Citation
Interview with Gary N. Carden, February 14, 1975

Material Information

Title:
Interview with Gary N. Carden, February 14, 1975
Creator:
Carden, Gary N. ( Interviewee )
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Cherokee Indians -- Florida
Absahrokee -- Absaroka -- Apsaalooke -- Apsaroke
Cherokee 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 'Cherokee' 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/.
Resource Identifier:
CHER 10 ( SPOHP IDENTIFIER )

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text



















SOUTHEASTERN INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

In cooperation with The Eastern Band of Cherokee
Indians

INTERVIEWEE: Gary Carden
(monologue)
DATE: February 14, 1975




















S: My name is Gary Carden. I'm forty years of age and I'm
making this tape on February 14, 1975. I am employed by the
Eastern Bank of Cherokee Indians as a planner. Specifically,
I work for the Office of Economic Development, and I've held
this position for about three years now.
The primary reason I'm making this tape is [that] I'm
concerned about the Oral History Project. It seems to be,
more or less, at a standstill, and I thought possibly all
that was necessary is for someone to initiate [the] process.
Even though I'm white and any statement I might make, or any
information I might give, might be of questionable relevance,
at least it will initiate the process and maybe get something
started. I certainly intend to see, after this tape is sub-
mitted, if I can follow up and get other people to submit
tapes.
I was born in Sylva, North Carolina, which is seventeen
miles from the Qualla Indian Boundary. I was born in what
a cousin of mine, who is a doctor, once euphemistically re-
ferred to in my presence as genteel poverty, which is a term
that fascinates me. I was raised by a grandfather and a
grandmother. My father was killed when I was two years old.
He was a mountain musician, had a little string band that
played at dances in western North Carolina. He was shot and
killed by a fella bombed out of his head on wood alcohol.
Shortly after that, my mother brought me to my grandfather's
house, left me and vanished, and I never saw her again.
I'm a product of Appalachian culture and ironically, I
could probably say a great deal more about Appalachian cul-
ture than I could Indian culture. I grew up in the Appala-
chian poverty belt, had an asafetida bag around my neck at
the age of six. I am acquainted with most of the mountain
remedies. I've helped my grandfather treat a cow for the
hollow tail, and pigs for the scours, and planting by the
signs of the moon and so forth. I'm not only familiar with,
I'm a victim of a great deal of Appalachian remedies and
medicines, since my grandfather was a great practitioner of
folk medicine. From my earliest memories, whether it be
croup, earache, or red-eye, I remember vividly some of the
treatments. Living in this close a proximity to the Cherokee
Indians, I guess it's logical that there is a kind of over-
lapping of culture, a sort of a blurring of lines. There are
elements in this area that are Indian in origin, even though
they're commonly associated with Appalachian culture and







2







vice versa.
My earliest memory of Cherokee was riding into Cherokee
in an old oil truck in the late forties; my grandfather
worked for the Standard Oil Company, and delivered oil onto
the Qualla Indian Boundary and to the little town of Cherokee.
We always came down to Gateway, and Harry Shelton's place,
the prison camp, and straight on out to Albert Patton's, and
on into Cherokee.
Immediately after the Second World War, in the late
forties, beer was legalized in this area; that was one of
the consequences of the veterans returning from the Second
World War. The road between Gateway and Cherokee was covered
with little lean-to shanties that sold beer and wine. Al-
though I've heard several Cherokees tell at great length how
they were discriminated against in some of these early beer
joints, I have no knowledge of that. There's no reason why
I should, I suppose, I was really too young. I know Mark
Reed, the tribal interpreter, says that the black people
bought beer at the back door, and the Indian was not allowed
to buy beer at all. That's quite possibly true, although
I'd like to observe that there were damned few blacks.
There have never been many blacks in this area of west-
ern North Carolina, and to my knowledge, they were practically
non-existent on the Qualla Indian Boundary. I think it note-
worthy to observe that in terms of discrimination, I have
never in my life run into a situation, whether it was in
north Georgia, south Alabama, or western North Carolina,
where discrimination against blacks was a pronounced as it
was on the Qualla Indian Boundary in the late forties and
the early fifties. I've seen construction crews that em-
ployed blacks come into town and buy food in Cherokee, and
take it back out of town, in paper bags, and distribute it
to the construction crew. I've seen them sleeping in fields
while they were working on projects. The first few blacks
I'm aware of, in the fifties, yes, '52, '53, that worked in
Cherokee, commuted in and out. No one would provide them
with rooms on the Qualla Indian Boundary. I remember when
the tourist trade began to boom, and it really didn't begin
to boom until the 1950s, quite frequently bu loads of blacks
would arrive in Cherokee and either end up camping out in
the campgrounds or going on to some other place. They weren't
admitted to restaurants on the Qualla Indian Boundary and
they weren't allowed to stay in motels. Some of my most vivid
memories relate to instances where blacks came to Cherokee
and attempted to enter restaurants, or craft shops, or make
reservations at motels.







3







The first job I ever had was in Cherokee. That's logi-
cal once you understand this area and unemployment in this
area. When Cherokee opened up in the late forties and it
became obvious that it was going to develop as a tourist in-
dustry aspect--that motels, craft shops, the Great Smoky
Mountains National Park, all of these things had potential
and would in all likelihood develop into tourist attractions--
mountain boys and girls in this area found that generally if
they wanted to work in the summer, and most of us did, about
the only employment available was in Cherokee. So it got to
be kind of a custom in the late forties and early fifties,
for boys and girls in their teens, from Sylva, Bryson City,
sometimes as far away as Franklin and Waynesville, to go
into Cherokee in May and find a position, and this usually
wasn't difficult to do. They would take your name and phone
number, and tell you they'd call you in a short period of
time, and it really was a short period of time. You would
go to work in Cherokee in May, and be able to retain a job
until the latter part of August, and each year it got better.
Employment increased, and I guess it is peculiar that the
majority of the jobs available in Cherokee were held by white
Appalachian boys and girls in their teens.
There.were Indians working in craft shops and motels
and restaurants, but I'd have to say, I guess, that the major-
ity of employees were white Appalachian kids. The salary
wasn't particularly good. The best I remember, I think the
average salary in the early fifties was like twelve dollars
and a half to fourteen dollars a week. You got one day off,
and it never came on a weekend because that's when the tour-
ist trade was at its peak; always on Saturday or Sunday. So
you usually got off on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, and with
the coming of the drama [Unto These Hills, a dramatic presen-
tation for the tourist trade] this just reinforced it.
I guess one reason you could always depend on a job in
Cherokee was because of the turnover. If everybody was full
up when you went to Cherokee, there were no vacancies, no
employment at all, it would be a relatively short period of
time before they would call you, usually a matter of two or
three weeks and you would have a job in a restaurant, or in
a craft shop, or working with the drama, and this is largely
due to the turnover. It was not exactly because of the work
hours and the working conditions. It was a hectic kind of
work dealing with tourists and the public in craft shop trade.
I remember that it was sort of a custom in Cherokee that if
you sold a customer, one customer, in excess of $100 in







4







merchandise, then your employer would give you your dinner
free. I can remember that we thought that was something.
We'd boast about it for weeks when we actually got around to
getting a dinner free.
Right from the beginning, it was almost a carnival at-
mosphere in Cherokee. I guess it's the aspect that many
people living on Qualla Indian Boundary dislike the most or
find most repugnant. Main Street in Cherokee looked more
like an area near a beach, really. There were structures
that looked like they were temporary; little wooden struc-
tures that looked like they were just meant to last for the
summer, cotton candy, and shooting galleries, archery ranges,
a great deal of noise and loud music, and of course a great
proliferation of what can quite frankly be called nothing
but junk. I've always had very definite feelings about this
--as to what junk shops and some of the merchandise that
existed in Cherokee during the early fifties and still exists
there now--what it indicates. Who's responsible for it? I
quite frankly do not feel that the Cherokees are totally
responsible for the tremendous amount of merchandise that is
sold in Cherokee that is not ethnic or of Indian culture,
but originates from Japan or from Mexico. I've sold Shimayo
blankets and Mexican pottery and Swedish knives, and I'm
quite sure, in many instances, the people who bought them
thought they were buying crafts that were made by the Cherokees.
Quite frankly, I've worked in so many craft shops in
Cherokee, I feel justified in observing that the tourists are
largely responsible for this. I remember several proprietors
in Cherokee who opened authentic Cherokee stores in the early
fifties would put nothing in them but items that were gen-
uinely Cherokee. They were made by some noted craftsman or
by people in the area. Certainly, I remember in the spring,
there were tremendous numbers of people who would come down
out of Soco and Big Cove, and bring items that they had made
during the winter to sell in craft shops, and these were very
respectable items. They were definitely authentic. But
quite frankly, when you get right down to it, junk sells in
Cherokee because people want it. It took me a long time to
realize this, I guess. The proprietors I mentioned with the
Indian stores, they went broke. They couldn't retain a busi-
ness with authentic Indian crafts. Once you begin to notice
how things went in Cherokee, that a typical visitor to Cher-
okee might be a cotton mill worker from South Carolina, who
had a two-week vacation, and he arrived in Cherokee mad and
fed up with three or four kids and his wife, and found a park-
ing place, and passed everybody out two dollars or three















dollars. They usually got exactly what they wanted, I sup-
pose. They got a Japanese ashtray, or they got a little
carved bear from Japan or from Mexico, or they bought a
plaited whip, little bull whips that we used to buy in grosses
that came from Mexico. There were other items too. I re-
member Crisco lard cans with rubber stretched over the end of
them and stitched until they made little drums. I guess
they're still prevalent in craft shops. Tomahawks that were
made out of river rock, painted a little bit, and put in a
split stick, and tied with a rawhide thong, and two dollars
and a half put on it, or three or four dollars. People
bought these items because that's what they wanted.
One of my earliest memories is the museum. The old
museum in Cherokee was down below the bridge where the Red
Skin Motel is now and Tom Underwood was, I guess, what you
would call a curator. He had a very respectable display, and
it was very authentic, and it reflected an aspect of Cherokee
that was genuine and real. But unfortunately, when I used to
go in there and watch tourists come in, I always got the
feeling that they were disappointed, that the Cherokees were
not what they thought they were. And by that, I mean a blood-
thirsty savage. They wanted an Indian with a Mohawk haircut.
They wanted to be told about massacres and murder, and Tom
Underwood would show them Sequoia's little newspaper. He
would tell them about Sequoia's alphabet. He would stress
the fact that the Cherokees were primarily agrarian, farmers
in nature, that they did not conform to the movie or the tele-
vision concept of what an Indian was. They did not live in
teepees. They lived in log huts or cabins. They did not dress
in flamboyant colors and big headdresses, but this was a Plains
Indian attribute; that the Cherokees at most wore a single
feather or two feathers.
I remember his lecture, and I remember mobs of tourists,
Bermuda shorts and cameras, and a gang of kids. They became
generally dissatisfied. You would see them wandering from
place to place in the museum looking for something that re-
flected violence, or bloodshed, or something more in keeping
with their image of what an Indian was. The fact that the
Cherokees were genuinely a sophisticated Indian tribe was
boring to them. They weren't particularly pleased to stand
and listen to lectures about the Cherokees being peaceful
farmers, living in log huts, educated, having their own lan-
guage, their own government, and a highly sophisticated kind
of government. They would interrupt and ask questions about
war paint and massacres.







6







I guess it was just a gradual process of the tourists
getting what they wanted. Chiefs began to show up in front
of craft shops in Cherokee, and, of course, that's ludicrous.
I've seen tourists come and take pictures of young Indian
boys standing outside craft shops with these fantastic war
bonnets on, that probably came from South Dakota, leather
leggings probably from Oklahoma; all sorts of flamboyant In-
dian articles that originated from maybe five or six differ-
ent cultures, Plains Indian cultures. [They] go away think-
ing that they had met and talked to the chief of the Cherokees.
During the peak season in Cherokee, there might be thirty
chiefs, or forty, standing up and down the street in front of
craft shops, when the actual chief was a man not unlike a
small mayor who stayed at the tribal council house. They
had no knowledge of him. They met some young Indian with a
colorful name, and took his picture and went away, and, I'm
sure, returned home and told their friends, and showed them
pictures of their meeting with the chief of the Cherokees.
I remember one colorful old fellow who claimed to be
the most photographed Indian chief in America, and that's
what his sign said outside the craft shop. That was a master.
He was colorful, and I'm sure in terms of people getting what
they pay for, he was a delight. You'd have to pay him to
take his picture. He pretended to know no English except
the word "tip," which he would say. He'd hold out his hand
and say, "tip," and if you didn't pay him, he'd turn his war
bonnet wrong side out so that you couldn't take his picture.
He functioned in Cherokee almost through the fifties, and he
always drew a tremendous crowd. He gave them a little show,
but many people left with the impression that he was the
chief of the Cherokees.
When some of the local Indians began to realize that
being Indian was a salable commodity, even if they did have
to alter their image to conform with the image that a typical
tourist would have of an Indian, they began to profit by it.
They gave the public what theywanted. Teepees began to show
up which, of course, have no relation to Cherokee culture.
Some of them were made out of sheet tin anyway. Women began
to show up in Cherokee with babies tied on their back with
bed sheets which, to the tourist, was a papoose. They would
sit at the bus station, and in the process of a day make a
pretty good living having their picture made by tourists who
got on and off the bus at the bus station.
A great many of the merchants in Cherokee did observe
a type of ethic in relation to items that they sold in their
craft shops. They would put items on shelves and label them







7








souvenirs, "souvenirs of Cherokee." And, of course, a sou-
venir could be anything. It could be a Japanese ashtray, or
it could be some practical joke toy. Then another table
would have "authentic craft" on it. I remember several craft
shop owners that carried craft produced by tribes in the Mid-
west, and labeled it as such. They would have big displays
and they would be labeled "Navajo," and a little chart on
the front of the display that explained that it did come from
another Indian tribe. The Shimayo blankets were labeled as
Shimayo. Any of the artifacts that originated from the
Seminoles or the Miccosukees or the Senecas was labeled as
such. Zuni jewelry, the turquoise, is particularly an item
that many tourists have never understood--that turquoise
jewelry originates from the Midwest. Many of them buy it in
Cherokee and assume that they have bought jewelry made by a
Cherokee. Quite logically it may be the product of an Indian
craftsman, but not in Cherokee, probably in the Midwest in
states like Arizona and New Mexico where they have laws that
require them to label all jewelry as to whether it was a
product of a native craftsman or not.
Now, a lot of the local Indian people are repulsed by
what Cherokee has become commercially. They talk about the
prostitution of their culture, and justifiably so. But at
the same time, the fact remains, I think, that Cherokee is
giving the public what it wants. It is a shock for an out-
sider, particularly an Indian from another tribe, to come
into Cherokee. By the time he goes through Maggie Valley,
and passes things like Frontierland and Santa's Land, and
comes on down into Cherokee and sees all that seething com-
mercialism that goes on in the summer, and the signs...you
know, anything from a dancing chicken to a chair lift to a
"See the Live Bear"...floor shows, types that are given out-
side on platforms of Indian dances...[hel works his way
through all of that, and he's a little stunned by what he's
encountered.
Frequently you run into young Indians, who greatly resent
what they have had to do while they were growing up. A lot
of them worked in craft shops, or have been a chief or par-
ticipated in some way in the commercial aspect of Cherokee,
and they greatly resent what they have had to do to survive
economically. They would like to see it authentic, genuine,
honest, something they could be proud of. Of course, things
like the drama have done a lot to give a genuine image of
Cherokee. Things like the Oconaluftee Indian Village, but
still I suppose there will always be this other aspect of
Cherokee; the junk shops that are filled with junk that would







8







be the same items that you would find in a junk shop at
Niagara Falls, or in south Florida, or off the interstate in
Georgia. I know I've been surprised at some of the items
that are common to Cherokee; I've found them in strange
places, in Knoxville and Nashville, Tennessee. When I've
been in Phoenix, I've seen them in shops out there--mass
produced souvenirs that show up anywhere close to an Indian
tribe. But nowhere, to my knowledge, is there a tribe that
is as heavily commercialized and oriented toward tourist
trade as the Cherokees.
Now of course a lot of this is just sheer accident since
the Cherokees happen to be so close to the Great Smoky Moun-
tains National Park. People come to the park, and as a con-
sequence come into Cherokee and directly into the commercial
district. A typical hard-headed businessman, a proprietor
of one of these shops in Cherokee, will quite frankly tell
you that he sees nothing unethical about it, and many of them
justify it historically, you know, considering what has been
done to the Cherokees by the white man. Then, it is of little
significance in terms of justice or ethics, what they might
sell white men that is not what the white man thinks it is.
Quite frequently you run into the attitude, "Rip them off.
We deserve it. If we do it from now and for the next hundred
years, it will not repay what has been done to us, as a people
here."
In terms of ill feelings between Indians and whites,
quite frankly, now this is just my attitude, I feel like it's
the other way around. My first job in Cherokee, I guess it
was when I was fourteen years old, and I came to Cherokee and
worked. As a matter of fact I held two jobs, and while I was
in college at Western Carolina, it even got to the point where
I held three jobs in an attempt to make enough money to return
to school. I found generally that it took quite some time
for me to develop a friendly relationship with the local In-
dians. They were by nature guarded, cautious, you make any
little overtures of friendship, they would not be accepted
immediately. Eventually if they got to know you, and even-
tually if they genuinely felt that you were an honest and
sincere individual, well, they were not different from any-
one else. But I always felt that I was in the position of
having to prove myself to them, and not vice versa. I guess
that's as it should be because, after all, I was encroaching
on their territory. I was working in Cherokee, they were not
working in Sklva. I came there and it was their home. I
think this is generally true in the attitude of most young
Indian people to outside whites.







9





I know a particularly touchy issue when I was growing
up was dating Indian girls. This was just something that
was not advisable. When I used to come to Cherokee, when I
was sixteen, seventeen years old and I'd see attractive In-
dian girls, if I wanted to assure myself of animosity all I
had to do was approach these girls or try to talk to them in
the presence of Indian boys. They generally resented it
very much. I remember one grim night when I took a little
girl home, a little Indian girl at the Tom-tom, took her
way up in Soco somewhere. I was not aware that it was vir-
tually a taboo; that a white boy from Sylva did not date the
local Indian girls and that the Indian boys didn't approve
of it. I had been seen picking her up, and on the way home
we picked up a couple of cars that were driving very close
to the back of my car, and I finally said, "Well, I wonder
who that is?" She says, "oh, I can tell you who that is.
That's my two brothers, and they intend to beat the hell out
of you just as quick as you get me home." Well, fortunately,
they decided to wait for me to come back, and after I took
her home and started back down the road, there they were.
They had their cars with something that looked like ax handles,
had their headlights on and, my God, I didn't know what to
do. I had a little old '39 Ford--I took to a potato patch
off to the left, and beat my brains out against the roof, and
went completely around them and bounced into a ditch and out
again and back into the road, and I never got out of second
gear until I got to Dillsboro. I can assure you it definitely
altered my attitude about Indian girls. That was generally
true for the boys of my period, the 1950s. I don't know what
the situation is now, but during the 1950s it was not advis-
able at all for white Appalachian boys to attempt to court
Indian girls.
There used to be up in Soco a big square-dance hall, and
it really boomed on Saturday night. If you were looking for
trouble, the thing to do would be to go to that square dance
in Soco, Maggie Valley, and attempt to dance with a lot of
Indian girls. It was quite common practice, you'd hear about
it every Monday morning, where some poor devil had danced
with one girl several times and found himself laying in the
parking lot outside the square-dance building when he attempted
to leave. Usually four or five Indian boys, all relatives of
the girl, were the ones that would tend to the fellow.
Since I've been working in Cherokee, I've had Indians
who were about the same age as I am .tell me of incidents that
occurred to them when they were young and growing up that
they bitterly resented, that indicated prejudice or bigotry







10







on the part of mountain whites. Such instances as being in
the Cherokee High School Band and playing in a parade at
Bryson City, or Waynesville, or Sylva, and having insults
yelled at them from the sidelines. I've even heard them
tell of instances where people would spit on them. I've
never observed anything like this. That doesn't necessarily
mean that it's not true, but I have never seen it. I've
seen discrimination against Indians in Philadelphia, Mississ-
ippi, where the Choctaws are, and it's by no means cleared
up yet. That's still a grim place to be an Indian. But
generally I have never witnessed instances where Indians
were mistreated. I don't mean to imply that it didn't exist
at all, because usually it came out in the form of conversa-
tion. I've heard poor mountain whites express bitter resent-
ment against the Indians because they have this misguided
concept that the Indian has a free ride, and that he has
money provided by the government, his medical bills are paid
by the government, his education is paid for by the govern-
ment. If he doesn't work, he receives money and groceries
and in comparison with their own situation, they bitterly
resented this,
I guess I know of two instances in my entire life where
there was some reluctance on the part of parents of a white
girl who married an Indian boy. They were a little disturbed
by it. I don't think it had anything to do with bigotry as
much as it had to do with concern for their welfare; func-
tioning in two cultures. You know, where were they going to
live, what were they going to do, what was the girl getting
into? Was she going to live on the Indian reservation? How
would she be treated in Cherokee? Or the other way around.
If they live outside the reservation and he is functioning
in a white world, is he going to encounter trouble? That
seemed to be the primary motivation in most instances that
I know of this. The parents were fairly sophisticated and
educated people. There's no doubt about it. Marriage be-
tween an Indian and a white produces definite hardships. I
could cite numerous instances of that. This is just as true
from the Indian side as it is from the white side, I think.
There is a deep tribal awareness of blood lines and
blood degrees and of the need to retain as high a percentage
of Indian blood as possible. I guess this is one of the
most frequent references you hear. There are many Indians
in Cherokee who feel that it is more or less an obligation
to your people that you marry within the tribe, that you re-
tain blood lines as much as possible. There's a small cult
or group in Cherokee that calls itself the Fullbloods. To







11







them it is absolutely essential that you retain your ethnic
identity and what it means to be a Cherokee Indian by remain-
ing within your culture, and marrying within your culture,
and raising your children within that culture.
Speaking for myself, I've had trouble being accepted.
There is little wonder because I hold the position within the
tribal government as a planner, and, of course, since the
attitude in recent years has been very much oriented toward
self-determination, that the Indian must determine his own
destiny, my presence is a contradiction. You know, why isn't
an Indian sitting there? What am I doing planning the eco-
nomic future of the Cherokees?
I ran into a great deal of antagonism during the first
few months I was there, and they're certainly honest. They
will confront you directly. I've had young Indian boys walk
into my office and bluntly say, "Why are you here, Unagi?"
That roughly translates as "white man," although it loses
something in the translation. "Are you Indian?" And of
course I obviously wasn't. Then they will tell me at length
that my position should be held by an Indian. And, frankly,
I agree with them. My position should be held by an Indian,
and I'm sure that eventually, one of these days, it will be.
But right now, I'm a necessary evil as far as self-determina-
tion is concerned. I function within the tribal government,
but my purpose in being there and my motives is frequently
misinterpreted. This gives you a peculiar sense of guilt.
You find yourself constantly trying to assure them that your
presence is worthwhile, that you are doing things that are
good for the Indian people. You go out of your way to make
them aware of this because it's a justifiable criticism,
especially in an area that has as high an unemployment rate
as Cherokee does.
At present unemployment in Cherokee is up to twenty-two
percent. Here you have the rest of the nation distressed
because of a seven percent unemployment ratio. But in the
area of western North Carolina where Cherokee is located,
tourism is such a tremendous factor that after August employ-
ment potential dwindles rapidly. It fluctuates to the extent
that unemployment will get as low as two percent, or in some
instances, one percent in the month of July. By the follow-
ing July it will be up to eighteen percent, and it's even
more this particular year because an industry closed recently
in Cherokee, Vassar. In general there's been a cutback in
other employment agencies in Cherokee that provide permanent
employment. So unemployment is critical. One of the peculiar
side effects of this is that the majority of industrial







12







employment on the Qualla Indian Boundary is oriented towards
females. Most of the plants....
There are very few whites in the tribal government that
function there in a major capacity. But as time has gone on,
I have been able to stay, and I hope that I'll be able to
stay for quite some time. The reason for that I think is
especially interesting: I was not able to find work in Jack-
son County, where I'm originally from. I taught school for
twelve years. I was a college instructor. I returned to
Jackson County in 1972 and I could not find work anywhere.
The basic reason that I couldn't is because it was economi-
cally depressed; factors I've already mentioned about unem-
ployment in this area in any way. But in Jackson County it
was highly political, and I could not get a job on the basis
of my qualifications. It was extremely frustrating to me to
time and time again encounter situations where I was unable
to get a job. I stayed out of work for five months and other
people eventually got the job with very few qualifications
and, in some instances, none at all. It became increasingly
obvious to me that qualifications had very little to do with
it. I was trying to get a job in a county where political
influence was essential to even get a minor job, even to the
extent of getting a job clerking in a store, much less getting
a job teaching school. Even such things as custodians, minor
employees in the town government, all these things, whether
it was driving the garbage truck or whatever, were highly
political.
In Cherokee, I was given an opportunity to function
according to my ability and, ironically, I much prefer a
situation where I'm allowed to stay because I'm valuable,
not because my relatives have political influence or because
of who my grandfather was, but because I perform a duty.
I've been told, quite frankly, that if I do not produce, if
I cannot produce efficiently, then certainly I'll be fired.
The very fact that I'm still there is indicative to me that
I do produce effectively, and, as long as I do so, I can stay.
There's a great deal of satisfaction in that. I might even
say it's a satisfaction I never got from teaching. As much
as I like teaching I never knew really whether I was perform-
ing effectively. In Cherokee, evidently I am. I am accepted
now. I have friends, but I have no illusions about things
like that. I frequently run into other whites functioning
in jobs similar to mine in Cherokee who, I feel, labor under
illusions about being absorbed into the culture. I know that
I am forever an outsider there, and that's as it should be.







13







There is a line finally--the Cherokees have their own
culture and their own identity and I cannot enter into that.
I hear whites talk a great deal about how they've been absorbed
into the culture, and people are sharing information with them
and telling them about their background and their tradition
and their history. But I don't feel that this indicates in
any way that you have been totally accepted. The very nature
of the Cherokee culture and being Indian, I feel, is such that
there is an uneasy alliance between the Indian and the white
man. I have Indian friends that I'm quite sure would loan me
money if I wanted it, would get me out of trouble if I got
into trouble, would assist me in any way if some sort of
tragedy befell me, but I am not a Cherokee and I never will
be. I cannot share their ethnic identity. I cannot share
their culture. Frankly, I envy them their culture. To me,
it's much more admirable than my own, but I have no illusions
about being absorbed into the culture. I think this is a
misguided liberal concept that a lot of white people have.
I sometimes hear teachers make statements like this, or
crusading oral history people; for example, people editing
books on the history of Cherokee, know [that] they have been
accepted to the extent that they are deserving of friendship.
But they are not Cherokee and they never will be. I frankly
feel that one of the most unfortunate mistakes that a non-
Indian can make is to hoist the standard and become a crusader
and rush madly about and make a lot of to-do about the in-
justice that has been done to the Indian. There's always
something embarrassing to me to be in the presence of a white
man who sits and makes critical statements of his own race,
and professes shame at what his people have done to the Indians.
Frankly, I feel that the average Indian can react in no way
but with contempt for a white man that makes a constant prac-
tice of talking in this manner. All this sentimental, maudlin
crusading that goes on in Cherokee, quite frankly, I feel,
undermines your effectiveness. I've sat in meetings where
Anglos, non-Indians, make statements that sounded like con-
fessions of guilt and how they were ashamed of their own
people and their own culture for the tremendous injustice that
they had done the Indian. A meaningful pursuit would be for
them, in some way, to repay the injustice done; pseudo-crusading.
I've run into the same thing with the Appalachian white
culture and crusaders there, pseudo-hicks, that show up with
the plaid shirts and brogans on, and make all sorts of dramatic
overtures about how they have discovered the wisdom, the stoic
fortitude, of mountain people, and how this isn't appreciated,
and how they intend to devote their lives to correcting the







14







image of the poor Appalachian white, the mountaineer. I
don't buy any of this, mainly because I am Appalachian white.
I know what it is to grow up in an environment that is dirty,
the smell of rotten cabbage. These are things I remember
from my childhood: the little shanty stuck on the side of
the hill; the old wrecked car in the front yard; the refrig-
erator abandoned down in the gully; the kids playing in the
front yard; and a gang of game chickens roosting under the
porch. Suddenly someone appears who finds a nobility in all
of this, and that's crap, frankly. It is not noble. There
is much in Appalachian culture that is ignorant, that is un-
just, that is cruel, and any attempts to whitewash it, to
enoble it, are misguided. Tendencies to go overboard: "It
is all good." It was not all good, and I think that the same
thing is true in relation to working with the Indians.
As much as I like the drama, I feel that in many re-
spects it does this: it casts everybody as good and evil.
There seems to be no shading in it. There's no gray, no mid-
dle ground. There's either the villain, whether it be Andrew
Jackson or one of the white Christian missionaries, Shimmer-
horn, and there's the good guys, Tsali Juneluska. This is
no more true than the misguided concept that there is some-
thing wise and stoic and almost mystical about a mountaineer
living in the Appalachian poverty belt. Of course, the fact
remains that there is much on the Appalachian culture that
is admirable. At the same time, in terms of the injustice
done the Indians, a terrible injustice was done to the Cher-
okees, but it does not assume the status of Dachau, or the
persecution of the Jews in the Second World War. This ten-
dency to telescope out of all perspective, I think, is detri-
mental to effectiveness.
To be truly effective working with the Cherokees, I've
decided during the past three years, requires a certain de-
tachment. You do not start saying, "We--we are going to do
this," under the assumption that you have become a Cherokee.
You continue to say, "you." "You will do this, and you will
benefit from this, and then you will have this." You are at
a definite disadvantage when you begin to assume that you
are working with them to the extent that you are one of them.
They're very sensitive to this. They know just when people
start saying, "we." "We have suffered an injustice," as
though my great-great-grandfather died on the Trail of Tears.
He didn't. He died following Gettysburg, which was a differ-
ent thing altogether, and has a nobility of its own. There's
no point in my trying to transpose my heritage and become a
Cherokee.







15







I remember twenty years ago when I first started work-
ing in craft shops, that frequently I would be standing talk-
ing to a group of people, and among that group would be
several Cherokees, and it would have all the appearance of
a typical conversation between young people. But then, some-
times the Indians would suddenly start talking to each other
in Cherokee. Sometimes this would give you a little feeling
of paranoia, you know, you had no idea what they were saying.
I think that maybe that's more or less an example of what I
mean. They would withdraw and talk with each other. I've
seen the same thing happen in the stores where a Cherokee
man would enter a store with his wife and he would inquire
as to the price of something. It's a big item, a refrigerator.
Then after discussing it with the proprietor of the store, he
would retire to the back, and he and his wife would discuss
it in Cherokee. Then he would come back and [he] either found
the price acceptable or unacceptable.
When I first started working nights in Cherokee, I had
a rotten job, I remember, a night watchman in front of one
of the big craft shops downtown, where he had a great deal
of merchandise that was awkward to move and heavy. So he just
left it out at night, and paid me to stay out there until I
think it was about twelve-thirty or one o'clock when I was
relieved and another fellow came. Cherokee would close down
usually about nine o'clock, and it would be pretty lonely out
there. Young Indian boys and girls would ride up and down
the street, just like they do in any small town, turn around
at one end of Cherokee and drive up to the other end and turn
around. Sometimes they'd stop and they'd yell things at me
in Cherokee. They always seemed friendly and they'd wave.
They'd holler things at me and I'd memorize them, grin like
an idiot and wave back. I'd memorize what they said. They'd
say things like, "sticoatali, tackojeadwaduti kopja." Hell,
I had no idea I was being insulted, and would wave back and
grin. Usually the next day I would go down to the Reserva-
tion Grill. That's a big restaurant that used to be in the
center of Cherokee. It doesn't exist anymore. There was an
old Indian there named Scodeski, [who] always ate his dinner
there at the same time every day. I'd ask him and he would
laugh and tell me what they had actually said to me that I
thought was a compliment. The consequences of all of this
is that when Indians spoke Cherokee, you were always at a
distinct disadvantage. You didn't know whether you were being
insulted or whether they were talking about something totally
unrelated to you. I don't hear that as often as I used to.
It used to be very common twenty years ago.







16







The old post office used to be directly across the street
from the craft shop where I was a night watchman. Late in
the afternoon, old Indians would gather and sit on the steps
of that post office and all the way around the porch, and
talk Cherokee in sort of a sleeping, lilting murmur that
would go on up until ten and eleven o'clock at night when
they'd go home. Of course, the old post office is gone, and
I don't know whether there's a gathering place similar to
that now. It's unfortunate if there isn't, because one of
the concerns in Cherokee, along with the loss of culture, so
much is already gone that it can't be retrieved, is the feel-
ing that they could lose their language. There's just not
that many people who converse fluently in Cherokee anymore,
or so I'm told. By what they mean not that many, I don't know
whether that means 200, 300, 1,000, what. But it is a genuine
concern of the tribe that the number is dwindling, and that
young people aren't as receptive to learning Cherokee as
they were. They're like all young people. They are strug-
gling with a generation gap. Many of the young Indians being
more oriented toward being a part of youth culture in a larger
sense, their own fads, music, what would interest a typical
young person anywhere. Rather than finding something admir-
able and something worth preserving in their own culture,
there's a tendency to break away. They teach Cherokee in the
school system, and you run into differing attitudes as to
why it isn't successful. Is it the fact that the young reject
it, or is it the fact that it is taught in such a boring,
monotonous, or inefficient manner that they're just not recep-
tive to it?
When the drama, Unto These Hills, first opened in Cher-
okee--I don't remember exactly, it was either 1952, 1953--1
remember I wrote a little essay in school that got me free
tickets to the first performance. Cherokee underwent consider-
able cultural shock that summer. Unto These Hills, ironically,
was not staffed by Indians. A lot of the local Indians got
parts, minor parts, mob scenes, got to work behind the scenes,
changing scenery, concessions, that sort of thing. The acting,
the big roles in the drama, went primarily to drama majors
and theatrical people. I think the majority of them came
from the University of North Carolina. The summer that Unto
These Hills opened and that cast arrived in Cherokee was some-
thing to remember. Being a former drama instructor myself,
I can say that the average person that showed up in Cherokee
to work with the drama in a prominent role, particularly the
dancers and some of the major speaking roles, were flamboyant,







17







to say the least. The mannerisms that the majority of them
had puzzled the local people in Cherokee considerably. The
males were a little difficult to identify, and this was in
the fifties. This was long before long hair became fashion-
able. A lot of them were somewhat puzzling in terms of their
behavior as to whether they were male or female. A consider-
able number of the cast was made up of young boys with per-
oxided hair who wore bathing suits all the time. When they
first began to come downtown in Cherokee, and for the next
several years, it was something to witness. The local people
never did adjust to the cast from the drama. They usually
came in a large crowd, and they were usually quite noisy and
flamboyantly dressed, or certainly dressed to attract atten-
tion. Several business establishments refused to let them
in because of little scenes they made and embarrassing situa-
tions that developed while they were in restaurants. They
used to stay in the Reservation Grill quite a lot and down
at the bus station quite a lot.
I guess what's significant about that entire period, and,
to some degree is still significant, is the fact that Indians
have such a small part in the production of the drama that is
supposed to depict their own tragic history. This has been
a source of much ill feeling in Cherokee. You can encounter
it just about anywhere. It goes beyond the fact that the
actors, many of them depicting Cherokees, are actually drama
majors from the University of North Carolina or, in some in-
stances, dance majors, professional dance majors from New
York. The whole purpose of the drama and what it represents
economically in Cherokee is a touchy issue, because so much
derived directly from the drama is not given to the Cherokees.
It's amazing how little of the profits which originate directly
from the drama are absorbed by the Cherokees. Most of them
are absorbed by Unto These Hills itself. Of course, the
attitude of the drama personnel is that Unto These Hills is
a tremendous benefit to Cherokee even if the tribe does not
benefit directly from Unto These Hills by sharing in the
profits, that the drama draws people to Cherokee. As a con-
sequence of its being here, everything else flourishes because
people come to the drama, they eat in restaurants, they stay
in motels, they buy items in craft shops, which may be true
to an extent. Certainly Unto These Hills is the most success-
ful outdoor drama in the Southeast and, quite possibly, in
the United States. But it remains an issue every spring when
tryouts occur for Unto These Hills that the major roles are
acquired by non-Indians. They are acquired by theatrical







18








people, people outside the Cherokee Indian culture. Yet,
here we have a drama depicting an injustice suffered by the
Cherokees. You commonly hear the attitude that the drama
itself is an injustice inflicted on the Cherokees.
Back in the early fifties, just after the drama opened,
there was another incident that occurred in Cherokee that I
remember vividly. That's when Walt Disney came to Cherokee
to film Davy Crockett. I think we all lost our sanity.
Everybody decided to quit their job and go up and be an
extra. I had to suffer the indignity of being rejected be-
cause I wasn't tall enough. They filmed about half of Davy
Crockett in Cherokee, and a lot of my friends at that time,
young Indian boys, made a killing because Disney paid well
for extras. As a matter of fact, we were all a little un-
accustomed to the amount of money that Disney was providing
for extras. I remember Mickey Little John really made a
killing. There was a whole sequence of shots that were
filmed in the Oconaluftee River, and Mickey, with a Mohawk
haircut, would tumble from a tree into the river, from a
rock into the river, fall from the bank into the river. I
don't know how many times he was killed in that movie, but
it was an amazing amount of money. I'd hesitate to say how
much it was now, but at that time it was an amazing amount
of money. I know the mob scenes paid twelve dollars a day
just simply to stand in a mob in a costume that they gave
you. Fess Parker, who played Davy Crockett, would frequently
come downtown in Cherokee. He always accumulated a mob scene
around him when he came up the street, a remarkably tall man,
always sticking head and shoulders above everybody else.
Some mornings when I would come to work, we all rode in
from Sylva, and we always had a car pool. Somebody else's
responsibility, you know; we'd alternate days as to who had
to provide the transportation. At that time, I was riding
with the butcher at the B & C Grocery, which was an old, log
grocery store that's been torn down now that was down next
to the museum, where the Red Skin Motel is now. (I believe
I said earlier on this tape that it was the Warrior Motel.
It was the Red Skin Motel, that is located now where the old
B & C Grocery used to be, and where the museum used to be.)
Some mornings when we were coming into Cherokee, they would
be filming just at the break of day in that river. There'd
be fog on the river. They'd be filming a sequence, usually
a hunt and chase sequence that would involve a lot of young
people, and everybody became celebrities of sorts. There
were seven or eight local Cherokees that became minor celeb-
rities. You saw them every day up and down the streets, and







19







they had more money than anybody else.
I remember I was working in the Dairy Queen at that
time, another lousy job. I used to work for a man who was
so stingy he made me go out every afternoon and pick up all
those little plastic spoons and sterilize them and put them
back in the cup again, use them over and over and over.
The chief, who was at the next craft shop, stood out with
the big headdress on, was recruited by Disney, and I thought
for several days that he had recruited him to play in one
of the massacre scenes. Come to find out he took this par-
ticular chief with him when he left Cherokee and went to
Texas to film the Alamo sequence, because he looked remark-
ably like a Mexican. He was perfect for a Mexican officer
in some of the fight sequences out there. So instead of
being a Cherokee, he was a Mexican officer! The girl that
worked in the same craft shop had a baby about two or three
months old, and it became a star in the film. There was a
big sequence in the film where it was found in the corn
field by Davy Crockett and taken home.
A lot of us just forgot about work. We just quit work,
lost our jobs, because we were so fascinated by the whole
movie apparatus that we followed it around. I remember I
spent a week before finally my grandfather made me go back
to work, following the filming around. They were filming
at the entrance of the park. I remember a lot of us went
up and sat up in the woods and watched them film a bloody
massacre sequence, They had wires that ran from little
machines that they fired arrows from, and the arrows were
hollow. They went down the wire into a cork disc that would
be strapped on someone's back or chest. We got to watch all
of the make-up. Sat up there and watched them create bruises
and huge gashes in peoples' heads for the bloody sequences.
Sometimes they would recruit thirty or forty local boys to
do nothing but dress in Indian costumes, which were not
Cherokee, and they would walk up the hill, and then they
would walk down the hill, and then they would walk across
the hill. It was amazing how much of a film could be filmed
in the same area and give the impression that it covered
miles and miles of travel. I remember one afternoon when
they were filming a sequence when Davy Crockett was supposed
to be knocked unconscious, and just before he was to be
scalped, or his head cracked with an Indian tomahawk, why,
Buddy Ebsen shot the Indian that was attacking him and saved
Davy Crockett's life. But in the sequence, the boy that
was supposed to hit Fess Parker misunderstood the instruc-
tions and really did hit him. It was a rubber tomahawk, and







20







of course it was a minor wound, but he stunned Fess Parker
temporarily. They had to explain to him then, show him how
the apparatus worked, and that he did not actually hit him,
and that they had to go through a make-up sequence and then
come back and take up filming from the point where the wound
was inflicted.





Full Text

PAGE 1

SOUTHEASTERN INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA In cooperation with The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians INTERVIEWEE: Gary Carden (monologue) DATE: February 14, 1975

PAGE 2

------------------------~--~ ~ S: My name is Gary Carden. I'm forty years of age and I'm making this tape on February 14, 1975. I am employed by the Eastern Bank of Cherokee Indians as a planner. Specifically, I work for the Office of Economic Development, and I've held this position for about three years now. The primary reason I'm making this tape is [that] I'm concerned about the Oral History Project. It seems to be, more or less, at a standstill, and I thought possibly all that was necessary is for someone to initiate [the] process. Even though I'm white and any statement I might make, or any information I might give, might be of questionable relevance, at least it will initiate the process and maybe get something started. I certainly intend to see,after this tape is sub mitted, if I can follow up and get other people to submit tapes. I was born in Sylva, North Carolina, which is seventeen miles from the Qualla Indian Boundary. I was born in what a cousin of mine, who is a doctor, once euphemistically re ferred to in my presence as genteel poverty, which is a term that fascinates me. I was raised by a grandfather and a grandmother. My father was killed when I was two years old. He was a mountain musician, had a little string band that played at dances in western North Carolina. He was shot and killed by a fella bombed out of his head on wood alcohol. Shortly after that, my mother brought me to my grandfather's house, left me and vanished, and I never saw her again. I'm a product of Appalachian culture and ironically, I could probably say a great deal more about Appalachian cul ture than l could Indian culture. I grew up in the Appala chian poverty belt, had an asafetida bag around my neck at the age of six. I am acquainted with most of the mountain remedies. I've helped my grandfather treat a cow for the hollow tail, and pigs for the scours, and planting by the signs of the moon and so forth. I'm not only familiar with, I'm a victim of a great deal of Appalachian remedies and medicines, since my grandfather was a great practitioner of folk medicine. From my earliest memories, whether it be croup, earache, or red-eye, I remember vividly some of the treatments. Living in this close a proximity to the Cherokee Indians, I guess it's logical that there is a kind of over lapping of culture, a sort of a blurring of lines. There are elements in this area that are Indian in origin, even though they're commonly associated with Appalachian culture and

PAGE 3

2 vice versa. My earliest memory of Cherokee was riding into Cherokee in an old oil truck in the late forties; my grandfather worked for the Standard Oil Company, and delivered oil onto the Qualla Indian Boundary and to the little town of Cherokee. We always came down to Gateway, and Harry Shelton's place, the prison camp, and straight on out to Albert Patton's, and on into Cherokee. Innnediately after the Second World War, in the late forties, beer was legalized in this area; that was one of the consequences of the veterans returning from the Second World War. The road between Gateway and Cherokee was covered with little lean-to shanties that sold beer and wine. Al though I've heard several Cherokees tell at great length how they were discriminated against in some of these early beer joints, I have no knowledge of that. There's no reason why I should, I suppose, I was really too young. I know Mark Reed, the tribal interpreter, says that the black people bought beer at the back door, and the Indian was not allowed to buy beer at all. That's quite possibly true, although I'd like to observe that there were damned few blacks. There have never been many blacks in this area of west ern North Carolina, and to my knowledge, they were practically non-existent on the Qualla Indian Boundary. I think it note worthy to observe that in terms of discrimination, I have never in my life run into a situation, whether it was in north Geo;rgia, south Alabama, or western North Carolina, where discrimination against blacks was a pronounced as it was on the Qualla Indian Boundary in the late forties and the early fifties. I've seen construction crews that em ployed blacks come into town and buy food in Cherokee, and take it back out of town, in paper bags, and distribute it to the construction crew. I've seen them sleeping in fields while they were working on projects. The first few blacks I'm aware of, in the fifties, yes, '52, '53, that worked in Cherokee, commuted in and out. No one would provide them with rooms on the Qualla Indian Boundary. I remember when the tourist trade began to boom, and it really didn't begin to boom until the 1950s, quite frequently bu~loads of blacks would arrive in Cherokee and either end up camping out in the campgrounds or going on to some other place. They weren't admitted to restaurants on the Qualla Indian Boundary and they weren't allowed to stay in motels. Some of my most vivid memories relate to instances where blacks came to Cherokee and attempted to enter restaurants, or craft shops, or make reservations at motels.

PAGE 4

3 The first job I ever had was in Cherokee. That's logi cal once you understand this area and unemployment in this area. When Cheroke . e opened up in the late forties and it became obvious that it was going to develop as a tourist in dustry aspect--that motels, craft shops, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, all of these things had potential and would in all likelihood develop into tourist attractionsmountain boys and girls in this area found that generally if they wanted to work in the summer, and most of us did, about the only employment available was in Cherokee. So it got to be kind of a custom in the late forties and early fifties, for boys and girls in their teens, from Sylva, Bryson City, sometimes as far away as Franklin and Waynesville, to go into Cherokee in May and find a position, and this usually wasn't difficult to do. They would take your name and phone number, and tell you they'd call you in a short period of time, and it really was a short period of time. You would go to work in Cherokee in May, and be able to retain a job until the latter part of August, and each year it got better. Employment increased, and I guess it is peculiar that the majority of the jobs available in Cherokee were held by white. Appalachian boys and girls in their teens. There . were Indians working in craft shops and motels and restaurants, but I'd have to say, I guess, that the major ity of employees were white Appalachian kids. The salary wasn't particularly good. The best I remember, I think the average salary in the early fifties was like twelve dollars and a half to fourteen dollars a week. You got one day off, and it never came on a weekend because that's when the tour ist trade was at its peak; always on Saturday or Sunday. So you usually got off on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, and with the coming of the drama [Unto These Hills, a dramatic presen tation for the tourist trade] this just reinforced it. I guess one reason you could always depend on a job in Cherokee was because of the turnover. If everybody was full up when you went to Cherokee, there were no vacancies, no employment at all, it would be a relatively short period of time before they would call you, usually a matter of two or three weeks and you would have a job in a restaurant, or in a craft shop, or working with the drama, and this is largely due to the turnover. It was not exactly because of the work hours and the working conditions. lt was a hectic kind of work dealing with tourists and the public in craft shop trade. I remember that it was sort of a custom in Cherokee that if you sold a customer, one customer, in excess of $100 in

PAGE 5

4 merchandise, then your employer would give you your dinner free. I can remember that we thought that was something. We'd boast about it for weeks when we actually got around to getting a dinner free. Right from the beginning, it was almost a carnival at mosphere in Cherokee. I guess it's the aspect that many people living on Qualla Indian Boundary dislike the most or find most repugnant. Main Street in Cherokee looked more like an area near a beach, really. There were structures that looked like they were temporary; little wooden structures that looked like they were just meant to last for the summer, cotton candy, and shooting galleries, archery ranges, a great deal of noise and loud music, and of course a great proliferation of what can quite frankly be called nothing but junk. I've always had very definite feelings about this --as to what junk shops and some of the merchandise that existed in Cherokee during the early fifties and still exists there now--what it indicates. Who's responsible for it? I qu:i,te frankly do not feel that the Cherokees are totally responsible for the tremendous amount of merchandise that is sold in Cherokee that is not ethnic or of Indian culture, but originates from Japan or from Mexico. I've sold Shimayo blankets and Mexican pottery and Swedish knives, and I'm quite sure, in many instances, the people who bought them thought they were buying crafts that were made by the Cherokees. Quite frankly, l've worked in so many craft shops in Cherokee, l feel justified in observing that the tourists are largely responsible for this. I remember several proprietors in Cherokee who opened authentic Cherokee stores in the early fifties would put nothing in them but items that were gen uinely Cherokee. They were made by some noted craftsman or by people in the area. Certainly, I remember in the spring, there were tremendous numbers of people who would come down out of Soco and Big Cove, and bring items that they had made during the winter to sell in craft shops, and these were very respectable items. They were definitely authentic. But quite frankly, when you get right down to it, junk sells in Cherokee because people want it. It took me a long time to realize this, I guess. The proprietors I mentioned with the Indian stores, they went broke. They couldn't retain a busi ness with authentic Indian crafts. Once you begin to notice how things went in Cherokee, that a typical visitor to Cher okee might be a cotton mill worker from South Carolina, who had a two-week vacation, and he arrived in Cherokee mad and fed up with three or four kids and his wife, and found a park ing place, and passed everybody out two dollars or three

PAGE 6

-------------5 dollars. They usually got exactly what they wanted, I sup pose. They got a Japanese ashtray, or they got a little carved bear from Japan or from Mexico, or they bought a plaited whip, little bull whips that we used to buy in grosses that came from Mexico. There were other items too. I re member Crisco lard cans with rubber stretched over the end of them and stitched until they made little drums. I guess they're still prevalent in craft shops. Tomahawks that were made out of river rock, painted a little bit, and put in a split stick, and tied with a rawhide thong, and two dollars and a half put on it, or three or four dollars. People bought these items because that's what they wanted. One of my earliest memories is the museum. The old museum in Cherokee was down below the bridge where the Red Skin Motel is now and Tom Underwood was, I guess, what you would call a curator. He had a very respectable display, and it was very authentic, and it reflected an aspect of Cherokee that was genuine and real. But unfortunately, when I used to go in there and watch tourists come in, I always got the feeling that they were disappointed, that the Cherokees were not what they thought they were. And by that, I mean a blood thirsty savage. They wanted an Indian with a Mohawk haircut. They wanted to be told about massacres and murder, and Tom Underwood would show them Sequoia's little newspaper. He would tell them about Sequoia's alphabet. He would stress the fact that the Cherokees were primarily agrarian, farmers in nature, that they did not conform to the movie or the tele vision concept of what an Indian was. They did not live in teepees. They lived in log huts or cabins. They did not dress in flamboyant colors and big headdresses, but this was a Plains Indian attribute; that the Cherokees at most wore a single feather or two feathers. I remember his lecture, and I remember mobs of tourists, Bermuda shorts and cameras, and a gang of kids. They became generally dissatisfied. You would see them wandering from place to place in the museum looking for something that re flected violence, or bloodshed, or something more in keeping with their image of what an Indian was. The fact that the Cherokees were genuinely a sophisticated Indian tribe was boring to them. They weren't particularly pleased to stand and listen to lectures about the Cherokees being peaceful farmers, living in log huts, educated, having their own lan guage, their own government, and a highly sophisticated kind of government. They would interrupt and ask questions about war paint and massacres.

PAGE 7

6 I guess it was just a gradual process of the tourists getting what they wanted. Chiefs began to show up in front of craft shops in Cherokee, and, of course, that's ludicrous. I've seen tourists come and take pictures of young Indian boys standing outside craft shops with these fantastic war bonnets on, that probably came from South Dakota, leather leggings probably from Oklahoma; all sorts of flamboyant In dian articles that originated from maybe five or six differ ent cultures, Plains Indian cultures. [They] go away think ing that they had met and talked to the chief of the Cherokees. During the peak season in Cherokee, there might be thirty chiefs, or forty, standing up and down the street in front of craft shops, when the actual chief was a man not unlike a small mayor who stayed at the tribal council house. They had no knowledge of him. They met some young Indian with a colorful name, and took his picture and went away, and, I'm sure, returned home and told their friends, and showed them pictures of their meeting with the chief of the Cherokees. I remember one colorful old fellow who claimed to be the most photographed Indian chief in America, and that's what his sign said outside the craft shop. That was a master. He was colorful, and I'm sure in terms of people getting what they pay for, he was a delight. You'd have to pay him to take his picture. He pretended to know no English except the word "tip," which he would say. He'd hold out his hand and say, "tip," and if you didn't pay him, he'd turn his war bonnet wrong side out so that you couldn't take his picture. He functioned in Cherokee almost through the fifties, and he always drew a tremendous crowd. He gave them a little show, but many people left with the impression that he was the chief of the Cherokees. When some of the local Indians began to realize that being Indian was a salable commodity, even if they did have to alter their image to conform with the image that a typical tourist would have of an Indian, they began to profit by it. They gave the public what theY' , :'Wanted. Teepees began to show up which, of course, have no relation to Cherokee culture. Some of them were made out of sheet tin anyway. Women began to show up in Cherokee with babies tied on their back with bed sheets which, to the tourist, was a papoose. They would sit at the bus station, and in the process of a day make a pretty good living having their picture made by tourists who got on and off the bus at the bus station. A great many of the merchants in Cherokee did observe a type of ethic in relation to items that they sold in their craft shops. They would put items on shelves and label them

PAGE 8

7 souvenirs, "souvenirs of Cherokee." And, of course, a sou venir could be anything. It could be a Japanese ashtray, or it could be some practical joke toy. Then another table would have "authentic craft" on it. I remember several craft shop owners that carried craft produced by tribes in the Mid west, and labeled it as such. They would have big displays and they would be labeled "Navajo," and a little chart on the front of the display that explained that it did come from another Indian tribe. The Shimayo blankets were labeled as Shimayo. Any of the artifacts that originated from the Seminoles or the Miccosukees or the Senecas was labeled as such. Zuni jewelry, the turquoise, is particularly an item that many tourists have never understood--that turquoise jewelry originates from the Midwest. Many of them buy it in Cherokee and assume that they have bought jewelry made by a Cherokee. Quite logically it may be the product of an Indian craftsman, but not in Cherokee, probably in the Midwest in states like Arizona and New Mexico where they have laws that require them to label all jewelry as to whether it was a product of a native craftsman or not. Now, a lot of the local Indian people are repulsed by what Cherokee has become commercially. They talk about the prostitution of their culture, and justifiably so. But at the same time, the fact remains, I think, that Cherokee is giving the public what it wants. It is a shock for an out sider, particularly an Indian from another tribe, to come into Cherokee. By the time he goes through Maggie Valley, and passes things like Frontierland and Santa's Land, and comes on down into Cherokee and sees all that seething com mercialism that goes on in the summer, and the signs ... you know, anything from a dancing chicken to a chair lift to a "See the Live Bear" floor shows, types that are given out side on platforms of Indian dances •.. [he] works his way through all of that, and he's a little stunned by what he's encountered. Frequently you run into young Indians, who greatly resent what they have had to do while they were growing up. A lot of them worked in craft shops, or have been a chief or par ticipated in some way in the commercial aspect of Cherokee, and they greatly resent what they have had to do to survive economically. They would like to see it authentic, genuine, honest, something they could be proud of. Of course, things like the drama have done a lot to give a genuine image of Cherokee. Things like the Oconaluftee Indian Village, but still I suppose there will always be this other aspect of Cherokee; the junk shops that are filled with junk that would

PAGE 9

8 be the same items that you would find in a junk shop at Niagara Falls, or in south Florida, or off the interstate in Georgia. I know I've been surprised at some of the items that are common to Cherokee; I've found them in strange places, in Knoxville and Nashville, Tennessee. When I've been in Phoenix, I've seen them in shops out there--mass produced souvenirs that show up anywhere close to an Indian tribe. But nowhere, to my knowledge, is there a tribe that is as heavily commercialized and oriented toward tourist trade as the Cherokees. Now of course a lot of this is just sheer accident since the Cherokees happen to be so close to the Great Smoky Moun tains National Park. People come to the park, and as a con sequence come into Cherokee and directly into the commercial district. A typical hard-headed businessman, a proprietor of one of these shops in Cherokee, will quite frankly tell you that he sees nothing unethical about it, and many of them justify it historically, you know, considering what has been done to the Cherokees by the white man. Then, it is of little significance in terms of justice or ethics, what they might sell white men that is not what the white man thinks it is. Quite frequently you run into the attitude, "Rip them off. We deserve it. If we do it from now and for the next hundred years, it will not repay what has been done to us, as a people here." In terms of ill feelings between Indians and whites, quite frankly, now this is just my attitude, I feel like it's the other way around. My first job in Cherokee, I guess it was when I was fourteen years old, and I crune to Cherokee and worked. As a matter of fact I held two jobs, and while I was in college at Western Carolina, it even got to the point where I held three jobs in an attempt to make enough money to return to school. I found generally that it took quite some time for me to develop a friendly relationship with the local In dians. They were by nature guarded, cautious, you make any little overtures of friendship, they would not be accepted immediately. Eventually if they got to know you, and even tually if they genuinely felt that you were an honest and sincere individual, well, they were not different from any one else. But I always felt that I was in the position of having to prove myself to them, and not vice versa. I guess that's as it should be because, after all, I was encroaching on their territory. I was working in Cherokee, they were not working in Sylva. I came there and it was their home. I think this is generally true in the attitude of most young Indian people to outside whites.

PAGE 10

9 I know a particularly touchy issue when I was growing up was dating Indian girls. This was just something that was not advisable. When I used to come to Cherokee, when I was sixteen, seventeen years old and I'd see attractive In dian girls, if I wanted to assure myself of animosity all I had to do was approach these girls or try to talk to them in the presence of Indian boys. They generally resented it very much. I remember one grim night when I took a little girl home, a little Indian girl at the Tom-tom, took her way up in Saco somewhere. I was not aware that it was vir tually a taboo; that a white boy from Sylva did not date the local Indian girls and that the Indian boys didn't approve of it. I had been seen picking her up, and on the way home we picked up a couple of cars that were driving very close to the back of my car, and I finally said, "Well, I wonder who that is?" She says, "oh, I can tell you who that is. That's my two brothers, and they intend to beat the hell out of you just as quick as you get me home." Well, fortunately, they decided to wait for me to come back, and after I took her home and started back down the road, there they were. They had their cars with something that looked . like ax handles, had their headlights on and, my 'God, I didn't know what to do. I had a little old '39 Ford--1 took to a potato patch off to the left, and beat my brains out against the roof, and went completely around them and bounced into a ditch and out again and back into the road, and I never got out of second gear until I got to Dillsboro. I can assure you it definitely altered my attitude about Indian girls. That was generally true for the boys of my period, the 1950s. I don't know what the situation is now, but during the 1950s it was not advis able at all for white Appalachian boys to attempt to court Indian girls. There used to be up in Saco a big square-dance hall, and it really boomed on Saturday night. If you were looking for trouble, the thing to do would be to go to that square dance in Soco, Maggie Valley, and attempt to dance with a lot of Indian girls. It was quite common practice, you'd hear about it every Monday morning, where some poor devil had danced with one girl several times and found himself laying in the parking lot outside the square-dance building when he attempted to leave. Usually four or five Indian boys, all relatives of the girl, were the ones that would tend to the fellow. Since I've been working in Cherokee, I've had Indians who were about the same age as I am . tell me of incidents that occurred to them when they were young and growing up that they bitterly resented, that indicated prejudice or bigotry

PAGE 11

10 on the part of mountain whites. Such instances as being in the Cherokee High School Band and playing in a parade at Bryson City, or Waynesville, or Sylva, and having insults yelled at them from the sidelines. I've even heard them tell of instances where people would spit on them. I've never observed anything like this. That doesn't necessarily mean that it's not true, but I have never seen it. I've seen discrimination against Indians in Philadelphia, Mississ ippi, where the Choctaws are, and it's by no means cleared up yet. That's still a grim place to be an Indian. But generally I have never witnessed instances where Indians were mistreated. I don't mean to imply that it didn't exist at all, because usually it came out in the form of conversa tion. I've heard poor mountain whites express bitter resent ment against the Indians because they have this misguided concept that the Indian has a free ride, and that he has money provided by the government, his medical bills are paid by the government, his education is paid for by the govern ment. If he doesn't work, he receives money and groceries and in comparison with their own situation, they bitterly resented this. I guess I know of two instances in my entire life where there was some reluctance on the part of parents of a white girl who married an Indian boy. They were a little disturbed by it. I don't think it had anything to do with bigotry as much as it had to do with concern for their welfare; func tioning in two cultures. You know, where were they going to live, what were they going to do, what was the girl getting into? Was she going to live on the Indian reservation? How would she be treated in Cherokee? Or the other way around. If they live outside the reservation and he is functioning in a white world, is he going to encounter trouble? That seemed to be the primary motivation in most instances that I know of this. The parents were fairly sophisticated and educated people. There's no doubt about it. Marriage be tween an Indian and a white produces definite hardships. I could cite numerous instances of that. This is just as true from the Indian side as it is from the white side, I think. There is a deep tribal awareness of blood lines and blood degrees and of the need to retain as high a percentage of Indian blood as possible. I guess this is one of the most frequent references you hear. There are many Indians in Cherokee who feel that it is more or less an obligation to your people that you marry within the tribe, that you re tain blood lines as much as possible. There's a small cult or group in Cherokee that calls itself the Fullbloods. To

PAGE 12

--------------------------------------------------11 them it is absolutely essential that you retain your ethnic identity and what it means to be a Cherokee Indian by remain ing within your culture, and marrying within your culture, and raising your children within that culture. Speaking for myself, I've had trouble being accepted. There is little wonder because I hold the position within the tribal government as a planner, and, of course, since the attitude in recent years has been very much oriented toward self-determination, that the Indian must determine his own destiny, my presence is a contradiction. You know, why isn't an Indian sitting there? What am I doing planning the eco nomic future of the Cherokees? I ran into a great deal of antagonism during the first few months I was there, and they're certainly honest. They will confront you directly. I've had young Indian boys walk into my office and bluntly say, "Why are you here, Unagi?" That roughly translates as "white man," although it loses something in the translation. "Are you Indian?" And of course I obviously wasn't. Then they will tell me at length that my position should be held by an Indian. And, frankly, I agree with them. My position should be held by an Indian, and I'm sure that eventually, one of these days, it will be. But right now, I'm a necessary evil as far as self-determina tion is concerned. I function within the tribal government, but my purpose in being there and my motives is frequently misinterpreted. This gives you a peculiar sense of guilt. You find yourself constantly trying to assure them that your presence is worthwhile, that you are doing things that are good for the Indian people, You go out of your way to make them aware of this because it's a justifiable criticism, especially in an area that has as high an unemployment rate as Cherokee does. At present unemployment in Cherokee is up to twenty-two percent. Here you have the rest of the nation distressed because of a seven percent unemployment ratio. But in the area of western North Carolina where Cherokee is located, tourism is such a tremendous factor that after August employ ment potential dwindles rapidly. It fluctuates to the extent that unemployment will get as low as two percent, or in some instances, one percent in the month of July. By the follow ing July it will be up to eighteen percent, and it's even more this particular year because an industry closed recently in Cherokee, Vassar. In general there's been a cutback in other employment agencies in Cherokee that provide permanent employment. So unemployment is critical. One of the peculiar side effects of this is that the majority of industrial

PAGE 13

12 employment on the Qualla Indian Boundary is oriented towards females. Most of the plants There are very few whites in the tribal government that function there in a major capacity. But as time has gone on, I have been able to stay, and I hope that I'll be able to stay for quite some time. The reason for that I think is especially interesting: I was not able to find work in Jack son County, where I'm originally from. I taught school for twelve years. I was a college instructor. I returned to Jackson County in 1972 and I could not find work anywhere. The basic reason that I couldn't is because it was economi cally depressed; factors I've already mentioned about unem ployment in this area in any way. But in Jackson County it was highly political, and I could not get a job on the basis of my qualifications. It was extremely frustrating to me to time and time again encounter situations where I was unable to get a job. I stayed out of work for five months and other people eventually got the job with very few qualifications and, in some instances, none at all. It became increasingly obvious to me that qualifications had very little to do with it. I was trying to get a job in a county where political influence was essential to even get a minor job, even to the extent of getting a job clerking in a store, much less getting a job teaching school. Even such things as custodians, minor employees in the town government, all these things, whether it was driving the garbage truck or whatever, were highly political. In Cherokee, I was given an opportunity to function according to my ability and, ironically, I much prefer a situation where I'm allowed to stay because I'm valuable, not because my relatives have political influence or because of who my grandfather was, but because I perform a duty. I've been told, quite frankly, that if I do not produce, if I cannot produce efficiently, then certainly I'll be fired. The very fact that I'm still there is indicative to me that I do produce effectively, and, as long as I do so, I can stay. There's a great deal of satisfaction in that. I might even say it's a satisfaction l never got from teaching. As much as I like teaching I never knew really whether I was perform ing effectively. In Cherokee, evidently I am. I am accepted now. I have friends, but I have no illusions about things like that. I frequently run into other whites functioning in jobs similar to mine in Cherokee who, I feel, labor under illusions about being absorbed into the culture. I know that I am forever an outsider there, and that's as it should be.

PAGE 14

13 There is a line finally--the Cherokees have their own culture and their own identity and I cannot enter into that. I hear whites talk a great deal about how they've been absorbed into the culture, and people are sharing information with them and telling them about their background and their tradition and their history. But I don't feel that this indicates in any way that you have been totally accepted. The very nature of the Cherokee culture and being Indian, I feel, is such that there is an uneasy alliance between the Indian and the white man. I have Indian friends that I'm quite sure would loan me money if I wanted it, would get me out of trouble if I got into trouble, would assist me in any way if some sort of tragedy befell me, but I am not a Cherokee and I never will be. I cannot share their ethnic identity. I cannot share their culture. Frankly, I envy them their culture. To me, it's much more admirable than my own, but I have no illusions about being absorbed into the culture. I think this is a misguided liberal concept that a lot of white people have. I sometimes hear teachers make statements like this, or crusading oral history people; for example, people editing books on the history of Cherokee, know [that] they have been accepted to the extent that they are deserving of friendship. But they are not Cherokee and they never will be. I frankly feel that one of the most unfortunate mistakes that a non Indian can make is to hoist the standard and become a crusader and rush madly about and make a lot of to-do about the in justice that has been done to the Indian. There's always something embarrassing to me to be in the presence of a white man who sits and makes critical statements of his own race, and professes shame at what his people have done to the Indians. Frankly, I feel that the average Indian can react in no way but with contempt for a white man that makes a constant prac tice of talking in this manner. All this sentimental, maudlin crusading that goes on in Cherokee, quite frankly, I feel, undermines your effectiveness. I've sat in meetings where Anglos, non-Indians, make statements that sounded like con fessions of guilt and how they were ashamed of their own people and their own culture for the tremendous injustice that they had done the Indian. A meaningful pursuit would be for them, in some way, to repay the injustice done; pseudo-crusading. I've run into the same thing with the Appalachian white culture and crusaders there, pseudo-hicks, that show up with the plaid shirts and brogans on, and make all sorts of dramatic overtures about how they have discovered the wisdom, the stoic fortitude, of mountain people, and how this isn't appreciated, and how they intend to devote their lives to correcting the

PAGE 15

~------------------------------~ ~ -14 image of the poor Appalachian white, the mountaineer. I don't buy any of this, mainly because I am Appalachian white. I know what it is to grow up in an environment that is dirty, the smell of rotten cabbage. These are things I remember from my childhood: the little shanty stuck on the side of the hill; the old wrecked car in the front yard; the refrig erator abandoned down in the gully; the kids playing in the front yard; and a gang of game chickens roosting under the porch. Suddenly someone appears who finds a nobility in all of this, and that's crap, frankly. It is not noble. There is much in Appalachian culture that is ignorant, that is un just, that is cruel, and any attempts to whitewash it, to enoble it, are misguided. Tendencies to go overboard: "It is all good." It was not all good, and I think that the same thing is true in relation to working with the Indians. As much as I like the drama, I feel that in many re spects it does this: it casts everybody as good and evil. There seems to be no shading in it. There's no gray, no mid dle ground. There's either the villain, whether it be Andrew Jackson or one of the white Christian missionaries, Shimmer horn, and there's the good guys, Tsali Juneluska. This is no more true than the misguided concept that there is some thing wise and stoic and almost mystical about a mountaineer living in the Appalachian poverty belt. Of course, the fact remains that there is much on the Appalachian culture that is admirable. At the same time, in terms of the injustice done the Indians, a terrible injustice was done to the Cher okees, but it does not assume the status of Dachau, or the persecution of the Jews in the Second World War. This ten dency to telescope out of all perspective, I think, is detri mental to effectiveness. To be truly effective working with the Cherokees, I've decided during the past three years, requires a certain de tachment. You do not start saying, "We--we are going to do this," under the assumption that you have become a Cherokee. You continue to say, "you.'' "You will do this, and you will benefit from this, and then you will have this." You are at a definite disadvantage when you begin to assume that you are working with them to the extent that you are one of them. They're very sensitive to this. They know just when people start saying, "we." "We have suffered an injustice," as though my great-great-grandfather died on the Trail of Tears. He didn't. He died following Gettysburg, which was a differ ent thing altogether, and has a nobility of its own. There's no point in my trying to transpose my heritage and become a Cherokee.

PAGE 16

15 I remember twenty years ago when I first started work ing in craft shops, that frequently I would be standing talk ing to a group of people, and among that group would be several Cherokees, and it would have all the appearance of a typical conversation between young people. But then, some times the Indians would suddenly start talking to each other in Cherokee. Sometimes this would give you a little feeling of paranoia, you know, you had no idea what they were saying. I think that maybe that's more or less an example of what I mean. They would withdraw and talk with each other. I've seen the same thing happen in the stores where a Cherokee man would enter a store with his wife and he would inquire as to the price of something. It's a big item, a refrigerator. Then after discussing it with the proprietor of the store, he would retire to the back, and he and his wife would discuss it in Cherokee. Then he would come back and [he] either found the price acceptable or unacceptable. When I first started working nights in Cherokee, I had a rotten job, I remember, a night watchman in front of one of the big craft shops downtown, where he had a great deal of merchandise that was awkward to move and heavy. So he just left it out at night, and paid me to stay out there until I think it was about twelve-thirty or one o'clock when I was relieved and another fellow came. Cherokee would close down usually about nine o'clock, and it would be pretty lonely out there. Young Indian boys and girls would ride up and down the street, just like they do in any small town, turn around at one end of Cherokee and drive up to the other end and turn around. Sometimes they'd stop and they'd yell things at me in Cherokee. They always seemed friendly and they'd wave. They'd holler things at me and I'd memorize them, grin like an idiot and wave back. I'd memorize what they said. They'd say things like, ''sticoatali, tackojeadwaduti kopja. 11 Hell, I had no idea I was being insulted, and would wave back and grin. Usually the next day I would go down to the Reserva tion Grill. That's a big restaurant that used to be in the center of Cherokee. It doesn't exist anymore. There was an old Indian there named Scodeski, [who] always ate his dinner there at the same time every day. I'd ask him and he would laugh and tell me what they had actually said to me that I thought was a compliment. The consequences of all of this is that when Indians spoke Cherokee, you were always at a distinct disadvantage. You didn't know whether you were being insulted or whether they were talking about something totally unrelated to you. I don't hear that as often as I used to. It used to be very common twenty years ago.

PAGE 17

16 The old post office used to be directly across the street from the craft shop where I was a night watchman. Late in the afternoon, old Indians would gather and sit on the steps of that post office and all the way around the porch, and talk Cherokee in sort of a sleeping, lilting murmur that would go on up until ten and eleven o'clock at night when they'd go home. Of course, the old post office is gone, and I don't know whether there's a gathering place similar to that now~ It's unfortunate if there isn't, because one of the concerns in Cherokee, along with the loss of culture, so much is already gone that it can't be retrieved, is the feel ing that they could lose their language. There's just not that many people who converse fluently in Cherokee anymore, or so I'm told. By what they mean not that many, I don't know whether that means 200, 300, 1,000, what. But it is a genuine concern of the tribe that the number is dwindling, and that young people aren't as receptive to learning Cherokee as they were. They're like all young people. They are strug gling with a generation gap. Many of the young Indians being more oriented toward being a part of youth culture in a larger sense, their own fads, music, what would interest a typical young person anywhere. Rather than finding something admir able and something worth preserving in their own culture, there's a tendency to break away. They teach Cherokee in the school system, and you run into differing attitudes as to why it isn't successful. Is it the fact that the young reject it, or is it the fact that it is taught in such a boring, monotonous, or inefficient manner that they're just not recep tive to it? When the drama, Unto These Hills, first opened in Cher okee--! don•t remember exactly, it was either 1952, 1953--I remember I wrote a little essay in school that got me free tickets to the first performance. Cherokee underwent consider able cultural shock that summer. Unto These Hills, ironically, was not staffed by Indians. A lot of the local Indians got parts, minor parts, mob scenes, got to work behind the scenes, changing scenery, concessions, that sort of thing. The acting, the big roles in the drama, went primarily to drama majors and theatrical people. I think the majority of them came from the University of North Carolina. The summer that Unto These Hills opened and that cast arrived in Cherokee was some thing to remember. Being a former drama instructor myself, I can say that the average person that showed up in Cherokee to work with the drama in a prominent role, particularly the dancers and some of the major speaking roles, were flamboyant,

PAGE 18

17 to say the least. The mannerisms that the majority of them had puzzled the local people in Cherokee considerably. The males were a little difficult to identify, and this was in the fifties. This was long before long hair became fashion able. A lot of them were somewhat puzzling in terms of their behavior as to whether they were male or female. A consider able number of the cast was made up of young boys with per oxided hair who wore bathing suits all the time. When they first began to come downtown in Cherokee, and for the next several years, it was something to witness. The local people never did adjust to the cast from the drama. They usually came in a large crowd, and they were usually quite noisy and flamboyantly dressed, or certainly dressed to attract atten tion. Several business establishments refused to let them in because of little scenes they made and embarrassing situa tions that developed while they were in restaurants. They used to stay in the Reservation Grill quite a lot and down at the bus station quite a lot. I guess what's significant about that entire period, and, to some degree is still significant, is the fact that Indians have such a small part in the production of the drama that is supposed to depict their own tragic history. This has been a source of much ill feeling in Cherokee. You can encounter it just about anywhere. It goes beyond the fact that the actors, many of them depicting Cherokees, are actually drama majors from the University of North Carolina or, in some in stances, dance majors, professional dance majors from New York. The whole purpose of the drama and what it represents economically in Cherokee is a. touchy issue, because so much derived directly from the drama is not given to the Cherokees. It's amazing how little of the profits which originate directly from the drama are absorbed by the Cherokees. Most of them are absorbed by Unto These Hills itself. Of course, the attitude of the drama personnel is that Unto These Hills is a tremendous benefit to Cherokee even if the tribe does not benefit directly from Unto These Hills by sharing in the profits, that the drama draws people to Cherokee. As a con sequence of its being here, everything else flourishes because people come to the drama, they eat in restaurants, they stay in motels, they buy items in craft shops, which may be true to an extent. Certainly Unto These Hills is the most success ful outdoor drama in the Southeast and, quite possibly, in the United States. But it remains an issue every spring when tryouts occur for Unto These Hills that the major roles are acquired by non-Indians. They are acquired by theatrical

PAGE 19

18 people, people outside the Cherokee Indian culture. Yet, here we have a drama depicting an injustice suffered by the Cherokees. You connnonly hear the attitude that the drama itself is an injustice inflicted on the Cherokees. Back in the early fifties, just after the drama opened, there was another incident that occurred in Cherokee that I remember vividly. That's when Walt Disney came to Cherokee to film~ Crockett. I think we all lost our sanity. Everybody decided to quit their job and go up and be an extra. I had to suffer the indignity of being rejected be cause I wasn't tall enough. They filmed about half of~ Crockett in Cherokee, and a lot of my friends at that time, young Indian boys, made a killing because Disney paid well for extras. As a matter of fact, we were all a little un accustomed to the amount of money that Disney was providing for extras. I remember Mickey Little John really made a killing. There was a whole sequence of shots that were filmed in the Oconaluftee River, and Mickey, with a Mohawk haircut, would tumble from a tree into the river, from a rock into the river, fall from the bank into the river. I don't know how many times he was killed in that movie, but it was an amazing amount of money. I'd hesitate to say how much it was now, but at that time it was an amazing amount of money. I know the mob scenes paid twelve dollars a day just simply to stand in a mob in a costume that they gave you. Fess ~arker, who played Davy Crockett, would frequently come downtown in Cherokee. He always accumulated a mob scene around him when he came up the street, a remarkably tall man, always sticking head and shoulders above everybody else. Some mornings when I would come to work, we all rode in ~rom Sylva, and we always had a car pool. Somebody else's responsibility, you know; we'd alternate days as to who had to provide the transportation. At that time, I was riding with the butcher at the B & C Grocery, which was an old, log grocery store that's been torn down now that was down next to the museum, where the Red Skin Motel is now. (I believe I said earlier on this tape that it was the Warrior Motel. It was the Red Skin Motel, that is located now where the old B & C Grocery used to be, and where the museum used to be.) Some mornings when we were coming into Cherokee, they would be filming just at the break of day in that river. There'd be fog on the river. They'd be filming a sequence, usually a hunt and chase sequence that would involve a lot of young people, and everybody became celebrities of sorts. There were seven or eight local Cherokees that became minor celeb rities. You saw them every day up and down the streets, and

PAGE 20

19 they had more money than anybody else. I remember I was working in the Dairy Queen at that time, another lousy job. I used to work for a man who was so stingy he made me go out every afternoon and pick up all those little plastic spoons and sterilize them and put them back in the cup again, use them over and over and over. The chief, who was at the next craft shop, stood out with the big headdress on, was recruited by Disney, and I thought for several days that he had recruited him to play in one of the massacre scenes. Come to find out he took this par ticular chief with him when he left Cherokee and went to Texas to film the Alamo sequence, because he looked remark ably like a Mexican. He was perfect for a Mexican officer in some of the fight sequences out there. So instead of being a Cherokee, he was a Mexican officer! The girl that worked in the same craft shop had a baby about two or three months old, and it became a star in the film. There was a big sequence in the film where it was found in the corn field by Davy Crockett and taken home. A lot of us just forgot about work. We just quit work, lost our jobs, because we were so fascinated by the whole movie apparatus that we followed it around. I remember I spent a week before finally my grandfather made me go back to work, following the filming around. They were filming at the entrance of the park. I remember a lot of us went up and sat up in the woods and watched them film a bloody massacre sequence. They had wires that ran from little machines that they fired arrows from, and the arrows were hollow. They went down the wire into a cork disc that would be strapped on someone's back or chest. We got to watch all of the make-up. Sat up there and watched them create bruises and huge gashes in peoples' heads for the bloody sequences. Sometimes they would recrui't thirty or forty local boys to do nothing but dress in Indian costumes, which were not Cherokee, and they would walk up the hill, and then they would walk down the hill, and then they would walk across the hill. It was amazing how much of a film could be filmed in the same area and give the impression that it covered miles and miles of travel. I remember one afternoon when they were filming a sequence when Davy Crockett was supposed to be knocked unconscious, and just before he was to be scalped, or his head cracked with an Indian tomahawk, why, Buddy Ebsen shot the Indian that was attacking him and saved Davy Crockett's life. But in the sequence, the boy that was supposed to hit Fess Parker misunderstood the instruc tions and really did hit him. It was a rubber tomahawk, and

PAGE 21

20 of course it was a minor wound, but he stunned Fess Parker temporarily. They had to explain to him then, show him how the apparatus worked, and that he did not actually hit him, and that they had to go through a make-up sequence and then come back and take up filming from the point where the wound was inflicted.