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Interview with Jack and Charlotte Baxter, January 4, 1973

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Title:
Interview with Jack and Charlotte Baxter, January 4, 1973
Creator:
Baxter, Jack ( Interviewee )
Baxter, Charlotte ( Interviewee )
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Seminole Indians
Seminoles -- Florida
Seminole 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.

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Source Institution:
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location:
This interview is part of the 'Seminoles' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
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Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.
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SEM 77 ( SPOHP IDENTIFIER )

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Full Text
INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
In cooperation with The Seminole Tribe of Florida
INTERVIEWEE:
INTERVIEWER:
Jack and Charlotte Baxter
Tom King
DATE: January 4, 1973
DORIS DUKE FOUNDATION


SUMMARY
In this interview, Jack and Charlotte Baxter tell
about their experiences with the Seminoles from 1952
when they moved to Moore Haven. Geneva Shore, lived
with them while she attended public school. They
discuss the development and use of local politics and
the significance of education as tools of self-help for
the Seminoles. The cultural contacts and prejudices
between local whites and the Seminoles is considered.
Dating, intermarriage, public schools and white attitudes
toward government help is particularly mentioned.


INDEX
Bowers, Tom, 18-19
cattle rustling/poaching, 18-20
child rearing practices, 13-14
Creek Indians, 1, 3
Education, 5-6, 9-13
Food (native), 6-7
Politics, 8-13
Postoak (Indians), 2
Reservation (as government land), 15-16, 20-21
Shore, Frank, 3-4, 19-20
Shore, Geneva, 3-7, 13-14
Transcultural Contacts, 1-3, 7-8, 14-21


K: Mr. and Mrs. Baxter, I'd like to start this interview
by asking you to tell me something about Mrs. Baxter's
ancestry, her Indian ancestors.
J: Well, her grandfather was a Creek Indian, from which I
understand the Seminole tribe originated. He lived in
Washington County, Alabama, and he had several brothers,
but I don't remember if he had any sisters. Well, there
were two sisters, I do remember. They raised big families,
and he was a typical hunter and farmer, not on a large
scale. He raised most of what he ate. He had cattle and
hogs, and he raised lots of watermelon. His meat came
out of the woods, off of these hogs that run wild in the
woods. They got fat on acorns and they killed them and
brought them out. The way he brought them out of this
swamp, which is a large swamp, he had an old mustang mare
and he would shoot this hog. He had an old 38 octagon-
shaped barrel rifle. He tied the hog to this old mare's
tail and turned her loose, and she'd bring it to the
house. That is the way he got his meat out of the swamp.
There weren't any roads or anything then. As his family
grew up they scattered out all over the world, just about.
Some of them were in the Army, they was half-breed Indians,
approximately, I'd say. Some of them went into the United
States Army and Navy. As far as I know now, there's not but
one of her uncles that is living. And he is up in his eight-
ies. I don't know too much more that I could give you on
that. Only that I did know him and lived right amongst them.
Their boys and I just went into the woods together many,
many times. Of course there are several anecdotes that I
could tell about our escapades in the woods, fishing, hog
hunting and such as that, but I don't think that you would
do you any good to what I've already said, only just would
show how they lived.
K: Well, were they brought up as Indians or as white men?
J: No, they lived in a community with white people. They married,
each one of her granddaddy's brothers married white women.
There wasn't an Indian woman in one of their offspring.
K: Well, was there any social stigma attached to the fact that
they were half Indians?


2
J: No, no, none whatever. There was not. Everybody thought
as much of their people. Some of 'em got to be fairly
wealthy. Now this particular one, he lived in the back
woods there in the wild, tough part of the country, and
raised his family there on a little hammock right side
of this swamp. The old place is not there. The old house,
part of the old house is still standing, an old log house.
I've been there many, many times. There was a spring of
water right down, oh, about a hundred yards from the house,
where they got their water supply. They towed the water
from that. And they would milk those cows, churn the milk
to make butter, and put that butter in about pound balls
and wrap it in salt and put it in salt brine to keep it.
He had honeybees, he had honey there all the time. They
led a typical life in that country at that particular time,
I would say.
K: Did he ever tell you any stories about the Creek Wars a-
gainst the white men?
J: No, no. He didn't know anything about that.
K: He didn't know how he had come to be located in Alabama?
J: Well, there were quite a few Indians in that section of
the country up there that I guess must have broken away
from the tribe somehow or other. There were some Indians
there by the name of Postos.
K: Postos?
J: Postoak.
K: Oh, Postoak.
J: Yes. They lived around Stateline, Mississippi, about six-
teen miles back east of there. But these Postoak Indians,
I don't think they were Creek Indians. They were a differ-
ent tribe of Indian, the best I remember. I didn't know
them too well. I had seen them and heard quite a bit of
talking.


3
K: Mrs. Baxter, if your grandfather was full-blooded Creek,
that would make you one-quarter Creek Indian, am I right?
C: That's right.
K: When you were being brought up, was there any Creek in-
fluence in your upbringing?
C: No, it was strictly white.
K: Did you ever learn any of the Creek language?
C: No, never did. Never heard it spoken.
K: Really, that's interesting. What year did you move to
Florida, to Moore Haven?
C: 1952.
K: And after you moved here, how long was it before you had
any personal contact with the Seminoles?
J: Not very long. I wouldn't think it would have been over
four or five months.
C: Yes, approximately six months, I'd say. When this girl
just simply came to our house.
K: And this was an Indian girl that came to live at your
house?
C: Yes. A Seminole, the daughter of Frank Shore. Geneva Shore
was her name. They wanted her to go to school, and I can't
say whether they had bus service. I don't believe they did
to the reservation. So she stayed with just anyone that
she preferred in town. Jacqueline, our daughter, was approx-
imately the same age, so they would have someone to talk to
and they were in the same class. So, she came and my daugh-
ter asked me if it would be all right if she stayed with us.
So what could I say really? You just don't turn people away,
so she stayed for the next two years. Her father would bring
her in Monday morning or Sunday afternoon, and she would
stay until Friday afternoon, and they'd come and pick her up.


4
K: Were those the only arrangements that were ever made
for her to stay with anybody, made by herself, rather
than by her parents?
C: That's right. By herself. Her parents never asked if
she could stay.
K: Well, how did her parents manage to get her into school
to begin with, initially? I mean, you mentioned that
there was no bus service. Did her parents start her to
school by driving her back and forth? Do you know the
answer to that?
J: I don't know the answer to that.
C: I don't know the answer myself. She was staying with some
elderly lady, very old lady that lived here in town. And
obviously she didn't have anybody to talk with her own
age, so when she became acquainted with our daughter she
just simply moved in. She liked us, I guess.
J: We just took her in as a daughter.
K: Yes.
J: Her little brothers and sisters referred to me and Charlotte,
my wife here, as Geneva's father and mother.
C: Her other father and mother. She had two sets.
K: Could her parents ever come out to visit you?
J: No, very seldom. Now they have since been in quite a bit.
Me and Frank is very close friends. I let him have my
lawnmower to mow his lawn and I went out there and wired
his teepees when electricity come through there.
C: But while she was going to school they did not visit. They
simply brought her to the door. They would have a little
box with say a can of this, that, or the other in food items.
They put her and her little bundle off and just drive on off.


5
J: And she apparently was just as happy with us as she
was with her own people. Because it didn't make any
difference in the way we treated her than we did our
own family. She was just one of the family.
K: Well, were there any other Seminole children attending
school under that same arrangement?
J: Not here.
C: Not that I know of.
K: How many other Seminole children were in school here?
J: That was it at that time.
K: She was the only one?
C: Yes.
J: That's right, she was the only one.
C: You can check the records, it may be that they were go-
ing to Okeechobee at the time.
K: Yes.
C: I just can't remember. It's been quite a few years back,
and I know the Indian children were carried to Okeechobee
for a few years. Then some of them attended here, and then
Glade County paid Okeechobee to educate them there.
K: Why would Glades County do that? Do you know?
J: At that particular time I don't think there was a bus
available to haul 'em in.
K: Yes.
J: Okeechobee had the bus, so they just paid them to transport
them to Okeechobee school.
I


6
C: Then, for financial reasons, I guess, maybe federally
funded stuff, Glades County decided they wanted to ed-
ucate them themselves. So they brought them back to
Glades County and provided the bus service for them.
K: What kind of a student was Geneva Shore?
C: Very good, very good.
J: Yes. She was really interested in getting an education.
C: As we told you, she had to have glasses which we helped
to get through the Lions Club. We were completely un-
aware that the federal government would have done the
whole bit. We just treated her like other children a-
round, and got the Lions Club to fix her with glasses.
And after that year was when they decided to let Okee-
chobee County transport them there, and she graduated
as valedictorian of her class.
K: Wonderful. Did Geneva speak any English when she first
came to your house?
C: Yes, she spoke English.
J: Yes.
K: Do you know where she had learned it?
J: No, I do not.
C: I don't have any idea where she learned to speak English.
She tried to teach us a few of the Seminole words, but
only the names of food and this, that, and the other. I
don't remember too much of it. I know I let her do some
of her native cooking and would ask her to fix this, that,
or the other like they did. Sofkee, in particular.
K: You liked that?
C: Oh, I was never more disappointed in my life. I had heard
of it for years and I persuaded her to cook it. Phew, I
couldn't stand it. It was just unusual, rice and water, or


7
grits and water. But, I understand during their past
history that there had been times when that's all they
had to live on, so they're very fond of it. All the
babies are raised on it, you know. They would give them
that instead of pablum, I believe.
K: How was Geneva treated by the other students at the
school and the other white people in town?
C: Well, she was a very quiet kind of person. She didn't
have too much to say to anybody, so she was just accepted
calmly. As far as I know she never visited anyone around
town. She would just go to school and come straight home,
sit and study her books.
J: She was a habitable child. She wasn't hard to control or
anything. She'd always ask if she wanted to do anything
or go anywhere. She always got permission. She was very
habitable.
K: During vacation, did she continue to live with you or did
she return to live home at the reservation?
C: She returned to the reservation. I don't know exactly how
it was that we became involved with their Christmas and
Easter celebrations, but it seemed to me like one day
Frank and Lottie just came in and asked us to go out to
their barbecue. At Christmas time was it?
J: I think it was, the best I remember. Or Easter Sunday, I
don't remember now which.
C: So we went, not knowing what on earth to expect, you know.
Of course we dressed, and they just simply are themselves.
They're never any different. Wherever you see them, today,
they may look the same tomorrow, whether it's in church, in
town, or wherever you find them.
K: At the barbecue and on other occasions when you went out on
the reservation, were you well received by the Seminoles?


8
C: Very much so. Very nice people. We were treated as more
or less special guests.
K: Were you treated any differently from other white people?
C: As far as I know, no, because there were no other white
people there at the time. I don't know whether they didn't
have any other white guests invited or whether they just
didn't show up; we were the only ones there. It was seen
to that we were served first. It made you very self-con-
scious, you know. I would have rather been just...well in
later times, that's the way it was. We just became part
of the thing, and nobody paid much attention to whether
we were there or not, they just talked more to us. Treat
us more like one of the family, you might say.
K: I know you've told me, Mr. Baxter, that you had something
to do with politics on the reservation. Is that correct?
Could you explain that to me?
J: Well, after I got to know them out there, I would talk to
them, try to explain to them who I thought would be the
best for them to support. People that would go according
to their needs out there on the reservation to try to make
it a better place for them to live. At that time water
covered the whole country and in wet times there would be
anywhere from six inches to I imagine twenty-four inches
at least. That was before they got to draining out there
and farming out there. The people, the politicians, found
out somehow that I was talking to the Indians for their
benefit. They went along with me on it, and they would
always come to me and want me to go out to the reservation
with them when they were running for an office. To influ-
ence the Indians to support them.
C: In other words, we were never denied access to any of
their homes. I wasn't myself. So maybe they thought we
had a special way of living.
J: I did. I was especially interested in them because I want-
ed them to have a better life than they were having. And I
think that I did help to some extent to accomplish that.
We got people in office that did show that they appreciated
their support.


9
K: So the Seminoles generally voted the way you advised
them to?
J: That's what they always told me, and even the politicians
would tell me.
K: Yes.
J: Even this last election, Brown told me in the court-
house, just walked by me up there when that box came in.
He said, "Well you're still king of the Seminoles. They
vote just like you said they would vote."
C: Well, that was partly because our daughter, I would more
or less think because they all knew her since she was a
small child.
J: Then her and the young Seminoles there are very close.
C: And the older ones, the uneducated ones, are beginning to
listen.
J: To the young ones.
C: To the young ones. The ones that they have made an effort
to educate. I believe they are well aware of the fact that
they have to get some of them educated.
J: I have told them.
C: So they're not so hard against the white people.
J: I have talked to them myself and tried to explain and im-
press them that it was their duty, the younger ones, to
begin to take over, get an education where they could do
something. Because fifty years from now there won't be
room for all of them on their reservation. They are going
to have some of them get off it. And if he gets an educa-
tion then he can become a doctor, a lawyer or a politician.
C: Bricklayer or...


10
J: Whatever comes his way that he thinks he'd like to
do, why he's educated and prepared for that parti-
cular thing. I think that they are really beginning
to wake up to the fact that it's necessary for them
to have an education to help the Seminole tribe. To
better their position in life.
K: Do you remember approximately how many Seminoles who
were eligible to vote would register to vote?
J: I couldn't. I couldn't exactly give you a number of
even the qualified voters out there. But I would say
that approximately fifty of them voted in the first
primary. Now I don't even begin to say that that was
accurate. That's just an estimate.
K: Well how do you--just as a subjective opinion of your
own, I don't necessarily want you to back it up with
facts or anything--do you feel that they are interest-
ed in local politics and take a role in it?
J: I really do, absolutely. I think they are, because
they want this time somebody at the poll that could...
C: Interpret.
J: Interpret the form and see that they got the vote like
they wanted to vote.
C: Because they were taken advantage of.
J: I think they could have been. I don't know that they
were, but they did ask for that. That there would be
an interpreter at the poll to help them vote like they
wanted to vote. They were very enthused out there the
night we were out there, just before the election.
K: This is the last election that you're talking about.
J: Yes.
C: The county part of it.


11
J: They're not going to really divulge too much about who
they're going to support, but you can kind of tell by
his expression and the answer he gave whether or not
he's going along with you or not.
K: Has this response changed in any sense since you first
started working out there on the reservation, trying to
influence their votes? Have they always been this inter-
ested in voting?
J: No, they weren't to begin with, I wouldn't think, be-
cause there weren't too many of them that voted. As for
the last ten years, since they came to realize that
their children need an education, they've taken more
interest in it. Just like I told them, the school board,
the government, and everything all comes right back to
us.
K: Yes.
J: That is trying to educate our children because we want
men in there, in office, that will go for the education
and see that the children get a square deal in schooling.
And I think that they have come to realize that is a re-
sponsibility that they do vote.
C: They were very interested in this particular race that
our daughter was going for, because they felt like they
were being treated fairly at the poll, and they really
didn't have anyone they could trust to know positively
that they were correctly registered to vote. Many of them
would go to the polls and say, "I'm here to vote," and
they were told, "Well, you aren't registered here, you'll
have to go someplace else." It just confused them so bad-
ly 'til they distrusted the one that was in office there
to see that this was taken care of.
K: And your daughter was running for what?
C: Oh.
K: Registrar? County Registrar?
C: Yes, register.


12
J: Supervisor.
C: Supervisor of Registration, that's what it was. They
seemed to trust her, and they did vote for her in
that precinct, so that's the way we viewed it. They
were unhappy, very unhappy with the way things were
going politically for them in the county.
K: Can you give me some examples of the incidents that
might have made them unhappy about the way things
were going politically in this county?
C: Well, I have a friend that is the poll clerk. Is that
the correct term?
J: Yes.
C: The clerk that looks the name up in the book, anyway,
when they go to vote. And she was told that in the
precinct where they had been voting, they changed it in
the last few years and made a separate precinct for them.
Well the registrar didn't seem to think it was very im-
portant that their names be changed to this other pre-
cinct, so they would come all the way down into Lakeport
to vote and their precinct was...
J: At the Harney Pond Canal.
K: Oh.
C: Yes, it had been changed, and they didn't have much pa-
tience with them because of the language barrier. The night
they had the political rally out there, that was one of the
big issues that was brought out. They wanted somebody on
their particular precinct poll that would help them.
J: Vote.
C: Vote like they wanted to vote. The education is--oh, I don't
know how to put it--it's just nil up until, I'd say, from
the time we came here, 20 years, as I've told you before. I
know people out there my age that are unable to read and
write.


13
K: Yes.
C: So that's a terrible handicap when it comes to knowing
anything about politics or anything else, as far as
that goes.
K: Mr. Baxter, you said you tried to help the Seminoles to
elect people who might do something for them while they
were in office. Just what could a local politician do for
the Seminole Indians?
J: The county commissioners can build roads.
K: On the Brighton Reservation?
J: Yes, on the Brighton Reservation, which they did. And the
school board could make it possible for the Indian children
to be put in school, either in Okeechobee or in Glades
County. That the main reason why I desired and was interest-
ed in them was seeing that those children did get a chance
for an education. And they are making good, very good at it.
Most of them are going to college when they finish high
school. And I think that has helped quite a bit.
K: Mrs. Baxter, during the time that Geneva Shore was living
with you, and from the experiences that you've had on the
reservation, have you learned anything about the way the
Seminoles raised their children?
C: Well, as I said before, it's just fantastic. They raise
them from the time they're born to be independent. If he
hurts himself, he's simply left to himself, period. It's
just not acceptable with us, but to them it's normal. He
must be able to stand on his own two feet from the time he's
born.
K: Yes.
C: Almost. They're very particular with their tiny babies, but
when he learns to walk, he's strictly on his own. If he falls
down, he picks himself up, and if he falls out of the tree,
when he gets able he will get up when he gets his breath back.
Or if he lays there fifteen to twenty minutes, they will go
then and see what's the matter with him. Well, as I've said,


14
they simply let this girl Geneva choose where she
would like to stay. They never came in or made any
effort to find out if she was sick or whether she
was eating or how she was being cared for. Friday
afternoon they would come and get her and take her
home. And when one is ill, whether it's a two or
three year old or even younger, they just simply
carry it to the hospital, put it under the doctor
or nurses' care, and they'll be gone anywhere from a
week, ten days, two weeks. They never get back to see
if he's well or how he's doing. They seem to be uncon-
cerned. Now, I don't know whether that is how they
really feel or not, but in the hospital, when the child
is able to get on his feet and get around, he usually
just becomes kind of a mascot and he'll follow a nurse or
an aide or sometimes the doctors. They just tag along be-
hind them, anywhere he goes, they go. Has the run of the
hospital, in other words. They seem to feel like that
they are being cared for. I don't understand it, but
that's their way of doing it.
K: In recent years, with the increasing number of Seminole
children now attending the Moore Haven schools, has the
attitude of the white students and white parents and
teachers and so on changed towards the Seminoles in any
way?
C: Well they're accepted by now. They're very good athletes,
by the way. I can say that.
K: You think that might have something to do with it?
C: Well, it might be because they make excellent football
players. One thing in particular, that you will notice,
when he gets old enough for sports and goes out for foot-
ball or any other type, wherever there's a ball game
you're going to find the mother and the father and the
grandma and the grandpa. The whole family is gonna be
there. I don't care how far away the game goes, they go.
They support that child completely, all the way. And
that's really good. It makes you wonder about how they
treated them back when they were small tots, and then
when they get old enough to really make the family proud
of them, and then they're behind them all the way.


15
K: Did the Seminole students date any of the white stu-
dents?
C: Yes.
K: What's the feeling about that on the part of both the
whites and the Seminole parents?
C: They don't like it.
K: Neither side does.
J: I think the Indians are more against it than the whites.
C: The Indians' parents don't particularly. It has not gone
that far yet. It's kind of almost like the colored and
the white. I think the white people would accept it.
J: More quickly.
C: Some of them would anyways, more so than the Indian parents.
They still distrust the white people. As we've said before,
when a girl marries a white man she has to leave the reser-
vation.
K: Yes.
C: But the Indian boy to marry the white, then she can go and
stay with him, with his parents.
K: Could you tell me what the general white attitude of this
community is towards the Seminoles on the Brighton Reser-
vation?
J: Well, some of these people here think that the Seminole
hasn't got a fair deal and think that the government does
owe them this. As I understand it, they have to pay so much
a month for each cow that they graze on this government
land that they are living on. That is not the Indians' land.
It belongs to the federal government, and the government is
only letting the Indians live on it. Then there's some that
say, "Oh the government gives them this, they give them that,
the state gives them their automobile tags." But that's about
all I think that they do get out of it, other than some of


16
them get food stamps, I guess. Now they did have a
special truck come in there and deliver them to
market for a while, but I don't know whether that
still goes on now or not.
C: We have some very prejudiced people. I'd say the
majority don't know anything about the tribe, or
don't know that much about it. They're under the
assumption that the government just takes complete
care of it and everything is free for them. I think
that creates some resentment. We still have white
people that just resent the Indians, his color or
the fact that he's an Indian. I can't understand
it myself, but they don't want them in their homes.
They look down on them as very low-down, trashy peo-
ple.
J: Well you don't find too many like that here.
C: No, I don't say that would go to the majority, but
it is here.
J: Yes, there is.
C: What I meant by the majority, the majority of people
do believe that the government is giving them every-
thing they get.
K: What do they base this assumption on? Do you have any
idea of how this got started?
C: I don't know. Maybe it's because of the tag. The state
gives them the tag with the Seminole on it. I guess
because the government owns the land they figure maybe
they just...Well, it's ignorance.
K: Yes.
C: They haven't bothered to find out the true facts.
K: Has there ever been any attempt in Moore Haven, either in
the schools or in the community itself, to straighten this
out? Has anyone ever attempted to disseminate the truth?


17
C: No.
K: About the Brighton Reservation and the Seminoles?
C: No.
J: No, I don't think so.
C: No, not that I know of. It's just a lack of interest.
K: Yes.
C: They are there, and nobody seems to care one way or
the other.
K: You mentioned that this attitude, this prejudicial
attitude toward the Seminoles, has resulted in some
resentment among whites and Seminoles. Has this re-
sentment manifested itself in any way? Has there
been any kind of conflict?
J: No.
K: Say in the last twenty years that you've been here, has
there been any?
J: I wouldn't say...
C: None like riots, nothing like that. They simply leave
them alone. You know, ignorance goes so far that if a
person can't express himself, well people have a ten-
dency to resent that person.
K: Yes.
C: And would rather not even associate with them. I think
that had a lot to do with it to start with. But the
younger ones are more educated and they're more accept-
ed, only in some families they just simply would rather
they didn't even go in their own homes. Like the grad-
uation party, which is neither here nor there, but...
K: What happened at the graduation party?


18
C: Well, I've told you that Cathy, our daughter, was a
throwback to the Indian looks. This family that gave
the graduation party when she graduated, when the
children began to assemble, there were no colored or
no Indians. The father of the girl that was giving
the party asked his daughter if that was one of the
"damn Seminoles." And this girl, who doesn't have
this thing about her, later told Cathy that her father
told her that if Cathy was a Seminole, she couldn't
come in the house. But Cathy has also visited with
some of the families out on the reservation, and
there's one or two families out there that didn't
want our Cathy to go in their house either.
J: One of the Seminoles told them that Cathy was an
Indian just like them, and they accepted her.
K: It's o.k., then.
C: But as you so aptly said a few minutes ago, it was
one of the very old women of the family that told
Carol Bowers, the girl that Cathy was visiting, "We
don't want that white person in our house." So Carol
just simply turned around and said, "Let's go."
K: Yes.
C: And that was the end of that.
K: I've heard a rumor--I don't even know if it's a rumor,
it might be the truth, I've heard it from both Semin-
oles and whites--that in the past twenty years, there
has been some cattle rustling done by whites out on the
reservation. Do either of you know anything about this?
J: Well, the most that I know about it, Tom Bowers was
Game Warden out there at one time, I don't know if he
still may be.
C: He's a deputy now.
J: Yes, I guess. He told me that about these boys that go
in there hunting, killing the hogs. I don't know whether
this ought to be on that or not. [tape delete] They had
caught him there and they didn't want him in there, kill-
ing their hogs or their game.


19
C: Well, Frank Shore told Buster that he could no long-
er have hogs, and the wild turkeys were becoming al-
most extinct and it wasn't...
J: The Indians that were killing them.
C: ...the Indians that were killing them.
J: ...hunters, shooting...
C: ...that would go in there. They also had instances
of white boys going on the reservation and molest-
ing their girls.
K: How did the Seminoles react to this type of thing?
C: Very violently.
J: That's right.
K: Had they caught any of the white boys doing this?
J: I think so.
C: They've never been prosecuted.
K: What have the Seminoles done to them though when they
catch them?
C: Just simply pick them up and take them from the re-
servation and tell them not to come back. There might
be a few blows exchanged.
K: Yes.
C: I wouldn't be suprised at that. It has been done, and if
you could get him to tell you about it, Tom Bowers would
sure inform you about it, if you would ask him.
K: I'll do that then. I know him.
C: Also about the...
J: Tom is a very good friend of ours.


20
C: ...poaching on the reservation, too.
K: O.k. You said that nobody had ever been prosecuted for
these crimes. Have the Seminoles ever attempted to have
anybody prosecuted?
J: I couldn't vouch for that because I don't know of any-
body that was ever prosecuted for it or convicted for
it.
C: We've never heard of it. It was kept very quiet if it
ever happened.
K: Do you think, just as an opinion, that the poaching that
is done out there and the vandalism and so on, is that
racially motivated or did they just want to kill?
J: No, they just want to hunt. That's all there is to it.
That's the place they go to get them.
C: The way I understand it, it has been said that that was
government land, so it belonged as much to the people
around the area as it did to the Indians.
J: They not only do it on the Indian reservation, they do
it on Lykes.
C: They do it on all the property, but they consider the
reservation as just a place to go. I mean, anything
that's there, they can take.
K: Yes.
C: So that's not anything to brag about in this business of
the white and the Indian situation.
J: Now I have been invited to go out there with Frank to
turkey hunt, but I never have gone, 'cause I just don't
feel like I should do it. 'Cause I don't care about kill-
ing turkey anyway. I'm not going to eat them.
C: Well we have a very distinct feeling with what's there
should be theirs.


21
J: Absolutely.
C: They've earned it. Even though they haven't tried very
hard, it would seem since they were put on the reser-
vation. They haven't seemed to try very hard to develop
it.
J: Well, the thing of it is they had no desire. They didn't
have any help. What they did there was just merely done
and it didn't amount to anything because the government
was not doing the things towards draining their land.
K: Yes.
J: And making it possible for them to grow improved pastures.
Up until the last few years, they got farming out there.
Why then they went into that and they got very interested
in the cattle. They've got some nice cattle on the reser-
vation.
C: The growers will lease the land and use it two years. The
way they repay the tribe for it, the use of the land, is
to...
J: Well that's in a contract, I think. When they lease the
land they're supposed to use it, then they put the land
back in grass.
C: Yes.
J: In improved pastures.
C: In improved pastures.
J: And they take over there and put the cattle on it.
K: Well before I close this interview, are there any more
comments that you would like to make on anything at all
concerning the Seminole Indians in this area?
J: I don't know of anything that would amount to anything
on that. There's just a friendship between us, apparently,
that's what I call it, and there does seem to be that be-
cause I always help them in any way I can.
K: Well, thank you very much. Both of you have been quite
helpful.


Full Text
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INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA In cooperation with The Seminole Tribe of Florida INTERVIEWEE: Jack and Charlotte Baxter INTERVIEWER: Tom King DATE: January 4, 1973 DORIS DUKE FOUNDATION

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SUMMARY In this interview, Jack and Charlotte Baxter tell about their experiences with the Seminoles from 1952 when they moved to Moore Haven. Geneva Shore, lived with them while she attended public school. They discuss the development and use of local politics and the significance of education as tools of self-help for the Seminoles. The cultural contacts and prejudices between local whites and the Seminoles is considered. Dating, intermarriage, public schools and white attitudes toward government help is particularly mentioned.

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INDEX Bowers, Tom, 18-19 cattle rustling/poaching, 18-20 child rearing practices, 13-14 Creek Indians, 1, 3 Education, 5-6, 9-13 Food (native), 6-7 Politics, 8-13 Postoak (Indians), 2 Reservation (as government land), 15-16, 20-21 Shore, Frank, 3-4, 19-20 Shore, Geneva, 3-7, 13-14 Transcultural Contacts, 1-3, 7-8, 14-21

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K: Mr. and Mrs. Baxter, I'd like to start this interview by asking you to tell me something about Mrs. Baxter's ancestry, her Indian ancestors. J: Well, her grandfather was a Creek Indian, from which I understand the Seminole tribe originated. He lived in Washington County, Alabama, and he had several brothers, but I don't remember if he had any sisters. Well, there were two sisters, I do remember. They raised big families, and he was a typical hunter and farmer, not on a large scale. He raised most of what he ate. He had cattle and hogs, and he raised lots of watermelon. His meat came out of the woods, off of these hogs that run wild in the woods. They got fat on acorns and they killed them and brought them out. The way he brought them out of this swamp, which is a large swamp, he had an old mustang mare and he would shoot this hog. He had an old 38 octagonshaped barrel rifle. He tied the hog to this old mare's tail and turned her loose, and she'd bring it to the house. That is the way he got his meat out of the swamp. There weren't any roads or anything then. As his family grew up they scattered out all over the world, just about. Some of them were in the Army, they was half-breed Indians, approximately, I'd say. Some of them went into the United States Army and Navy. As far as I know now, there's not but one of her uncles that is living. And he is up in his eighties. I don't know too much more that I could give you on that. Only that I did know him and lived right amongst them. Their boys and I just went into the woods together many, many times. Of course there are several anecdotes that I could tell about our escapades in the woods, fishing, hog hunting and such as that, but I don't think that you would do you any good to what I've already said, only just would show how they lived. K: Well, were they brought up as Indians or as white men? J: No, they lived in a community with white people. They married, each one of her granddaddy's brothers married white women. There wasn't an Indian woman in one of their offspring. K: Well, was there any social stigma attached to the fact that they were half Indians?

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2 J: No, no, none whatever. There was not. Everybody thought as much of their people. Some of 'em got to be fairly wealthy. Now this particular one, he lived in the back woods there in the wild, tough part of the country, and raised his family there on a little hammock right side of this swamp. The old place is not there. The old house, part of the old house is still standing, an old log house. I've been there many, many times. There was a spring of water right down, oh, about a hundred yards from the house, where they got their water supply. They towed the water from that. And they would milk those cows, churn the milk to make butter, and put that butter in about pound balls and wrap it in salt and put it in salt brine to keep it. He had honeybees, he had honey there all the time. They led a typical life in that country at that particular time, I would say. K: Did he ever tell you any stories about the Creek Wars against the white men? J: No, no. He didn't know anything about that. K: He didn't know how he had come to be located in Alabama? J: Well, there were quite a few Indians in that section of the country up there that I guess must have broken away from the tribe somehow or other. There were some Indians there by the name of Postos. K: Postos? J: Postoak. K: Oh, Postoak. J: Yes. They lived around Stateline, Mississippi, about sixteen miles back east of there. But these Postoak Indians, I don't think they were Creek Indians. They were a different tribe of Indian, the best I remember. I didn't know them too well. I had seen them and heard quite a bit of talking.

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3 K: Mrs. Baxter, if your grandfather was full-blooded Creek, that would make you one-quarter Creek Indian, am I right? C: That's right. K: When you were being brought up, was there any Creek influence in your upbringing? C: No, it was strictly white. K: Did you ever learn any of the Creek language? C: No, never did. Never heard it spoken. K: Really, that's interesting. What year did you move to Florida, to Moore Haven? C: 1952. K: And after you moved here, how long was it before you had any personal contact with the Seminoles? J: Not very long. I wouldn't think it would have been over four or five months. C: Yes, approximately six months, I'd say. When this girl just simply came to our house. K: And this was an Indian girl that came to live at your house? C: Yes. A Seminole, the daughter of Frank Shore. Geneva Shore was her name. They wanted her to go to school, and I can't say whether they had bus service. I don't believe they did to the reservation. So she stayed with just anyone that she preferred in town. Jacqueline, our daughter, was approximately the same age, so they would have someone to talk to and they were in the same class. So, she came and my daughter asked me if it would be all right if she stayed with us. So what could I say really? You just don't turn people away, so she stayed for the next two years. Her father would bring her in Monday morning or Sunday afternoon, and she would stay until Friday afternoon, and they'd come and pick her up.

PAGE 7

K: Were those the only arrangements that were ever made for her to stay with anybody, made by herself, rather than by her parents? C: That's right. By herself. Her parents never asked if she could stay. K: Well, how did her parents manage to get her into school to begin with, initially? I mean, you mentioned that there was no bus service. Did her parents start her to school by driving her back and forth? Do you know the answer to that? J: I don't know the answer to that. C: I don't know the answer myself. She was staying with some elderly lady, very old lady that lived here in town. And obviously she didn't have anybody to talk with her own age, so when she became acquainted with our daughter she just simply moved in. She liked us, I guess. J: We just took her in as a daughter. K: Yes. J: Her little brothers and sisters referred to me and Charlotte, my wife here, as Geneva's father and mother. C: Her other father and mother. She had two sets. K: Could her parents ever come out to visit you? J: No, very seldom. Now they have since been in quite a bit. Me and Frank is very close friends. I let him have my lawnmower to mow his lawn and I went out there and wired his teepees when electricity come through there. C: But while she was going to school they did not visit. They simply brought her to the door. They would have a little box with say a can of this, that, or the other in food items. They put her and her little bundle off and just drive on off.

PAGE 8

5 J: And she apparently was just as happy with us as she was with her own people. Because it didn't make any difference in the way we treated her than we did our own family. She was just one of the family. K: Well, were there any other Seminole children attending school under that same arrangement? J: Not here. C: Not that I know of. K: How many other Seminole children were in school here? J: That was it at that time. K: She was the only one? C: Yes. J: That's right, she was the only one. C: You can check the records, it may be that they were going to Okeechobee at the time. K: Yes. C: I just can't remember. It's been quite a few years back, and I know the Indian children were carried to Okeechobee for a few years. Then some of them attended here, and then Glade County paid Okeechobee to educate them there. K: Why would Glades County do that? Do you know? J: At that particular time I don't think there was a bus available to haul 'em in. K: Yes. J: Okeechobee had the bus, so they just paid them to transport them to Okeechobee school.

PAGE 9

6 C: Then, for financial reasons, I guess, maybe federally funded stuff, Glades County decided they wanted to educate them themselves. So they brought them back to Glades County and provided the bus service for them. K: What kind of a student was Geneva Shore? C: Very good, very good. J: Yes. She was really interested in getting an education. C: As we told you, she had to have glasses which we helped to get through the Lions Club. We were completely unaware that the federal government would have done the whole bit. We just treated her like other children around, and got the Lions Club to fix her with glasses. And after that year was when they decided to let Okeechobee County transport them there, and she graduated as valedictorian of her class. K: Wonderful. Did Geneva speak any English when she first came to your house? C: Yes, she spoke English. J: Yes. K: Do you know where she had learned it? J: No, I do not. C: I don't have any idea where she learned to speak English. She tried to teach us a few of the Seminole words, but only the names of food and this, that, and the other. I don't remember too much of it. I know I let her do some of her native cooking and would ask her to fix this, that, or the other like they did. Sofkee, in particular. K: You liked that? C: Oh, I was never more disappointed in my life. I had heard of it for years and I persuaded her to cook it. Phew, I couldn't stand it. It was just unusual, rice and water, or

PAGE 10

7 grits and water. But, I understand during their past history that there had been times when that's all they had to live on, so they're very fond of it. All the babies are raised on it, you know. They would give them that instead of pablum, I believe. K: How was Geneva treated by the other students at the school and the other white people in town? C: Well, she was a very quiet kind of person. She didn't have too much to say to anybody, so she was just accepted calmly. As far as I know she never visited anyone around town. She would just go to school and come straight home, sit and study her books. J: She was a habitable child. She wasn't hard to control or anything. She'd always ask if she wanted to do anything or go anywhere. She always got permission. She was very habitable. K: During vacation, did she continue to live with you or did she return to live home at the reservation? C: She returned to the reservation. I don't know exactly how it was that we became involved with their Christmas and Easter celebrations, but it seemed to me like one day Frank and Lottie just came in and asked us to go out to their barbecue. At Christmas time was it? J: I think it was, the best I remember. Or Easter Sunday, I don't remember now which. C: So we went, not knowing what on earth to expect, you know. Of course we dressed, and they just simply are themselves. They're never any different. Wherever you see them, today, they may look the same tomorrow, whether it's in church, in town, or wherever you find them. K: At the barbecue and on other occasions when you went out on the reservation, were you well received by the Seminoles?

PAGE 11

8 C: Very much so. Very nice people. We were treated as more or less special guests. K: Were you treated any differently from other white people? C: As far as I know, no, because there were no other white people there at the time. I don't know whether they didn't have any other white guests invited or whether they just didn't show up; we were the only ones there. It was seen to that we were served first. It made you very self-conscious, you know. I would have rather been just...well in later times, that's the way it was. We just became part of the thing, and nobody paid much attention to whether we were there or not, they just talked more to us. Treat us more like one of the family, you might say. K: I know you've told me, Mr. Baxter, that you had something to do with politics on the reservation. Is that correct? Could you explain that to me? J: Well, after I got to know them out there, I would talk to them, try to explain to them who I thought would be the best for them to support. People that would go according to their needs out there on the reservation to try to make it a better place for them to live. At that time water covered the whole country and in wet times there would be anywhere from six inches to I imagine twenty-four inches at least. That was before they got to draining out there and farming out there. The people, the politicians, found out somehow that I was talking to the Indians for their benefit. They went along with me on it, and they would always come to me and want me to go out to the reservation with them when they were running for an office. To influence the Indians to support them. C: In other words, we were never denied access to any of their homes. I wasn't myself. So maybe they thought we had a special way of living. J: I did. I was especially interested in them because I wanted them to have a better life than they were having. And I think that I did help to some extent to accomplish that. We got people in office that did show that they appreciated their support.

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9 K: So the Seminoles generally voted the way you advised them to? J: That's what they always told me, and even the politicians would tell me. K: Yes. J: Even this last election, Brown told me in the courthouse, just walked by me up there when that box came in. He said, "Well you're still king of the Seminoles. They vote just like you said they would vote." C: Well, that was partly because our daughter, I would more or less think because they all knew her since she was a small child. J: Then her and the young Seminoles there are very close. C: And the older ones, the uneducated ones, are beginning to listen. J: To the young ones. C: To the young ones. The ones that they have made an effort to educate. I believe they are well aware of the fact that they have to get some of them educated. J: I have told them. C: So they're not so hard against the white people. J: I have talked to them myself and tried to explain and impress them that it was their duty, the younger ones, to begin to take over, get an education where they could do something. Because fifty years from now there won't be room for all of them on their reservation. They are going to have some of them get off it. And if he gets an education then he can become a doctor, a lawyer or a politician. C: Bricklayer or...

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10 J: Whatever comes his way that he thinks he'd like to do, why he's educated and prepared for that particular thing. I think that they are really beginning to wake up to the fact that it's necessary for them to have an education to help the Seminole tribe. To better their position in life. K: Do you remember approximately how many Seminoles who were eligible to vote would register to vote? J: I couldn't. I couldn't exactly give you a number of even the qualified voters out there. But I would say that approximately fifty of them voted in the first primary. Now I don't even begin to say that that was accurate. That's just an estimate. K: Well how do you--just as a subjective opinion of your own, I don't necessarily want you to back it up with facts or anything--do you feel that they are interested in local politics and take a role in it? J: I really do, absolutely. I think they are, because they want this time somebody at the poll that could... C: Interpret. J: Interpret the form and see that they got the vote like they wanted to vote. C: Because they were taken advantage of. J: I think they could have been. I don't know that they were, but they did ask for that. That there would be an interpreter at the poll to help them vote like they wanted to vote. They were very enthused out there the night we were out there, just before the election. K: This is the last election that you're talking about. J: Yes. C: The county part of it.

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11 J: They're not going to really divulge too much about who they're going to support, but you can kind of tell by his expression and the answer he gave whether or not he's going along with you or not. K: Has this response changed in any sense since you first started working out there on the reservation, trying to influence their votes? Have they always been this interested in voting? J: No, they weren't to begin with, I wouldn't think, because there weren't too many of them that voted. As for the last ten years, since they came to realize that their children need an education, they've taken more interest in it. Just like I told them, the school board, the government, and everything all comes right back to us. K: Yes. J: That is trying to educate our children because we want men in there, in office, that will go for the education and see that the children get a square deal in schooling. And I think that they have come to realize that is a responsibility that they do vote. C: They were very interested in this particular race that our daughter was going for, because they felt like they were being treated fairly at the poll, and they really didn't have anyone they could trust to know positively that they were correctly registered to vote. Many of them would go to the polls and say, "I'm here to vote," and they were told, "Well, you aren't registered here, you'll have to go someplace else." It just confused them so badly 'til they distrusted the one that was in office there to see that this was taken care of. K: And your daughter was running for what? C: Oh. K: Registrar? County Registrar? C: Yes, register.

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12 J: Supervisor. C: Supervisor of Registration, that's what it was. They seemed to trust her, and they did vote for her in that precinct, so that's the way we viewed it. They were unhappy, very unhappy with the way things were going politically for them in the county. K: Can you give me some examples of the incidents that might have made them unhappy about the way things were going politically in this county? C: Well, I have a friend that is the poll clerk. Is that the correct term? J: Yes. C: The clerk that looks the name up in the book, anyway, when they go to vote. And she was told that in the precinct where they had been voting, they changed it in the last few years and made a separate precinct for them. Well the registrar didn't seem to think it was very important that their names be changed to this other precinct, so they would come all the way down into Lakeport to vote and their precinct was... J: At the Harney Pond Canal. K: Oh. C: Yes, it had been changed, and they didn't have much patience with them because of the language barrier. The night they had the political rally out there, that was one of the big issues that was brought out. They wanted somebody on their particular precinct poll that would help them. J: Vote. C: Vote like they wanted to vote. The education is--oh, I don't know how to put it--it's just nil up until, I'd say, from the time we came here, 20 years, as I've told you before. I know people out there my age that are unable to read and write.

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13 K: Yes. C: So that's a terrible handicap when it comes to knowing anything about politics or anything else, as far as that goes. K: Mr. Baxter, you said you tried to help the Seminoles to elect people who might do something for them while they were in office. Just what could a local politician do for the Seminole Indians? J: The county commissioners can build roads. K: On the Brighton Reservation? J: Yes, on the Brighton Reservation, which they did. And the school board could make it possible for the Indian children to be put in school, either in Okeechobee or in Glades County. That the main reason why I desired and was interested in them was seeing that those children did get a chance for an education. And they are making good, very good at it. Most of them are going to college when they finish high school. And I think that has helped quite a bit. K: Mrs. Baxter, during the time that Geneva Shore was living with you, and from the experiences that you've had on the reservation, have you learned anything about the way the Seminoles raised their children? C: Well, as I said before, it's just fantastic. They raise them from the time they're born to be independent. If he hurts himself, he's simply left to himself, period. It's just not acceptable with us, but to them it's normal. He must be able to stand on his own two feet from the time he's born. K: Yes. C: Almost. They're very particular with their tiny babies, but when he learns to walk, he's strictly on his own. If he falls down, he picks himself up, and if he falls out of the tree, when he gets able he will get up when he gets his breath back. Or if he lays there fifteen to twenty minutes, they will go then and see what's the matter with him. Well, as I've said,

PAGE 17

14 they simply let this girl Geneva choose where she would like to stay. They never came in or made any effort to find out if she was sick or whether she was eating or how she was being cared for. Friday afternoon they would come and get her and take her home. And when one is ill, whether it's a two or three year old or even younger, they just simply carry it to the hospital, put it under the doctor or nurses' care, and they'll be gone anywhere from a week, ten days, two weeks. They never get back to see if he's well or how he's doing. They seem to be unconcerned. Now, I don't know whether that is how they really feel or not, but in the hospital, when the child is able to get on his feet and get around, he usually just becomes kind of a mascot and he'll follow a nurse or an aide or sometimes the doctors. They just tag along behind them, anywhere he goes, they go. Has the run of the hospital, in other words. They seem to feel like that they are being cared for. I don't understand it, but that's their way of doing it. K: In recent years, with the increasing number of Seminole children now attending the Moore Haven schools, has the attitude of the white students and white parents and teachers and so on changed towards the Seminoles in any way? C: Well they're accepted by now. They're very good athletes, by the way. I can say that. K: You think that might have something to do with it? C: Well, it might be because they make excellent football players. One thing in particular, that you will notice, when he gets old enough for sports and goes out for football or any other type, wherever there's a ball game you're going to find the mother and the father and the grandma and the grandpa. The whole family is gonna be there. I don't care how far away the game goes, they go. They support that child completely, all the way. And that's really good. It makes you wonder about how they treated them back when they were small tots, and then when they get old enough to really make the family proud of them, and then they're behind them all the way.

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15 K: Did the Seminole students date any of the white students? C: Yes. K: What's the feeling about that on the part of both the whites and the Seminole parents? C: They don't like it. K: Neither side does. J: I think the Indians are more against it than the whites. C: The Indians' parents don't particularly. It has not gone that far yet. It's kind of almost like the colored and the white. I think the white people would accept it. J: More quickly. C: Some of them would anyways, more so than the Indian parents. They still distrust the white people. As we've said before, when a girl marries a white man she has to leave the reservation. K: Yes. C: But the Indian boy to marry the white, then she can go and stay with him, with his parents. K: Could you tell me what the general white attitude of this community is towards the Seminoles on the Brighton Reservation? J: Well, some of these people here think that the Seminole hasn't got a fair deal and think that the government does owe them this. As I understand it, they have to pay so much a month for each cow that they graze on this government land that they are living on. That is not the Indians' land. It belongs to the federal government, and the government is only letting the Indians live on it. Then there's some that say, "Oh the government gives them this, they give them that, the state gives them their automobile tags." But that's about all I think that they do get out of it, other than some of

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16 them get food stamps, I guess. Now they did have a special truck come in there and deliver them to market for a while, but I don't know whether that still goes on now or not. C: We have some very prejudiced people. I'd say the majority don't know anything about the tribe, or don't know that much about it. They're under the assumption that the government just takes complete care of it and everything is free for them. I think that creates some resentment. We still have white people that just resent the Indians, his color or the fact that he's an Indian. I can't understand it myself, but they don't want them in their homes. They look down on them as very low-down, trashy people. J: Well you don't find too many like that here. C: No, I don't say that would go to the majority, but it is here. J: Yes, there is. C: What I meant by the majority, the majority of people do believe that the government is giving them everything they get. K: What do they base this assumption on? Do you have any idea of how this got started? C: I don't know. Maybe it's because of the tag. The state gives them the tag with the Seminole on it. I guess because the government owns the land they figure maybe they just...Well, it's ignorance. K: Yes. C: They haven't bothered to find out the true facts. K: Has there ever been any attempt in Moore Haven, either in the schools or in the community itself, to straighten this out? Has anyone ever attempted to disseminate the truth?

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17 C: No. K: About the Brighton Reservation and the Seminoles? C: No. J: No, I don't think so. C: No, not that I know of. It's just a lack of interest. K: Yes. C: They are there, and nobody seems to care one way or the other. K: You mentioned that this attitude, this prejudicial attitude toward the Seminoles, has resulted in some resentment among whites and Seminoles. Has this resentment manifested itself in any way? Has there been any kind of conflict? J: No. K: Say in the last twenty years that you've been here, has there been any? J: I wouldn't say... C: None like riots, nothing like that. They simply leave them alone. You know, ignorance goes so far that if a person can't express himself, well people have a tendency to resent that person. K: Yes. C: And would rather not even associate with them. I think that had a lot to do with it to start with. But the younger ones are more educated and they're more accepted, only in some families they just simply would rather they didn't even go in their own homes. Like the graduation party, which is neither here nor there, but... K: What happened at the graduation party?

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18 C: Well, I've told you that Cathy, our daughter, was a throwback to the Indian looks. This family that gave the graduation party when she graduated, when the children began to assemble, there were no colored or no Indians. The father of the girl that was giving the party asked his daughter if that was one of the "damn Seminoles." And this girl, who doesn't have this thing about her, later told Cathy that her father told her that if Cathy was a Seminole, she couldn't come in the house. But Cathy has also visited with some of the families out on the reservation, and there's one or two families out there that didn't want our Cathy to go in their house either. J: One of the Seminoles told them that Cathy was an Indian just like them, and they accepted her. K: It's o.k., then. C: But as you so aptly said a few minutes ago, it was one of the very old women of the family that told Carol Bowers, the girl that Cathy was visiting, "We don't want that white person in our house." So Carol just simply turned around and said, "Let's go." K: Yes. C: And that was the end of that. K: I've heard a rumor--I don't even know if it's a rumor, it might be the truth, I've heard it from both Seminoles and whites--that in the past twenty years, there has been some cattle rustling done by whites out on the reservation. Do either of you know anything about this? J: Well, the most that I know about it, Tom Bowers was Game Warden out there at one time, I don't know if he still may be. C: He's a deputy now. J: Yes, I guess. He told me that about these boys that go in there hunting, killing the hogs. I don't know whether this ought to be on that or not. [tape delete] They had caught him there and they didn't want him in there, killing their hogs or their game.

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19 C: Well, Frank Shore told Buster that he could no longer have hogs, and the wild turkeys were becoming almost extinct and it wasn't... J: The Indians that were killing them. C: ... the Indians that were killing them. J: ... hunters, shooting... C: ... that would go in there. They also had instances of white boys going on the reservation and molesting their girls. K: How did the Seminoles react to this type of thing? C: Very violently. J: That's right. K: Had they caught any of the white boys doing this? J: I think so. C: They've never been prosecuted. K: What have the Seminoles done to them though when they catch them? C: Just simply pick them up and take them from the reservation and tell them not to come back. There might be a few blows exchanged. K: Yes. C: I wouldn't be surprised at that. It has been done, and if you could get him to tell you about it, Tom Bowers would sure inform you about it, if you would ask him. K: I'll do that then. I know him. C: Also about the... J: Tom is a very good friend of ours.

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20 C: ... poaching on the reservation, too. K: O.k. You said that nobody had ever been prosecuted for these crimes. Have the Seminoles ever attempted to have anybody prosecuted? J: I couldn't vouch for that because I don't know of anybody that was ever prosecuted for it or convicted for it. C: We've never heard of it. It was kept very quiet if it ever happened. K: Do you think, just as an opinion, that the poaching that is done out there and the vandalism and so on, is that racially motivated or did they just want to kill? J: No, they just want to hunt. That's all there is to it. That's the place they go to get them. C: The way I understand it, it has been said that that was government land, so it belonged as much to the people around the area as it did to the Indians. J: They not only do it on the Indian reservation, they do it on Lykes. C: They do it on all the property, but they consider the reservation as just a place to go. I mean, anything that's there, they can take. K: Yes. C: So that's not anything to brag about in this business of the white and the Indian situation. J: Now I have been invited to go out there with Frank to turkey hunt, but I never have gone, 'cause I just don't feel like I should do it. 'Cause I don't care about killing turkey anyway. I'm not going to eat them. C: Well we have a very distinct feeling with what's there should be theirs.

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21 J: Absolutely. C: They've earned it. Even though they haven't tried very hard, it would seem since they were put on the reservation. They haven't seemed to try very hard to develop it. J: Well, the thing of it is they had no desire. They didn't have any help. What they did there was just merely done and it didn't amount to anything because the government was not doing the things towards draining their land. K: Yes. J: And making it possible for them to grow improved pastures. Up until the last few years, they got farming out there. Why then they went into that and they got very interested in the cattle. They've got some nice cattle on the reservation. C: The growers will lease the land and use it two years. The way they repay the tribe for it, the use of the land, is to... J: Well that's in a contract, I think. When they lease the land they're supposed to use it, then they put the land back in grass. C: Yes. J: In improved pastures. C: In improved pastures. J: And they take over there and put the cattle on it. K: Well before I close this interview, are there any more comments that you would like to make on anything at all concerning the Seminole Indians in this area? J: I don't know of anything that would amount to anything on that. There's just a friendship between us, apparently, that's what I call it, and there does seem to be that because I always help them in any way I can. K: Well, thank you very much. Both of you have been quite helpful.