Citation
Interview with Harry Blue, September 16, 1992

Material Information

Title:
Interview with Harry Blue, September 16, 1992
Creator:
Blue, Harry ( 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







Interviewee: Harry Blue

Interviewer: Emma Echols

September 16, 1992










E: This is Emma Echols of 5150 Sharon Road. I am visiting Harry Blue at Paya Town.
[This is] quite an establishment here, operated by his brother Carson Blue, and Harry
has been working for him for a number of years. This is very new to me because I
taught Harry in the third grade at Northside School. Harry, give us your full name.

B: Harry Reed Blue.

E: Do you remember your teachers at Northside?

B: Yes, I remember most of them. I started with Miss Wayne, then I had Miss Hayes
in second grade, and you in the third grade. I believe I had Miss Glenn in fourth,
Miss Roddy in the fifth, Miss Watson in the sixth, and then we had a group of
teachers in the seventh, [among them] Miss Busby.

E: And Miss Leslie? Did you have her?

B: I did not have Miss Leslie; I had Miss Busby and Mr. Rogers.

E: And after school, they tell me, you were a good football player. Did you enjoy that?

B: Yes, I did enjoy sports.

E: They treated you well at Northside?

B: Yes.

E: And then you went to the high school?

B: Yes.

E: And what about high school?

B: High school was fine. As a matter of fact, I was treated better in high school than
I was at Northside. I had some rough times at Northside, especially in the early
years. When I was in the first grade, they still looked down on Indians a lot, and
they used to pick on us a lot. I almost lost my eyesight in the first grade because I
was an Indian. There was a guy who tried to gouge my eye out with a piece of glass,
but he did not do [it] and I still have my eyes.

E: Now, after you left high school you started working?

B: I worked during high school and I played football. I worked part-time for A&P at
night bagging groceries, cleaning the store, and stocking shelves and things. I worked
on weekends for Star Chambers when he had an Exxon station on White Street and

-1-










Oakland. I pumped gas, washed cars, and changed oil over the weekends. I have
been in automotive [work] ever since I could remember.

E: You have always been working?

B: I have always worked.

E: You started working here for your brother how long ago?

B: In 1984.

E: You have got a good business here, have you not?

B: Yes, it is pretty busy.

E: You tell me you have a grown son. Twenty-one?

B: Yes, he is twenty-one. He will be twenty-two in December.

E: Do you still go back down on the reservation to church?

B: No, I do not. I am the black sheep of the family.

E: Oh no! I know better than that because I have seen you working here and I know
your background. I visited your father and your mother the other day, and they are
so proud of their children. They say that none of you have been drinking or have
gotten into trouble, and they are very proud of you. So, you are proud of yourself
in a way too, I know.

B: Yes, I try to take care of myself and manage myself.

E: And this keeps you busy here. What are your hours here?

B: We usually work Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 5:30, and then half a day on
Saturday. The rest of the time I play golf.

E: Golf! Oh my! That is something from football, is it not?

B: Well, no. I did not pick up golf until I after I got out of school and was married, as
a matter of fact. I piddled around at the driving range which used to be back down
Cherry Road. I started learning how to hit golf balls in high school, but I never
played the game until after I got out of school. And I am a pretty avid golfer now.



-2-










E: Now, your father and mother and Carson, and I believe your sister, have a piece of
land. Do you have your own land now?

B: Yes, I have land up beside Daddy's.

E: How much land do you have?

B: [I have] about three acres.

E: You took this instead of taking the cash money, did you not? That is good, is it not?

B: Yes it is.

E: You have your home on that land?

B: No I do not. I had a mobile home on it, but I took it off and turned it into pasture
land for Daddy's cattle, and I moved away.

E: Oh, and [you] have your cattle on it.

B: No, daddy's cattle; they are not mine.

E: You were very wise in doing that. Now, what about the new settlement? Is it going
to help you or is it going to help the older ones?

B: I think it will help the younger generation more so. The kids that are coming out
nowadays are children and grandchildren and will be benefitted more than anybody,
and that is really the best thing. They can get a good education, and they can get a
better outlook on life farther down the road, and better advancement.

E: So, all in all, you are rather proud to be a Catawba Indian, are you not?

B: Oh yes.

E: You were not proud when you first started school, when they sort of picked on you,
but you are proud now.

B: Oh, I was proud then. I have always been proud [that] I was an Indian, and if people
did not like me as an Indian, then just tough. But I was an Indian, and I would let
them know up front that I was. I never have denied being an Indian, and I have
always been very proud of it. I have gotten in several fights because of it.

E: As a young boy did you hear your father or your grandfather telling you the old
stories?

-3-










B: Yes, I used to sit around on my grandfather's lap. We used to go out there Sunday
after church and sit in the yard. He would tell stories, and get his tom-tom out
occasionally and chant some Indian songs and do a little dance for us. He was quite
an entertaining fellow.

E: Do you remember any of the stories he told, or [do] you remember any of the
language?

B: Very little. I remember some of the stories, especially the story he told about his son
in school. I am sure Daddy has probably told you that one. He told some stories
about my Daddy's oldest brother, how he used to run rabbits through the cane fields
down on the river bottoms. One of my Daddy's brothers stepped on a sugar cane
stalk and rammed it through his foot. At the time Uncle Nelson chewed tobacco, so
he just took the tobacco and packed it in the hole, and wrapped it with the
handkerchief, and it kept infection from getting in it, and his foot healed up.

E: I had never heard that before.

B: They used a lot of old time medicine back then.

E: People came from far and near to get some of his medicine, did they not?

B: Yes. They used an herb called bear root for rheumatism and arthritis. They used
to have another herb they used, I think it was called fire weed, and they used it when
people had kidney infections and stuff. I remember that very well.

E: Does anybody on the reservation now know where those herbs grow in the woods or
the fields?

B: Yes.

E: Who knows?

B: My uncle, Albert Sanders, still knows. Daddy still knows where some are. Before
Emery Thomas passed away, Emery knew some stuff. Mainly Albert Sanders; he is
probably the most knowledgeable person as to where they are at right now.

E: When people came to buy it from him, did your father sell the herbs just so or did
he have it in bottles to sell?

B: Well, Daddy never did. Grandpa always had some bottled herbs he kept in the
refrigerator. I do not remember him ever selling it, but I know he gave a lot of it
away to help his people. But I do not remember whether he ever sold it or not. I


-4-










am sure he probably did, cause he had to have some money to support all his twenty-
something kids they had back then.

E: Do you remember any of the dances that he did, or did you ever dance with him?

B: No, I never danced with him. I was too young, really. See, I was only twelve years
old when Grandpa died.

E: You are the one who sat on his lap and heard his stories.

B: I sat on his lap and heard his stories out there under the old oak tree in the front
yard. We had an old oak tree in the front yard and we had a bench right beside it,
and I used to go out there and sit on that. That is the bench [on which] I also cried
my eyes out the day he died. I laid in that same bench. It really hurt; I was really
crazy about him.

E: Crowds of people came to that funeral. I well remember that. He was highly
respected. You know as, I visit among you, no one tells me anything bad about him.
It is always in praise of your family.

B: I do not think there is anything that you can tell bad about the man. He just did not
have anything bad about him. He was a very loving, outgoing, understanding person.
He loved all his people; he loved his family. It did not matter what you did to him,
he would still love you. He was just that type of person, a very religious person.

E: You like your work here and you look forward to some future for your people, do
you not, on the reservation and all outside? Of course, there is no pure blood Indian
yet on the reservation or anywhere, is there?

B: Not anymore.

E: But you claim that you still have that wonderful blood.

B: Yes. As long as my name is Blue, it will still be Catawba.

E: Where did this name Blue come from? Do you know?

B: To the best of my knowledge, it was a name that was taken from the whites. It was
a white man's name from my grandfather's father. I am not exactly sure how he got
it, but I do know it was taken from a white man's name.

E: Well, it has been a joy to talk to you today.



-5-





Full Text

PAGE 1

SOUTHEASTERN INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA Interviewee: Harry Blue Interviewer: Emma Echols September 16, 1992

PAGE 2

E: This is Emma Echols of 5150 Sharon Road. I am visiting Harry Blue at Paya Town. [This is] quite an establishment here, operated by his brother Carson Blue, and Harry has been working for him for a number of years. This is very new to me because I taught Harry in the third grade at Northside School. Harry, give us your full name. B: Harry Reed Blue. E: Do you remember your teachers at Northside? B: Yes, I remember most of them. I started with Miss Wayne, then I had Miss Hayes in second grade, and you in the third grade. I believe I had Miss Glenn in fourth, Miss Roddy in the fifth, Miss Watson in the sixth, and then we had a group of teachers in the seventh, [among them] Miss Busby. E: And Miss Leslie? Did you have her? B: I did not have Miss Leslie; I had Miss Busby and Mr. Rogers. E: And after school, they tell me, you were a good football player. Did you enjoy that? B: Yes, I did enjoy sports. E: They treated you well at Northside? B: Yes. E: And then you went to the high school? B: Yes. E: And what about high school? B: High school was fine. As a matter of fact, I was treated better in high school than I was at Northside. I had some rough times at Northside, especially in the early years. When I was in the first grade, they still looked down on Indians a lot, and they used to pick on us a lot. I almost lost my eyesight in the first grade because I was an Indian. There was a guy who tried to gouge my eye out with a piece of glass, but he did not do [it] and I still have my eyes. E: Now, after you left high school you started working? B: I worked during high school and I played football. I worked part-time for A&P at night bagging groceries, cleaning the store, and stocking shelves and things. I worked on weekends for Star Chambers when he had an Exxon station on White Street and 1

PAGE 3

Oakland. I pumped gas, washed cars, and changed oil over the weekends. I have been in automotive [work] ever since I could remember. E: You have always been working? B: I have always worked. E: You started working here for your brother how long ago? B: In 1984. E: You have got a good business here, have you not? B: Yes, it is pretty busy. E: You tell me you have a grown son. Twenty-one? B: Yes, he is twenty-one. He will be twenty-two in December. E: Do you still go back down on the reservation to church? B: No, I do not. I am the black sheep of the family. E: Oh no! I know better than that because I have seen you working here and I know your background. I visited your father and your mother the other day, and they are so proud of their children. They say that none of you have been drinking or have gotten into trouble, and they are very proud of you. So, you are proud of yourself in a way too, I know. B: Yes, I try to take care of myself and manage myself. E: And this keeps you busy here. What are your hours here? B: We usually work Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 5:30, and then half a day on Saturday. The rest of the time I play golf. E: Golf! Oh my! That is something from football, is it not? B: Well, no. I did not pick up golf until I after I got out of school and was married, as a matter of fact. I piddled around at the driving range which used to be back down Cherry Road. I started learning how to hit golf balls in high school, but I never played the game until after I got out of school. And I am a pretty avid golfer now. 2

PAGE 4

E: Now, your father and mother and Carson, and I believe your sister, have a piece of land. Do you have your own land now? B: Yes, I have land up beside Daddy's. E: How much land do you have? B: [I have] about three acres. E: You took this instead of taking the cash money, did you not? That is good, is it not? B: Yes it is. E: You have your home on that land? B: No I do not. I had a mobile home on it, but I took it off and turned it into pasture land for Daddy's cattle, and I moved away. E: Oh, and [you] have your cattle on it. B: No, daddy's cattle; they are not mine. E: You were very wise in doing that. Now, what about the new settlement? Is it going to help you or is it going to help the older ones? B: I think it will help the younger generation more so. The kids that are coming out nowadays are children and grandchildren and will be benefitted more than anybody, and that is really the best thing. They can get a good education, and they can get a better outlook on life farther down the road, and better advancement. E: So, all in all, you are rather proud to be a Catawba Indian, are you not? B: Oh yes. E: You were not proud when you first started school, when they sort of picked on you, but you are proud now. B: Oh, I was proud then. I have always been proud [that] I was an Indian, and if people did not like me as an Indian, then just tough. But I was an Indian, and I would let them know up front that I was. I never have denied being an Indian, and I have always been very proud of it. I have gotten in several fights because of it. E: As a young boy did you hear your father or your grandfather telling you the old stories? 3

PAGE 5

B: Yes, I used to sit around on my grandfather's lap. We used to go out there Sunday after church and sit in the yard. He would tell stories, and get his tom-tom out occasionally and chant some Indian songs and do a little dance for us. He was quite an entertaining fellow. E: Do you remember any of the stories he told, or [do] you remember any of the language? B: Very little. I remember some of the stories, especially the story he told about his son in school. I am sure Daddy has probably told you that one. He told some stories about my Daddy's oldest brother, how he used to run rabbits through the cane fields down on the river bottoms. One of my Daddy's brothers stepped on a sugar cane stalk and rammed it through his foot. At the time Uncle Nelson chewed tobacco, so he just took the tobacco and packed it in the hole, and wrapped it with the handkerchief, and it kept infection from getting in it, and his foot healed up. E: I had never heard that before. B: They used a lot of old time medicine back then. E: People came from far and near to get some of his medicine, did they not? B: Yes. They used an herb called bear root for rheumatism and arthritis. They used to have another herb they used, I think it was called fire weed, and they used it when people had kidney infections and stuff. I remember that very well. E: Does anybody on the reservation now know where those herbs grow in the woods or the fields? B: Yes. E: Who knows? B: My uncle, Albert Sanders, still knows. Daddy still knows where some are. Before Emery Thomas passed away, Emery knew some stuff. Mainly Albert Sanders; he is probably the most knowledgeable person as to where they are at right now. E: When people came to buy it from him, did your father sell the herbs just so or did he have it in bottles to sell? B: Well, Daddy never did. Grandpa always had some bottled herbs he kept in the refrigerator. I do not remember him ever selling it, but I know he gave a lot of it away to help his people. But I do not remember whether he ever sold it or not. I 4

PAGE 6

am sure he probably did, cause he had to have some money to support all his twenty something kids they had back then. E: Do you remember any of the dances that he did, or did you ever dance with him? B: No, I never danced with him. I was too young, really. See, I was only twelve years old when Grandpa died. E: You are the one who sat on his lap and heard his stories. B: I sat on his lap and heard his stories out there under the old oak tree in the front yard. We had an old oak tree in the front yard and we had a bench right beside it, and I used to go out there and sit on that. That is the bench [on which] I also cried my eyes out the day he died. I laid in that same bench. It really hurt; I was really crazy about him. E: Crowds of people came to that funeral. I well remember that. He was highly respected. You know as, I visit among you, no one tells me anything bad about him. It is always in praise of your family. B: I do not think there is anything that you can tell bad about the man. He just did not have anything bad about him. He was a very loving, outgoing, understanding person. He loved all his people; he loved his family. It did not matter what you did to him, he would still love you. He was just that type of person, a very religious person. E: You like your work here and you look forward to some future for your people, do you not, on the reservation and all outside? Of course, there is no pure blood Indian yet on the reservation or anywhere, is there? B: Not anymore. E: But you claim that you still have that wonderful blood. B: Yes. As long as my name is Blue, it will still be Catawba. E: Where did this name Blue come from? Do you know? B: To the best of my knowledge, it was a name that was taken from the whites. It was a white man's name from my grandfather's father. I am not exactly sure how he got it, but I do know it was taken from a white man's name. E: Well, it has been a joy to talk to you today. 5