as you've noted, they're better off financially and socially
than they were in those days. Of course, anything that we kill
now I guess it's an instinct more or less. We don't shoot any-
thing for fun. If we kill any animals now, we still eat them.
If we don't eat them ourselves, we give them to a family that
has need of that particular meat.

E: Are there any deer on the reservation now? Have you seen any of
them?

B: I have heard some reports of deer in the last several years in
the river bottom. I don't know if these deer have migrated up
from the lower part of the state or if they come from over across
the river where a man, I think, had a game reserve. But I have
had reports of several deer down on the river. They're not very
prevalent. It would only be a few.

E: Do you remember any of the stories of the flood of 1916, when the
river bridge was washed away and you Indians ferried people back
and forth across the river? Maybe your father or your uncle had
part in that?

B: I can remember my uncles and my mother and dad telling me about
those times, yes, and about the destruction it caused and how
the crops were wiped out and how they had to get people back-
and-forth across the river on the ferry. Of course, this ferry,
you know, has been discontinued now because they have a bridge
across there. But for many years Brother Early Brown, who is
a very prominent member of our tribe and also served in World
War II, ran that ferry. He retired from the county government
as the operator of that ferry. For many years we used to ferry
people backward and forward across.

E: All of the ferries, I believe, are gone now. There used to be
two, is that correct?

B: Yes, there was one actually on the reservation and it was gone
before my time. Then the one that Early Brown operated was fur-
ther down the river and was operated by the county or the state,
rather.

E: Who in your group now would have Indian [arrow]heads and any
Indian materials that you used to use? Anyone of your tribe
preserve those kind of things?

B: You mean as far as the arrowheads or the actual weapons that we
used?









12







E: Arrowheads and tomahawks, anything.

B: No. Unfortunately, through the years, these things have gotten
away from us. We have probably a few people that would have a
few relics around as to the type of things that we used back in
the olden days, but as for the most part I don't think you would
find very many of them.

E: Now where are you people scattered around the reservation? Tell
me where else they're scattered over York County?

B: We have some people that have moved to Charlotte, North Carolina.
Some of our Indian people of the Harris family and their children
have gone to school up there and have gotten married. They still
come down visit with us and some of their people are still living
down here. We have some people that have even moved out West to
Salt Lake City. In fact, one of Chief Blue's granddaughters has
moved out there. My first cousin, Lily Blue, who is the daughter
of Nelson Blue, moved out to Salt Lake City. Brother Fred Sanders
lived in Salt Lake City for quite a few years. As far as right
around here in York County, we have people that are scattered out
in Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Chester, and other places.

E: What about Lancaster? Have you any in Lancaster?

B: I don't believe we have any actual members of the tribe living
in Lancaster itself.

E: Well, you have no idea how many there are because they're all
very scattered, aren't they?

B: I believe we have about four hundred people, if I'm not mistaken.

E: Do you keep the tribal roll?

B: No, I don't. We don't have a chief any more. We have what you
call a tribal council. Brother Fred Sanders and myself have been
together in the last couple of years trying to get a few little
things going for the tribe. As I stated before, I've got a bunch
of girls and boys that I've got together and taught a few dances
to, and we've been going out and entertaining some out-of-state
people once in awhile. We've gone to things of this nature and
performed dances for them.

E: You were at the Rock Hill Mall last week, meeting the chief from
the Cherokee Indians. I'd be interested in hearing your impressions
of that meeting.









18








B: Well, Chief John Crow, who is a very fine member of the Cherokee
Indian tribe, came down with several of the boys from the
Cherokee Reservation. He and his wife brought down John John,
who is Little Bear on the reservation, and they had John Standing
Deer, and another young man with who they performed the ceremonial
dances. There was a treaty that was enacted many years ago which
even he wasn't aware of and I had forgotten about, if it ever
existed. They wanted to make some kind of publicity out of it.
We had made a treaty with the Cherokees that they would not
cross the Catawba River ever again into our territory here.
They brought this up in the interview on TV with Chief Crow and
myself and Chief Crow said he was unaware of it, he wasn't here
to cause any trouble. Of course, I realized this. I talked to
him and I told the reporters that there was nothing but love and
understanding between our people and the Cherokees now and had
been that way for about two hundred years. We have some people
on the reservation down here that are from Cherokee. We have
intermarried some people from Cherokee down with the Catawba
Indians and so for this reason as well as others we have nothing
but respect and love for each other as a people.

E: Is some of your pottery sold up in the Cherokee reservation?

B: Yes, we have a few pieces that are sold. We take up there some-
times...like Sister Doris Blue. Now she takes some of our pottery
up there to the Owl family, who are members of the Cherokee tribe,
and they in turn give them to some of the souvenir shops and they
sell it. But for the most part we don't have a real big market
for it up there. We could probably sell a lot more than we do
if we would get it up there and get somebody to outlet it for
us.

E: Where did you get the costume you had on at the mall the other
day?

B: That was entirely made up by myself and my wife. The bonnet I
had made completely by hand. Each feather was individually
wrapped and sewn into place. The jacket that I had made was
made for me by my wife to wear when the weather was a little
cold when I was out doing this particular thing. The leggings
and all is hide that was taken from animals that was actually
tanned and Ijust used it to wrap around my legs. The moccasins
I bought from, had them ordered and sent from the people down
in Seminole country in Florida.

E: It was a very colorful, interesting program you're putting on
out there. What superstitions or old stories do you remember









I9








about your tribe?

B: Well, down on the reservation is an old place that is referred
to as a deer lick. It's a place where the deer used to come
and the salt would come from the earth and they would lick this.
The story goes that a lot of the spirits of the olden Indians
used to come back there from time to time and congregate around,
I guess looking for some of the deer they missed when they were
living. But we as young people used to be quite afraid to go
down by this place late at night when it was dark. We thought
maybe some of the spirits of some of the old warriors may get
us if we get in their way or scaring that deer off. But we were
quite respectful of the place. Some of the older Indian people
have told of tales of seeing and hearing things on the reservation
that I don't think they put a lot of stock in, most of us. But
these stories of course get around from time to time regardless
of what locale you may live in.

E: Do you have many crippled or deformed people on your reservation?

B: To the best of my knowledge, we only have about two. Herbert
Blue has a son who was this way at birth and Brother Pete Brown
has a young boy that had some problem with his feet. But other
than these two, we as a people have been very fortunate. We've
not had any deformed people or anything through birth or disease
otherwise. We've been very fortunate in our health here.

E: Thank you very much.





Full Text

PAGE 1

SOUTHEASTERN INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA In cooperation with the Catawba Nation INTERVIEWEE: Gilbert Blue INTERVIEWER: Emma Echols DATE: November 22, 1971

PAGE 2

E: This is Emma Echols, Route 6, Box 260, Rock Hill, South Carolina. I'm visiting in the home of Chief Blue's grand son, and I'm going to let you tell us who he is, and his address. B: My name is Gilbert Blue. I live at Route 6, Box 426, Rock Hill, South Carolina. I am the grandson of Chief Blue. E: Gilbert lives in a nice brick home on a nice hill over looking a little stream down below. He's buying his home and he has a splendid job in Charlotte. Gilbert, will you tell us about your work in Charlotte? B: Yes, I'm a machinist for General Tire and Rubber Company at present. I was in service for nine years and had a little bit of background in this particular kind of work. After I was discharged from the navy, I went to a trade school in Columbia, South Carolina for fourteen months, taking up the machinist trade. From there I've graduated up to what I am at present. E: Are there any other Indian boys working with you in the machine shops in Charlotte? B: Yes. Fred Sanders is also an Indian and he attended a trade school, I believe, out West. He is a machinist in the same shop that I am. E: What about your school, did it help to prepare you for your life's work? B: Yes. I went to school, of course, on the reservation. We only had two teachers at that time. Mrs. Ratterree, when I was a young boy, taught the first and second grade. Mrs. Hoke taught the third through the seventh grades. I remem ber her very vividly because I thought she was a very wonder ful person and she had a way of teaching that impressed me. Many things she taught me helped me in my future life as far as making decisions is concerned, and I think I'll always remember her as having been a great influence in my life.

PAGE 3

2 E: At that school on the reservation, did you have lunches provided, or did you bring lunches from home? What did you do for lunches? B: The state provided money at one time for lunches that was pre pared in the little small lunchroom on one side of the school building. There we ate our lunches every day. E: Did you have a cook to prepare those lunches? B: Yes, we had a lady that was paid to come and cook our lunch for us every day. E: Now you're so talented, all of you are, in art and making things with your hands, did you have any art training in your school? B: No, in the schools that we had, it was not a vocational, but a just regular grammar schooling, as far as the reservation was concerned. No, anything pertaining to vocation or any craft was not taught in our schools on the reservation. E: Then, after you left the Catawba Indian School, what was your next school? B: When I left Catawba Indian School, I went to Rock Hill High School. Unfortunately, I didn't finish high school. I dropped out and joined the navy in 1951. I stayed in the United States Navy for nine years before I came back home. E: Did you enjoy the sports at high school? I know you Indians are very good in sports. B: Yes, I enjoyed sports very well and Lwas rather a fast runner. The coach was thinking very strongly of putting me on the var sity football team and making me a track man also, but unfor tunately I dropped out of school and wasn't able to continue in this particular endeavor. E: Now, when were you married? B: I was married in 1963 to Elizabeth, a girl from Chester, South Carolina. She was a Sharpe before she married me. E: You now have three children. Will you give us the names and ages?

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3 B: Yes, I have Chris, who is seven years old; Denise, who is five; and Glen, who is four. E: I know you remember your grandfather. you remember about your grandfather? chieftain in this tribe. Can you tell us anything He was such a wonderful B: Well, I remember quite a few things about my grandfather. Yet, [despite] being able to live around with him, I didn't learn as much about him as I would have liked to. I remember in par ticular his being a great leader. All the people on the reser vation that had children, he could reprimand any children re gardless of whether they were members of his immediate family or not, and the parents of those children would not say a word about it because they knew he was a just and honest man. He was a farmer. My cousin . s and myself used to help him to raise cotton and corn and various things in the river bottoms. And I remember that he was always very strict with us about being honest and doing our fair share in all things. So, for this reason, the people on the reservation, all the Indians, respected him as a man and as a leader. And the people in the surrounding area, the white people that he dealt with in his business trans actions, respected him and have nothing but good things to say about him now as a man and as a leader of his people. E: Was he active in the Mormon church as well? B: Yes. The Mixners came here to the Mormon or the Mormon faith back in the early 1890s and my grandfather later became a mem ber of that church. Through the years he helped hold the church together down here, been a leader in it. We believe in minis tering to the sick. Of course, he used to go out to people's homes when they had sick children or anybody and administer to them as a member of the church. And they had a lot of faith in him as a man of this type also. E: Tell me about the medicines your grandfather used to make and take with him. B: Well> grandfather used to go and get a root. I can remember several names of them. They're still here today that we can go out and find--bear root, and yellow root, and fireweed. These particular herbs , he would gather and he would boil them and prepare them in a certain manner. Now, he would have to put a certain amount of alcohol with these things to keep them from spoiling over a period of time, but it was only just a

PAGE 5

4 very small percentage from spoiling purposes only. I can re member people from as far away as Georgia and Tennessee coming to the reservation to buy these things from my grandfather. They were supposed to be things that would help ailing kidneys, I remember that much, muscles aches and things. Evidently they had quite an effect on some people because up until the day of his death, why he used to sell quite a bit of it. E: And you still know where some of those plants are growing in this area now? B: Yes. Albert Sanders, who was one of the chiefs of our tribe at one time, is familiar with this root. He and I were talking just a short time ago about going down and looking up some so I could familiarize myself with it again. It's been quite awhile since I, as an individual, have gone to pick it. But I can re member what it looked like, and he and I together thoughtwe could go down and dig up some. He knows what it looks like, but I just don't remember quite well enough to pick it up by myself. E: Did your grandfather take this medicine into the homes of the sick as well as sell it? B: Yes, on the reservation we had a lot of our older people. Of course, medicine wasn't as far advanced in those days as it is now. My grandfather would use this to give to the people of the tribe and help their ailments. They would tell people out side the reservation about it, and this is how the word would get around about his medicine. So they would spread the word and that's how the knowledge of his medicine got out to the public, so to speak. E: You helped sometime? didn't he? apples? your grandfather gather apples on the reservation I think he took them to Rock Hill and sold them, Do you remember helping your grandfather gather B: Yes, we had, he had quite a few apple trees around his home and place as well. In raising particular crops, I notice we don't raise much that type any more. But we used to raise sugar cane as well as peanuts and used to sell all of these things up and around town. E: How did he travel into Rock Hill? B: At that time, when I was just a young lad, my grandfather had

PAGE 6

5 a mule and a wagon. [That] was the only way that he traveled. I can remember we used to leave to take cotton to the gin quite early, real early in the mornings, in order to get there early enough to have our cotton ginned. Behind Friedheim's old store in Rock Hill, I can just barely remember an old shed that was where the wagons and mules were tied up and parked. This has been quite some years ago. E: Well, where was the gin you took your cotton to? B: The old gin on White Street, what is referred to now as the Rock Hill Feed and Supply Company, but there was an old gin connecting on to that same building. That's where we took our cotton. E: Now, I know you heard your grandfather speak the language. I wonder if you remember any of the language and any of the music that you used to hear him sing? B: Yes, people used to come around. Schoolchildren used to be a lot of schools and people would come to the reservation, curious, I guess, a lot of them looking to see Indians and hear them sing their songs and dance. My grandfather was quite an entertainer in his own way. He used to sing Indian songs and do war chants and dance around and play his drum. The chants that he used to sing, I can remember several of those. I use them today some times when some boys and girls I have now, we go out and perform for various groups. The language itself, I don't speak fluently, although I can remember some phrases and some words that I picked up from my grandfather as well as some of the other peo ple of the tribe. E: I'd be real interested in hearing you say some words or talk a little bit in the language if you can. B: Well, in order to say "Hello, friend," you would say, "Natcha day ha." "Omba ocharay," means "Where are you going?" This is just a couple of the things that I can remember. In the Indian songs that I sing when we do our dances, we have a lot of phrases that I have learned. Some of them I don't remember the meanings of; some of them I do. E: What about doing one of your chants now, and we'll record it as we go along? B: Okay. Would you mind if I stepped over to the closet and get my little small drum? I might sound a little better if I do that.

PAGE 7

6 E: Yes, that'd be fine. You do that. B: This particular chant here is one that we use in some of our ceremonial dances. We use it sometime when the girls dance to commemorate some of the braves and warriors that have been out in a particular battle where they'd be fighting the enemy, or gathering meat. But this is just one of the things that we use. [Here Mr. Blue plays his drum and sings a short chant.] E: That was good. Now, do you know the meaning of any of those words? B: Well, some of the words. I don't remember the phrases of all of them. Unfortunately enough, ones that I did learn, I've forgotten a lot of them. But, basically it's just commemorating warriors, saying that they were brave and the action that they had taken against their enemy and that words mean respect for the deeds that they performed. E: Now that you got your drum all ready, do you know another chant? B: Well, there's one that we do when we have, we do a performance for some of our Scout troops or civic organizations where the girls themselves do a dance. They just do a slow type of walk and I chant this song that is comm.emorating some of our warriors that didn't make it back from some of the battles. [Here again Mr. Blue plays his drum and sings.] There's one thing you have to remember about chants, and if you'll think about it, really doesn't seem that complicated. A lot of times, chant is not so much saying different words all the way through. It's just a chant that goes with the music, so that you can get a rhythm to do the dancing by. Now, ~f course, the words do mean some thing, but, a lot of times, you repeat them over and over just to get a rhythmatic thing going so that the boys can do their dance or the warriors, or whatever the case my be. E: You have a little boy, I believe, in Leslie School. And what do you think of the changes in this community from the time you lived here as a little boy? You think the changes in your group of people have been good? B: Yes, they definitely have. We, as a people, were not discrimi nated against so much in my time as I can remember the people out West. Now, when I speak out West, I mean the Navajos, and the Sioux and people of this nature. I have a sister that built a church mission out in New Mexico and Arizona. She married a

PAGE 8

7 full-blooded Navajo, and they're raising a family now out in Albuerquerque, New Mexico. But those people were discriminated quite a bit against, a lot more so than we were here. I know when I first started high school, they wouldn't let the school bus come down through the Indian reservation to pick us up. I had to leave early in the morning to go to work with the men that worked in the textile mills. I had to wait around until school opened up. But since that time, of course, the school bus does go through the reservation; and as far as people looking down on us or anything, you can very seldom hear of any remarks made of that nature any more. E: Your little boy at Leslie School is perfectly happy in his first grade and he's with whites and Indians and blacks always, is that right? B: That's right. We have in his class, he has several colored boys and he has several other Indian girls from the reservation down here that's in the same class. So, as far as racially is con cerned, they don't have any conflicts in the class. He seems to be quite content. E: What about church activities for you and your family? B: Well, of course, we're all members of the Mormon church. I'm a High Priest and a leader in the church down here. I'm the First Counselor in the Bishopry, and it is our responsibility to be concerned about the whole congregation of the church in this particular area on the reservation. Of course, we in the Mormon church don't believe in smoking or drinking or anything like that that is harmful to your body. We try to live a reli gious type life, as well as working outside the ministry to make a living for our families. E: Do you find that the drinking problem or the drug problem is a problem with the Indian young people? B: No, fortunately, due to the fact that they are members . of the church and our teachings are real explicit as to what we believe and should partake of and shouldn't. In fact, we have meetings with our youth quite often, and let them ask questions about drugs and what they think about it and they tell us. We've had quite a few of them tell us that they know who they can go to to get drugs if they wanted it. They know where they can get it, they know what the consequences are, but they listen. So we have very little problem with our youth down here as far as alcohol or drug is concerned.

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8 E: Do you use your old school house for dances and social events, or do you use just your church? B: No, the old reser ..• , the old school house that I was referring to where I went, of course, has been torn down some years now. A new one was built out behind our church building that is exis ting now. We do have dances in that building on Saturday nights, a lot of times, to raise money for our various church functions and organizations. I also have a band that plays country music and rock and roll and all kinds of music, and we play for these functions. I've also produced about four or five country-western shows myself, and gotten people that I know personally, amateurs, that would come down and help me entertain for about three hours. We charge admission for this, or ask a donation, rather, and we've collected upwards around $700 or so for these shows that we've put on. E: What are your plans for Christmas? What Christmas activities will you have in your church? B: In our church in Gaffney, South Carolina, which is the head quarters in this area, we will have a Christmas dance. Every one from the Mormon church in this whole area, which would in clude Charlotte or Catawba or Spartanburg and Greenville, all the people in that area will converge in Gaffney, South Carolina, at what we call the "Steak House." We have a real big church building with a big auditorium, a gymnasium, and we'll go there and we'll have a band that will be hired to come in and play music for us. We'_ll have a Christmas dance there. E: I believe your grandfather is buried in new church on the top of the hill here. responsible for keeping up the cemetery the cemetery at the Do you all, are you or who does that? B: The people on the reservation themselves keep it clean ordi narily. It is actually the responsibility of the church, as the property that he's buried on is church property rather than reservation property, even though the people in the church are mostly members of our tribe. But it is mainly the respon sibility for keeping that, are you not? B: Yes, we haven't had anyone buried on the old cemetery (on the old reservation, so to speak), in quite some time. But we do, we meet every Fourth of July, and at least once, we hope, during the rest of the year, to clean off any of the excess grass and

PAGE 10

things that has grown up. We try to keep it relatively neat down there. I know I've had it expressed from .a lot of our older people, recently, that they would like to be buried on the old reservation, when they die, rather than on the new place. Not that we have anything against the new place, but I can understand it. I would kinda like that myself. I don't know. I was raised up on the old reservation and a lot of my memories are there. My people were born and raised there and suffered through a lot of agonies. They had a lot of joy there and I would like to be buried myself, I think, on the old reservation. E: The old well is there, down on the old reservation, that was used for the school and for the church. Now, of course, the church is gone. Do you remember anything of your grandfather's burial? B: Yes, this was, it wasn't very long ago, really. It was in 1959 if I'm not mistaken. I was in service at the time in Washington, D.C. My mother called me one night and told me my grandfather had passed away, so of course, I got emergency leave. It was no problem. I came right home to the funeral. E: Now who conducted it and what sort of a service do you have for that? B: We don't have any ceremonial type of funerals, of course, as they did in the olden days. We modernize more or less; the church progresses along and the people progress. I can't re member, to be perfectly honest with you, who was the man in charge at the time. There was a lot of people there and it was quite confused about what was going on, being sort of shocked about my grandfather's death so to speak. But I do know that there were several speakers and that's the way we usually have. We have usually an opening song with just a group--we don't have any congregation singing--it's just usually a chorus sung by some ladies or some brethren. Then we usually have two speakers and they speak about the individual, of course, and things pertaining to the gospel. I do know that the speakers commented quite a bit about my grandfather and things that he had done for the tribe, helping the people to grow and come closer together in relationship with the people around the reser vation. E: Your grandmother went with you to Salt Lake City on that won

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10 derful trip and he came back very enthused about that trip. Do you remember leaving and going on that trip? B: Yes. My grandfather, of course, was not a wealthy man. He was a farmer and he just lived from year to year, of course. I never can remember the time when my grandfather did not have a lot of food in the house to eat, or warm clothes. Maybe they weren't expensive, but they were warm. But him and grandmother were members of the church, of course. And, we, as Mormons, be lieve in being married and sealed in the temple. Grandfather was not able to make this financially, but the missionaries of the Mormon church that were in this area got together, unbe knownst to my grandfather. They collected the money among them selves and sent it up here as a gift and requested that my grand father and my grandmother go to Salt Lake City with this money to be sealed in the temple. So, of course, they made the trip. I know a lot of people have heard of the Tabernacle there in Salt Lake Ciy. My grandfather was not an educated man, but yet they called him to speak before that whole congregation of peo ple, which would have been thousands. He was quite impressed about this and the people that he spoke to out there were really proud of my grandfather as a leader of the church, and as a leader of his people. E: Did he ever make a trip to Washington? B: That, I'm not really sure of. I'm not positive about that. I don't remember that he did before I went into service. Now, I was gone nine years. He may have gone in the years that I was gone that I don't know about. E: After your grandfather's death in 1959, your grandmother lived for a number of years. I'm sure she was very lonely. Do you remember that period of time? B: Yes, I can remember parts of it. I was in the navy another year and a half after my grandfather died, and after I came home my grandmother was quite lonely. I used to go talk with her and she made the remark to me that she was only waiting for the time when she could join my grandfather again. They, of course, came up through many years in marriage together and they were quite close--had a lot of respect for each other as individuals. She would spend some time with one of her sons or daughters and then she would go spend a few other days with another son or daughter. But, mainly I think, she was just waiting for her time to go join my grandfather.

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u E: Now your grandmother was a full-blooded Indian, is that correct? B: That is correct. E: And I understand that she was a leader in making pottery, . indi vidual designs and many different types of pottery? B: Yes, she made things that she designed herself. When the ladies make pottery of that nature, they make what they refer to as a mold. And that try to keep that one particular one as years go along. They can refer back to it to make something of that same type , again. But we have several ladies that still make pottery today here, actually much more than some people realize. Of course, it is becoming a lost art because there are not as many people involved in it as there was when my grandmother was living and when I was just a young lad. But, we do have, I know, at least three or four people that do a real good job of making our pottery yet. You can go to all parts of the United States, to any other tribe of Indians, and they'll have their own arts, but you will not find anything on the same make or order as we make our pottery here. It is . unique in itself. E: Will you tell me some of the women that make pottery now? B: Arzada Sanders is one. She is the wife of John Idle Sanders and the mother of Faye Sanders. She still makes pottery. Doris Blue, who married Andrew Blue, who was the son of my grandfather, she still makes pottery, quite a bit of it. She ships a lot of shipments out of state quite often. AlbertaFerrell, who is a descendent of the Canty family, she makes, does a real good job of making pottery. She's teaching her children to make pottery now. E: What about the market selling this property? Do you have any troubles with selling it? B: No. The ones that make it find quite often that they're, they have more demands than they have able to supply. I know Sister Arzada Sanders tells me quite a ' lot of times that she gets more orders than she can supply. Doris Blue, one of my other aunts, she also says that she has a lot of times more than she can fill. E: Do they still fire it in the holes made in the earth or do they fire it inside the house in ovens? B: No, we still make it the way that we did years ago. You have to

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12. use two types of clay. My aunt would be able to tell you more about that than I would because that's more or less a woman's art than it is a man's. But, nevertheless, you use two types of clay. Across the river, where we get our clay, there's two holes; we call them clay holes. You have to get clay from one hole and clay from another, and you mix the two and from this you form your pottery. Then, after it is formed into whatever shape you want it, it is dried out. Then, of course, it is baked in a furnace outside dug into the ground and covered over in various ways to see that the heat gets to it properly. Then, of course, it's scraped and rubbed and one thing and another to the finished product comes about. E: Now then, these rubbing stones that each woman has her own, what happened to your grandmother's rubbing stones? B: Grandmother's rubbing stones, that they used to smooth the pot tery down after it is scraped to a real high sheen, was divided out.. Some . . of them were given to some of her daughters has a couple Well, it was just mainly distributed out to her daughters that were left to still make pottery. E: Now, your mother and father are both still living? B: Yes, they are. E: And does your mother make any pottery? B: No, my mother is a textile worker and she does not make any pottery. E: And what does your father do? B: My father is not able to work at this time. His health is not to what he can work. E: I don't believe there're any log cabins left on the reservation. Are they now? B: Not to my knowledge. I can remember living in a log cabin when I was just a very young boy, I would say maybe five or six years old, maybe a year younger than that. But I can remember quite vividly, it sticks out in my memory yet, the one room was every thing. It was a living room, it was a kitchen, it was a dining room or den or whatever you would refer to them today. But we only had one room. My mother did the cooking over a fireplace.

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13 She had an old skillet that she used to set on the coals and she would put coals on top of it and there she would make her bread. Of course, she had an old pot she used to hang in the fireplace over the coals where she cooked beans and other things that she would make in a pot. E: Now how many brothers and sisters did you have living in that little old one-room cabin? B: I was the oldest and the first child of my mother and father. I can remember one of my sisters. I believe I'm either two or three years older than she is. She was just a very small baby at the time, so at that particular time, there were only two of us. I had one sister. E: Do you remember the doctor ever coming to your home or coming to the reservation to see patients? B: Yes, there was one doctor. Doctor Blackmon, when I was a young lad, was our doctor. He used to--of course they don't like to do it any more, you very seldom see any house calls anymore-but Doctor Blackmon was forever coming to the reservation, whenever we needed him. It was no problem; he was there. People would call and he would be down to see about them. I can remember other children being born on the reservation, not going to the hospital. E: Doctor Hill was the doctor, I believe, before Doctor Blackmon. B: Doctor Hill, yes. He was one of the older doctors before my time. E: Now the log cabins are gone, but I notice a variety of different types of homes here. Would you tell me about that? B: Well, some of the members of the tribe have been in service and, of course, they were able to get GI loans when they came out of service. Some of them used this money to build frame houses. Since that time, a lot of the men have learned trades out in in dustry. Some of them do carpentry work, some paint, some work in construction work, others like myself are machinists or pipe layers, welders, and electricians. They have, in turn, been able to build some nice brick homes. You have brick homes down there, you have homes that have asbestos siding, and of course you have regular old frame houses and you have some older houses that date back quite a few years. E: Your aunt, I believe, lives among the old houses down on the reser vation, doesn't she?

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B: Yes, , she does. My uncle, Major Beck, who was a carpenter, has not made a lot of money as you would say in his lifetime. But I admire this particular family. I might mention the fact they still heat by a wood stove in the living room. Of course, the bedrooms aren't heated, as it was in the days when I was a young boy. He's never tried, to my knowledge, to get into plumbing or or anything of this nature. I guess he's just content to live the old way and they seem to get along real well. But, as you said before, the old well is still out in the front yard where they draw water from, to take their baths and to do their cooking. E: But I notice how very clean they are. Now, this home you have you're fortunate in buying it. How did you happen to find this home? B: I spent nine years in the navy. I would have loved to build a house on the reservation, but unfortunately you can't build on the reservation unless you build out of your pocket. In other words, you can't borrow money on a home because you can't mort gage it, because it doesn't belong to anybody. It belongs to the tribe as a whole. You couldn't mortgage any land to build a home because that land does not belong to any individual; it belongs to the tribe as a whole. But through the GI bill, I was fortunate enough to get the house that I'm living in now and be able to buy it for myself. E: Now with all the different kind of people, do you feel there's any class distinction among the people themselves? B: Not on our reservation they aren't. I don't know if it's because we're few in number or if it's just because we've been so close over the years. We keep, we talk about this in church quite a bit, how close we are as a people, and you can feel it. We have a lot of concern for each other. When you go to church on Sundays, of course you'll find men there that are dressed up in relatively nice clothes. But you'll find nobody looking down on any of the other members of the tribe as far as social standing is concerned. E: Do they help each other out in time of distress or trouble? B: Yes, the church particularly does, but also individual members of the tribe do. I can remember when I was just a young lad that if a man's house burned down, in just a matter of a week or ten days the man would have his house back again. The tribe would pitch in and just a short while they would have him some thing to get back in.

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1.5 E: Mr. Willard Hayes, who was a school teacher here and had a Boy Scout Troop, do you remember him? B: Yes, Brother Hayes left here when I was just a young boy. I was not in his troop because I was not old enough. Brother Hayes is still living today, and he lives over in Gaffney, , South Carolina. He's a Patriarch in our church, and I speak to Brother Hayes quite a bit. In fact, I invited him down to one of our church meetings not long ago to talk. His subject of talk was his days on the reservation--how he loved my grand~ father and my grandmother, how they helped him, how he used to teach the Indian children, the hard times they used to give him sometimes, and some of the good times that he had with them also. E: How much land is left on the reservation proper now? B: I believe the size of the reservation is about 625 square acres, if I'm not mistaken, approximately in that area anyway. E: The people then do not own those homes on the reservation? They do not own the land? Is that correct? B: That's correct. They can't have a deed to the land. Of course, the homes in which they live, most of them are theirs because they built them by themselves out of their own hands and no one else in the tribe would ever dare or think of trying to take it away from any other individual. The only requirement for building on the reservation, if you're a member of the tribe of course, is not to get in the yard of somebody else that's already there. Of course, they would use discretion in selecting a place, but we only have about maybe fifteen families living on the reservation at the present time. There's lots of room. Other people can and I'm sure will buildhomes in the future. E: Do you remember as a boy hunting or fishing? Has that changed today? B: Yes, unfortunately it has. I can remember the old Catawba River, we used to get quite a few meals out of there by fishing for the catfish and the perch along the creeks. Unfortunately, as time has progressed along, they've gotten polluted. We can't even eat the fish out of there now. You can't hardly even stand the smell of them as you catch them . . So, as far as eating the fish out of the rivers any more, it's out of the question. We still hunt for squirrels and rabbits and birds and things of this nature around here, but we don't do it so much as we did when I was a boy be cause in those days we did it strictly to get something to eat.

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16 Now as you've noted, they're better off financially and socially than they were in those days. Of course, anything that we kill now I guess it's an instinct more or less. We don't shoot any thing for fun. If we kill any animals now, we still eat them. If we don't eat them ourselves, we give them to a family that has need of that particular meat. E: Are there any deer on the reservation now? Have you seen any of them? B: I have heard some reports of deer in the last several years in the river bottom. I don't know if these deer have migrated up from the lower part of the state or if they come from over across the river where a man, I think, had a game reserve. But I have had reports of several deer down on the river. They're not very prevalent. It would only be a few. E: Do you remember any of the stories of the flood of 1916, when the river bridge was washed away and you Indians ferried people back and forth across the river? Maybe your father or your uncle had part in that? B: I can remember my uncles and my mother and dad telling me about those times, yes, and about the destruction it caused and how the crops were wiped out and how they had to get people back and-forth across the river on the ferry. Of course, this ferry, you know, has been discontinued now because they have a bridge across there. But for many years Brother Early Brown, who is a very prominent member of our tribe and also served in World War II, ran that ferry. He retired from the county government as the operator of that ferry. For many years we used to ferry people backward and forward across. E: All of the ferries, I believe, are gone now. There used to be two, is that correct? B: Yes, there was one actually on the reservation and it was gone before my time. Then the one that Early Brown operated was fur ther down the river and was operated by the county or the state, rather. E: Who in your group now would have Indian [arrow]heads and any Indian materials that you used to use? Anyone of your tribe preserve those kind of things? B: You mean as far as the arrowheads or the actual weapons that we used?

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lZ E: Arrowheads and tomahawks, anything. B: No. Unfortunately, through the years, these things have gotten away from us. We have probably a few people that would have a few relics around as to the type of things that we used back in the olden days, but as for the most part I don't think you would find very many of them. E: Now where are you people scattered around the reservation? Tell me where else they're scattered over York County? B: We have some people that have moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. Some of our Indian people of the Harris family and their children have gone to school up there and have gotten married. They still come down visit with us and some of their people are still living down here. We have some people that have even moved out West to Salt Lake City. In fact, one of Chief Blue's granddaughters has moved out there. My first cousin, Lily Blue, who is the daughter of Nelson Blue, moved out to Salt Lake City. Brother Fred Sanders lived in Salt Lake City for quite a few years. As far as right around here in York County, we have people that are scattered out in Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Chester, and other places. E: What about Lancaster? Have you any in Lancaster? B: I don't believe we have any actual members of the tribe living in Lancaster itself. E: Well, you have no idea how many there are because they're all very scattered, aren't they? B: I believe we have about four hundred people, if I'm not mistaken. E: Do you keep the tribal roll? B: No, I don't. We don't have a chief any more. We have what you call a tribal council. Brother Fred Sanders and myself have been together in the last couple of years trying to get a few little things going for the tribe. As I stated before, I've got a bunch of girls and boys that I've got together and taught a few dances to, and we've been going out and entertaining some out-of-state people once in awhile. We've gone to things of this nature and performed dances for them. E: You were at the Rock Hill Mall last week, meeting the chief from the Cherokee Indians. I'd be interested in hearing your impressions of that meeting.

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18 B: Well, Chief John Crow, who is a very fine member of the Cherokee Indian tribe, came down with several of the boys from the Cherokee Reservation. He and his wife brought down John John, who is Little Bear on the reservation, and they had John Standing Deer, and another young man with who they performed the ceremonial dances. There was a treaty that was enacted many years ago which even he wasn't aware of and I had forgotten about, if it ever existed. They wanted to make some kind of publicity out of it. We had made a treaty with the Cherokees that they would not cross the Catawba River ever again into our territory here. They brought this up in the interview on TV with Chief Crow and myself and Chief Crow said he was unaware of it, he wasn't here to cause any trouble. Of course, I realized this. I talked to him and I told the reporters that there was nothing but love and understanding between our people and the Cherokees now and had been that way for about two hundred years. We have some people on the reservation down here that are from Cherokee. We have intermarried some people from Cherokee down with the Catawba Indians and so for this reason as well as others we have nothing but respect and love for each other as a people. E: Is some of your pottery sold up in the Cherokee reservation? B: Yes, we have a few pieces that are sold. We take up there some times like Sister Doris Blue. Now she takes some of our pottery up there to the Owl family, who are members of the Cherokee tribe, and they in turn give them to some of the souvenir shops and they sell it. But for the most part we don't have a real big market for it up there. We could probably sell a lot more than we do if we would get it up there and get somebody to outlet it for us. E: Where did you get the costume you had on at the mall the other day? B: That was entirely made up by myself and my wife. The bonnet I had made completely by hand. Each feather was individually wrapped and sewn into place. The jacket that I had made was made for me by my wife to wear when the weather was a little cold when I was out doing this particular thing. The leggings and all is hide that was taken from animals that was actually tanned andijust used it to wrap around my legs. The moccasins I bought from, had them ordered and sent from the people down in Seminole country in Florida. E: It was a very colorful, interesting program you're putting on out there. What superstitions or old stories do you remember

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rn about your tribe? B: Well, down on the reservation is an old place that is referred to as a deer lick. It's a place where the deer used to come and the salt would come from the earth and they would lick this. The story goes that a lot of the spirits of the olden Indians used to come back there from time to time and congregate around, I guess looking for some of the deer they missed when they were living. But we as young people used to be quite afraid to go down by this place late at night when it was dark. We thought maybe some of the spirits of some of the old warriors may get us if we get in their way or scaring that deer off. But we were quite respectful of the place. Some of the older Indian people have told of tales of seeing and hearing things on the reservation that I don ':t think they put a . lot of stock in, most of us. But these stories of course get around from time to time regardless of what locale you may live in. E: Do you have many crippled or deformed people on your reservation? B: To the best of my knowledge, we only have about two. Herbert Blue has a son who was this way at birth and Brother Pete Brown has a young boy that had some problem with his feet. But other than these two, we as a people have been very fortunate. We've not had any deformed people or anything through birth or disease otherwise. We've been very fortunate in our health here. E: Thank you very much.