Citation
Interview with Mary Frances Johns, May 1, 1973

Material Information

Title:
Interview with Mary Frances Johns, May 1, 1973
Creator:
Johns, Mary Frances ( 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.

Record Information

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
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:
SEM 95 ( SPOHP IDENTIFIER )

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text
INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
In cooperation with The Seminole Tribe of Florida
INTERVIEWEE:
INTERVIEWER:
Mary Frances Johns
Tom King
DATE: May 1973
DORIS DUKE FOUNDATION


SUMMARY
In this transcript, recounting oral legends, Mary Frances Johns
tells the stories of Indian creation, emergence of the
clans, creation of the races and their separation by different
languages, how the Miccosukees became geographically located,
their relationship with their neighbors and a source of their
conflict with whites. In terms of the uprooting influence of
the Seminole wars she explains the Seminole transition from
log cabins to chickees and the disappearance of pottery. The
disappearance of individual gardens is attributed to the avail-
ability of gardens as well as to the war.


INDEX
Agriculture (disappearance of gardening), 13-14
Chokoloskee (site of Ted Smallwood trading post), 14
Clans (creation of), 1-2
Bird, Panther, Tiger, Wind Clans, 2
Housing (influence of Seminole wars on), 10-12, 14
Jones,Sam, 11
Oral Traditions (legends)
creation of Indians, 1-3
creation of races, 3-4
migration of Miccosukee in North America, 5-8
origin of white--Miccosukee conflict, 9
relationship with neighbors, 8-9
separation by languages, 4-5
Pottery (disappearance of), 12
Smallwood, Ted, 14
Transcultural contacts
Spanish introduction of horses, 9


I: Are you familiar with any legends concerning either the origins
of the Seminole people or the conduct of the Seminole Wars
against the white man?
S: I don't remember too much and what I do remember is about all I
can give you. Where in particular did you want to start?
I: Well, I'd like to start with the origin of the Seminole people.
In fact if you could go back even farther than that, I'd like to
learn about the origins of mankind in general. I asked your
mother that question, on the interviews with her, and she answered
by telling me what happened to man after he had already been
created. She didn't tell me how men were created. I want to know
about that, then I want to know about the Seminoles in particular,
to differentiate between them and men in general. How the Seminoles
in particular were created. How they came to live in Florida,
you see. I want kind of a progression, an historical, chronological
account of the origins of the Seminole people.
S: Right. I remember my mother told you that. Mostly the legends
about where we came from are like those written in the Bible.
I: Yes.
S: How God created man, you know, and put that man to sleep and
then took a rib out and made the woman out of it.
I: You told me another legend one day though, right here, about the
eggs.
S: That was more or less a fairy tale.
I: Well, I'm interested in that too. The fairy tales as well as
the accounts that almost mirror the Christian thing. Could you
tell me some fairy tales?
S: Our legends are, you know, are a little bit different from the
fairy tales. Well, the fairy tales talk about the garden, and
how God made the garden and planted the seeds of human beings,
of Seminoles, rather.
I: Were they called Seminoles then?
S: I don't think they were. They were just Indians, and this is
where the clanship emerges. I don't know if it's the same
story or not, but there's another story similar to it. That one


2
tells of the bathing where the first man went in and came out
white.
I: Tell me that.
S: He was cleaner than the rest.
I: How does that one start?
S: I think it does start at the garden, now see if I can make a
connection somewhere.
I: If you can remember thw whole thing, I'd like to hear that one
in detail.
S: Well, they say that after the garden started to grow, you know,
the humans had been buried sort of like potatoes, and they were
growing. And when they finished growing, they came out. They
started to come out, but the hole up there was a little bit too
small for the Tiger or the Panther's Clan to come through.
I: The hole up where?
S: You know, the hole at the...you know, whereever they were at.
I: Above the garden?
S: Yes.
I: Oh. Was the garden underground?
S: Yes. The human seeds were underground when they started growing.
I: Oh, O.K., I misunderstood, I see, yes.
S: So when they were going to come up, break through the ground,
you know, this Tiger's Clan's head was too big to go through
the plant, or through the hole in the roof. So another clan
took its place and came out first. I think that was the Wind Clan.
He came out and made the hole a little bigger, and they
got out. When they got out it was very misty, you know, sort of
like fog settled on the ground. So the Wind--now, let's see
now, it might have been the Bird Clan that came out first, and
then the Tigers, and then the Wind Clan--but then when that fog
was settled on the ground the Wind Clan took over and said, "Let
me fan it away. And maybe we can see better and see where we're
going." So he led the group, and they got out of the garden and
came into the bushes. And they tell about this lion that was


3
sitting there. He was sitting there, stirring some kind of
soup or sofkee or something like that, with his tail. He was
just, you know, taking his time cooking his food. And that's
where all the smoke was coming from. So when they walked up
on him, the lion sort of said, "Now what in the world are these
strange beings?" You know, and he just sat there. He forgot all
about the tail in the sofkee, so his tail burned up, and that's
how come he's got the dark tail on the end. You know, that little
tassle on the end. Anyway, these people continued down to another
place. I don't exactly remember how they came from where they saw
the lion to this establishment they came to. I think they said
this was the place where God lived. And when they came, he saw
that his garden had been successful, and that these people were
there with the sum of his efforts. So the next step for him to do
was to give something like a job for each person to do. I think
this is where he told them to go take a bath. And when they did,
you know, a bunch of them would go in and take a bath first. They
emerged whiter than the others, because they had the use of the
towel first. And the next group that went in came out sort of a
medium color, you know, and they came in all shades of color down
to the blackest, because he was the last one to go in the bath,
you know, he came out the dirtiest.: Because he didn't get too
clean, and the towel was already dirty when he used it. So that's
how come we have white people, and Indians, and Chinese, and so
forth, you know. After the baths were over with, God told them to
go to this house and open it, and inside you will find boxes. And
inside the boxes what you find will be what you make your living
with. So, they went up in the building, and they looked at the
boxes to see which one they were going to take. The white men
picked the first box, and he opened it, and he got all kinds of
books, and rulers, and pencils, and things like that in there,
you know, as well as some...What else did they say was in there?
I can't remember. I knew, I thought I knew it, but it slipped
my mind there. I was going to say it. Anyway, the Indian when
they got his box out, he opened it, and he found bows and arrows,
and seeds and things like that, you know. And he was going to be
a farmer and a hunter for his living. And then when the colored
man got his box and he opened it, he found workman's tools. You
know, like rakes and brooms, and you know, things to clean the
house with, things to clean a yard with. So, he's supposed to be
the laborer of the whole bunch. In other words, a white man is
supposed to be educated, and the Indian was supposed to live
with nature, and then the colored man was supposed to be the
servant of them all.


4
I: Who told you this story?
S: My grandma.
I: Do you know if she learned it from her grandmother too? Was it
passed down like that? Is it an old story?
S: Yes it's an old story. These little fairy tales I guess are
handed down to explain the fact that there are different colored
people in this world. And it sort of reassures the children of
their belonging in their Indian race.
I: Well after the people had come out of the bath and were different
colors, and after they had opened the boxes and found how they
were going to make their living, how did they split up? I mean
the white men went to live somewhere, and the Indians somewhere
else, and the black man somewhere else. How did this happen?
Are there any stories that explain that?
S: No, I've never heard of one. The only one I've heard of, is that
you know, the Tower of Babylon, and how they separated by language
groups.
I: Well, would you tell me that? Tell me the one about the Tower of
Babylon.
S: Well, it's just about like the one in the Bible, really. It tells
that these people were planning to go see God, and they were g6ing
to build a tower to get up there. And God looked down, you know,
and he saw what was going on. He didn't think it was such a good
idea for them to come up here and see him...so he sent down a
strong man, and tore their tower down. Well, they weren't about
to be discouraged, so they built it right back up. Well, he was
concentrating on what he can do you know, after trying a couple
of things to discourage them. After a time, he decided, "What's
going to happen if I change their languages?" Well, he decided
on it, and he said, "I'll just change their languages, and they're
not able to communicate with each other, then they will not be
planning to come up and see me."
I: Yes.
S: So that's what he did the next morning. So these people went to
bed, and the next morning they found out they couldn't even talk
with their own aunts and uncles, and cousins, and so forth. They


5
spoke a different language, and so they say that they grouped
up into similar languages, and they just left.
I: Apparently, from what you've been telling me, everybody lived in
harmony. There was peace and friendship among all the people up
until then. After they had been split up into different language
groups, did this state of harmony continue, or do you know? Are
there any stories about that?
S: No, I don't know any stories about that. But I do know that when
they grouped up into these and just separated, well, this state
of harmony and peace continued within each group.
I: Obviously at some point in time, conflict at least between the
Indians and the white people became a reality.
S: Yes.
I: Well, are there any stories concerning that, how that happened,
how it came to be that the Indians and the white men could no
longer get along together?
S: Yes. Well, they don't tell of any white man being involved, as far
as their coming to the North America, coming here. There are some
stories about the people and how they traveled from the western
part of North America to the eastern part.
I: How the Indians did? Can you tell me some of them?
S: Yes. That is my tribe did, I don't know about the others.
I: The Miccosukees?
S: Yes.
I: Would it be the Miccosukees or the Seminoles as a whole?
S: The Miccosukees probably.
I: Can you tell me that one?
S: Well there's really not too much to tell. They just tell about
what they saw on the way.
I: Where did they start from?
S: I'm a bit confused on that, but I can tell you just in general
what they tell, you know.


6
I: O.k. try.
S: They tell stories about lions, and how these lions used to
have freedom to roam all countries. And then they tell a-
bout a certain something connecting this other land with
the country we're in. And then it's sort of like a fairy tale,
you know, 'cause they say that the animals used to talk back
then.
I: Was this in the other land that the Miccosukees lived in
originally that the animals talked?
S: Well, they say that the animals did talk until something
happened. I don't remember what it was. God decided to just
take their speech away. I don't remember what that was. Any-
way, they say that the land that used to be connected with
another land was separated all of a sudden. Something happen-
ed to the connection, and then the whole thing just split up
into two continents, two lands.
I: Was there water in between them?
S: It was then, afterwards.
I: Yes.
S: It wasn't then, but it was afterwards. And so that's how come
the lion does not exist on this land anymore. Because most of
the lions, you know, had residence on the other part that went
away. The most interesting part is they tell of serpents. Ser-
pents or lizards of some kind that were found around these
parts. They don't exactly go into detail about describing this,
but this particular one was about a snake that had sort of an
ax on its neck. Obviously this thing on its neck was a weapon,
you know, it was the animal's defense. Well this man was look-
ing for I don't know what, but they say the tree was very sweet.
When you take the sap, it was very sweet. And they used it for
sugar. Well, he was looking for it, and he found these strange
markings on the ground, like somebody had chopped a big old hole,
and tossed it aside. So he decided to follow and see what was at
the end of it. He found this old snake, and it was sitting there,
probably resting you know, after its trip. They say that the
snake chased him. Well, he got away from it to tell about it.
I: Yes, obviously.


I-----------------1 7
S: Yes, that's about all that I know about that little story.
I: Well, I want to get this straight now. This is very interesting
about where the Miccosukees came from. When the land separated
into two different continents, or what have you...
S: Yes?
I: ...divided by the water, were the Miccosukees on the land that
we are on now?
S: That's what it sounds like.
I: So they did not have to cross from the other one?
S: No, they had already crossed when that happened.
I: You told me then that they had journeyed from somewhere west to
get here.
S: Yes, because of the talk about buffalos, you know, and how you
used to live on bison meat.
I: The Miccosukees did?
S: Yes.
I: Can you tell me more about that? It's very interesting.
S: Well, I did tell you the story about that man throwing a piece
of bison bone behind him and hitting somebody else on the head?
I: Yes, right.
S: And killing him. Well, that was one of the stories.
I: The one that he killed was the thief. Is that right?
S: Yes. I couldn't remember what those people were called, and I
still couldn't remember it. I thought about it, but I just
couldn't remember it.
I: Were they other Indians?
S: Yes, they were. These other Indians were the ones that this man
hit. He was a single hunting party, you know, this man, and he


8
was out hunting. He was preparing the meat for travel, he was
drying it up and roasting it so that it would be preserved for
his travel home. And he got finished, he thought, "Oh, I'll
leave tomorrow." He locked up everything and he was just sitting
there finishing off the last of the marrow in that bone. He had
broken it, it had sharp edges on both ends, and he just flung
that back towards the sound he heard. He didn't think he would
do anything like that, but they say that he came back and told
these people that he had hit somebody on the head and had killed
him. So they went back, and there this guy lay with this bone
stuck in his skull. So, that's what they say, you know; little
stories here and there.
I: Are there any stories about horses?
S: Yes.
I: Can you tell me? I'm hoping that there will be a story about
how the Miccosukees first came to ride horses. Have they
always ridden horses?
S: Well, horses are like cows, they make it sound like the Miccosukees
always had them.
I: Well once the Miccosukees moved to this area, did they get along
well with the Indians that lived here before they came?
S: No. They didn't always live in peace with his neighbors. He would
like to have, you know. He was just mainly settling here and there
as he was traveling to find a better place to stay. But he did
find other people, you know, as he traveled. And some of these
people were sort of warlike at times. You know, people settled and
with security, I guess were a little bit jealous of their
belongings and property. So they might have felt like they were
intruding on their property.
I: I'd like to ask you before we go on further, why the Miccosukees
came here to begin with? Why they left the area where they were?
S: I don't know. They just say he never really did settle anywhere.
He just, as people, began to settle and build civilizations here
and there. Well, the Miccosukee just kept on being foot-loose.
Finally he decided he would settle in the eastern part of the
United States.


9
I: Right.
S: Where there was an abundance of trees and things to eat,
abundance of game and things like that. Well, when he did
settle, he must have made peace with his neighbors 'cause
he was able to settle there for a long time before the
white man came. On the subject of horses, they might have
acquired it when the Spanish went up towards the western
plains or something, you know.
I: Yes, that's what I was wondering.
S: Yes.
I: The Spanish sent several expeditions through the west.
S: Right.
I: At the beginning of the sixteenth century.
S: Yes, and that's how the wild horses came to be, isn't it? I
think they might have tamed some of the horses that started
to stray. And probably the same goes for the cattle. I don't
know. They make it sound like the Miccosukee were pretty well
off.
I: Yes.
S: They didn't hurt for anything. He had his own animals, such
as dogs, pigs, and whatever.
I: When I asked your mother about the source of conflict between
the whites and the Miccosukees, she told me that it was because
some Seminoles or some Miccosukees had sold some of their
fellows into slavery to the white men.
S: Yes.
I: And that when the white men came to get the slaves, there was
trouble. Have you heard any other stories, other than that,
about how the whites and the Indians first came into conflict
with each other?
S: Well, that was one of the first stories that is told. I don't
really remember if there are any more or if I've heard any more.
People used to sit around and talk about these things all the
time, but I wasn't so great on wars. What my mother said was
about all I knew about it.


10
I: There are some other things I could ask you that don't have
any direct relationship to history, but that are interesting
none the less. All the Seminoles, the Muskogee, and the
Miccosukee, up until about fifteen years ago, lived in chick-
ees. Now I've heard stories, that they did not always live in
chickees.
S: Yes.
I: That they used to live in houses, log cabins.
S: Regular two and three story log houses. Yes.
I: Now did you hear that from other Seminoles, or have you read
that in a book?
S: I've heard it from my grandparents.
I: What did they tell you about it?
S: Well they said the Seminoles being so great in numbers, and
there was a lot of people who would hex a person, you know,
put a hex on a person, or well there's some vampires involved,
I guess. And that house is built real sturdy, with a sort of
mud type of thing. It's a clay, you know, like the kind you
make pottery with, I guess. They used to make pottery, too.
And they would stick this stuff between the cracks of the logs.
So that nothing would crawl through, you know.
I: Yes.
S: And if these people who were vampires did find a crack in the
wall, then they would sneak in and kill someone. So they used
to make these things pretty well built. And they say that the
bottom floor of the house was sort of a living area, where they
ate. They probably cooked outside, but they would eat in the
house and store things. Then the second level, if there were
two, would be used for sleeping quarters. They built these
other places high on stilts sort of logs standing upright, and
then the building would be built on the top. It was maybe ten,
twelve feet above the ground, something like that. You had to
use a ladder to get up there. Now this was used mainly for
grain storage and vegetables like dried potatoes or pumpkins,
things like that, stored up there, keep a long time. Now this
was after they had settled, that they started doing this. And


11
they built these log cabins to last them for years and years.
Family after family would be living in it, for a long time.
I: All of this sounds very impressive, I'm wondering why they
stopped making them?
S: They stopped making them during the war. People running from
the soldiers just didn't have time to settle and make things
as permanent as that. So they resorted to building the chick-
ee. Well, they built chickees all along, but they would rather
have lived in houses like the kind they used to build. But the
chickee would have to do in the meantime, while they were run-
ning from the soldiers. They didn't even have it that much, not
even as much as a house.
I: Well, the wars ended to all intents and purposes in 1857.
S: Yes.
I: The Indians were harassed for some time after that, forced to
move on, but by the end of the nineteenth century the Seminoles
could once again live more or less where they pleased. And they
could remain there for extended periods of time. I'm wondering
why they didn't then stop building the chickees, and once again
build the log cabins that they liked so much?
S: Well, there was one establishment that was built. I don't know
if there were any more than one, but it was out there somewhere
in Glades. No, Dade or Collier, I don't know which one it is.
They did build one there, and there was a big old camp there at
one time.
I: Was that Sam Jones' old camp?
S: No, this is on the other side, further down and into the swamp.
Now that Sam Jones' old town, I don't know what that is.
I: I don't either, to tell you the truth.
S: We've looked for it. I tell you, I was raised around there,
and we've looked for that place and never found it. Now will
somebody please tell me where that's at, and then I'll look at
it, and then I'll believe you, but as far as I'm concerned
that place never was there.


12
I: I've looked for it too, and it's nowhere there.
S: Anyway, I've been to this place that they had this like log
cabin.
I: Does it still stand?
S: I didn't get a chance to look inside, we were just shown the
location. We took an airboat ride out there. But my uncle
said that some parts of it were still standing the last time
he saw it. He was a youngster then. Well, this was the last
one that I know of that was being built after the war.
I: Do you know who lived there?
S: I can't remember. There was a certain family that lived there,
but right now I couldn't remember who that was.
I: Well, while we're on the subject of things that used to be done
that are done no more, I'd like to ask you about arts and crafts.
You mentioned a while ago that the Miccosukees did have pottery.
Well, I knew that, and I'm wondering why that died out. Do you
know any reason why they no longer make pottery?
S: Well, I think the abundance of iron, you know, that cast iron
and the other kind of pottery, sort of put it out.
I: I was thinking there might have been a market for it with
tourists, though.
S: Yes, there might have been. In fact, I imagine there would have
been. But they stopped making it, and they don't tell any reasons
why. I kind of figure that's what happened you know, after the
white people chased them so much, you know. Well the Indians
didn't exactly go without taking anything. So that he must have
had something that was taken from them, and certainly pots would
be among them.
I: Yes, sure.
S: So, I think this did put the pottery out finally, 'cause they
did cook and eat out of these things, such as bowls and things
were made of pottery. And big old sofkee pots were made back
then, as well as little bitty and regular sized pots and pans
to be used for their family meal.


13
I: O.K. there's something else in this whole general thing about
stuff that no longer is done, something that has really puz-
zled me ever since I've been here, and that's the lack of
gardens. I've mentioned that once to you before, but we never
did talk about it.
S: Yes.
I: And now I see that the tribal council has decided to plow an
acre of land for everybody over--what is it--sixty-five years
of age?
S: Fifty, fifty-five.
I: Over fifty-five?
S: Yes.
I: Well, all the old people anyway, getting an acre of land plowed,
and putting in gardens for the first time. Now there are gardens
all over the place now, whereas last year there were none. Why
did the gardening die out?
S: Well, it started with groceries being available.
I: Yes, that's understandable.
S: And then my grandmother used to say that erosion was so bad
that you just can't grow anything in a garden like you used
to anymore. They used to have potatoes and sugar cane, and they
used to even raise rice.
I: Oh, I didn't know that.
S: In fact, I don't know how long ago, it must have been just a
little while after the war, I guess, that they used to have
rice patties out there in the swamps. Said they could grow it
in real wet lands, that they were still at the place where,
sort of a basin like. It was wet and muddy year round, and they
would plant rice and have all. They said it was some kind of
work to get that rice fit for eating, but that's what they
used to do. I don't know how they would come by with the rice.
They also tell of places where, before the war, they used to
have all kinds of beans and vegetables and stuff like that.


14
After the war, the soldiers had scattered everything. The only
way they could get some of the seeds to grow things from was
to go back where they started out from.
I: Yes.
S: And they found a few strays that they picked up and brought
back and planted. So, after a while, I think the available
staples in the stores and things that an early time, when the
first settlements came in Miami. Yes, Miami was first settled,
and a trading post in Chokoloskee was started. You know, Ted Smallwood's trading post.
I: Oh yes, o.k.
S: Well, when that came about, these Indians traveled long ways to
get their groceries. And if there was a dry season at the time,
they had to walk the whole distance and walk the whole distance
back.
I: Yes.
S: And sometimes these took over a period of months, that they
would get the groceries and wait for the rainy season, and then
float the groceries back. You know, little predicaments like
that. But then that also accounts for why the Seminole has
never really gone back into building log cabins. He did travel
a lot, after the war.
I: Yes.
S: He would go from this, whenever the fancy struck him, and he
would break up camp, move to another place, go see somebody.
People were established here and there, but they just lived
in chickees. And people didn't know where everybody was.
I: Well, I think I'll cut this off now. We'll continue this later.
S: Yes.
I: Thanks a lot, you've really been helpful again. You always are.


Full Text

PAGE 1

INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA In cooperation with The Seminole Tribe of Florida INTERVIEWEE: INTERVIEWER: Mary Frances Johns Tom King DATE: May 1973 DORIS DUKE FOUNDATION

PAGE 2

SUMMARY In this transcript, recounting oral legends, Mary Frances Johns tells the stories of Indian creation, emergence of the clans, creation of the races and their separation by different languages, how the Miccosukees became geographically located, their relationship with their neighbors and a source of their conflict with whites. In terms of the uprooting influence of the Seminole wars she explains the Seminole transition from log cabins to chickees and the disappearance of pottery. The disappearance of individual gardens is attributed to the avail ability of gardens as well as to the war.

PAGE 3

INDEX Agriculture (disappearance of gardening), 13-14 Chokoloskee (site of Ted Smallwood trading post), 14 Clans (creation of), 1-2 Bird, Panther, Tiger, Wind Clans, 2 Housing (influence of Seminole wars on), 10-12, 14 Jones,Sam, 11 Oral Traditions (legends) creation of Indians, 1-3 creation of races, 3-4 migration of Miccosukee in North America, 5-8 origin of white--Miccosukee conflict, 9 relationship with neighbors, 8-9 separation by languages, 4-5 Pottery (disappearance of), 12 Smallwood, Ted, 14 Transcultural contacts Spanish introduction of horses, 9

PAGE 4

I: Are you familiar with any legends concerning either the origins of the Seminole people or the conduct of the Seminole Wars against the white man? S: I don't remember too much and what I do remember is about all I can give you. Where in particular did you want to start? I: Well, I'd like to start with the origin of the Seminole people. In fact if you could go back even farther than that, I'd like to leam about the origins of mankind in general. I asked your mother that question, on the interviews with her, and she answered by telling me what happened to man after he had already been created. She didn't tell me how men were created. I want to know about that, then I want to know about the Seminoles in particular, to differentiate between them and men in general. How the Seminoles in particular were created. How they came to live in Florida, you see. I want kind of a progression, an historical, chronological account of the origins of the Seminole people. S: Right. I remember my mother told you that. Mostly the legends about where we came from are like those written in the Bible. I: Yes. S: How God created man, you know, and put that man to sleep and then took a rib out and made the woman out of it. I: You told me another legend one day though, right here, about the eggs. S: That was more or less a fairy tale. I: Well, I'm interested in that too. The fairy tales as well as the acconnts that almost mirror the Christian thing. Could you tell me some fairy tales? S: Our legends are, you know, are a little bit different from the fairy tales. Well, the fairy tales talk about the garden, and how God made the garden and planted the seeds of human beings, of Seminoles, rather. I: Were they called Seminoles then? S: I don't think they were. They were just Indians, and this is where the clanship emerges. I don't know if it's the same story or not, but there's another story similar to it. That one

PAGE 5

2 tells of the bathing where the first man went in and came out white. I: Tell me that. S: He was cleaner than the rest. I: How does that one start? S: I think it does start at the garden, now see if I can make a connection somewhere. I: If you can remember thw whole thing, I'd like to hear that one in detail. S: Well, they say that after the garden started to grow, you know, the humans had been buried sort of like potatoes, and they were growing. And when they finished growing, they came out. They started to come out, but the hole up there was a little bit too small for the Tiger or the Panther's Clan to come through. I: The hole up where? S: You know, the hole at the you know, whereever they were at. I: Above the garden? S: Yes. I: Oh. Was the garden underground? S: Yes. The human seeds were underground when they started growing. I: Oh, O.K., I misunderstood, I see, yes. S: So when they were going to come up, break through the ground, you know, this Tiger's Clan's head was too big to go through the plant, or through the hole in the roof. So another clan took its place and came out first. I think that was the Wind Clan. He crune out and made the hole a little bigger, and they got out. When they got out it was very misty, you know, sort of like fog settled on the ground. So the Wind--now, let's see now, it might have been the Bird Clan that came out first, and then the Tigers, and then the Wind Clan--but then when that fog was settled on the ground the Wind Clan took over and said, 11 Let me fan it away. And maybe we can see better and see where we're going." So he led the group, and they got out of the garden and came into the bushes. And they tell about this lion that was

PAGE 6

3 sitting there. He was sitting there, stirring some kind of soup or sofkee or something like that, with his tail. He was just, you know, taking his time cooking his food. And that's where all the smoke was coming from. So when they walked up on him, the lion sort of said, "Now what in the world are these strange beings?" You know, and he just sat there. He forgot all about the tail in the sofkee, so his tail burned up, and that's how come he's got the dark tail on the end. You know, that little tassle on the end. Anyway, these people continued down to another place. I don't exactly remember how they came from where they saw the lion to this establishment they came to. I think they said this was the place where God lived. And when they came, he saw that his garden had been successful, and that these people were there with the sum of his efforts. So the next step for him to do was to give something like a job for each person to do. I think this is where he told them to go take a bath. And when they did, you know, a bunch of them would go in and take a bath first. They emerged whiter than the others, because they had the use of the towel first. And the next group that went in came out sort of a medium color, you know, and they came in all shades of color down to the blackest, because he was the last one to go in the bath, you know, he came out the dirtiest •. Because he didn't get too clean, and the towel was already dirty when he used it. So that's how come we have white people, and Indians, and Chinese, and so forth, you know. After the baths were over with, God told them to go to this house and open it, and inside you will find boxes. And inside the boxes what you find will be what you make your living with. So, they went up in the building, and they looked at the boxes to see which one they were going to take. The white men picked the first box, and he opened it, and he got all kinds of books, and rulers, and pencils, and things like that in there, you know, as well as some What else did they say was in there? I can't remember. I knew, I thought I knew it, but it slipped my mind there. I was going to say it. Anyway, the Indian when they got his box out, he opened it, and he found bows and arrows, and seeds and things like that, you know. And he was going to be a farmer and a hunter for his living. And then when the colored man got his box and he opened it, he found workman's tools. You know, like rakes and brooms, and you know, things to clean the house with, things to clean a yard with. So, he's supposed to be the laborer of the whole bunch. In other words, a white man is supposed to be educated, and the Indian was supposed to live with nature, and then the colored man was supposed to be the servant of them all.

PAGE 7

4 I: Who told you this story? S: My grandma. I: Do you know if she learned it from her grandmother too? Was it passed down like that? Is it an old story? S: Yes it's an old story. These little fairy tales I guess are handed dpwn to explain the fact that there are different colored people in this world. And it sort of reassures the children of their belonging in their Indian race. I: Well after the people had come out of the bath and were different colors, and after they had opened the boxes and found how they were going to make their living, how did they split up? I mean the white men went to live somewhere, and the Indians somewhere else, and the black man somewhere else. How did this happen? Are there any stories that explain that? S: No, I've never heard of one. The only one I've heard of, is that you know, the Tower of Babylon, and how they separated by language groups. I: Well, would you tell me that? Tell me the one about the Tower of Babylon. S: Well, it's just about like the one in the Bible, really. It tells that these people were planning to go see God, and they were going to build a tower to get up there. And God looked down, you know, and he saw what was going on. He didn't think it was such a good idea for them to come up here and see him so he sent down a strong man, and tore their tower down. Well, they weren't about to be discouraged, so they built it right back up. Well, he was concentrating on what he can do you know, after trying a couple of things to discourage them. After a time, he decided, "What's going to happen if I change their languages?" Well, he decided on it, and he said, "I'll just change their languages, and they're not able to communicate with each other, then they will not be planning to come up and see me." I: Yes. S: So that's what he did the next morning. So these people went to bed, and the next morning they found out they couldn't even talk with their own aunts and uncles, and cousins, and so forth. They

PAGE 8

5 spoke a different language, and so they say that they grouped up into similar languages, and they just left. I: Apparently, from what you've been telling me, everybody lived in harmony. There was peace and friendship among all the people up until then. After they had been split up into different language groups, did this state of harmony continue, or do you know? Are there any stories about that? S: No, I don't know any stories about that. But I do know that when they grouped up into these and just separated, well, this state of harmony and peace continued within each group. I: Obviously at some point in time, conflict at least between the Indians and the white people became a reality. S: Yes. I: Well, are there any stories concerning that, how that happened, how it came to be that the Indians and the white men could no longer get along together? S: Yes. Well, they don't tell of any white man being involved, as far as their coming to the North America, coming here. There are some stories about the people and how they traveled from the western part of North America to the eastern part. I: How the Indians did? Can you tell me some of them? S: Yes. That is my tribe did, I don't know about the others. I: The Miccosukees? S: Yes. I: Would it be the Miccosukees or the Seminoles as a whole? S: The Miccosukees probably. I: Can you tell me that one? S: Well there's really not too much to tell. They just tell about what they saw on the way. I: Where did they start from? S: I'm a bit confused on that, but I can tell you just in general what they tell, you know.

PAGE 9

6 I: O.k. try. S: They tell stories about lions, and how these lions used to have freedom to roam all countries. And then they tell bout a certain something connecting this other land with the country we're in. And then it's sort of like a fairy tale, you know, 'cause they say that the animals used to talk back then. I: Was this in the other land that the Miccosukees lived in originally that the animals talked? S: Well, they say that the animals did talk until something happened. I don't remember what it was. God decided to just take their speech away. I don't remember what that was. Any way, they say that the land that used to be connected with another land was separated all of a sudden. Something happen ed to the connection, and then the whole thing just split up into two continents, two lands. I: Was there water in between them? S: It was then, afterwards. I: Yes. S: It wasn't then, but it was afterwards. And so that's how come the lion does not exist on this land anymore. Because most of the lions, you know, had residence on the other part that went away. The most interesting part is they tell of serpents. Ser pents or lizards of some kind that were found around these parts. They don't exactly go into detail about describing this, but this particular one was about a snake that had sort of an ax on its neck. Obviously this thing on its neck was a weapon, you know, it was the animal's defense. Well this man was look ing for I don't know what, but they say the tree was very sweet. When you take the sap, it was very sweet. And they used it for sugar. Well, he was looking for it, and he found these strange markings on the ground, like somebody had chopped a big old hole, and tossed it aside. So he decided to follow and see what was at the end of it. He found this old snake, and it was sitting there, probably resting you know, after its trip. They say that the snake chased him. Well, he got away from it to tell about it. I: Yes, obviously.

PAGE 10

7 S: Yes, that's about all that I know about that little story. I: Well, I want to get this straight now. about where the Miccosukees came from. This is very interesting When the land separated into two different continents, or what have you S: Yes? I: divided by the water, were the Miccosukees on the land that we are on now? S: That's what it sounds like. I: So they did not have to cross from the other one? S: No, they had already crossed when that happened. I: You told me then that they had journeyed from somewhere west to get here. S: Yes, because of the talk about buffalos, you know, and how you used to live on bison meat. I: The Miccosukees did? S: Yes. I: Can you tell me more about that? It's very interesting. S: Well, I did tell you the story about that man throwing a piece of bison bone behind him and hitting somebody else on the head? I: Yes, right. S: And killing him. Well, that was one of the stories. I: The one that he killed was the thief. Is that right? S: Yes. I couldn't remember what those people were called, and I still couldn't remember it. I thought about it, but I just couldn't remember it. I: Were they other Indians? S: Yes, they were. These other Indians were the ones that this man hit. He was a single hunting party, you know, this man, and he

PAGE 11

8 was out hunting. He was preparing the meat for travel, he was drying it up and roasting it so that it would be preserved for his travel home. And he got finished, he thought, "Oh, I'll leave tomorrow." He locked up everything and he was just sitting there finishing off the last of the marrow in that bone. He had broken it, it had sharp edges on both ends, and he just flung that back towards the sound he heard. He didn't think he would do anything like that, but they say that he came back and told these people that he had hit somebody on the head and had killed him. So they went back, and there this guy lay with this bone stuck in his skull. So, that's what they say, you know; little stories here and there. I: Are there any stories about horses? S: Yes. I: Can you tell me? I'm hoping that there will be a story about how the Miccosukees first came to ride horses. Have they always ridden horses? S: Well, horses are like cows, they make it sound like the Miccosukees always had them. I: Well once the Miccosukees moved to this area, did they get along well with the Indians that lived here before they came? S: No. They didn't always live in peace with his neighbors. He would like to have, you know. He was just mainly settling here and there as he was traveling to find a better place to stay. But he did find other people, you know, as he traveled. And some of these people were sort of warlike at times. You know, people settled and with security, I guess were a little bit jealous of their belongings and property. So they might have felt like they were intruding on their property. I: I'd like to ask you before we go on further, why the Miccosukees came here to begin with? Why they left the area where they were? S: I don't know. They just say he never really did settle anywhere. He just, as people, began to settle and build civilizations here and there. Well, the Miccosukee just kept on being foot-loose. Finally he decided he would settle in the eastern part of the United States.

PAGE 12

9 I: Right. S: Where there was an abundance of trees and things to eat, abundance of game and things like that. Well, when he did settle, he must have made peace with his neighbors 'cause he was able to settle there for a long time before the white man came. On the subject of horses, they might have acquired it when the Spanish went up towards the western plains or something, you know. I: Yes, that's what I was wondering. S: Yes. I: The Spanish sent several expeditions through the west. S: Right. I: At the beginning of the sixteenth century. S: Yes, and that's how the wild horses came to be, isn't it? I think ~hey might have tamed some of the horses that started to stray. And probably the same goes for the cattle. I don't know. They make it sound like the Miccosukee were pretty well off. I: Yes. S: They didn't hurt for anything. He had his own animals, such as dogs, pigs, and whatever. I: When I asked your mother about the source of conflict between the whites and the Miccosukees, she told me that it was because some Seminoles or some Miccosukees had sold some of their fellows into slavery to the white men. S: Yes. I: And that when the white men came to get the slaves, there was trouble. Have you heard any other stories, other than that, about how the whites and the Indians first came into conflict with each other? S: Well, that was one of the first stories that is told. I don't really remember if there are any more or if I've heard any more. People used to sit around and talk about these things all the time, but I wasn't so great on wars. What my mother said was about all I knew about it.

PAGE 13

10 I: There are some other things I could ask you that don't have any direct relationship to history, but that are interesting none the less. All the Seminoles, the Muskogee, and the Miccosukee, up until about fifteen years ago, lived in chick ees. Now I've heard stories, that they did not always live in chickees. S: Yes. I: That they used to live in houses, log cabins. S: Regular two and three story log houses. Yes. I: Now did you hear that from other Seminoles, or have you read that in a book? S: I've heard it from my grandparents. I: What did they tell you about it? S: Well they said the Seminoles being so great in numbers, and there was a lot of people who would hex a person, you know, put a hex on a person, or well there's some vampires involved, I guess. And that house is built real sturdy, with a sort of mud type of thing. It's a clay, you know, like the kind you make pottery with, I guess. They used to make pottery, too. And they would stick this stuff between the cracks of the logs. So that nothing would crawl through, you know. I: Yes. S: And if these people who were vampires did find a crack in the wall, then they would sneak in and kill someone. So they used to make these things pretty well built. And they say that the bottom floor of the house was sort of a living area, where they ate. They probably cooked outside, but they would eat in the house and store things. Then the second level, if there were two, would be used for sleeping quarters. They built these other places high on stilts sort of logs standing upright, and then the building would be built on the top. It was maybe ten, twelve feet above the ground, something like that. You had to use a ladder to get up there. Now this was used mainly for grain storage and vegetables like dried potatoes or pumpkins, things like that, stored up there, keep a long time. Now this was after they had settled, that they started doing this. And

PAGE 14

11 they built these log cabins to last them for years and years. Family after family would be living in it, for a long time. I: All of this sounds very impressive, I'm wondering why they stopped making them? S: They stopped making them during the war. People running from the soldiers just didn't have time to settle and make things as permanent as that. So they resorted to building the chick ee. Well, they built chickees all along, but they would rather have lived in houses like the kind they used to build. But the chickee would have to do in the meantime, while they were run ning from the soldiers. They didn't even have it that much, not even as much as a house. I: Well, the wars ended to all intents and purposes in 1857. S: Yes. I: The Indians were harassed for some time after that, forced to move on, but by the end of the nineteenth century the Seminoles could once again live more or less where they pleased. And they could remain there for extended periods of time. I'm wondering why they didn't then stop building the chickees, and once again build the log cabins that they liked so much? S: Well, there was one establishment that was built. I don't know if there were any more than one, but it was out there somewhere in Glades. No, Dade or Collier, I don't know which one it is. They did build one there, and there was a big old camp there at one time. I: Was that Sam Jones' old camp? S: No, this is on the other side, further down and into the swamp. Now that Sam Jones' old town, I don't know what that is. I: I don't either, to tell you the truth. S: We've looked for it. I tell you, I was raised around there, and we've looked for that place and never found it. Now will somebody please tell me where that's at, and then I'll look at it, and then I'll believe you, but as far as I'm concerned that place never was there.

PAGE 15

12 I: I've looked for it too, and it's nowhere there. S: Anyway, I've been to this place that they had this like log cabin. I: Does it still stand? S: I didn't get a chance to look inside, we were just shown the location. We took an airboat ride out there. But my uncle said that some parts of it were still standing the last time he saw it. He was a youngster then. Well, this was the last one that I know of that was being built after the war. I: Do you know who lived there? S: I can't remember. There was a certain family that lived there, but right now I couldn't remember who that was. I: Well, while we're on the subject of things that used to be done that are done no more, I'd like to ask you about arts and crafts. You mentioned a while ago that the Miccosukees did have pottery. Well, I knew that, and I'm wondering why that died out. Do you know any reason why they no longer make pottery? S: Well, I think the abundance of iron, you know, that cast iron and the other kind of pottery, sort of put it out. I: I was thinking there might have been a market for it with tourists, though. S: Yes, there might have been. In fact, I imagine there would have been. But they stopped making it, and they don't tell any reasons why. I kind of figure that's what happened you know, after the white people chased them so much, you know. Well the Indians didn't exactly go without taking anything. So that he must have had something that was taken from them, and certainly pots would be among them. I: Yes, sure. S: So, I think this did put the pottery out finally, 'cause they did cook and eat out of these things, such as bowls and things were made of pottery, And big old sofkee pots were made back then, as well as little bitty and regular sized pots and pans to be used for their family meal.

PAGE 16

13 I: O.K. there's something else in this whole general thing about stuff that no longer is done, something that has really puz zled me ever since I've been here, and that's the lack of gardens. I've mentioned that once to you before, but we never did talk about it. S: Yes. I: And now I see that the tribal council has decided to plow an acre of land for everybody over--what is it--sixty-five years of age? S: Fifty, fifty-five. I: Over fifty-five? S: Yes. I: Well, all the old people anYWay, getting an acre of land plowed, and putting in gardens for the first time. Now there are gardens all over the place now, whereas last year there were none. Why did the gardening die out? S: Well, it started with groceries being available. I: Yes, that's understandable. S: And then my grandmother used to say that erosion was so bad that you just can't grow anything in a garden like you used to anymore. They used to have potatoes and sugar cane, and they used to even raise rice. I: Oh, I didn't know that. S: In fact, l don't know how long ago, it must have been just a little while after the war, I guess, that they used to have rice patties out there in the swamps. Said they could grow it in real wet lands, that they were still at the place where, sort of a basin like. It was wet and muddy year round, and they would plant rice and have all. They said it was some kind of work to get that rice fit for eating, but that's what they used to do. I don't know how they would come by with the rice. They also tell of places where, before the war, they used to have all kinds of beans and vegetables and stuff like that.

PAGE 17

L 14 After the war, the soldiers had scattered everything. The only way they could get some of the seeds to grow things from was to go back where they started out from. I: Yes. S: And they found a few strays that they picked up and brought back and planted. So, after a while, I think the available staples in the stores and things that an early time, when the first settlements came in Miami. Yes, Miami was first settled, and a trading post in Chokoloskee was started. You know, Ted Smallwood's trading post. I: Oh yes, o.k. S: Well, when that came about, these Indians traveled long ways to get their groceries. And if there was a dry season at the time, they had to walk the whole distance and walk the whole distance back. I: Yes. S: And sometimes these took over a period of months, that they would get the groceries and wait for the rainy season, and then float the groceries back. You know, little predicaments like that. But then that also accounts for why the Seminole has never really gone back into building log cabins. He did travel a lot, after the war. I: Yes. S: He would go from this, whenever the fancy struck him, and he would break: up camp, move to another place, go see somebody. People were established here and there, but they just lived in chickees. And people didn't know where everybody was. I: Well, I think I'll cut this off now. We'll continue this later. S: Yes. I: Thanks a lot, you've really been helpful again. You always are.