Citation
Interview with Susie Billie, May 6, 1984

Material Information

Title:
Interview with Susie Billie, May 6, 1984
Creator:
Billie, Susie ( 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 187 ( SPOHP IDENTIFIER )

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text
SUSIE BILLIE -
#1 Date
- May 6, 1984
#2 Interviewer
#3 Informant
#4 Place
#5 Language
- Jeanette Cypress
- Susie Billie
- A Camp in Ochopee
- Miccosukee
#6 Topic
#7 Residence
Q 1920's Where did you live?
R I lived in the Cypress Woods, where people used to live.
Q 1930's
R I lived around here. I grew up here. Employment was scarce. People
hunted, killed raccoons, sold hides, killed deer, made moccasins and
sold them to make money to buy groceries. Ate berries and whatever
else could be found or hunted. There was a lot of hunger. If you
didn't go looking or was lazy, if you couldn't help yourself, you would
go hungary. That's how it was during the time she grew up.
Q Did you ever live in Hollywood?
R No, back then I really didn't go there. It wasn't till later years
of my adult life that I went to Hollywood and lived there for a very
short period before moving to Big Cypress.
Q When living in Hollywood, what type of work did you do?
R I didn't work. I sold arts and crafts to make money for food.
Q Did you go to Bird of Paradise?
R I didn't go there too much. I wasn't around Musa Isle too much either.
I stayed mostly around here in the woods.
Q How about Silver Springs?
R I never went there.


Susie Billie
2
Q When in Hollywood did you see any of the white government agents?
R Yes, but I don't know who they were.
Spencer.
The only one I know is
Q Did he speak with you all?
R Yes (to Spencer
for groceries.
question), there was Franklin also, he gave credit
Big Cypress people got groceries from him.
Q Did you see Glenn, Scott or any others.
R Yes, but I don't remember names.
Q Did people go to school?
R Yes, but not much back then, now since tribes grown more people are
now. In old days there wasn't many school going people.
Q How about medical attention?
R People went to Miami to see a good doctor. A lot of people went to
see him. There was also a doctor in Everglades and one in Ft. Myers
that the Indians saw.
Q Did you provide your own transportation to the doctors.
R Yes, we went on our own to see the doctor.
Q How about Spencer, did he help people in matters like that?
R He might have, I really don't know, but not us personally, no.
I'm sure he helped because he moved around and did a lot. There was
also, a woman called Old White Woman, she took me to a doctor in Miami
several times.
Q What kind of program did she work for.
R I think she worked helping the elderly.
Q Did you remember her name?
R I think it was Conrad, something like that.
pulled all my teeth out.
She took me to doctor who


Susie Billie
3
Q Were they all bad?
R I was sick, so they took all my bad teeth out and gave me dentures,
that's why I don't have any.
Q Was the dentures and work free?
R Yes, the medicine and doctor was free. The Old White Woman was the
only one who took people to doctor that I know of. She wore white
uniform.
Q Did she look for employment for people?
R I guess. There was men who found employment for people but the pay
was very cheap back then. There was farm labor. When of age to work
in fields you could use money for clothing and food. Food was cheaper,
corn beef sometimes 25. Food for 50 could be abundant. Sugar and
flour was bought then. A day's work pay was $1.50.
Q So you didn't work at any government jobs in Dania?
R No, we stayed around here for employment.
Q What about the story of Social Security?
R Oh yes, people didn't have Social Security cards then, people said they
heard you have to have it to seek employment. At that time people
were working digging ditches, when they heard they quit work thinking
they were going to get sent off for military reasons. Thinking if
signing anything they were being prepared for draft. They quit work
and went into the woods and started farming their own food, but shortly
after someone explained the purpose of Social Security and that no
harm was to come to the people. So people signed the papers and re-
turned to work.
Q Who said you had to sign up for Social Security?
R A person named Stanley H nson. He also looked over the Indians.
Him, Franklin and another person would live with the Indians for short
periods. Spencer came and go in Big Cypress, also. That's how we
got started in Social Security.
Q Did people claim there was employment in Dania?
R Yes, some people went there to work. I am not sure of the types of
jobs, but I heard of working with fertilizer and wood (plywood).


Susie Billie 4
Q Were the white agents good people?
R Yes, very good, friendly, nice people. Never bad thoughts of Indians.
All of them, Spencer, Franklin, etc. would eat with the Indian people.
There was a sheriff, came from Ft. Myers, very friendly and brought
things to Indians. Spencer died though.
Q Did you ever live in the housing projects?
R No, just chickees. Probably some people in Dania might have lived
in the houses, I'm not sure though.
The rest of interview was looking at pictures. Not too familiar with
who the people are.
Looked at Rev. Glenn's picture, remembers seeing him but do not remember
too much about him.
Q Was there cattle program?
R No, old days there was cows pulling carts. People worked on railroads, also to earn living.
Rest, looking at pictures.


Full Text

PAGE 1

SUSIE BILLIE " c #1 Date May 6, 1984 #2 Interviewer Jeanette Cypress #3 Informant Susie Billie #4 Place A Camp in Ochopee #5 Language Miccosukee #6 Topic #7 Residence Q 1920's Where did you live? R I lived in the Cypress Woods, where people used to live. Q 1930's R I lived around here. I grew up here. Employment was scarce. People hunted, killed raccoons, sold hides, killed deer, made moccasins and sold them to make money to buy groceries. Ate berries and whatever else could be found or hunted. There was a lot of hunger. If you didn't go looking or was lazy, if you couldn't help yourself, you would go hungry. That's how it was during the time she grew up. Q Did you ever live in Hollywood? R No, back then I really didn't go there. It wasn't till later years of my adult life that I went to Hollywood and lived there for a very short period before moving to Big Cypress. Q When living in Hollywood, what type of work did you do? R I didn't work. I sold arts and crafts to make money for food. Q Did you go to Bird of Paradise? R I didn't go there too much. I wasn't around Musa Isle too much either. I stayed mostly around here in the woods. Q How about Silver Springs? R I never went there.

PAGE 2

Susie Billie 2 Q When in Hollywood did you see any of the white government agents? R Yes, but I don't know who they were. The only one I know is Spencer. Q Did he speak with you all? R Yes (to Spencer question), there was Franklin also, he gave credit for groceries. Big Cypress people got groceries from him. Q Did you see Glenn, Scott or any others. R Yes, but I don't remember names. Q Did people go to school? R Yes, but not much back then, now since tribes grown more people are now. In old days there wasn't many school going people. Q How about medical attention? R People went to Miami to see a good doctor. A lot of people went to see him. There was also a doctor in Everglades and one in Ft. Myers that the Indians saw. Q Did you provide your own transportation to the doctors. R Yes, we went on our own to see the doctor. Q How about Spencer, did he help people in matters like that? R He might have, I really don't know, but not us personally, no. I'm sure he helped because he moved around and did a lot. There was also, a woman called Old White Woman, she took me to a doctor in Miami several times. Q What kind of program did she work for. R I think she worked helping the elderly. Q Did you remember her name? R I think it was Conrad, something like that. She took me to doctor who pulled all my teeth out.

PAGE 3

Susie Billie 3 Q Were they all bad? R I was sick, so they took all my bad teeth out and gave me dentures, that's why I don't have any. Q Was the dentures and work free? R Yes, the medicine and doctor was free. The Old White Woman was the only one who took people to doctor that I know of. She wore white uniform. Q Did she look for employment for people? R I guess. There was men who found employment for people but the pay was very cheap back then. There was farm labor. When of age to work in fields you could use money for clothing and food. Food was cheaper, corn beef sometimes 25¢. Food for 50¢ could be abundant. Sugar and flour was bought then. A day's work pay was $1.50. Q So you didn't work at any government jobs in Dania? R No, we stayed around here for employment. Q What about the story of Social Security? R Oh yes, people didn't have Social Security cards then, people said they heard you have to have it to seek employment. At that time people were working digging ditches, when they heard they quit work thinking they were going to get sent off for military reasons. Thinking if signing anything they were being prepared for draft. They quit work and went into the woods and started farming their own food, but shortly after someone explained the purpose of Social Security and that no harm was to come to the people. So people signed the papers and returned to work. Q Who said you had to sign up for Social Security? R A person named Stanley H nson. He also looked over the Indians. Him, Franklin and another person would live with the Indians for short periods. Spencer came and go in Big Cypress, also. That's how we got started in Social Security. Q Did people claim there was employment in Dania? R Yes, some people went there to work. I am not sure of the types of jobs, but I heard of working with fertilizer and wood (plywood).

PAGE 4

Susie Billie 4 Q Were the white agents good people? R Yes, very good, friendly, nice people. Never bad thoughts of Indians. All of them, Spencer, Franklin, etc. would eat with the Indian people. There was a sheriff, came from Ft. Myers, very friendly and brought things to Indians. Spencer died though. Q Did you ever live in the housing projects? R No, just chickees. Probably some people in Dania might have lived in the houses, I'm not sure though. The rest of interview was looking at pictures. Not too familiar with who the people are. Looked at Rev. Glenn's picture, remembers seeing him but do not remember too much about him. Q Was there cattle program? R No, old days there was cows pulling carts. People worked on railroads, also to earn living. Rest, looking at pictures.