Citation
Interview with Donald "Ricky" Brown, August 7, 1975

Material Information

Title:
Interview with Donald "Ricky" Brown, August 7, 1975
Creator:
Brown, Donald ( 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: Donald Brown
INTERVIEWER: Frances Wade


August 7, 1975





















W: This is Frances Wade. I live on Route 3, Box 304, Rock
Hill, South Carolina. I'm gathering oral history of the
Catawba Indians for the University of Florida. Today is
August 7, 1975, and I'm talking to Ricky Brown. Ricky,
what is your full name?

B: Donald Richard Brown.

W: What is your birthdate, Ricky?

B: January 1, 1956.

W: And so you're nineteen?

B: Right.

W: What is your address?

B: 2460 Bypass, Apartment H, Rock Hill, South
Carolina.

W: Have you ever lived on the reservation?

B: Yes.

W: How old were you?

B: Until about eight.

W: Who are your parents, Ricky?

B: Donald Brown and Joanne Swift--maiden name Swift.

W: Are your parents Indian?

B: My daddy is.

W: Catawba Indian?

B: Yes.







2








W: Who were your grandparents--first, the grandparents on
your mother's side?

B: Frances and John Swift.

W: Who were the grandparents on your father's side?

B: Mary and Richard Brown.

W: What brothers and sisters do you have?

B: I have a brother named Bill, a sister named Teresa, a brother
named Wayne, and a sister named Sandy. And I got stepbrothers,
and all that.

W: Well, I would like for you to name your stepbrothers, too,
because this is history.

B: Okay, I've got a stepbrother named Greg, half-brother named
Donny, half-brother named Joey, and a half-sister named
Donna.

W: What kind of work does your father do?

B: He's a mechanic insulator for Daniel's Construction.

W: What kind of work does your mother do?

B: She's a housewife.

W: Ricky, I know that you don't live on the reservation, and
you're not around a great deal of the Indians--you are now
while you're working--but do you remember any old stories
that was told to you when you were a child?

B: Only spooky ones.

W: What was it like for you at Christmas time, when you lived
down here on the reservation?

B: Well, we did get stuff like the rest of them. And we didn't
go out and buy our trees--we went around and cut them down.
And we always went to a bunch of parties and stuff. We'd
go to the schoolhouse. They always had a dance or something
like that.







3








W: I know that you have duties now to perform at your apartment,
but what were some of the things you had to do when you were
small?

B: Haul water and cut wood.

W: What was your home--what kind of home did you live in?

B: Down here?

W: Uh huh.

B: A wooden house--wooden frame house.

W: Do you know how many rooms it had in it?

B: It had four rooms.

W: Did it have running water?

B: No, Ma'am.

W: Did it have bathroom facilities?

B: No, it did not.

W: Did you go to church?

B: Yes.

W: Do you belong to a church?

B: Yes.

W: What church do you belong to?

B: The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints.

W: How did you get to church when you were much younger?

B: My daddy brung me.

W: Did you go in a car, or did you walk?

B: I come in a car, I guess.






4








W: Did you ever go to school down on the reservation?

B: Yes. I went through the first grade.

W: Can you remember anything about going to school down here?

B: Yeah. We got to raise the flag. We played out there on
them old pine trees. The graveyard was behind us. The
teacher was Miss White. She was the principal of the school...
only had two rooms. It went to the fourth grade when I
went there. And I was in the first, and someone used to cook,
cook us meals all the time. She'd bring 'em to the class.

W: Ricky, how far in school have you gone?

B: Completed twelve years of school.

W: What's the name of the high school you attended?

B: Northwestern High School.

W: And you graduated this spring?

B: Right.

W: You are going to continue your education?

B: Right.

W: Where are you going?

B: York Tech.

W: What are you taking?

B: Graphic engineering technology.

W: Would you elaborate just a little bit on that?

B: I'm going to be a design draftsman. Design and engineer.

W: Ricky, I know it doesn't cost as much to go to York Tech as
it does to college. How are you going? How are you paying
your way?

B: I'm going on the Indian program, and by working down here







5








during the summer.

W: When you talk about the Indian program, do you know really
what the Indian program is about?

B: It's about Indians that, that...need. They can't really go
to school. They need some money to go, and the government's
helping out on that.

W: And you're one of the fortunate people who has gotten a slot?

B: Yes.

W: Do you like sports?

B: Yes.

W: What sports do you like?

B: I like baseball and football and basketball.

W: Did you take part in sports at school?

B: Yeah, I wrestled.

W: You wrestled?

B: Uh huh.

W: How did you do?

B: I did pretty good. I pinned the turkey from Rock Hill High,

W: Oh well, you did all right then. Do you hunt?

B: Yes.

W: What do you hunt?

B: Mainly squirrels.

W: What kind of gun do you have?

B: I have a twelve gauge single shot, and a four-ten--a pump.

W: Do you fish?







6







B: Yeah. I don't have a rod with me--it's broke.

W: What kind of fish do you usually catch?

B: I usually catch bream, but mostly we would go at nights to
catch catfish, and occasionally we'd fish for bass and
crappie.

W: Ricky, I know you haven't been in the service, and you know
that a lot of young people today, they think that it's wrong
to go in the service. What is your attitude?

B: I think it's pretty good, but I'd go in the navy myself, 'cause
you can get more education there. The army and all that,
they give you training, but the navy gives you the best train-
ing if you go in the service, and you need training--that's
where you can get it from.

W: Would you volunteer, or would you have to be drafted?

B: I think I'd volunteer.

W: What do you think about the young men who think they shouldn't
go to the service?

B: Well, that's their business. Some of them have religious
rights, and some of them don't. Some of them just don't want
to go because they're scared, and some of them just don't
want to go because they're lazy.

W: I know you're not married, Ricky, but do you have any prospects?

B: Not right now I don't.

W: I don't know if you've given this any thought either, but
when you marry, do you want children?

B: Yes.

W: Have you ever thought about whether you would want to own
your own home?

B: Yes.

W: When you're married, you would?







7








B: Design my own home.

W: Well, that's really good. How many children do you think
you would like to have?

B: Two.

W: Do you ever think about marrying somebody from your own race,
or have you given that any thought?

B: Yes. I've thought about marrying people from...marrying
another Indian, but I don't know. It'd have to be, it de-
pends on if she's right, she's right no matter if she's
white or Indian.

W: I know how you feel about that. Do you think, Ricky, that
the opportunities today for Indians are much different than
they were when you were just a child?

B: Yes, 'cause my daddy and my grandmother used to tell me
that Indians didn't even get to ride the bus at one time to
school, and that they couldn't go to some stores. Some
people wouldn't even hire 'em, but nowadays they will.

W: Ricky, do you get along well with the black people?

B: I got good terms with some of them. Some of them I don't;
some of them I do.

W: Do you get along pretty well with the whites?

B: Oh yeah. I got a few girlfriends.

W: What do you think about our government today? Do you think
it's on pretty sound ground?

B: Nope.

W: What do you think is wrong with it, Ricky?

B: You mean how are they doing about the Indians, or just the
whole government?

W: Well, the whole government, and the Indians too.

B: They say we had a energy shortage, but we ain't got that no
more. We got a gas shortage, and the gas is going up like







8








crazy, and Ford promised to do all kinds of stuff to get
it out, but he ain't done nothing. Nixon, they should've
just kept him in there. He, at least, kept his promises,
and even though they did have a little mix-up with that
Watergate thing, and.... And the Indians, well, they
just...the ones out in North Dakota and South Carolina,
they just depended upon our rights, and what the treaty
said that they would get, and the government never did keep
it. The government just keeps going back on their word
all the time, and everything. And if they'd just let each
state take care of their own problems, they might be able
to work something out there.

W: How do you think the Catawba Indians are faring?

B: Well, at one time they were getting pretty bad, but now they're
doing pretty good. They're getting better.

W: Do you think that it's a good idea that we have elected a
chief and council?

B: Yes. They can at least go to these meetings, and ask every-
body to come to these meetings, and let everybody know,
and then he can be the spokesman for the tribe and all that.

W: What do you think about the culture? Ricky, I believe I
heard you say one day that you knew how to make the bead
work.

B: Well, I took some of it in school, and I got three years
of art behind me and I took some ceramics.

W: We're thinking about having a class get started here on the
reservation reviving the bead work. If you had the opportunity,
would you go to that class?

B: Yes.

W: Well, what do you think about the pottery? Now, you were
one of the young men who went and dug pan clay last week,
and we gave to the elderly people. What do you think about
the pottery making? Should we just forget about it, or should
we continue it, or what do you think about that?

B: I think we should continue it, 'cause everybody's.... If we







9







let it go, we're gonna let one of the things that the Indians
have had for a long time. They needed it to survive, and
I think we should keep our cultures going, and everything.

W: Ricky, you have already told me what you would like to do
when you get out of school, when you finish completely.
Do you think that you've accomplished very much up to this
point?

B: Well, yeah. I've worked for a long time. I went through
school. I'm going through school again, and I own a car.
I live in an apartment, and I get along pretty good.

W: And I would like to just insert here that Ricky's parents
are divorced, and he still finished school.

B: They're divorced for about eleven years.

W: So this young man, on his own, he has the initiative and
the will to make something of himself, and he's doing exactly
that. If you could change the situation here for the Indians,
what is the one thing you would do, Ricky?

B: I'd try to get everybody to start coming to meetings, at
least helping out on our land, and start coming to classes
like learning their language back, and go in their culture
and their history of the Indians and all that. And
letting them try to get some Indians in some of these things
up here, like at the hospital and the police force, and work-
ing different places and all that. Let 'em learn different
trades.

W: Ricky, you were one of the young men who had started making
a list of the Indians who were buried on the old reservation.
Did you enjoy doing this work, or do you think it's important?

B: Yes, I did. Yes, I do.

W: Why do you think it's important?

B: Because we can learn about who was buried down there--how
they were killed, and their history and all that. And
maybe find out some history about the Indians, and all that
and know everybody that was down there, and things about 'em,
and maybe we can find things out.

W: Ricky, are you proud to be an Indian?







10







B: Yes, I am.

W: Does everybody know that you're an Indian?

B: Yes, they do.

W: In what way do you defend...?

B: Well, I hadn't gotten in but one fight about it, and the
rest of it, they just say, "Well, I don't care."

W: Ricky is a fine young man, and I know that he's going to
accomplish all of the things that he wants to accomplish.
I would like to kind of describe him if I can. How tall
are you, Ricky?

B: Five feet, ten and one half inches.

W: How much do you weigh?

B: 145 pounds.

W: And he's got big brown--they look almost black--eyes. He has
black, wavy hair, and he has the kind of good-looking skin
that all young men, I think, would like to have.





Full Text

PAGE 1

SOUTHEASTERN INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA In cooperation with the Catawba Nation INTERVIEWEE: Donald Brown INTERVIEWER: Frances Wade August 7, 1975

PAGE 2

W: This is Frances Wade. I live on Route 3, Box 304, Rock Hill, South Carolina. I'm gathering oral history of the Catawba Indians for the University of Florida. Today is August 7, 1975, and I'm talking to Ricky Brown. Ricky, what is your full name? B: Donald Richard Brown. W: What is your birthdate, Ricky? B: January 1, 1956. W: And so you're nineteen? B: Right. W: What is your address? B: 2460 Bypass, Apartment H, Rock Hill, South -------Carolin a. W: Have you ever lived on the reservation? B: Yes. W: How old were you? B: Until about eight. W: Who are your parents, Ricky? B: Donald Brown and Joanne Swift--maiden name Swift. W: Are your parents Indian? B: My daddy is. W: Catawba Indian? B: Yes.

PAGE 3

W: Who were your grandparents--first, the grandparents on your mother's side? B: Frances and John Swift. W: Who were the grandparents on your father's side? B: Mary and Richard Brown. W: What brothers and sisters do you have? 2 B: I have a brother named Bill, a sister named Teresa, a brother named Wayne, and a sister named Sandy. And I got stepbrothers, and all that. W: Well, I would like for you to name your stepbrothers, too, because this is history. B: Okay, I've got a stepbrother named Greg, half-brother named Donny, half-brother named Joey, and a half~sister named Donna. W: What kind of work does your father do? B: He's a mechanic insulator for Daniel's Construction. W: What kind of work does your mother do? B: She's a housewife. W: Ricky, I know that you don't live on the reservation, and you're not around a great deal of the Indians--you are now while you're working--but do you remember any old stories that was told to you when you were a child? B: Only spooky ones. W: What was it like for you at Christmas time, when you lived down here on the reservation? B: Well, we did get stuff like the rest of them. And we didn't go out and buy our trees--we went around and cut them down. And we always went to a bunch of parties and stuff. We'd go to the schoolhouse. They always had a dance or something like that.

PAGE 4

3 W: I know that you have duties now to perform at your apartment, but what were some of the things you had to do when you were small? B: Haul water and cut wood. W: What was your home--what kind of home did you live in? B: Down here? W: Uh huh. B: A wooden house--wooden frame house. W: Do you know how many rooms it had in it? B: It had four rooms. W: Did it have running water? B: No, Ma'am. W: Did it have bathroom facilities? B: No, it did not. W: Did you go to church? B: Yes. W: Do you belong to a church? B: Yes. W: What church do you belong to? B: The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. W: How did you get to church when you were much younger? B: My daddy brung me. W: Did you go in a car, or did you walk? B: I come in a car, I guess.

PAGE 5

4 W: Did you ever go to school down on the reservation? B: Yes. I went through the first grade. W: Can you remember anything about going to school down here? B: Yeah. We got to raise the flag. We played out there on them old pine trees. The graveyard was behind us. The teacher was Miss White. She was the principal of the school only had two rooms. It went to the fourth grade when I went there. And I was in the first, and someone used to cook, cook us meals all the time. She'd bring 'em to the class. W: Ricky, how far in school have you gone? B: Completed twelve years of school. W: What's the name of the high school you attended? B: Northwestern High School. W: And you graduated this spring? B: Right. W: You are going to continue your education? B: Right. W: Where are you going? B: York Tech. W: What are you taking? B: Graphic engineering technology. W: Would you elaborate just a little bit on that? B: I'm going to be a design draftsman. Design and engineer. W: Ricky, I know it doesn't cost as much to go to York Tech as it does to college. How are you going? How are you paying your way? B: I'm going on the Indian program, and by working down here

PAGE 6

5 during the summer. W: When you talk about the Indian program, do you know really what the Indian program is about? B: It's about Indians that, that need. They can't really go to school. They need some money to go, and the govemment' : s helping out on that. W: And you're one of the fortunate people who has gotten a slot? B: Yes. W: Do you like sports? B: Yes. W: What sports do you like? B: I like baseball and football and basketball, W: Did you take part in sports at school? B: Yeah, I wrestled. W: You wrestled? B: Uh hh. W: How did you do? B: I did pretty good. I pinned the turkey from Rock Hill High. W: Oh well, you did all right then. Do you hunt? B: Yes. W: What do you hunt? B: Mainly squirrels. W: What kind of gun do you have? B: I have a twelve gauge single shot, and a four-ten--a pump. W: Do you fish?

PAGE 7

6 B: Yeah. I don't have a rod with me--it's broke. W: What kind of fish do you usually catch? B: I usually catch bream, but mostly we would go at nights to catch catfish, and occasionally we'd fish for bass and crappie. W: Ricky, I know you haven't been in the service, and you know that a lot of young people today, they think that it's wrong to go in the service. What is your attitude? B: I think it's pretty good, but I'd go in the navy myself, 'cause you can get more education there. The army and all that, they give you training, but the navy gives you the best train ing if you go in the service, and you need training--that's where you can get it from. W: Would you volunteer, or would you have to be drafted? B: I think I'd volunteer. W: What do you think about the young men who think they shouldn't go to the service? B: Well, that's their business. Some of them have religious rights, and some of them don't. Some of them just don't want to go because they' re scared, and some of them just don't want to go because they're lazy. W: I know you're not married, Ricky, but do you have any prospects? B: Not right now I don't. W: I don't know if you've given this any thought either, but when you marry, do you want children? B: Yes. W: Have you ever thought about whether you would want to own your own home? B: Yes. W: When you're married, you would?

PAGE 8

7 B: Design my own home. W: Well, that's really good. How many children do you think you would like to have? B: Two. W: Do you ever think about marrying somebody from your own race, or have you given that any thought? B: Yes. I've thought about marrying people from marrying another Indian, but I don't know. It'd have to be, it de pends on if she's right, she's right no matter if she's white or Indian. W: I know how you feel about that. Do you think, Ricky, that the opportunities today for Indians are much different than they were when you were just a child? B: Yes, 'cause my daddy and my grandmother used to tell me that Indians didn't even get to ride the bus at one time to school, and that they couldn't go to some stores. Some people wouldn't even hire 'em~ but nowadays they will. W: Ricky, do you get along well with the black people? B: I got good terms with some of them. Some of them I don't; some of them I do. W: Do you get along pretty well with the whites? B: Oh yeah. I got a few girlfriends. W: What do you think about our government today? Do you think it's on pretty sound ground? B: Nope. W: What do you think is wrong with it, Ricky? B: You mean how are they doing about the Indians, or just the whole government? W: Well, the whole government, and the Indians too. B: They say we had a energy shortage, but we ain' t got that no more. We got a gas shortage, and the gas is going up like

PAGE 9

8 crazy, and Ford promised to do all kinds of stuff to get it out, but he ain't done nothing. Nixon, they should'.ve just kept him in there. He, at least, kept his promises, and even though they did have a little mix-up with that Watergate thing, and And the Indians, well, they just the ones out in North Dakota and South Carolina, they just depended upon our rights, and what the treaty said that they would get, and the government never did keep it. The government just keeps going back on their word all the time, and everything. And if they'd just let each state take care of their own problems, they might be able to work something out there. W: How do you think the Catawba Indians are faring? B: Well, at one time they were getting pretty bad, but now they're doing pretty good. They're getting better. W: Do you think that it's a good idea that we have elected a chief and council? B: Yes. They can at least go to these meetings, and ask every body to come to these meetings, and let everybody know, and then he can be the spokesman for the tribe and all that. W: What do you think about the culture? Ricky, I believe I heard you say one day that you knew how to make the bead work. B: Well, I took some of it in school, and I got three years of art behind me and I took some ceramics. W: We're thinking about having a class get started here on the reservation reviving the bead work. If you had the opportunity, would you go to that class? B: Yes. W: Well, what do you think about the pottery? Now, you were one of the young men who went and dug pan clay last week, and we gave to the elderly people. What do you think about the pottery making? Should we just forget about it, or should we continue it, or what do you think about that? B: I think we should continue it, 'cause everybody's If we

PAGE 10

let it go, we're gonna let have had for a long time. I think we should keep our 9 one of the things that the Indians They needed it to survive, and cultures going, and everything. W: Ricky, you have already told me what you would like to do when you get out of school, when you finish completely. B: Do you think that you've accomplished very much up to this point? Well, yeah. school. I'm I live in an I've worked for a long time. I went through going through school again, and I own a car. apartment, and I get along pretty good. W: And I would like to just insert here that Ricky's parents are divorced, and he still finished school. B: They're divorced for about eleven years. W: So this young man, on his own, he ' has the initiative and the will to make something of himself, and he's doing exactly that. If you could change the situation here for the Indians, what is the one thing you would do, Ricky? B: I'd try to get everybody to start coming to meetings, at least helping out on our land, and start coming to classes like learning their language back, and go in their culture and their history of the Indians and all that. And letting them try to get some Indians in some of these things up here, like at the hospital and the police force, and work ing different places and all that. Let 'em learn different trades. W: Ricky, you were one of the young men who had started making a list of the Indians who were buried on the old reservation. Did you enjoy doing this work, or do you think it's important? B: Yes, I did. Yes, I do. W: Why do you think it's important? B: Because we can learn about who was buried down there--how they were killed, and their history and all that. And maybe find out some history about the Indians, and all that and know everybody that was down there, and things about 'em, and maybe we can find things out. W: Ricky, are you proud to be an Indian?

PAGE 11

10 B: Yes, I am. W: Does everybody know that you're an Indian? B: Yes, they do. W: In what way do you defend ? B: Well, I hadn't gotten in but one fight about it, and the rest of it, they just say, "Well, I don't care." W: Ricky is a fine young man, and I know that he's going to accomplish all of the things that he wants to accomplish. I would like to kind of describe him if I can. How tall are you, Ricky? B: Five feet, ten and one half inches. W: How much do you weigh? B: 145 pounds. W: And he's got big brown--they look almost black--eyes. He has black, wavy hair, and he has the kind of good-looking skin that all young men, I think, would like to have.