Citation
Interview with Louise Gopher, May 10, 1999

Material Information

Title:
Interview with Louise Gopher, May 10, 1999
Creator:
Gopher, Louise ( 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 236 ( SPOHP IDENTIFIER )

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Full Text
H: I am speaking today with Louise Gopher on her porch in Brighton Reservation,
and with us are Dr. Susan Stans and Daisi Jumper. Louise, to what clan do you
belong?
G: Panther Clan.
H: Can you tell me anything about the clans here on Brighton? Is any one clan
more prevalent than another?
G: I would say that the Panthers and the Birds are the biggest clans, but we do
have some of the smaller ones, like the Deer Clan, the Snake Clan, and the
Wind Clan.
H: When and where were you born?
G: I was born in Fort Pierce in 1945.
H: Do you have a Mikasuki or Muskogee name?
G: Yes.
H: Can you tell me what that is?
G: It is Thashalatee, to hold.
H: Who named you that?
G: I do not really know. I have never been told, but I am sure it was some elder
back then.
H: And what did it mean, again?
G: To hold.
H: How do you feel about having both an English and an Indian name?
G: It does not matter. I mostly go by my English name.
H: Is there any context in which you use your Indian name more?
G: No.
H: Have you always lived on the reservation?
G: No. I grew up mostly off of the reservation, in Fort Pierce, and I came over here
permanently in, probably, 1975.
H: What made you want to change?


Louise Gopher
Page 2
G: We always had a home back there, that is where I lived, further back. We
always had a home back there, before I was even born. My family had a big old
camp back there with gardens and bunch of chickees and the whole family lived
back there, probably in the 1930s and 1940s. But, due to jobs, etcetera, they
would move around. It was easy for us to move around back then because you
could just go out and cut wood and palmettos and build yourself a chickee and
camp. If you needed to leave, well, you just left it and rebuilt. So, when I was
growing up and started school, my father was working in Fort Pierce, and we
moved around over there. We would go to school during the week and we would
come here Friday nights until Sunday nights. So, we always had our home-site
back there.
H: How far away is Fort Pierce by driving?
G: It is about an hour, about thirty miles from Okeechobee.
H: Tell me about your education. You mentioned going to school.
G: I graduated from Indian River Community College in Fort Pierce in 1965, then I
graduated from Florida Atlantic [University] in 1970. I got a B.Sc. degree in
Business Administration. Then I said that is it. I did not even go for graduation.
I was just so glad to finish. Mail it to me. Now, I have a daughter who graduated
from Florida State about two years ago. She is trying to twist my arm into going
to a Masters program with her somewhere. I do not think so.
H: A mother-daughter team.
G: That is what she wants.
H: What about elementary school, the lower grades. What kind of school did you
attend?
G: I went to Fairlawn Elementary School in Fort Pierce. I think when I went there
my brother and my sister and a couple of other Indian kids went there, the Indian
families that were still living in Fort Pierce. It was okay.
H: Did anybody in your family go to a boarding school?
G: No.
H: What about your parents' education?
G: They had none. They could speak a little English. They understood quite a lot, I
think, because my mother, when we got TV, she watched it a lot, so she had to
know what was being said.
I


Louise Gopher
Page 3
H: What about their occupations? What did they do?
G: They did farm work, working on tomato fields. My father drove tractors and then,
when we started going to school, I think he found better jobs being a heavy
equipment mechanic and operator.
H: What about your occupation? Can you tell me what is your present position?
G: I am the education counselor for this reservation. Each reservation has a
counselor, and we are liaison between this community and the public schools,
because our kids go to public schools or schools off the reservation. Some go to
private schools. We work with the schools to help the communication, dealing
with problems or anything academic, or truancy, bus problems, stuff like that,
and other things, like summer school.
H: Tell me about that summer school project you are planning with Dr. Stans.
G: I believe this might be the fourth year or fifth year that we are going to be doing
it. We have had the summer school in the past and it was headed by a lady
named Sister Mary Elizabeth LaGoy, who worked as a volunteer with us for five
years through the Catholic organization. I forgot what diocese she was from, but
she was with us for five years. During the summertime she would bring in other
people, other sisters, from New York and other places, and they would come and
stay, and we had summer school that had reading, and math enhancement, and
some culture. They went half a day, I think it was three weeks or four weeks.
Then she left us last year, and the parents wanted it to go on, so Dr. Stans and
the Florida Gulf Coast University picked it up. So, we have been sort of working
with our parent advisory group out here, getting an Indian name for it, and talking
about what we wanted to do with it. Since these students or teachers will be
coming from Fort Myers, it is only going to be for two weeks, but it is going to be
six-hour days, where in the past it was half days, about three weeks or four
weeks.
H: What kinds of subjects will be covered in summer school?
G: We will have cultural and language. We will have math and reading. Some arts
and crafts, field trips. We are in the organizing stages of it.
H: And the language, what would that be?
G: We speak the Creek dialect here. Our children are doing quite well with it
because we have a real good relationship with Okeechobee county schools, so
one of the ladies from out here in the culture program goes into the schools twice
a week and pulls Indian kids out of their classes and she teaches them the
language. This has been going on two or three years now. And also a teacher


Louise Gopher
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goes to the Head Start Program everyday and teaches the staff and the children
the language. They are picking it up pretty good, except their parents do not
speak it at home, so it makes it a little hard.
H: This sounds like a real strong effort to revive and maintain the language.
G: I have been going to some language workshop meetings and they have hired a
consultant that is going to help them put their teaching stuff on a CD ROM so
that we could learn it at home on computers with animated characters and all
that. We are going to go all out, I think.
H: That will definitely help the children keep their interest. So, there is no school on
this reservation.
G: No. We have Head Start and pre-school. We used to have one back in the
1930s; we had a day school out here.
H: What happened to that?
G: All of the kids started going into public schools. They had learned enough, they
had gotten enough education that they felt like they could handle public schools.
So that is where they went.
H: What were the attitudes in the 1970s as compared to now, parents' attitudes
about attending white schools?
G: We have never had any problem. Here, we have always gone to public schools,
and when I was in Fort Pierce I went to public school, so we do not have any
problem with that.
H: Tell me, what do you know about Seminole history, like the Seminole wars and
the famous characters such as Osceola?
G: I do not know that much about it. I do not know the dates. I know there were
three wars, I know the names, like you say, but the details of it I do not know,
because those were the white historians who wrote it all down. Our history has
always been oral and passed on down. I know in one of these type interviews
somebody asked me what Indian Seminole leaders in the past did I admire and
all of this stuff. And I said, I have never really thought about it because all of my
life I have always been told stories about them as a group, so I said, I guess I
admire all of them. I do not think that Osceola or anybody has ever been named
when these stories were passed down to us by the elders.
H: Tell me about some of those stories. What kinds of things did you learn as a
child?


Louise Gopher
Page 5
G: They just talked about how strong our medicine was back then, that sometimes
they could put stuff on themselves and, I guess they said, people could be
looking at you but they did not see you. The soldiers would walk by. Or they had
to cover themselves with mud and blend in. I guess they are just war stories,
how they had to keep moving, keep running.
H: You mentioned the medicine. Do you know any medicine men or women who
still practice?
G: Yes. We do not have too many out here, but at Big Cypress they have some,
and then down on Tamiami Trail they have some.
H: Is there a conflict with people who are Christians and who are non-Christians
and people who still practice medicine? Is there any kind of conflict with the two
groups?
G: I was going to say no, but I have run across a lady from Hollywood who said that
she did not use Indian medicine because it was witchcraft. It was anti-church
and she would not use it. I guess there is still some out there, but around here
people will do both. They will do their church thing and they will do medicine.
H: What do you consider to be the most important economic practices or activities
of the tribe?
G: You mean like gaming or cattle? I would have to say gaming because it brings
us the most money. It has made our lifestyle a lot better than it once was.
H: Yes, it has changed the lifestyle quite a bit. Do you think that it has had a
negative impact on the Seminole culture?
G: Yes. It has made our people less motivated to do for themselves. Our people
were brought up the hard way; like I said, my parents worked in the tomato fields
and did hard work. And I did, too. People my age were out picking tomatoes
and picking up roots and stuff like that on weekends for money. And now it is
just handed [out], money every month, and so it has kind of messed up our
motivation. But we are working on that. We do special programs with our kids
and talk to them and make them understand. We try to tell them that the
government is always after us. They are always trying to pass legislation to cut
anything that we have like that.
H: So they better prepare themselves because things may change?
G: But they do not really believe you because a lot of them have grown up with this
money.
-- ------------- --


Louise Gopher
Page 6
H: It is hard to understand that it could be any different. Have you or your family
ever been part of the cattle business?
G: We are in the cattle business. From day one. Yes, our herd, my herd, has been
passed down from my father, to my brother, to me. So, I am a cattle owner, and
I serve on the cattle committee for this reservation.
H: What kind of cattle do you raise?
G: Hereford.
H: Who were some of the first people to get cattle on this reservation?
G: Probably, Frank Shore, Charlie Micco, Willie Gopher, John Henry Gopher.
H: How did they get them?
G: I am not too sure about the history, but they were brought down I believe from
Texas or somewhere, on a train, to the Basingers. Not too far from here there
was a little community [Basinger, in Okeechobee County near the border with
Highlands County on US Hwy 98], and there is a train track that runs through
there-it is still used, it goes through Okeechobee [the Seaboard Coast Line]-
and I understand that this is where they were dropped off and herded over here.
H: So, did the people here have cattle at all before the government gave them
cattle?
G: I have understood that we have always had cattle, kind of like wild cattle, we had
that.
H: You are a woman cattle owner. Are there many women who own cattle?
G: Yes. Dr. Stans and I did a paper last year on Seminole cattlewomen.1 I
interviewed I think it was about ten women from the various reservations. There
were more, it was just that I could not find them at the time. But there are quite a
few. Some of us have inherited it from our parents who have died and passed
on, or their husbands. They have a waiting list, whenever there is space
available-because you are tying up so many acres, hundreds of acres of land,
the space, the pasture space is the factor-we have some women who have
been on that list and have been able to become cattle owners.
Louise Gopher and Susan Stans, "Seminole Cattlewomen: Late 20th Century Florida," presented at the
Florida Historical Society annual meeting, May 1998.


Louise Gopher
Page 7
H: Can you tell me what kinds of different roles women play in the cattle industry,
owners, brokers?
G: We are owners. Brokers or selling, is that what you are talking about? That is
done tribal-wide. We do it through video-sales. Somebody comes and
videotapes our calves, or whatever we are selling, and then they put it on this
nation-wide cattle network and then people out west, Jackson, Wyoming, and
Colorado, they can see the cattle being shown and they can bid on them. It is an
auction, but it is a nation-wide auction.
H: Yes, I attended the auction that happened a couple of weeks ago.
G: In Big Cypress? Yes, that is how we do it.
H: How did you used to do it, before the video?
G: I think they used to have the buyers come in person to these auctions and bid on
them, and then we would just sell them locally to the livestock market.
H: How long have you been a cattle owner? I mean you, personally.
G: Since about 1982.
H: Do you hire other people to take care of them?
G: I have a herdsman. He does all of the herding, and moving the cattle, and the
expertise, and I sort of fund everything. [Laughs.]
H: Has the overall status of Seminole women changed over the last thirty years due
to these economic developments?
G: And education, yes.
H: Can you tell me about that?
G: Well, maybe yes and no, because I think we are equal, pretty much, to the men,
but when you look at the governing boards, they are not on there. And yet, on
the lower level, the community level, we are the ones who show up for the
community meetings and the parent meetings. Maybe one or two men wander
in, but it is traditional that the women were always the head of the family, so I
think we are still pretty much that way. The women are more revered. The
clanship goes through the woman's side.


Louise Gopher
Page 8
H: Yes, I was curious when you said that the ownership of the cattle had passed
from your parents to you and your brother. And I know that, like you said, you
inherit, or the clan inherits ...
G: That one was done through the legal system, with a will and all the stuff.
H: I want to ask you a little bit about the cultural preservation. Since you are
involved with the education board, tell me what kinds of things besides summer
school you do to promote and preserve the Seminole culture. You mentioned
that you go into the schools.
G: This is a different program. The cultural education program does that. We have
the language classes at the schools. We have language classes out here. I
think they have sewing classes at night to teach people, like me, how to do
baskets or sewing. We have a couple of festivals a year. One day a year we
invite the schools to come out here as a field trip day to visit our reservation and
look at our culture, instead of us going to a classroom and they see us and we
talk. They can come out here and experience it. So we have one day a year
that we do that. But then, we have a couple of festivals a year that we also do
the same type of thing, with the camps, cultural camp that they can see craft
demonstrations and information, artifacts, and stuff like that. But you would have
to talk to the ladies in the cultural area to see what else they are into.
H: I want to ask you a little bit about the differences in the cattle breeds that you
have today. You said you raise Herefords. Thirty years ago were you still raising
Herefords, or were there different breeds?
G: I am not sure. I think they were.
H: When you need extension help is there someone you go to, to help you with
that? I noticed a University of Florida sign as we were coming in.
G: We have Sabrina Tuttle, who works out here as an extension officer or agent.
She works with us and she works also with the youth and the 4-H projects. She
is always bringing in speakers-here or maybe somewhere locally like LaBelle or
Okeechobee-that she invites us to go to, and it is anything from soil
conservation to different grass and weeds and anything to help with our grazing.
Also, sometimes they bring in speakers to talk about the different cows, what
they look for, healthy cows, and what kind of prices you expect, the bone
structure, and stuff like that.
H: Speaking of prices, when I was at the sale I noticed that most of the people were
a little disappointed in the price that was offered for most of the Seminole Tribe
cattle. Can you give me a little bit of a history of that and why you think prices
are low?


Louise Gopher
Page 9
G: I do not really know. We have been in an awful drought, and I think it is
pertaining to the weather because other parts of the country have been flooded
and freezing and here we are in a drought. I do not know. That is not my area.
H: Are you involved with the rodeos at all?
G: Not too much, no.
H: Are you involved in tourism at all?
G: No, but I am the one people call all the time about shows or if they need a
cultural presentation or something, and I try to refer them to the cultural
education program.
H: So, then, how do people know to call you?
G: I am just sort of well known, I guess. [Laughs.] I was in the cultural education
program for about twelve years before I came over to the other side of the
building and became education counselor. During those times, we did travel a
lot to different festivals and schools.
H: On Big Cypress they have a learning center and it may be equivalent to what you
do, they counsel students about different private schools that they may want to
attend and try to match them up. Is that what you do?
G: Yes. We do not have too much of a choice here, with private schools not being
kind of in a rural section.
H: Where do they go off to?
G: Boarding schools.
H: So that is one of your functions?
G: Yes. They have been doing it a lot longer that we have. Most of our kids have
always stayed here and gone to public schools. It has been in the last couple of
years that we started using private schools. As long as I have been in the
program, I have only sent off one student to boarding school, and she came
back in two months.
H: It did not work out too well. Do you know much about the museums that have
been set up, the Okalee and Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki museums? Have you ever visited
them?


Louise Gopher
Page 10
G: Yes, I have visited them. I used to be on the museum board, but all we did was
approve Billy Cypress' building plans, and he would tell us what was going on,
but I do not think that museum board is in existence any longer.
H: So, you were on the board when it got started? Can you tell me about how it got
started and why it was determined that a museum would be a good idea?
G: It was just something that we needed, and I guess they thought that Big Cypress
was centrally located. The spot where it is now used to be James Billie's camp.
I think he lived in Hollywood and then he would come there and spend the
weekends. While he was using that camp, he would allow us to bring our kids
over there and spend overnight with him, and that kind of stuff. From, I guess,
the way it is situated with the marsh area all around it, it was a good location to
have the type of set-up they have, with the walkway boardwalk they have.
H: You say you needed it. Why is that?
G: We did not have a museum. I think maybe we had a small something in
Hollywood, but I know here, I think we need something here, too, but we do not
have a museum.
H: And you think you need it because ...
G: For tourists. They come to an Indian reservation, they expect to see something,
and I have to tell them, you just see us working. At this place, we have no tourist
attraction except bingo.
H: Is that a pretty big draw for tourists?
G: During tourists season, yes. And then, we have lots of rodeos, weekend stuff
going on with rodeos all the time, but that only pertains to certain groups, certain
interest groups.
H: People who are involved in the rodeo, is it any particular clan, or is it members of
all clans?
G: All. Everybody.
H: You mentioned that the standard of living has substantially improved with the
gaming, the funds that you get from that. How have these changes directly
affected your life?
G: It is just good to have that monthly check coming in, every month. Money is not
that big of a problem if you budget yourself.
------------ -


Louise Gopher
Page 11
H: The house that you live in today, you mentioned that it is very different from
where you grew up, living in chickees. Did you know how to build a chickee
yourself?
G: Yes. Well, I probably could not build one myself, but we have always, since little
kids, grown up helping. And I am always bragging that our high school kids just
built one on their high school campus [at Okeechobee High School]. They were
checked out of school a whole day and they built a ten-by-ten, regular-sized
chickee in four hours. And now it is on their campus as a symbol of their culture,
and they use it all the time.
H: Are they a large part of the high school population now?
G: There are only about twenty-eight students there that go, and the population at
the school is about 1700 or 1800 students. But it is mixed, with blacks and
Hispanics and whites and twenty-eight Seminole students who go there.
H: I had heard or read about some of the differences between Big Cypress and
Brighton and one of those being that Brighton people tended to mix earlier with
different groups.
G: I think going to the public schools from kindergarten on up helps us to be able to
mix with the outside world. And Big Cypress, I believe, has the same choice.
They can ride the bus and go to Clewiston, or they can stay on the reservation
and go to Ahfachkee. So, I guess they choose to go to Ahfachkee school, and
then at Ahfachkee school they are only mingling with the reservation kids that
they have grown up with. I think they even have high school there now, so they
do not even go into public schools. They do not go to the outside area until they
have finished school.
H: Mixed marriages around here, are there many?
G: I would not say many, but there are quite a few.
H: What is the population like here on Brighton?
G: Probably around 400, maybe 500.
H: What do you think about eco-tourism?
G: What is that?
H: You were mentioning wanting to have something on this reservation to promote
tourism, well, eco-tourism would be something, I guess, on the order of Billie


Louise Gopher
Page 12
Swamp Safari, where you are promoting bringing tourists in to see the ecology
here.
G: I think it is needed here. Yes. We have the lake, and we have the reservation,
and we have a rodeo facility and a bingo facility. I think something could be put
together. We have a cultural camp. All that could be coordinated some way that
we could have some kind of tourism.
H: Tell me about the physical environment. [End of Tape Side A] Like on Big
Cypress, they built these canals and things that really dried up the land. Did
something like that happen here?
G: We have had Indian Prairie Canal and Harney Pond Canal, I believe that was
dug probably back in the 1960s to help with the drainage. I remember when it
used to be really flooded out here at times, but I think that has helped. We need
better roads.
H: What about health issues? What do you think are the biggest health issues for
Seminole people today?
G: Diabetes. And I have been told that Brighton leads the list in diabetes cases for
the tribe. Yes, we have a lot of amputees, people taking dialysis.
H: Do you have any idea why that would be?
G: It might be hereditary because I see a lot of families it just goes down and then
we even have some teenagers that have diabetes.
H: Do you think that there are adequate facilities to treat them? Do you have a
health clinic on the reservation?
G: Yes, we do. It is hard to stick to a menu and the routine that you are supposed
to, so I think that is the problem, too.
H: The change in diet has been very sharp, I imagine, in the last thirty years with
changes in the economic situation. What are some of the other illnesses that
are faced by the Seminole people?
G: Probably high blood pressure, strokes, like that.
H: Do you find that there is more of an incidence in this generation than there was
in previous generations?


Louise Gopher
Page 13
G: I think so, I think so. Maybe it is because we have clinics and hospitals that
maybe we did not have that so much available to us in the past, and so now we
do and so now we know who is ill and not ill.
H: So, maybe you just could not put a name to it before but some of the same
things may have been happening?
G: It may have been.
H: Have you ever been involved in agriculture?
G: Growing plants? No.
H: Just the picking part. Well, that is about all I have to ask you today. But I would
like to know if there is something else you would like to add that I have not asked
you about.
G: I do not think so.
H: Thank you so much for your time.
G: Okay.
Stans: Well, wait, wait, wait. Louise, this is for history. Louise was the one who came
up with the idea of having speakers come to the high school, different Seminole
speakers, and it is pretty much a cultural program. I was surprised you did not
mention that. But she has had James Billie, the chairman, and the board
president come and speak to the kids. And this project of building of the chickee
was her idea. I think this is probably very significant for education's taking an
active part in having their kids raise their esteem about their own culture in the
public schools.
G: They are still flying high about building that chickee. Their feet have not touched
the ground. I am on the phone now trying to get Jim Shore, our legal attorney, to
come on Wednesday because the school has given us another time that we can
bring in a speaker to come to speak to the kids on Wednesday.
H: At the high school?
G: Yes.
S: It is usually pertaining to the culture, like the history or something, and Jim Shore
is Seminole.


Louise Gopher
Page 14
H: Right. This is Wednesday at the high school in Okeechobee? Maybe I will have
to come and listen to that.
G: I do not know if he is going to come, though, because they are telling me that he
has to go to some kind of tribal counsel meeting on Friday and they did not know
if he would get away. If he does not come, I say, well, we will just have a get-
together with the kids at the end of the year.
S: It seemed to help their grades the first year they put it on. About once a month?
G: Yes. There are only twenty-eight of them.
H: Who are some of the people who have spoken? Did you say James Billie?
S: Fred Smith.
G: Yes. Well, when I first talked to James Billie about it, this is what I am going to
do with the kids, he listened to me and he said, okay, good, but I want you to
arrange a time for me and Fred Smith-that was the late president, he is passed
away now-I want us to be your first speakers. And I thought, oh, okay. So, I
could not start it until I could get their schedules together and the school, and
then they came and talked to the kids. And it was so freaky. It freaked them out
because we brought them right into the classroom. They were out of their realm.
They had to come to the children's area and they had to speak in the classroom
to those kids with the bell ringing, and the announcers coming out on the
intercom, and the teacher sitting there taking roll and everything, and then, here
is our speaker. That was kind of freaky to them. The next time we did it, then
we started-anytime we brought them, the kids wanted to go off campus and
have a big lunch, and so we do that now. I think James speaks to them every
year. They just get really excited about what he tells them because it is like that
is their time with him, and he enjoys talking to them because I don't guess he
ever gets a chance too often to talk to just a group of kids. And we do not invite
the parents or anything, it is just the kids and them. And the last time he came,
he just kept remembering things, he started to end his talk, he would think of
something again, he just kept going and going. But the other people we have
had talk, I have a friend over in Fort Pierce, Mrs. [Ada Coats] Williams, and she
has done a lot of history. She did a book on the Ashley Gang.2
H: Ashley Gang? Who was that?
G: They were like a Jesse James type robbing group of bandits and the first person
that they killed was my grandfather, Desoto Tiger. I have talked to people out
here, they hid out in some of the hammocks around here. The Indians knew
2 Ada Coats Williams, Florida's Ashley Gang, Port Salerno, FL, Florida Classics Library, 1996.


Louise Gopher
Page 15
them and they knew each other. She did a book on them. She is a really good
speaker; she is on the speakers bureau for Indian River Community College.
H: And she is a Seminole?
G: No. She has come and talked to the kids a couple of times about that because
they want to hear about that. And I have had Mr. John Abney come talk to them
about the hard days when we had to go around and cut palmetto buds out of
these palmetto plants you see. A bud comes out right in the middle, and before
it spreads out it is just like a long, like a stick-looking thing, and we used to have
to go around and cut those and sell them to Mr. Abney, or his father, or his
grandfather, because he came down from generations of doing that. And that
was done before Palm Sunday and Easter. They used that. And that was
shipped all over the United States, and so he had old pictures and we had him
come talk about how our families used to cut buds and sell them to him. And
then Sister Mary Elisabeth went with him and she told about the religious aspect
of it. We had a good program. We had Stanlo Johns come in and talk to them
about the Brighton Day School that we used to have out here, because he was a
student. He talked about what they did there. We had a good program because
I had an audio tape like this that Mr. Boehmer, he was a school teacher at that
school, and he talked about what they used to do there. He is long dead, about
ten or twelve years ago, but we had his voice on tape, so he talked about what
they did at the school. And we even had little grammar lessons that they had
written letters-people like Fred Smith, who used to be the president, and Eddie
Shore, when they were just learning how to write their little grammar stuff-and
the kids were getting a big kick out of it. I can not think of who else we have had
talk. Have we ever had you come in and talk to them?
S: No. I do not think we ever had a reason. Pat Wickman, about the history.
G: Yes, Pat Wickman has come in and talked to them about the Seminole history.
We have had a lot of people come in and talk to them.
H: Well, thank you again. I appreciate it very much.
G: Okay.
H: This is a P.S. on the tape, a little postscript. Today is election day for the
Seminole Tribe.
G: This is why education is out here, because our building is the election place.
H: Right, we stopped there to see you and we noticed the polling place set up. So, I
understand that you are running for office. What office is that?


Louise Gopher
Page 16
G: I am running to be the Tribal Counsel Representative for the Brighton Reservation.
H: Great. And who is currently the representative?
G: Jack Smith, Jr.
H: And would you be the first woman who would be .?
G: No, I think we have had other women that have been on the tribal council.
H: What kinds of duties or responsibilities and authority would you have in that
position?
G: I would pretty much be in charge of this whole reservation, like a reservation
administrator. I would oversee the problems, social problems, education, police,
health, I would oversee all that plus the daily problems that the community has to
deal with. We have the other side of the politics and that is the board side, and
they take care of the land issues, and the business, and the cattle, and what we
call land use, which is keeping the terrain mowed and cleared and whatever. So,
we have two positions out here.
H: Have you been campaigning hard?
G: Yes, campaigning hard, feeding the people the right food. I would also be in
Tampa. I would be supervising both areas.
H: How big is the Tampa reservation? I mean how many people, approximately?
G: Well, there are fourteen voters over there, I do not know how many people live
there right on the reservation. The biggest part of their reservation is taken up by
a big bingo hall, and a hotel, and a cigarette shop. So, they have had to move
off the reservation into the surrounding community, and then they are buying a
piece of land somewhere else that they are all going to move to. It is a big place.
Right on the reservation there are not that many.
H: So, they grew themselves right out of the reservation?
G: Yes, that is what happened to them. It was not very big anyway. I think it was
only eight acres or ten acres, very small. And then they are surrounded by
Interstate and areas that are already developed so that there was no room for
expansion.
H: I guess this is the end of our P.S. And the next time we talk to you, you will be
the newest tribal council member, woman representative from Brighton.


Louise Gopher
Page 17
G: Yes. Big title. [Laughs.] Hopefully.3
3 Jack Smith Jr. was elected.


Full Text

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H: I am speaking today with Louise Gopher on her porch in Brighton Reservation, and with us are Dr. Susan Stans and Daisi Jumper. Louise, to what clan do you belong? G: Panther Clan. H: Can you tell me anything about the clans here on Brighton? Is any one clan more prevalent than another? G: I would say that the Panthers and the Birds are the biggest clans, but we do have some of the smaller ones, like the Deer Clan, the Snake Clan, and the Wind Clan. H: When and where were you born? G: I was born in Fort Pierce in 1945. H: Do you have a Mikasuki or Muskogee name? G: Yes. H: Can you tell me what that is? G: It is Thashalatee, to hold. H: Who named you that? G: I do not really know. I have never been told, but I am sure it was some elder back then. H: And what did it mean, again? G: To hold. H: How do you feel about having both an English and an Indian name? G: It does not matter. I mostly go by my English name. H: Is there any context in which you use your Indian name more? G: No. H: Have you always lived on the reservation? G: No. I grew up mostly off of the reservation, in Fort Pierce, and I came over here permanently in, probably, 1975. H: What made you want to change?

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, Louise Gopher Page2 G: We always had a home back there, that is where I lived, further back. We always had a home back there, before I was even born. My family had a big old camp back there with gardens and bunch of chickees and the whole family lived back there, probably in the 1930s and 1940s. But, due to jobs, etcetera, they would move around. It was easy for us to move around back then because you could just go out and cut wood and palmettos and build yourself a chickee and camp. If you needed to leave, well, you just left it and rebuilt. So, when I was growing up and started school, my father was working in Fort Pierce, and we moved around over there. We would go to school during the week and we would come here Friday nights until Sunday nights. So, we always had our home-site back there. H: How far away is Fort Pierce by driving? G: It is about an hour, about thirty miles from Okeechobee. H: Tell me about your education. You mentioned going to school. G: I graduated from Indian River Community College in Fort Pierce in 1965, then I graduated from Florida Atlantic [University] in 1970. I got a B.Sc. degree in Business Administration. Then I said that is it. I did not even go for graduation. I was just so glad to finish. Mail it to me. Now, I have a daughter who graduated from Florida State about two years ago. She is trying to twist my arm into going to a Masters program with her somewhere. I do not think so. H: A mother-daughter team. G: That is what she wants. H: What about elementary school, the lower grades. What kind of school did you attend? G: I went to Fairlawn Elementary School in Fort Pierce. I think when I went there my brother and my sister and a couple of other Indian kids went there, the Indian families that were still living in Fort Pierce. It was okay. H: Did anybody in your family go to a boarding school? G: No. H: What about your parents' education? G: They had none. They could speak a little English. They understood quite a lot, I think, because my mother, when we got TV, she watched it a lot, so she had to know what was being said.

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Louise Gopher Page 3 H: What about their occupations? What did they do? G: They did farm work, working on tomato fields. My father drove tractors and then, when we started going to school, I think he found better jobs being a heavy equipment mechanic and operator. H: What about your occupation? Can you tell me what is your present position? G: I am the education counselor for this reservation. Each reservation has a counselor, and we are liaison between this community and the public schools, because our kids go to public schools or schools off the reservation. Some go to private schools. We work with the schools to help the communication, dealing with problems or anything academic, or truancy, bus problems, stuff like that, and other things, like summer school. H: Tell me about that summer school project you are planning with Dr. Stans. G: I believe this might be the fourth year or fifth year that we are going to be doing it. We have had the summer school in the past and it was headed by a lady named Sister Mary Elizabeth LaGoy, who worked as a volunteer with us for five years through the Catholic organization. I forgot what diocese she was from, but she was with us for five years. During the summertime she would bring in other people, other sisters, from New York and other places, and they would come and stay, and we had summer school that had reading, and math enhancement, and some culture. They went half a day, I think it was three weeks or four weeks. Then she left us last year, and the parents wanted it to go on, so Dr. Stans and the Florida Gulf Coast University picked it up. So, we have been sort of working with our parent advisory group out here, getting an Indian name for it, and talking about what we wanted to do with it. Since these students or teachers will be coming from Fort Myers, it is only going to be for two weeks, but it is going to be six-hour days, where in the past it was half days, about three weeks or four weeks. H: What kinds of subjects will be covered in summer school? G: We will have cultural and language. We will have math and reading. Some arts and crafts, field trips. We are in the organizing stages of it. H: And the language, what would that be? G: We speak the Creek dialect here. Our children are doing quite well with it because we have a real good relationship with Okeechobee county schools, so one of the ladies from out here in the culture program goes into the schools twice a week and pulls Indian kids out of their classes and she teaches them the language. This has been going on two or three years now. And also a teacher

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Louise Gopher Page4 goes to the Head Start Program everyday and teaches the staff and the children the language. They are picking it up pretty good, except their parents do not speak it at home, so it makes it a little hard. H: This sounds like a real strong effort to revive and maintain the language. G: I have been going to some language workshop meetings and they have hired a consultant that is going to help them put their teaching stuff on a CD ROM so that we could learn it at home on computers with animated characters and all that. We are going to go all out, I think. H: That will definitely help the children keep their interest. So, there is no school on this reservation. G: No. We have Head Start and pre-school. We used to have one back in the 1930s; we had a day school out here. H: What happened to that? G: All of the kids started going into public schools. They had learned enough, they had gotten enough education that they felt like they could handle public schools. So that is where they went. H: What were the attitudes in the 1970s as compared to now, parents' attitudes about attending white schools? G: We have never had any problem. Here, we have always gone to public schools, and when I was in Fort Pierce I went to public school, so we do not have any problem with that. H: Tell me, what do you know about Seminole history, like the Seminole wars and the famous characters such as Osceola? G: I do not know that much about it. I do not know the dates. I know there were three wars, I know the names, like you say, but the details of it I do not know, because those were the white historians who wrote it all down. Our history has always been oral and passed on down. I know in one of these type interviews somebody asked me what Indian Seminole leaders in the past did I admire and all of this stuff. And I said, I have never really thought about it because all of my life I have always been told stories about them as a group, so I said, I guess I admire all of them. I do not think that Osceola or anybody has ever been named when these stories were passed down to us by the elders. H: Tell me about some of those stories. What kinds of things did you learn as a child?

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Louise Gopher Page 5 G: They just talked about how strong our medicine was back then, that sometimes they could put stuff on themselves and, I guess they said, people could be looking at you but they did not see you. The soldiers would walk by. Or they had to cover themselves with mud and blend in. I guess they are just war stories, how they had to keep moving, keep running. H: You mentioned the medicine. Do you know any medicine men or women who still practice? G: Yes. We do not have too many out here, but at Big Cypress they have some, and then down on T amiami Trail they have some. H: Is there a conflict with people who are Christians and who are non-Christians and people who still practice medicine? Is there any kind of conflict with the two groups? G: I was going to say no, but I have run across a lady from Hollywood who said that she did not use Indian medicine because it was witchcraft. It was anti-church and she would not use it. I guess there is still some out there, but around here people will do both. They will do their church thing and they will do medicine. H: What do you consider to be the most important economic practices or activities of the tribe? G: You mean like gaming or cattle? I would have to say gaming because it brings us the most money. It has made our lifestyle a lot better than it once was. H: Yes, it has changed the lifestyle quite a bit. Do you think that it has had a negative impact on the Seminole culture? G: Yes. It has made our people less motivated to do for themselves. Our people were brought up the hard way; like I said, my parents worked in the tomato fields and did hard work. And I did, too. People my age were out picking tomatoes and picking up roots and stuff like that on weekends for money. And now it is just handed [out], money every month, and so it has kind of messed up our motivation. But we are working on that. We do special programs with our kids and talk to them and make them understand. We try to tell them that the government is always after us. They are always trying to pass legislation to cut anything that we have like that. H: So they better prepare themselves because things may change? G: But they do not really believe you because a lot of them have grown up with this money.

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Louise Gopher Page 6 H: It is hard to understand that it could be any different. Have you or your family ever been part of the cattle business? G: We are in the cattle business. From day one. Yes, our herd, my herd, has been passed down from my father, to my brother, to me. So, I am a cattle owner, and I serve on the cattle committee for this reservation. H: What kind of cattle do you raise? G: Hereford. H: Who were some of the first people to get cattle on this reservation? G: Probably, Frank Shore, Charlie Micco, Willie Gopher, John Henry Gopher. H: How did they get them? G: I am not too sure about the history, but they were brought down I believe from Texas or somewhere, on a train, to the Basingers. Not too far from here there was a little community [Basinger, in Okeechobee County near the border with Highlands County on US Hwy 98], and there is a train track that runs through there-it is still used, it goes through Okeechobee [the Seaboard Coast Line] and I understand that this is where they were dropped off and herded over here. H: So, did the people here have cattle at all before the government gave them cattle? G: I have understood that we have always had cattle, kind of like wild cattle, we had that. H: You are a woman cattle owner. Are there many women who own cattle? G: Yes. Dr. Stans and I did a paper last year on Seminole cattlewomen. 1 I interviewed I think it was about ten women from the various reservations. There were more, it was just that I could not find them at the time. But there are quite a few. Some of us have inherited it from our parents who have died and passed on, or their husbands. They have a waiting list, whenever there is space available-because you are tying up so many acres, hundreds of acres of land, the space, the pasture space is the factor-we have some women who have been on that list and have been able to become cattle owners. 1 Louise Gopher and Susan Stans, "Seminole Cattlewomen: Late 20 th Century Florida," presented at the Florida Historical Society annual meeting, May 1998.

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Louise Gopher Page 7 H: Can you tell me what kinds of different roles women play in the cattle industry, owners, brokers? G: We are owners. Brokers or selling, is that what you are talking about? That is done tribal-wide. We do it through video-sales. Somebody comes and videotapes our calves, or whatever we are selling, and then they put it on this nation-wide cattle network and then people out west, Jackson, Wyoming, and Colorado, they can see the cattle being shown and they can bid on them. It is an auction, but it is a nation-wide auction. H: Yes, I attended the auction that happened a couple of weeks ago. G: In Big Cypress? Yes, that is how we do it. H: How did you used to do it, before the video? G: I think they used to have the buyers come in person to these auctions and bid on them, and then we would just sell them locally to the livestock market. H: How long have you been a cattle owner? I mean you, personally. G: Since about 1982. H: Do you hire other people to take care of them? G: I have a herdsman. He does all of the herding, and moving the cattle, and the expertise, and I sort of fund everything. [Laughs.] H: Has the overall status of Seminole women changed over the last thirty years due to these economic developments? G: And education, yes. H: Can you tell me about that? G: Well, maybe yes and no, because I think we are equal, pretty much, to the men, but when you look at the governing boards, they are not on there. And yet, on the lower level, the community level, we are the ones who show up for the community meetings and the parent meetings. Maybe one or two men wander in, but it is traditional that the women were always the head of the family, so I think we are still pretty much that way. The women are more revered. The clanship goes through the woman's side.

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Louise Gopher Page 8 H: Yes, I was curious when you said that the ownership of the cattle had passed from your parents to you and your brother. And I know that, like you said, you inherit, or the clan inherits ... G: That one was done through the legal system, with a will and all the stuff. H: I want to ask you a little bit about the cultural preservation. Since you are involved with the education board, tell me what kinds of things besides summer school you do to promote and preserve the Seminole culture. You mentioned that you go into the schools. G: This is a different program. The cultural education program does that. We have the language classes at the schools. We have language classes out here. I think they have sewing classes at night to teach people, like me, how to do baskets or sewing. We have a couple of festivals a year. One day a year we invite the schools to come out here as a field trip day to visit our reservation and look at our culture, instead of us going to a classroom and they see us and we talk. They can come out here and experience it. So we have one day a year that we do that. But then, we have a couple of festivals a year that we also do the same type of thing, with the camps, cultural camp that they can see craft demonstrations and information, artifacts, and stuff like that. But you would have to talk to the ladies in the cultural area to see what else they are into. H: I want to ask you a little bit about the differences in the cattle breeds that you have today. You said you raise Herefords. Thirty years ago were you still raising Herefords, or were there different breeds? G: I am not sure. I think they were. H: When you need extension help is there someone you go to, to help you with that? I noticed a University of Florida sign as we were coming in. G: We have Sabrina Tuttle, who works out here as an extension officer or agent. She works with us and she works also with the youth and the 4-H projects. She is always bringing in speakers-here or maybe somewhere locally like LaBelle or Okeechobee-that she invites us to go to, and it is anything from soil conservation to different grass and weeds and anything to help with our grazing. Also, sometimes they bring in speakers to talk about the different cows, what they look for, healthy cows, and what kind of prices you expect, the bone structure, and stuff like that. H: Speaking of prices, when I was at the sale I noticed that most of the people were a little disappointed in the price that was offered for most of the Seminole Tribe cattle. Can you give me a little bit of a history of that and why you think prices are low?

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Louise Gopher Page 9 G: I do not really know. We have been in an awful drought, and I think it is pertaining to the weather because other parts of the country have been flooded and freezing and here we are in a drought. I do not know. That is not my area. H: Are you involved with the rodeos at all? G: Not too much, no. H: Are you involved in tourism at all? G: No, but I am the one people call all the time about shows or if they need a cultural presentation or something, and I try to refer them to the cultural education program. H: So, then, how do people know to call you? G: I am just sort of well known, I guess. [Laughs.] I was in the cultural education program for about twelve years before I came over to the other side of the building and became education counselor. During those times, we did travel a lot to different festivals and schools. H: On Big Cypress they have a learning center and it may be equivalent to what you do, they counsel students about different private schools that they may want to attend and try to match them up. Is that what you do? G: Yes. We do not have too much of a choice here, with private schools not being kind of in a rural section. H: Where do they go off to? G: Boarding schools. H: So that is one of your functions? G: Yes. They have been doing it a lot longer that we have. Most of our kids have always stayed here and gone to public schools. It has been in the last couple of years that we started using private schools. As long as I have been in the program, I have only sent off one student to boarding school, and she came back in two months. H: It did not work out too well. Do you know much about the museums that have been set up, the Okalee and Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki museums? Have you ever visited them?

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Louise Gopher Page 10 G: Yes, I have visited them. I used to be on the museum board, but all we did was approve Billy Cypress' building plans, and he would tell us what was going on, but I do not think that museum board is in existence any longer. H: So, you were on the board when it got started? Can you tell me about how it got started and why it was determined that a museum would be a good idea? G: It was just something that we needed, and I guess they thought that Big Cypress was centrally located. The spot where it is now used to be James Billie's camp. I think he lived in Hollywood and then he would come there and spend the weekends. While he was using that camp, he would allow us to bring our kids over there and spend overnight with him, and that kind of stuff. From, I guess, the way it is situated with the marsh area all around it, it was a good location to have the type of set-up they have, with the walkway boardwalk they have. H: You say you needed it. Why is that? G: We did not have a museum. I think maybe we had a small something in Hollywood, but I know here, I think we need something here, too, but we do not have a museum. H: And you think you need it because ... G: For tourists. They come to an Indian reservation, they expect to see something, and I have to tell them, you just see us working. At this place, we have no tourist attraction except bingo. H: Is that a pretty big draw for tourists? G: During tourists season, yes. And then, we have lots of rodeos, weekend stuff going on with rodeos all the time, but that only pertains to certain groups, certain interest groups. H: People who are involved in the rodeo, is it any particular clan, or is it members of all clans? G: All. Everybody. H: You mentioned that the standard of living has substantially improved with the gaming, the funds that you get from that. How have these changes directly affected your life? G: It is just good to have that monthly check coming in, every month. Money is not that big of a problem if you budget yourself.

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Louise Gopher Page 11 H: The house that you live in today, you mentioned that it is very different from where you grew up, living in chickees. Did you know how to build a chickee yourself? G: Yes. Well, I probably could not build one myself, but we have always, since little kids, grown up helping. And I am always bragging that our high school kids just built one on their high school campus [at Okeechobee High School]. They were checked out of school a whole day and they built a ten-by-ten, regular-sized chickee in four hours. And now it is on their campus as a symbol of their culture, and they use it all the time. H: Are they a large part of the high school population now? G: There are only about twenty-eight students there that go, and the population at the school is about 1700 or 1800 students. But it is mixed, with blacks and Hispanics and whites and twenty-eight Seminole students who go there. H: I had heard or read about some of the differences between Big Cypress and Brighton and one of those being that Brighton people tended to mix earlier with different groups. G: I think going to the public schools from kindergarten on up helps us to be able to mix with the outside world. And Big Cypress, I believe, has the same choice. They can ride the bus and go to Clewiston, or they can stay on the reservation and go to Ahfachkee. So, I guess they choose to go to Ahfachkee school, and then at Ahfachkee school they are only mingling with the reservation kids that they have grown up with. I think they even have high school there now, so they do not even go into public schools. They do not go to the outside area until they have finished school. H: Mixed marriages around here, are there many? G: I would not say many, but there are quite a few. H: What is the population like here on Brighton? G: Probably around 400, maybe 500. H: What do you think about eco-tourism? G: What is that? H: You were mentioning wanting to have something on this reservation to promote tourism, well, eco-tourism would be something, I guess, on the order of Billie

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Louise Gopher Page 12 Swamp Safari, where you are promoting bringing tourists in to see the ecology here. G: I think it is needed here. Yes. We have the lake, and we have the reservation, and we have a rodeo facility and a bingo facility. I think something could be put together. We have a cultural camp. All that could be coordinated some way that we could have some kind of tourism. H: Tell me about the physical environment. [End of Tape Side A] Like on Big Cypress, they built these canals and things that really dried up the land. Did something like that happen here? G: We have had Indian Prairie Canal and Harney Pond Canal, I believe that was dug probably back in the 1960s to help with the drainage. I remember when it used to be really flooded out here at times, but I think that has helped. We need better roads. H: What about health issues? What do you think are the biggest health issues for Seminole people today? G: Diabetes. And I have been told that Brighton leads the list in diabetes cases for the tribe. Yes, we have a lot of amputees, people taking dialysis. H: Do you have any idea why that would be? G: It might be hereditary because I see a lot of families it just goes down and then we even have some teenagers that have diabetes. H: Do you think that there are adequate facilities to treat them? Do you have a health clinic on the reservation? G: Yes, we do. It is hard to stick to a menu and the routine that you are supposed to, so I think that is the problem, too. H: The change in diet has been very sharp, I imagine, in the last thirty years with changes in the economic situation. What are some of the other illnesses that are faced by the Seminole people? G: Probably high blood pressure, strokes, like that. H: Do you find that there is more of an incidence in this generation than there was in previous generations?

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Louise Gopher Page 13 G: I think so, I think so. Maybe it is because we have clinics and hospitals that maybe we did not have that so much available to us in the past, and so now we do and so now we know who is ill and not ill. H: So, maybe you just could not put a name to it before but some of the same things may have been happening? G: It may have been. H: Have you ever been involved in agriculture? G: Growing plants? No. H: Just the picking part. Well, that is about all I have to ask you today. But I would like to know if there is something else you would like to add that I have not asked you about. G: I do not think so. H: Thank you so much for your time. G: Okay. Stans: Well, wait, wait, wait. Louise, this is for history. Louise was the one who came up with the idea of having speakers come to the high school, different Seminole speakers, and it is pretty much a cultural program. I was surprised you did not mention that. But she has had James Billie, the chairman, and the board president come and speak to the kids. And this project of building of the chickee was her idea. I think this is probably very significant for education's taking an active part in having their kids raise their esteem about their own culture in the public schools. G: They are still flying high about building that chickee. Their feet have not touched the ground. I am on the phone now trying to get Jim Shore, our legal attorney, to come on Wednesday because the school has given us another time that we can bring in a speaker to come to speak to the kids on Wednesday. H: At the high school? G: Yes. S: It is usually pertaining to the culture, like the history or something, and Jim Shore is Seminole.

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Louise Gopher Page 14 H: Right. This is Wednesday at the high school in Okeechobee? Maybe I will have to come and listen to that. G: I do not know if he is going to come, though, because they are telling me that he has to go to some kind of tribal counsel meeting on Friday and they did not know if he would get away. If he does not come, I say, well, we will just have a get together with the kids at the end of the year. S: It seemed to help their grades the first year they put it on. About once a month? G: Yes. There are only twenty-eight of them. H: Who are some of the people who have spoken? Did you say James Billie? S: Fred Smith. G: Yes. Well, when I first talked to James Billie about it, this is what I am going to do with the kids, he listened to me and he said, okay, good, but I want you to arrange a time for me and Fred Smith-that was the late president, he is passed away now-I want us to be your first speakers. And I thought, oh, okay. So, I could not start it until I could get their schedules together and the school, and then they came and talked to the kids. And it was so freaky. It freaked them out because we brought them right into the classroom. They were out of their realm. They had to come to the children's area and they had to speak in the classroom to those kids with the bell ringing, and the announcers coming out on the intercom, and the teacher sitting there taking roll and everything, and then, here is our speaker. That was kind of freaky to them. The next time we did it, then we started-anytime we brought them, the kids wanted to go off campus and have a big lunch, and so we do that now. I think James speaks to them every year. They just get really excited about what he tells them because it is like that is their time with him, and he enjoys talking to them because I don't guess he ever gets a chance too often to talk to just a group of kids. And we do not invite the parents or anything, it is just the kids and them. And the last time he came, he just kept remembering things, he started to end his talk, he would think of something again, he just kept going and going. But the other people we have had talk, I have a friend over in Fort Pierce, Mrs. [Ada Coats] Williams, and she has done a lot of history. She did a book on the Ashley Gang. 2 H: Ashley Gang? Who was that? G: They were like a Jesse James type robbing group of bandits and the first person that they killed was my grandfather, Desoto Tiger. I have talked to people out here, they hid out in some of the hammocks around here. The Indians knew 2 Ada Coats Williams, Florida's Ashley Gang. Port Salerno, FL, Florida Classics Library, 1996.

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Louise Gopher Page 15 them and they knew each other. She did a book on them. She is a really good speaker; she is on the speakers bureau for Indian River Community College. H: And she is a Seminole? G: No. She has come and talked to the kids a couple of times about that because they want to hear about that. And I have had Mr. John Abney come talk to them about the hard days when we had to go around and cut palmetto buds out of these palmetto plants you see. A bud comes out right in the middle, and before it spreads out it is just like a long, like a stick-looking thing, and we used to have to go around and cut those and sell them to Mr. Abney, or his father, or his grandfather, because he came down from generations of doing that. And that was done before Palm Sunday and Easter. They used that. And that was shipped all over the United States, and so he had old pictures and we had him come talk about how our families used to cut buds and sell them to him. And then Sister Mary Elisabeth went with him and she told about the religious aspect of it. We had a good program. We had Stania Johns come in and talk to them about the Brighton Day School that we used to have out here, because he was a student. He talked about what they did there. We had a good program because I had an audio tape like this that Mr. Boehmer, he was a school teacher at that school, and he talked about what they used to do there. He is long dead, about ten or twelve years ago, but we had his voice on tape, so he talked about what they did at the school. And we even had little grammar lessons that they had written letters-people like Fred Smith, who used to be the president, and Eddie Shore, when they were just learning how to write their little grammar stuff-and the kids were getting a big kick out of it. I can not think of who else we have had talk. Have we ever had you come in and talk to them? S: No. I do not think we ever had a reason. Pat Wickman, about the history. G: Yes, Pat Wickman has come in and talked to them about the Seminole history. We have had a lot of people come in and talk to them. H: Well, thank you again. I appreciate it very much. G: Okay. H: This is a P.S. on the tape, a little postscript. Today is election day for the Seminole Tribe. G: This is why education is out here, because our building is the election place. H: Right, we stopped there to see you and we noticed the polling place set up. So, I understand that you are running for office. What office is that?

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Louise Gopher Page 16 G: I am running to be the Tribal Counsel Representative for the Brighton Reservation. H: Great. And who is currently the representative? G: Jack Smith, Jr. H: And would you be the first woman who would be ... ? G: No, I think we have had other women that have been on the tribal council. H: What kinds of duties or responsibilities and authority would you have in that position? G: I would pretty much be in charge of this whole reservation, like a reservation administrator. I would oversee the problems, social problems, education, police, health, I would oversee all that plus the daily problems that the community has to deal with. We have the other side of the politics and that is the board side, and they take care of the land issues, and the business, and the cattle, and what we call land use, which is keeping the terrain mowed and cleared and whatever. So, we have two positions out here. H: Have you been campaigning hard? G: Yes, campaigning hard, feeding the people the right food. I would also be in Tampa. I would be supervising both areas. H: How big is the Tampa reservation? I mean how many people, approximately? G: Well, there are fourteen voters over there, I do not know how many people live there right on the reservation. The biggest part of their reservation is taken up by a big bingo hall, and a hotel, and a cigarette shop. So, they have had to move off the reservation into the surrounding community, and then they are buying a piece of land somewhere else that they are all going to move to. It is a big place. Right on the reservation there are not that many. H: So, they grew themselves right out of the reservation? G: Yes, that is what happened to them. It was not very big anyway. I think it was only eight acres or ten acres, very small. And then they are surrounded by Interstate and areas that are already developed so that there was no room for expansion. H: I guess this is the end of our P.S. And the next time we talk to you, you will be the newest tribal council member, woman representative from Brighton.

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Louise Gopher Page 17 G: Yes. Big title. [Laughs.] Hopefully. 3 3 Jack Smith Jr. was elected.