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Interview with Mayola Fulton, July 15, 1971

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Title:
Interview with Mayola Fulton, July 15, 1971
Creator:
Fulton, Mayola ( Interviewee )
Publication Date:
Language:
English

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Subjects / Keywords:
Seminole Indians
Seminoles -- Florida
Seminole Oral History Collection ( local )

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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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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
SEM 127 ( SPOHP IDENTIFIER )

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May Ola Fulton
Interviewed by Dr. J. K. Mahon
July 15, 1971
F: ...how one family taught it in their own family, the history of their people.
(BREAK)
F: Now, Josie Billy and Frank Shore, the two medicine men,
to give us all that they know about the medicine bag, and to show us how all
the herbs and things are found...I don't think...You've gotta start it on the
medicine bag, but you don't have it in their words. I think this xxa would
just be...make a marvelous...part of the history...
M: Oh, sure.
F: And, they understand each other real good, and they...I really think that we
have to do a little bit of maneuvering to accomplish this, but I think we can
do it.
M: Well... /
(BREAK)
M: So you went to be with the Indians first in 1958.
F: Yes. And I worked as Fred
M: What was his...
F: His capacity was...agriculturist...with the agriculture extension service, and
we worked a lot of our work together, all of our children worked in 4-H's
together...and a lots of our family groups did work...in a group. When you work
with families, you have to work with the whole outfit...
M: But your pay came from the state? Or from the Bureau of Indian Affairs?
F: My...I was contracted for...in other words, the Bureau paid the Department of
Agriculture for my services...Agriculture Extension Service...of Florida for
my services.
M: And what was his situation?
F: Same thing.


M: ...like that?
F: They were both...same contract.
M: So, your check came from Ag. Extension?
F: Yes. From Florida. And then, But part of the money, that was
paid in, was for services of all the specialists that gave assistance when needed,
and they were very generous with specialists.
M: Were you a specialist?
F: No. I just always x had liked to work with minority groups, and my history of
work had...sort of...showed up like this, that whenever there was a difficult
small group, then...it always ended up I got 'em.
M: In Sumter County had you worked with small...different with minority groups?
F: Yes. And when I was with...
M: ...what were they?
F: Well, we had lots of farm groups in there...little groups, you know.
M: Such as...
F: Such as Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans, and a few Italians...and when I was in
the...the Farmer's Home Administration(?) I always got the hard minority groups
that...that didn't speak even English, half the time. And the funny thing is,
I don't speak any foreign languages at all. I've been exposed to a lot of them
that I...they just don't take.
M: Did you ever develop any ability to understand some Seminole...or, one dialect?
F: Well, it was a very odd thing. I'd been there a few months, and I went to a
meeting, and I had to serve as a...advisory committee...to the Home Planning,
the Social Planning of each community. And, they had, the three reservations
had two representatives to come in, and they would discuss their problems Na
and make plans, and I was the one that would...was assigned to...act sort of
an advisor. And, of course, I didn't know I was understanding as much as I did.
And, I'd been there three or four months when I went to this meeting, and


3
the girl that had been taking the notes...now, all the notes were done in
English, because they had no written language. So, she left about thirty
minutes after we started, and nothing was ever said, nobody took any notes
or anything, but all during that meeting, I would make little notations, you
know, about things, because...I'd just always done some hieroglyphics and
about
shorthand, and things that I've listened in...and when we got through, about
4:30 in the afternoon, Billy Osceola got up and he said, Miss Fulton, will you
please read your notes on this meeting? Well, I swallowed real hard, and I
read'em...and he said, I move we accept these for the minutes of the meeting.
And I want you to know, I took the minutes of these meetings for the rest of
those seven or eight years, and three-fourths of the meetings were done in
foreign languages, far as I was concerned, and yet, I understood wa what was
goin' on. Now, I can't tell you how...
M: Hmm. Well, when you...I'm, I'm not perfectly clear as to what your function
was--but you say that several, the three reservations sent representatives to
Social Planning?
F: Yeah, they had...
M: What does that mean?
F: Well...
M: ...What was social planning for?
F: Any kind of a social...I mean, when I say social, I don't mean, a play-time thing,
I mean all of their social problems, concerning families, and...and community
affairs.
M: Such as what?
F: Such as...
M: ... Do you remember any that you'd be willing to...
F: Such as...
M: ...tell us about?


4
F: ...the health problems, the children in school, and housing, water supply,
there were a thousand and one things that used to come up about the children,
and...the children really had a terrific time, going to public school. And,
one of the things that we did, and...when the children transferred in to
Clewiston School, they didn't want 'em, and...
M: Who didn't? The Clewiston people?
F: Clewiston. In fact, they just said they weren't goin' to have 'em, but the
federal government told 'em they had to, or else. So they took 'em. Well,
the first thing that I discovered was...that they had a very clever way of
not only flunking Indian children, but other children that they didn't want
to survive long enough for their children to get interested in. So, that by
the time a child got through the sophomore class, he had failed so far he
could never make it out of high school anyway. They would assign 'em these
problems that would require research in the library, and then they would all
have to ride the bus, and there would be no time for them to...to go to the
student library to do this. And so they, they'd turn in a blank paper, or
no paper at all, and...when I g found this out, Mr. Boehmer and I discussed it,
and he got an encyclopedia for 'em, so they could do...many times they were
asked for...and it did help them a lot, 'cause a lot of the xii children, they
had not been passing anything, were able to pass.
M: Why was it...the school district of Clewiston didn't want 'em?
F: Oh...when...the first little girl that went into Moore Haven was Frank Shore'.s
little girl. He wanted her to go to a public school...and one of the women at
Lake Forest took her into her home, and she caught the school bus at her house,
and she went to school that first year, and...and did well. She made good
grades. And, the next year, two more children joined her, and then, at the
end of that second year, all the parents in that school received a note from
the teacher...asking them if they wanted their children to go to school with


Indian children, and I mean they voted 'em clear out of that school. And, uh,
so the Indians didn't take that layin' down...I can tell you...they just up
and went and asked Okeechobee if all their children could go to school. And
they said yes. Now, up until this time they'd just been goin' to school at the
Brighton Reservation, and the government had been sending a teacher down there.
So, that sort of raised their dander...and Moore Haven had to pay Okeechobee
for these same children to go to school at Okeechobee. Well, this along
until about five years after I was there. Okeechobee had a state championship
for football two years, and half the team was made up of Indians. And Moore
Haven had had not even a football team, because they didn't have enough to make
up two teams so they could even practice. So, that year, summer, when they had...
the board, the school board said that the Indian children would have to come
back to Moore Haven...they would not pay for them to go back to Okeechobee.
And this was to get up a football game team. Which is an awful silly thing
to get...out of a football. Now, this is not on a record...it was just that
you heard all of it, and you knew what was goin' on. The record doesn't show
this. They just...well, they say that it was too expensive to go over there,
so they'd have to come back home.
M: Who were some of the kids that played football at Okeechobee? Do you remember
'em? I mean, are they now...
F: Well, uh...
M: ...become the leaders...
F: Oh, yes...
M: ...of the tribe?
F: Yes uh...
M: Such as who?
F: Um, the a last one that was just there...
M: Joe Dan?
F: Joe Dan...Joe Dan was an outstandin' athlete...


M: Was He. Howard Tiger? Or was he there?
F: Uh, Howard was in...Dade. Now, I'll tell you somebody that...a doctor there
whose son went to school...how, that could really give you an outsider's point
of view, of Howard, as an individual. There are two people. The one is the
doctor Atkinson, who practiced in Hollywood, and he figured in a very interesting
story about the children who used to go to Davey school. Now, I don't know this...
M: Well, now what was this Davey school like?
F: Davey was the worst town...that you could leave the...the post office, closest
post office, and...
M: Well, why...how'd the kids happen to go there?
F: Well, it was...there just wasn't any other school. See, Hollywood is a modern
town.
M: Yeah, I know.
F: And...this...it didn't even touch the reservation for a long time. And then
it just surrounded it...on three sides...by expansion. And Davey still has
three miles to meet it. I mean, that's how things just grew, you know. That
Davey is...I don't mean Davey...Dania. I was sayin' Davey, but Dania...
M: DANIA. Oh, yeah.
F: But Davey is as old as Dania, though. They're both very old settlements. But
Dania was the one I was thinkin' about. Now, lots of children still go to Dania
...Davey school...that live on the outskirts...they have intermarried with
families on the outskirts, and they are still members of the tribe, but they
live off the reservation, and some of them do go to Davey.
M: Now, have you retired?
F: Um-hmm.
M: When did you do it?
F: Three years ago.
M:. So, you served about eleven years.
F: Almost twelve, not quite.


M: Uh-huh. You have any impression as to whether this...unwillingness to have
the INdians in school has gone, or...not?
F: Some of it has increased, and some of it has decreased...and it goes up and
down, depending on the Negro situation.
M: How does it depend on that? I mean...
F: Well, when the Negro situation is going up, the Ihdians goes up with it...because,
you see, they're just not white. And, there's not much discussion about it,
it's a feeling you get. And, you don't discuss it, but it comes out in little
pieces of conversation, you know, here and there, and when you pull it all out,
you suddenly realize that the kids are under terrific pressure.
M: You feel they still are?
F: Oh, yes.
M: No question about it, huh?
F: They are...and now, under more pressure from teachers than they are from students.
Ch, students don't...students don't pay that much attention to it...unless there's
an awful lot of talk at home. But very few children are accepted in white homes.
On just...visitation.
M: Still?
F: Yes. This is...very rare for Indian children to have white friends.
M: Have you ever heard the INdians react to this? In talk off the record, or do
they talk in front of you? About these things?
F: When I'm with 'em for several days, like I'll take a group on a long trip...
by the end of the second day, they just forget I'm there, and they just talk
very freely. I--I never asked them, direct questions.
M: You heard it discussed?
F: Oh, you hear all kinds of discussions...if you just keep quiet...you can just,
ride down the road, you know, ride down the road, goin' on a long trip, and
after while, they just forget that you're there. If you don't make any comments
of any kind.


M: Well, now, this...your job. So, you were present when they discussed these
social situations, and for instance, the one you're discussing, was that brought
up at these meetings on social problems? For instance, is that somethin'...
F: No, this was not something that was discussed -- in -- except at one time this
was brought up, and it was brought up in...Clewis...when the Children in Clewiston
were having such a time...and, when I got to thinkin' about it, I realized
that they hadn't gone to the school...I mean, their parents had never even been
inside the school. And neither had the teachers ever been inside a chickee.
So, how could they gE teach those same children with any feeling...how could
the mother encourage her child to keep his paper clean, and turn in a nice paper,
when doesn't even know what a good paper means. And how could the teacher
understand that there's no way to keep a piece of paper dry in a chickee?
So, Mr. Boehmer and I arranged to have a dinner on the grounds at the church,
and...
M: On the reservation?
F: On the reservation...
M: Which reservation?
F: Big Cypress. Now, Big Cypress was the most backward, and...the last to go into
any kind of public activities, because...they, they just were so, they're so
backward, the...well, it was just like it was a x foreign country. They've
come a long ways. You just have no idea how far they've come. So, we had this
meeting, and...oh, we...they xHimkdxa fixed a big spread. And these people did
it themselves. And, when the teachers all came out on a school bus, well that...
I mean to tell you, that's some ride, on a school bus. So, they had no idea
why a child should have been sleepy or tired or worn out by the time he got to
school he should have been fresh, but he wasn't. 'Cause he probably had
gotten up, and gotten himself ready for school, and gotten his own breakfast,
and...if he got one...and if he had any homework, he might've left it home, he


might've taken it with him...nobody told...how any child ever got an education
to begin with is his own little business, 'cause nobody else ever helped him.
At home. 'Cause they didn't know how. Really. So, the teachers got...started
out, well, the first thing that happened was a bus broke down about half way
between. And then they got it fixed, and they came down, and just as they got
to the reservation, I have never seen such a flood of rainfall...and when they
got to the school grounds, they was in water that deep. All over it. And this
was the school these children had come from. They had played in water that deep.
Every rainy season, September through October and part of November, and the
little school a was an old stable, made over into a school house. And when it
rained, it still smelled like a stable, and it smelled like one...so, they
got a real good dose...Mr. Boehmer didn't think we'd ever get a family, a whole
family, to act as a host to a group in their home. But we did. We got one...
a big family. And, it was a typical...took a chickee out here, and--two bedrooms,
I think there were three, three chickees around--and it was just pourin' cats
and dogs and wet and drippy and, like one teacher says, well, you know, says,
tell you the truth, I'm amazed they ever got a paper there. That it didn't
got
dissolve before they mH.... ready to get to school. Because, you know, the
atmosphere is so damp, that everything gets so limp and...I said it was just
a perfect demonstration for teachers...to go down, when it rained like that,
and the bus broke down, and those Indians were so gracious and so congenial
and they had never seen Indians friendly like this. All they saw was a sullen
little child that didn't respond. But he was in his own little back yard, and
he was at home. And, of course, the children had to do all the--the talkin'
and everything, and so there was all this translating going on, you know, and
then, when they went up to the church, they had to put on a little program for
'em, and then they, went out and served them. The parents didn't do it. Because
they didn't understand tx anything. The parents got under one little chickee
over therej and the little old tiny tots, on up to the high school children,


- LU'
served that big group of teachers that came in on those two school buses.
M: How big was the group? Do you remember?
F: There must have been about fifty or sixty.
M: What'd they serve 'em? Indian--
F: No, they...they served 'em fried chicken, as I recall, and I know they had sliced
tomatoes and...
M: Regular standard American...
F: No, no...they had their fried bread, Indian fried bread, and the pumpkin bread,
and, of course, their coffee.
M: Swamp cabbage?
F: Yes. They had some swamp cabbage too. They, they like all kinds of cabbage,
so they had both kinds. Tell you the truth, most of the food was gone by the
time I got there, so I don't recall any...having anything except a cup of coffee,
but I--I was just...couldn't get over the way those children, took hold, and just
waged...just acted like they'd been servin' for all their lives, and...it was
just perfect. You couldn't have asked for better hospitality, than they
acquired those people at.
M: Did you see any results from this?
F: Oh, we saw a lot of results...and it was too bad we couldn't have followed it
up with...
M: You never were able to have another one?
F: N6, we never were able to raise enough money. After that, they lost their
, and they lost about forty-five thousand dollars out of their
budget, and we couldn't manage 'em, and cuttin' the budget, and this meant that
the tribe had to cut all these extras like this out. And, it was too bad that
something couldn't have come in and filled up that space, because they knew--
they knew what to do with that money. They knew these kind of things w should
be done. And when they would get in those meetings, even if they didn't speak
English, they knew what ought to be done.


11
M:. Well, now, who had really initiated that thing? You and Boehmer, or had
the Indians?
F: Well, I would say that the Indians saw the problem--they, they didn't, they
knew their children weren't doin' well, but they didn't know why. And Mr.
Boehmer and I discussed it--we did, we were the ones that came to a conclusion
when it was the two groups just, that the children were suspended between
two cultures that never knew what the other one was really like.
M: What was Boehmer's position? Teaching in that school on the reservation?
F: Well...
M: ...at this time?
(BREAK)
F: ...Mr. Boehmer was an easy person, a very fine person to work with. And
:he had started...it was funny how Fred, Mr. Boehmer and mamx I paths had
-crossed, and our workin' through our life time. Now, that was really quite
amazing. X First I had worked in Hernando County, and Fred was there at
the same time (?). And then later, I ended up in north Florida, and he
came down to the lake. And started workin' with Indians. Well, later, I
got transferred down to the lake, to work with Farmer's Home. So there
I met Mr. Boehmer and Fred, and my work carried me to the Indian reservation,
where I saw and observed their work, when I was workin' with Farmer's Home,
because some of our families used to buy bulls from the Indians. And this
was my first contact with Mr. Boehmer and Fred on the Indian reservation,
and it was 25 years back to (?) I came back, and worked with both of 'em.
And Mr. Boehmer had started the first school, and Mrs. Boehmer cooked the
meals.
M: Seems to me he told me he went there in about 1933.
F: That's right. That's right.
M: And he only retired...what?


12
F: Just about a year and a half, maybe two years...
M: So he's been here thirty years...better
F: Oh, yes, and Fred came there just a...well, I don't know whether
--it was less than a year, that he came on...I don't know whether it wasjust
for months, or a year, or...but I know...I think it a was less than a year.
They came, they were so close together that they always felt like they came
together. And, they both lived on the reservation for seven or eight--I
believe that they lived on the reservation seven years, I'm not positive
about that. But he was not living there when I was there. He was--had been
M: Living on which reservation?
F: Brighton.
M: Brighton.
F: And Mrs. Boehmer. I -- I believe that this was one reason why the Brighton
Indians today are more capable of carryin' on their personal affairs than
any others...other groups. And when you look at the record, you'll find that
all the outstanding people in Dania today are from Brighton.
M: Did you ever distinguish any difference in -- except in language-- between
the Mikasukis and the Creeks or Muskogees? Either -- they seem to be different
people at all?
F: The ones that just stay on the reservation, yes. The ones that had managed
to get off the reservation mixed up with lots of people--no. The ones that
moved around a lot are--not only on their reservation, but they go to Oklahoma
and come back, and there, there's a lot of this Indians.
M: You mean out of the state, back and forth, xxnxsxxfaxthix to Oklahoma and all
around?
F: On all three reservations and off the reservation.
M: Were you ever personally on the reservation in Oklahoma? The Seminole part?


F: No, not the Seminole part...
M: Seminole County, they call it.
F: I went...I went to...I went to one of the reservations...well, I went to two.
As for personal observations, and they sent : me to the two most backward
ones that they had to see, to compare to how the...and I really thought that
the Seminoles were makin' more personal progress than these others who had
had all kinds of help in their homes for kh years.
M: Well, was your critical function--were you supposed to show 'em how to cook...
F: My critical function was to help h them to transfer as much -- to accept and
learn as much modern, about modern living, xn as they wanted to know.
M: And specifically, in specific cases, what did you do?
F: Oh, I, well, to tell you the truth, I started with cookin', 'cause that's
common. And I could handle the cooking class and everybody would come.
Even the men. So, when I wanted to teach some other somethin', I couldn't get
'em to come for that, I just quit that. So I just continued with my cooking
classes. But I set up these exhibits around, that I wanted to talk about
maybe six months later.
M: Exhibits, like, of what?
F: Well, like makin' up beds. I'd take a little doll bed, have all the different
things on it, and make it up.
M: Do you think it would be necessary to the Indians to know how a to do this?
F: Well, if you...if you were gettin' ready to go into housing, you would.
M: Yeah.
F: Now, remember, I had helped to take these Indians into housing.
M: Is that what you're preparin' them for, to get Rxhkmsexxxx 'em out of the
chickees and into houses?
F: Well, that was the primary thing that they had specifically asked that I help
them to do. Because, you see, they were getting ready to go into housing.


M: Well, so your cooking, teaching 'em cooking, was what, teach 'em to cook on
a stove instead of on a fire, or what?
F: No--see, they, they wanted to learn about American--how to make, how to make a
meat loaf, for instance. They wanted to learn what their children were eating
in school.
M: Hmm.
F: So, and I wanted to learn about this, so...after the first class or two, I'd
make two or three things, then I'd ask them to make somethin' for me...similar
to what I'd just done. And this way I learned a lot, faxxmyxHKif about their,
their cooking. And they...and it seemed like that the fact that I asked them to
do somethin' of theirs for me, placed us on an equal footing. In other words,
I wasn't trying to show off...but I was x accepting both of them as q equals...
equally good. And, this, I think, helped to break the barriers kahH faster
than anything that I did, was the fact that I, what I was doing, on an equal
basis with what they were doing,
M: Did you develop a taste x for any of their...cooking?
F: Oh, I love their fried bread.
M: What type of bread...
F: And you know...
M: What's fried bread, exactly?
F: Well,
M: You know what whole cake (?) is?
F: Yes.
M: Is fried bread whole cake, or like it?
F: No. No. It's like it, but it's not whole cake. Whole cake has a leavening agent.
M: Yes.
F: So...fried bread doesn't. Fried bread is a cross between whole cake and french
pastry.


M: With corn meal?
F: No. It's -- it's dough, with just plain water.
M: It's dough?
F: Plain wheat dough. And it was originally maHe out of...oh, I never can m remem-
ber the name of that plant, but it's...
M: Oh, I, I know...what you're talking...
F: They the flour out of it.
M: Yeah.Cuni.
F: Cuni. (?) Kooti is the name. And, it looks so its...I've seen the flour, and
I've tasted the bread out of it...it's h pretty good. And, the Indians use this
corn meal and they use flour. But, now, I never tasted any of their corn bread.
But, one time, one of the women made some--I, I don't know what she called it,
but what she did, she made a...a meal paste, corn meal paste, and then she took
suet, and cut it up in little pieces 'bout like this, and it was in square pieces,
she put that right in the middle, and she folded it overlike this, and then she
rolled that in--it wasn't a banana leaf, but it was a pond lily leaf that looked
like a banana leaf. And then they ... stuck sticks in it to hold it together.
And they boiled it. Well, I didn't like the taste of it; but I took some of it
home with me and I toasted it, and I tell you, that's the best stuff toasted
I ever ate in my life. It really was delicious, and I, I went back and told her
--her daughter what I'd done with it, and she said, we never tried that, so
when I went back the next time, she says, sy says, you were right, says, that
really is good. They have a new stove, and they had learned how to make toast
in that broiler real quick, you know. That's where I gave them impulses
cookin' lessons...cookin' lessons, they wanted to learn how to make cakes and pies.
They didn't...they didn't want to learn how to
But all Indian men could cook.
M: What would you say was the most distinctive Indian dish? Mean, most uniquely


16
Seminole, or, that you wouldn't get anywhere else in the world, shall we say.
Anything that occurs to you?
F: Well, that dish I just named. I would never...
M: You mean that bread? The fried bread?
F: The corn...no, the corn bread that was rolled in the leaf and then p boiled.
M: How about sofkee? Have you ever tasted it?
F: Yes. I believe sofkee was the thing that saved Indians. And I'll tell you teh
reason why, I say that. If the original Indian kitchen table was built this
high. And, right out in the broilin' hot sun. And you can try it yourself to
see what happens--you can boil a pot of grits, and eat out of it what you want,
it sets up on that table, and Hzx you come back in the evenin' and you can just
lift the whole thing out. And that... And it won't
have x any germs in it, 'cause that sun's gonna cook it. And it will just curl
up and leave that pan just as...why, Indians are smart not to put...
M: IS it still edible too, when, after it's sat all day like that?
F: Why, sure. It tastes better than the tree, it would've molded.
M: Yeah. And got H full of e germs.
F: Got full of germs, and made x his family -- by experiment, I guess.
M: Do you like sofkee?
F: Yes, I like the flavor of...it's a very bland...and I do think you have to
develop a taste H for it.
M: Corn meal?
F: Now, I like the one that...where they get the meal from -- theee is a regular
sofkee grind -- and it's a coarse, a coarser grind than our coarse grits. But
it...you can't get the regular sofkee grind, they'll take coarse grits and do it.
And they boil it until it's real chewy. When you get a hold of the grain it
has a chewy, soft, chewy feeling to m it. And--the liquid part will bexaxxkxxxx
a milky, transparent, milky look. When it's good and done. And, Indians spike
it up with soda to give it a bite. They'll...


17
M: You mean just fizzy or so?
F: Yeah. Yeah, it'll...it'll give it a bite. And, it also, probably, serves as a
preservative. I'm not positive about that. But, you know, they would make this
big pot of sofkee--and in the winter, they would keep it warm, and in the
summertime they would set it out, cool, under the shade you know. And everytime
a child would want somethin' to drink, he would get a...just a little sofkee.
Well, my fEiHix theory is that...it sterilized the water to begin with, it was
better than drinking the water not boiled, 'cause they just drank surface water.
And, the second one is that when they-- gets scoured, they always do a
gourd like that. Just fixed just like that, except that we use -- strain off all
the, the And it cured it. And, this
kept them from havin' diarrhea. Which is ... first cousin to
In fact, I hfaetixe think they're the same-- diarrhea
in children. And I believe it--it's the thing that kept them from getting sick,
because it sterilized the water.
M: Do any of them still use kooti?
F: It's very scarce. Very scarce.
M: It's poisonous unless bleached out, you know.
F: Yes.
M: If you eat the root, it'll kill you, but you...you ever watch 'em bleach it or
anything like that?
F: No, I never saw anybody do any of it. I just saw a sample of it once. And they
had a hard time gettin' that sample. Because it was so scarce.
M: Hmm. You know, we have it growing on the campus here.
F: Yes, but...
M: is the proper name for it.
F: Yes, but it takes a lot of that stuff to make a little pan of flour.


18
M: Well, there were starch works down there some time. I think they decimated
that whole growth at one time, down oxmx those counties, they started starch
works to get...using the kooti.
F: Well, then they...they H just wiped it out.
M: They wiped it out. I didn't know they had it to that degree.
F: Well, it : used to be so plentiful that it was--if he had never the
Everglades, today the Indians could survive perfectly without a dollar. Because...
M: Um-hmm.
F: ...they could do that. With what they could get out of the Everglades.
eat
M: Did you ever xHad any uncommon game they serve...other...venison's the main one
F: Well, I had eaten that, but I don't care for it.
M: Ever dish up anything else that was unique?
F: Gar fish. Now, that's their favorite fish.
M: You...you eat it?
F: Yes, I've tasted it.
M: You like it?
F: Yes. I did. It's real good. And, they, they prefer gar to any other fish.
M: You ever eaten these land tortoises that they...?
F: Oh, I love 'em.
M: Are they good? I've never eaten them.
F: Yes.
M: The Indians prepare them, don't they?
F: Yes.
M: What do they call 'em? Do you know?
F: No, but I think...that I...
M: You know, the natives around here iant call 'em gophers, don't they?
F: Yes...why, all old Florida crackers have eaten gopher.
M: I know it.


19
F: It tastes like chicken.
M: It does...
F: Sure.
M: How 'bout gator tail? Have you eaten that?
F: I've tasted it. It's a little bit strong.
M: Yeah.
F: But they don't I eat those kind of things much anymore, because of the very fact
that they are very scarce.
M: Go off to the store and buy things.
F: Well, I'll tell you. Now, this happened when I was workin' down there in
they are
Farm and Home--hkxRxweKEx fine sportsmen. People can talk to me about sportsmen
less
all they x want, but the more I see about sportsmen, the maxe I think about
good sportsmanship. If they had had more money, i they had brains, they'd come
down, they'd hide these, or they had kEm all, had 'em all ready on them--planes
and they'd go out and they'd shoot a whole herd, xstk from the air, and just to
see if they could kill 'em and then just walk off and leave *Em the
M: That's tragic.
F: That's tragic. And it was not their land. It was not even--it was govern...it
was Indian land--and they went down, and they knew it was there. But you know,
nobody would touch those people because they were so monied that they--
And nobody would ever areest those people. And yet
the Indians turned in the numbers of the planes, and everything...and had wit-
nesses to the fact that -- whole herds, being wiped out. And I heard those men
laugh about it. About how many they'd killed.
M: Now, whenever you got...it was the cookin', was the main in, to your modernizing
F: That, that was my...that was the way I got to them. But...in the last three or
four years, I didn't have to do much of that. If I wanted to do another meeting,
I, they'd come along.


M: Well, what happened next? I mean, what's the next phase to preparin' them
for houses? Did you say making beds?
F: Well, I just introduced a lot of ideas. I tell you what--I introduced Indians
to so many new ideas that if anybody asks the, that when the time comes, they
want to know more, it's gonna take more than just one person to keepxmx up with
'em. Now, that's the truth.
M: Well, what kind of things didn't they know?
F: They--well, they just didn't know anything, about indoor plumbing. They didn't
know anything about how to care for a stove; what to do with it, or take care of
it. They didn't know how to...really, this one was real funny, about sterilizing.
The thought they had done a wonderful job on teaching all the
mothers how to sterilize bottles for babies? And they sent down some old canned
eggs--they thought, was deathly afraid of, in the tropics, because it had to be
refrigerated immediately after Ke they were opened--they'd just go bad on you in
that tropical area.
M: This is powdered eggs?
F: Yes.
M: Yes.
F: And I was scared to death--in fact, I just encouraged them to all, and
they'd just have one big plate of eggs, and let 'em take the risk if they didn't
these
have refrigeration. But, I said, you must m be sterilizedxkxEfmxxynH the dishes
when you use the powdered eggs. I said, it's a perfect germ builder--it'll just
pull 'em off faster than you can grow these children. And, so they boiled the
jars they were gonna transfer it to, and put 'em in the refrigerator, and we
washed 'em good, and then we boiled 'em, and we were gonna rinse 'em then, because
they needed it, because that water had a scum on it. And, then after we got 'em
all done, well, the girl that was helpin' me, and was the head, she
made and she was a high school graduate


LI
axd and I mean those nurses thought she was tops when it come to showin' these
mothers how to sterilize those bottles. Here they'd gone through all these
processing these bottles before...and they were all laughin' about it. I could
hear 'em snickerin'...you could always tell when Indians are laughin' about what
you were doin' anyway. Well, Bernsie got all through this...then she went over
to the...to the bucket of water and poured cold water on the whole bunch. I said,
, why are you doin' that? She said, to cool 'em off. I said,
but now, you got to start all over again and do the whole thing over again. And
she says, why? I says, because it was that water that had the germs in it. And
we had to kill 'em. She says, oh! It had never dawned on her why she was boilin'
it. Nobody'd ever told her why she was boilin'. She thought she was boilin'
the jars just to get the jars
(BREAK)
END OF TAPE