Accessibility Navigation:

Interview with Jacqueline Garneau [2]

Garneau, Jacqueline [2]
Gardner, Susan
Date of Interview: 
Adoption; Family; Spirituality; God; Nature; Earth; Animals; Plants; Dreams; Supernatural; Native American history; American Indian; Native American culture; stories; child abuse; alcoholism
In this expansive interview, a follow-up to an interview which took place on 12/19/1996, Jacqueline Garneau, a Cherokee Indian, discusses a wide variety of topics ranging from the presence of Canadian Metis in North Carolina to personal struggles faced by Garneau and other Cherokees. She discusses her own personal background - including the tragic story of her mother, lost to alcoholism. Much of the interview is spent discussing her background and heritage, and linking it to issues facing the Cherokee tribe and other American Indians in the present day.
Asheville, North Carolina; Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina; Detroit, Michigan: 20th century
Native Carolinian and Indian Elders Collection
Interviewer's Notes: The interview below, initially intended as a follow-up to verify or clarify editorial details from our first interview in December 1996, rapidly took on a momentum of its own. In the meantime, I had given Jacque two books which I suspected she would find profoundly moving, insofar as they are relevant to aspects of her own experience. One is (Western Cherokee) Betty Louise Bell's 1994 Faces in the Moon: a novel (Norman, OK: U of OK P); the other (Mohawk) Brian Maracle's edited interviews in Crazywater: Native Voices on Addiction and Recovery (Penguin Books Canada, 1993). They are often referred to in the following.

SG: Today is Sunday, July 13th to make sure this audible as I further interview Jacque. I know, I know that it’s working. Should I think of you as Western Cherokee or Eastern Cherokee?
JG: Do you know, I don't really know that myself, because I have been so long in the East—
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: But I still have family among the Western Cherokees, and--
SG: Yes, and you talked about the Baker Rolls?
JG: Right, and the, and the Miller Rolls, and the Dawes Rolls, and all that, and the names--the Mooney names are on those.
SG: Oh yes.
JG: Which would say Western, but then I have so few ties. I do have an adopted daughter there, and a grandson.
SG: Oh do you?
JG: And a son-in-law. Yes. And I have, according to Howard, myriad relatives among the Choctaws! I mean, "Rabbit" Mooney, I could never get over that name! And so I perceive myself as a non-status Indian—
SG: Um-hum.
JG: Which I legally am.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: And having ties to both—
SG: Yeah.
JG: Because I have so many friends in the East, and I have relatives and friends in the West.
SG: Uh-huh. So—
JG: And so, really, I couldn't assign it to one or the other, I don't think.
SG: I think of you then as a sort of transnational Cherokee.
JG: [laughter] I like that!
SG: [laughter] I like that.
JG: Anywhere I am. But you know it, it brings to mind a conversation I had with a medicine man who is also a non-status Indian. And he says, "There's no necessity for me to prove to others who I am", and I was reminded of the book Faces in the Moon. Because she said, “It isn't necessary--
SG: When she goes to the—
JG: Right.
SG: --Historical Society—
JG: Right.
SG: And then she says, “The hell with this--
JG: “I know who I am!” Well, that’s, that’s my theory exactly.
SG: And needing to prove that her grandmother had a father, when of course--
JG: Of course she did, I mean, I'm here. And so that speaks for itself. But I have stopped being concerned for a long time. I searched and searched, for rolls and names and numbers, and I wanted desperately to have an enrollment number—
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: With either the Western [Nation] or the Eastern [Band]. I never applied to either.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: I never did. Because I came to see, Susan, that it's irrelevant.
SG: Yes.
JG: It won't change who I am.
SG: And there are people on the rolls who aren't Indian through all that skullduggery, those you know, wanting timber rights--
JG: Oh, yes. Look at the Metis: and they are all mixed bloods. And there is a huge area occupied by the Metis, and that's—
SG: Um-hum.
JG: --what the Metis are! They're mixed bloods!
SG: Absolutely. Yeah.
JG: And there is even a group in North Carolina, of Metis--
SG: I didn’t know that.
JG: Who approached me for enrollment, and I would not.
SG: Where do they live?
JG: All over, but mostly near, oh heck-- I went up the Blue Ridge Parkway to that place. And it's a little tiny area, and I cannot think of the name of it. But somebody gave me directions; there was a gathering of the Metis up there, and I was going. And the medicine man I just spoke of, he was to be there, and since he didn't come I didn't stay long. But that's funny, I can't remember the name of the little town where they met, but they're all around that area --North of the Blue Ridge Parkway, maybe in the edge of Virginia. I have the information at home. Yes, but there is quite a large group-
SG: I had no idea. My, how fascinating!
JG: But they are there, and according to the medicine man, who is the, the, like the information keeper.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: He says that this group is sanctioned by the Canadian Metis.
SG: How interesting.
JG: Yes, it is isn’t it?
SG: Cousins or something?
JG: Right.
SG: Wow. Yeah, that would be something to learn more about.
JG: But I will give you--yes, I will give you, if I had thought to bring my book, which I didn't. But I will give you the name of the town. Where I went.
SG: Um-hum. I’d love to have that.
JG: Now, the medicine man has an address, but no telephone number. By the way, did you ever meet Ed Little Fox?
SG: No. Who is ( )?
JG: This is the man of whom I speak. He is a Vietnam veteran; he has been a medicine man for many, many years. He-- in fact, he married Bob and me in our first ceremony—
SG: Really?
JG: The traditional ceremony. And he has been virtually a lifetime friend.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: He prepared and assisted Bob's vision quest and took him all through it, and stayed with me, while—
SG: Oh, my.
JG: --the other people took Bob on his vision quest. And so he's been an important member of my relations.
SG: Oh, I’m sure.
JG: And --a strange man. He has no teeth. And he's not an old man, Susan, he's probably in his fifties.
SG: Yeah, (to be a Vietnam vet).
JG: Yeah. But his teeth have no, I don't know if it had to do with Vietnam, but there are no teeth. But there are black, level with the gums, stubs, ( ) where he has no teeth. It's just like he has gums, but the roots are still there, so he's strange looking. At one time I would say a very handsome man.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: Very handsome. One of the brightest individuals I have ever spoken with in my life, he is brilliant. He has such a retention level that it's always unbelievable. But you need to talk to him—
SG: I would love to.
JG: If you're going to do further studies.
SG: Oh, absolutely.
JG: He is very dirty; his focus is entirely on medicine.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: Nothing material. He rides around in an old car that's a garbage dump.
SG: [laughter]
JG: You know, and it's falling apart--you've seen those, haven't you?
SG: Oh, yes, sure.
JG: And he puts none of his focus on material things. He takes in every stray animal that ever moves.
SG: Oh, I would love him for that.
JG: Oh, you would; he had--at last count he had 30-some cats.
SG: Oh, well he's my man! [both laugh] I've got to go see this guy.
JG: You've got to see him. I will give you his address or I'll send it to you when I get home.
SG: Okay.
JG: But you need to contact him. Ed knows what's going on between here and Canada all the time. And he, he has lived with the medicine men in the Kivas.
SG: Oh really?
JG: Yes. He is very, very knowledgeable. And he's married to a Celtic woman from England, who defers to his every whim.
SG: Oh really? [laughter]
JG: Yeah, which is what he needs. He's not a demanding person, but I don't know if he would ever even feed himself—
SG: Um-hum.
JG: --if she weren't there.
SG: Yeah.
JG: He's so focused on what he's doing. But he was stricken with cancer when--We had three medicine people, you know when Two Trees died? Remember?
SG: No.
JG: Dr. Two Trees?
SG: Oh, yes I do, yes I do.
JG: Yes, down in the ( ). OK, the information was sent to me that the people here in Asheville, the Wiccas.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: The witchcraft group. They were instrumental in Two Trees' death. Because he is a spiritual man, and they are working against the Native American spiritual people. OK, then, right after Two Trees--Oh, I had this on good authority, from several Cherokee medicine men--then, next Ed was stricken with cancer. Then I had the aneurysm.
SG: Wow.
JG: It was three in a row. And so it was all bing, bing, bing, you know. Well, Ed had surgery to remove the cancerous growth. And I don't even know where it was located in his body, I don't think he ever told me, and it didn't matter. But they--the doctor said the opinion that he would not survive, ( ) but he went strictly to spiritual and herbal medicine.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: And he’s very well. He's very well, there's no trace of it. But he's a rather tall, imposing, just by his demeanor. Not, not his physical appearance, but he has long, gray hair, piercing blue-gray eyes. Piercing. And the no teeth, which really he's strange looking, but it doesn't make him--
SG: Scary?
JG: Yeah, your--he's not as scary-looking. In fact, the minute you talk to the man you'll know there's something very unique, very unique about Ed Little Fox.
SG: Well, I’d sure love to meet him. Maybe we could ( ).
JG: I will put you in touch with him. If you're ready for the worst. Susan—
SG: Um-hum.
JG: --I wouldn't take many people to see Ed; this is the way he lives.
SG: Yeah.
JG: He lives with animals, and he lives as an animal.
SG: Yeah.
JG: And so, I don't fault him for that. This is his connection.
SG: Right.
JG: Through the animals, this is his connection with the spirit (part). And he is, I know of my own knowledge a very powerful man. I will let you read some of the writings he has done for me.
SG: Oh. My ( ).
JG: Yeah, and it's all, I've got a-- He wrote a composition book, which was almost, it's almost an Einstein theory of relativity type thing.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: I mean, it breaks down some of the things that you considered so complex.
SG: Yeah.
JG: In spiritualism. Breaks these down until you get a new insight.
SG: Yeah.
JG: He is so brilliant. And so you must know him, you must know him.
SG: I hope so.
JG: He would be very influential in what you do. Just knowing him.
SG: Uh-huh. I know, I know ( ),
JG: And people like this are hard to come by, you know. And he's lived not only in the Kivas, but he's lived with many other medicine men. He's been trained by the best. And so he is so interesting, you cannot get away from him.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: You know, I have called on Ed in times of terrible stress in my life and he always grounds me, he always shoots me down. Which is great, you know--you need sometimes to be brought back to the center.
SG: Oh, sure.
JG: And so Ed is really good at that. He works extensively with Vietnam veterans who—
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: Have come back on drugs.
SG: Oh, poor things.
JG: And have serious drug problems, and alcohol problems.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: And Ed has probably done more singly for people who had addictive problems than anybody you would find in this whole state.
SG: He must be very powerful--
JG: He is.
SG: Very powerful.
JG: He is. He can, he can work with people that nobody else will touch. I mean people they consider dangerous.
SG: I knew some medicine people on Pine Ridge, who would just throw up their hands before addiction--
JG: Sure. And they do. And ( ).
SG: ( ) to protect themselves, you know—
JG: Right, from that.
SG: --from those people. Even the funerals would be dangerous.
JG: Oh, yes! Because of the beliefs. And I tell you; I found a new insight into that, in reading Crazywater—
SG: Oh yeah?
JG: And I don't know if it struck you as profoundly because I, you know, I'm so close to these situations. This one young man, and I believe he was Chipeweyan, but anyway, his grandfather was a medicine man, and his grandfather insisted he go to a sweat lodge, you may remember the story. He had all these terrible revelations in the sweat lodge, and his grandfather said, "Alcohol steals the spirit of Native American people, even one tablespoonful will steal your spirit." And so this is exactly how I identify that, with my own family. I have never felt anger, believe me, towards my mother. She had an illness.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: You know, it was an illness.
SG: Not something you could just say, "Oh, I’m going to overcome this"--
JG: No, no, because she said that every day, Susan.
SG: Oh, everyday ( ) Yeah.
JG: Everyday of her life she said, "I can quit anytime I want to."
SG: Yeah.
JG: But, see, I knew that that wasn't going to happen. And so I pitied her, but I couldn't help her.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: I was too close and I was too young.
SG: Yeah. Especially too young.
JG: Oh yes, and, and walking down the street in Detroit, Michigan, with my mother, who was drunk, on Skid Row, I was six months pregnant with my first child, I was 17. Had left my husband in North Carolina and gone to my mother just--just to see if she was all right.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: And there I was, walking down “Skid Row” with her, looking at the ravages - -of alcohol, where these people. They were just lying like piles of stone, you know, hadn't moved except to get another bottle, or to beg another quarter.
SG: Yes.
JG: And literally stepping over these people. And most people in a lifetime will never see a sight like that.
SG: Why did she go to Detroit? I was wondering that when I was reading your essay.
JG: Do you know, I don't remember, except that I think she was running.
SG: Um-huh.
JG: Remember the man I told you who beat her so severely all the time?
SG: Yes. Um-hum.
JG: I think she ran from him. She was in Washington, D.C.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And she was waiting for a bus, and this crazy man rushed up to her on the street and hit her with his fist, knocked her down, and stole a comb out of her pocket book. I remember that, because it was such a weird thing.
SG: Irrational.
JG: But that, right, I guess he was trying to make it look like a mugging or something, but he stole a comb; no money. Anyway, she left Washington, D.C.—
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And ran, and I think that's when she ran--I don't remember her being anyplace after Washington, except Detroit, Michigan. And then of course, as soon as she got there, she picked some man and moved in with him.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: Who was also abusive, but then, she ( ).
SG: Oh, that would be a pattern. Yeah.
JG: People who do drugs seek out other people who do. People who smoke seek out other people who do, people who drink—
SG: Um-hum.
JG: The same. And she was looking for, acceptance.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And something to share.
SG: Oh, certainly.
JG: And that was what she had.
SG: Yeah.
JG: And so, as tragic as it seems in saying it, I see it as a tragedy, and yet I remember so many wonderful things about her. She was so beautiful, and so small; she was very small, 4'11". Never weighed a hundred pounds in her life. Black, black, blue-black hair—
SG: Um-hum.
JG: Dark eyes, dark skin. And talented. Oh, she could sew leather, she could sew furs.
SG: Really?
JG: Oh, yeah. She used to make hats for me that she would see like, in a movie advertisement. You know, they used to put up the big posters.
SG: Oh yeah. Um-hum.
JG: Like for Ginger Rogers—
SG: Yeah.
JG: --and all these people. And I remember specifically, and I have a picture of it. Ginger Rogers wore a hat—
SG: Yeah.
JG: --in a movie that was so pretty, and my mother went home and made it for me. And she made lots of hats; I used to wear hats that she made all the time. And so she was so talented, and I see that as a terrible loss. And yet I, I don't, I don't see total tragedy—
SG: Um-hum.
JG: --in that, you know. I mean, she added so much; she was always laughing. She played every musical instrument you could imagine. She sang professionally for quite a while, with her sister Ruth and her brother Sam.
SG: I can see some of your roots as a storyteller--
JG: Right! They--My whole family, they were all performers. And so they--they sang with a bandleader called Barney Rapp, very popular in the ‘30s. And then my aunt Ruth, who was one of the three who sang, she and Grace--I can't remember Grace's last name, that's odd--but anyway, she was the, one of the musicians that wrote music for them and arranged music for them. My Aunt Ruth went on to sing with Benny Goodman. This Grace went on to arrange for Guy Roberto for years and years and years.
SG: Really?
JG: Yes. So they were talented people. Who really, in those days, that was the big time.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: You know?
SG: Yeah, it was.
JG: And so I see the tragedy in a life lost to destruction.
SG: Self-destruction.
JG: Yeah. And all of us have some of that.
SG: Oh, it’s possible in anyone.
JG: I have it, I have it.
SG: I’m sure. Yeah.
JG: I believe, Susan, hat seeds of destruction are within us all.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: I do. And I think how you live out your life will eventually show that. I think all of us have those tendencies to destroy ourselves.
SG: And at a certain point, I guess you cross the line.
JG: I think so. I think so.
SG: And that's probably what happened.
JG: And of course so that, the kind of drinking that Mother did was suicidal.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: But what a hard way to do it. I mean, it takes forever—
SG: It takes forever.
JG: --and ever and ever! One of her brothers, he is now eighty-six, or eighty-eight. Back when I was a girl, when I was like 12, 13 years old, my grandmother put me in the car and went running to this uncle because he was having DT's then. Then!
SG: Yeah.
JG: You know, and he's still living and he's still drinking!
SG: Yeah. Boy, you must be made of ( )--
JG: So my family is--I come from good stock.
SG: Yeah.
JG: I don't know why. I think there was more. I think my mother willed herself into oblivion.
SG: Um-hum
JG: I think she carried so much guilt about her children.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: I think really that she willed herself across because she just--she could not stop drinking, she wanted to believe she could.
SG: Yeah.
JG: She never went to a treatment because I couldn't get her to.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: She said she didn't need it.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: And I’m reading all this in the book. You know? I'm seeing all this, I don't need help. What can AA do for me.
SG: Um-hum.
SG: And, and then, I didn't know, until I got grown, that children of alcoholic parents come up with a lot of scars that they didn't even know they had.
SG: And they tend to be, have an early, early responsibility thrust on them and that’s exactly what you had.
JG: Um-hum.
SG: Yeah.
JG: And being the mother of the world.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: You know, I can fix everything.
SG: Yeah.
JG: And if I can't fix it, then woe is me because I should be able to. So it's a big responsibility.
SG: ( ) actually. Yeah. Well, it’s—I hope I’m not stopping you.
JG: Oh, no, no. I was thinking that if you want to go on to another point. I was really trying to, and I always get, when I get to thinking about her, other things come up. But that was as I remember how she got to Detroit, Michigan. She took up with this man who was a tool-and-die maker for the automotive companies.
SG: Oh.
JG: I don't remember which, but one of the big, they're all there.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And his name was Tommy Thompson.
SG: Was it.
JG: He was a big German guy; his name was actually Otto Thompson—
SG: Really? Yeah.
JG: But they called him "Tommy", and he was brutal. In fact, when I, when my mother called me, and said she--the doctor said she had about two weeks to live. And she was laughing. You know, she wasn't frightened by it at all.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And she says, "I'm gonna die." And she said, "Probably I will not get to see you again, and I want you to know that I love you." Unknown 1 (Bob): Wow.
JG: Just like this, just like you and I are having a conversation. I had a child who was born in August, and this was the following April, the first of April.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: So my daughter was just a few months old. And then the next call I got was from a, a funeral home.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And the man said that he had the body there.
SG: Yeah, you talked about that //and the bill, the bill was six hundred and twenty dollars//.
JG: //Right, right. And so that’s where it comes from.// Right. And I’ve got that bill, still. I have still got that bill. Six hundred and twenty dollars. And for that, what they did, Susan, was to break up her body—
SG: Right.
JG: --so they could put her in a potter's grave.
SG: Yeah.
JG: So, you see, I paid for--You know they don't embalm those people.
SG: Oh yeah, no.
JG: It would be wasted.
SG: Yeah.
JG: It really would, I mean, who would care? Or that's the idea.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: Who would care? And so what they do is to virtually crumple the body—
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And to bury it in a-- the very smallest available space.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: Which is what potters' fields are.
SG: Yeah, yeah.
JG: So, at any rate, that's how she came to be from Washington—
SG: I see.
JG: Into Detroit. Running, is what I presume from the man who had so badly abused her. And then go right to another one.
SG: Of course.
JG: But you see, due to the guilt she carried, she felt that she //deserved that//.
SG: //Deserved it.//
JG: I'm sure.
SG: Yeah.
JG: I've had some problems with that, because of the sexual abuse when I was a child?
SG: Hmm.
JG: Of feeling responsible for everything--
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: --you know. //If I were prettier//--
SG: //Yeah. Including that//.
JG: --if I were smarter, right.
SG: Yeah, um-hum.
JG: If I were brighter, whatever. But if I were more than I am, then these things probably wouldn't have happened to me. So I've always thought that. Because I know better. You know, in my straight mind, I know that isn't true. But that does keep rearing its head. You know, you--that's your first thought when something goes wrong and even when I had a problem in my marriage, that was the first thought thing that clicked. It's me, I did it.
SG: Oh. yeah, uh-huh. It has to be you, I mean. [laughter]
JG: Sure, I mean, nobody else has faults.
SG: [laughter]
JG: [laughter] So it has to be me. I'm the only imperfect--
SG: Usually that’s the person one’s married to.
JG: No, no, no. And I’m the only imperfect person in the world, so it's got to be me, you know.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: But that's funny, that I can look back and, and laugh about those things now.
SG: Amazing, yeah.
JG: Well, I consider myself a whole person now.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: I didn't for a long time. And I reached the point years ago where I could get up and look in the mirror and say, "Jacque, you're OK //you're a pretty good person//." [laughter]
SG: //I’m so glad.// Yeah. Oh, I think you're a wonderful person, you know that.
JG: Well, I love you for that, Susan, because I can see all my imperfections and yet I can see how far I've come.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And my willingness to help others has proven to myself as well as to others that I care about people. And I have worked very, very hard to be where I am today. Never mind that I'm not a multi-millionaire, or that I don't have that kind of status. To me honor and respect—
SG: Um-hum.
JG: --are the highest, the highest honor that anyone could ever, ever attain. And I, I've worked hard for that.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And still do.
SG: How--If this is a question that's too intrusive, just say so--But what kinds of circumstances enabled you to be abused? Were you at home, or were these in the foster places?
JG: These were in-- Partially, insofar as I remember it, and I do remember most of it very clearly. It began with a, a grown-up cousin. A male. Not a, not a first cousin, like my great-aunt's son.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: So what would that be? A second cousin, something. Anyway I don’t ( )
SG: Second removed or something.
JG: Yeah, something. But anyway, a grown-up cousin who I remember very well, asking me to get in his bed when the great-aunt was not at home. And I remember doing that.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: And I remember I got out quickly, because it frightened me.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: But that was the first. Then, the man that my mother lived with at that time, oddly enough another German, Charles Eitel. Now he was the, he was the absolute worst.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: He abused me for all the years I lived with him, and I never knew it until I we were grown up that he was also abusing my sister, the one next to me. And he was a big man, six four. Big, heavy man. He was a barber. And my mother was either drunk or she was gone.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: All the time. She would go out in the evenings, and I'm sure she met men.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: You know, even when I was little I knew this, to get money, and I would cover for her. I remember lying for her. This big German would come in from work and he’d say, "Where's your mother?" And I'd say, "She went to--church, she went to the store"—
SG: [laughter] Yeah.
JG: --whatever, you know. And so, as sick as it was, I have wondered if he did not do that to me to get back at my mother.
SG: Oh sure, that’s possible.
JG: But the thing that makes me wonder, Susan, is that my stepsister, my half-sister next to me--that was his own blood child. And he abused her, too. See, I didn't know that until later.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: Now, the younger--there was another sister who was very young. She remembers zero of her childhood. She's blocked all that out. So it's quite possible that he abused her, also.
SG: Very likely.
JG: It stands to reason. Right. If he did it to me, and he did it to June, then he probably did it to Frankie. But I thought I was the only one. And it kind of destroyed what I had felt all those years. When I found out, when my sister told me that she was also abused. I thought. “Well, that rotten thing ( ) [laughter].”
SG: [laughter]
JG: You know, I thought I was taking the heat for the other kids. I honestly did. I thought that, you know, if I kept my mouth shut, that he wouldn't bother the other girls. If I did everything that he wanted me to do--
SG: Yeah, right.
JG: He would not bother them. So that was my way of trying to protect—
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: --my babies.
SG: Yes.
JG: And it wasn't working.
SG: Yeah.
JG: You know, that destroyed me when I found that out. I could have killed him all over again, and he was already dead.
SG: Um-hum. [laughter]
JG: When I found it out.
SG: Yeah.
JG: But he ended up, when my mother left all of us, she was living with him.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: To my knowledge they were never married. My family has no information, there's no marriage certificate, nothing on file, nothing, I've checked the courthouse, everything, No records.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: So apparently my mother was not married to him. Then, when my mother left and finally they found all of us kids, and they separated us and sent us everywhere: one sister went to St. Louis, one went to Washington, my brother went to Greensboro, and I went to my grandfather's in Greensboro. That's the way that worked. Anyway, Charles, this big German guy, took up with a maid, a house-cleaner that he'd met somewhere. He lived with her quite a few years because I visited them when they were living together; I went to their home.
SG: No kidding.
JG: And I'll bet you I could find that home right now, if I went to Greensboro. But anyway, she got polio during that terrible epidemic.
SG: Oh yes.
JG: And ended up in an iron lung and she died of polio.
SG: Wow.
JG: She did not survive it. And it was not hardly two weeks before he got another woman and moved in with her: Mary, was her name. Big, husky. And she was one of those kinds that poked him in the //chest// when she talked to him and I always loved that.
SG: //Um-hum.// [laughter]
JG: But anyway, he died of a heart attack not too many years after he moved in with Mary. So I did keep track of him. You see, when my grandmother took— [inaudible]
JG: [inaudible] --my grandmother took me back. So then she had all three of us. So then this, this German guy, Charles, who was a barber--
SG: Um-hum.
JG: He worked in a barbershop in the downstairs of the Jepson [?] Standard Building on the square in Greensboro. Used to be stone steps that went down the outside of the building. OK, every Saturday my grandmother would take me to town, and she would park, and she would send me down those stone steps to that man's barbershop, where he would hand me five dollars support for my two sisters--not for me, it wasn't for me.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: So I don't know why I had to always go get it.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: But my grandmother always sent me, she wouldn't send the girls who were his. But she would send me, and he would give me five dollars. Can you imagine, five dollars a week to support two girls? But anyway, I would just take the money and turn around; I wouldn't talk to him.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: Just come back up those long stone steps and there must have been 20 some; long ways down in the basement. And that was a very elite barbershop. That's where all the businessmen got haircuts and everything. But anyway, I would come back to the car and give that money to my grandmother. And that was every Saturday of my life while I live with her. Until he died.
SG: Yeah.
JG: And finally--I never figured out why I had to go get the money, when I wasn't even his child, you know.
SG: Because you were the oldest or something ( )?
JG: Yeah, maybe, maybe, I don't know. But the other two girls were two and four years respectively behind me.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: I mean, they were old enough. But I always thought it was odd because I--none of that money was for me.
SG: Yeah. ( ).
JG: And, and why would I have to—And five dollars, I mean, what could you do, even then?
SG: Then, yeah. Even then.
JG: What could you do? So it was just a token, I guess, that he was going to help to take care of them, or something. But it was strange.
SG: Yeah.
JG: Anyway, he died, and hopefully he is sitting on the hottest rock in hell [laughter].
SG: I hope so, too. Yeah, he died now you ( ).
JG: I can't feel any different.
SG: Is, is what it sounds like. That's interesting, on page two, I was just going to ask you--
SG: --about your grandmother because I was so struck when I transcribed this [the first interview]. You had so much to say about your, your grandfather, but very little, next to nothing about her. ( )
JG: The reason is: she was totally subservient to him.
SG: Was she.
JG: She deferred to him for everything. She was afraid of him.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: He ruled with an iron hand. He never struck her. I never saw it, and I never heard her say it. But my grandfather was a very imposing man.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: He was a man that you would assume to be powerful.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: Not only by his physical appearance, but by just his demeanor. He was a man who was in charge. And so Mama is what we called our Grandmother, and Mama did exactly what he said. He walked ahead of us down that dirt road, you know, going to church.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And Mama would obediently follow like the hen and the little—
SG: Um-hum.
JG: --chickens coming home. I never knew him to give her a present for anything. I never knew him to compliment her on anything.
SG: Yes.
JG: He complained to her vigorously all the time.
SG: [laughter] Um-hum.
JG: Whatever she did was wrong.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And Pop was kind of that, that kind of a person--you could come close to pleasing him, but it was never quite right. It was never quite good enough. And so he kept you striving-- he did it to me and I know he did it to Mama. He kept you striving all the time to, to get his approval. He made it seem so vitally important for you to have that.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And he made you work so hard for it and then he never admitted that it was good.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: You know. I don't care if it was a report card-- Now, if your report card was bad and mine ( ). Oh, what was the term they used to--"conduct"
SG: [laughter]
JG: That's what they used to use.
SG: I remember.
JG: I always had that penciled, "conduct". Always.
SG: I was a discipline problem; that was me: “chatters constantly." [laugher]
JG: But you know what I think, Susan? I think smart children are discipline problems, because they're bored easily.
SG: Exactly.
JG: //And I was bored.//
JG: //And that makes the// teacher feel insecure--
JG: Yeah, and so you got, you’d get a bad conduct grade.
SG: Yeah.
JG: But anyway, I always got that. And he would always be angry about that. And he would punish me for that, repeatedly, and it never did any good—
SG: It makes you worse.
JG: --because, well, he--His idea of punishment was a belt. And he could really hurt you with a belt. Papa would not whip you until you had enough, he would whip you until he had enough. And so it--and no crying, you couldn't, that was weakness. So you did not cry. And we laugh about it now, my sister [and I]. She had a way of handling things mentally. It turned out she was married to a very abusive man for 25 years. And it follows, if you look back at the whole pattern. But when Papa would whip June, and I don't think Papa whipped June more than once or twice. But she would not cry because we weren't allowed to—
SG: Um-hum.
JG: But she would sit down at Mama's old piano and begin to play the piano--just bang on it.
SG: Wow.
JG: That was the way she escaped.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: And what I would do, I would get these murderous angers. Oh, I was--I would have killed him—
SG: Um-hum.
JG: --if I could. And did tell him, the time he last threatened me.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: When I grabbed a glass milk bottle and I said, "You've hit me for the last time.”
SG: Um-hum.
JG: “This time, if you hit me I'm going to try my best to kill you." And I would've. Because I inherited his temper and his disposition. But anyway, June handled it so beautifully; but when Papa would whip me, which was way more often than anybody else.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And I had a male cousin who lived there too and was two years older than I was. But he never got a whipping. Never, never, never. He was never punished for anything. But whatever happened, you know, I was in charge of what was wrong. And so I would get between Papa's legs, when he hit me with the belt, and every time he would hit me, he’d hit himself.
SG: [laughter]
JG: I thought that was very smart. But when he finally wore himself out. You couldn't cry, not in his presence. And so I would go down to the barn, or out to a shed, or somewhere, and I would cry.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: But I never let anybody see me. And even this day, Susan, that's another thing, I have a very big problem with crying.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: Now, I can cry out of joy or a very, very enrichening experience, like beautiful music—
SG: Um-hum, um-hum.
JG: --will make me cry. I can cry for a child, who is sick.
SG: Yeah, um-hum.
JG: An elder who is sick, and my heart breaks for that. But for me—
SG: Yeah.
JG: Still can't, still can't. So those are some of the scars, you know, that I talked about that you just bring forward with you. And there's nothing you can do. But my grandmother really had no say. She was a kind woman. She was afraid to try to keep Pop from disciplining us; she didn't dare interfere, she knew better. But she was kind, she was funny. She had a wonderful sense of humor.
SG: How did she ever retain it, in that kind of atmosphere?
JG: I don't know--well, she would do it, she would do it when he was gone.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And he did travel. You know, I told you he would get in that old stank side truck, and he would be gone for six-eight months. We wouldn't have any idea where he was. He'd be working.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: Typical Indian. He'd go away, and, and no-- He couldn't write, you know, he could sign his name, but he couldn't write. So there were no letters, no phone call--that cost money.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: So he wouldn't go to a pay phone, and so, anyway, we wouldn't hear from him until he would just drive up one day. And I have to believe that it was almost like it took the air out of Mama.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: When he drove in.
SG: //Oh it must have//. ( ).
JG: //You know// Because the peace that she had while he was gone. [laughter] And she didn't have to hear the complaints so—
SG: Yeah.
JG: She didn't have to always be under the gun. But she was a good woman, she really was. And, and extremely, extremely funny. She was a lousy cook.
SG: Really. //Yeah, that was ( ) to you.//
JG: //A lousy cook.// No.
SG: I’m sure he had that to ( ).
JG: Oh, of course. So, of course we didn't get to eat with him, see, she fed him first. There again, one of the old ways. She fed him first. Whatever was left the children ate, and then she ate //if there was anything//.
SG: //And then she—//Yeah, um-hum.
JG: So there was rarely any meat for us unless it was fried fatback.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: You know, in the gravy. There was gravy and bread, always. And that's what Papa liked. And many times he would have fish for breakfast. There, there's another typical Cherokee thing.
SG: Yes.
JG: They love fish for breakfast, or for any meal. But Mama was very long-suffering. She died long before Pop did.
SG: Did she?
JG: Yes. //She died of cancer//.
SG: //That was emblematic// in itself.
JG: Oh, it is. //Oh, it is//.
SG: //It’s so often the women younger//, you know.
JG: Um-hum. But the funny thing about Mama, she smoked.
SG: Yeah.
JG: All of her life. Papa hated it. She would never ever ever smoke in front of him.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: I never did.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: I wouldn't have dared. Because he said, "You can't do that", and I thought I couldn't. But what was funny, Mama was so cute about it; she always wore a long apron, you know.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And in this old bathroom in this old house we had a piece of a bathroom. And it had, not a push-up window, but a narrow long window that you put a stick under.
SG: Oh, yeah.
JG: Remember? Push it up—
SG: Um-hum.
JG: --put a stick under it. OK, Mama would go in the bathroom to smoke when Papa was home. And it used to really crack me up, because I could smell it.
SG: Of course. How could anybody not know.
JG: [laughter] But she thought she was hiding.
SG: I see.
JG: And what was so cute was, she would put the stick up in the window ( ) or whatever, and she would take her apron—
SG: Um-hum. [laughter]
JG: [laughter] And wave that smoke out that window. And I get a mental picture of that, and it still tickles me. But she would not have dared to smoke in front of him, not have dared.
SG: Was she Cherokee as well?
JG: Part. But I never could find how much.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: Her family name was an English name, Westmoreland. And so her father died of acute alcoholism; he drank vanilla flavoring, shoe polish, “Canned Heat”.
SG: Oh, my. Um-hum.
JG: You know, anything that he could find.
SG: They do.
JG: And, and so see, that came from both sides of the families. So, needless to say that the inherent weakness was there for my mother's brother and sister; all of us. And so my grandfather never drank. He chewed tobacco.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: But he never smoked, and he never drank. I say he never drank; he never drank in my lifetime. Possibly when he was a young man, I would have to guess that he did.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: Because he ran away from home so early. And he was on the road, and he did itinerant work and I mean, he just lived in cardboard boxes or whatever he could find. And you know good and well somewhere along the line he drank.
SG: Oh, yeah.
JG: As an escape.
SG: Inevitably, yeah.
JG: Right.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: My grandmother, to my knowledge, in the time I knew her, never drank.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: But, there again, Mama kept something in the house that she called "likker 'n' lemon."
SG: “Likker’n’lemon”.
JG: And it was labeled that way—
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: —on a quart jar. LI K K E R—
SG: Um-hum.
JG: —and lemon. And that was lemon juice, some kind of-- I don't know if it was a homebrew or white lightning, what we call white lightning. Or whether it was bonded whiskey, I don't remember that. But she also would fix something with rock candy and whiskey; she made a cough syrup—
SG: Oh, oh.
JG: Out of rock candy—
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: —and whiskey. And she would put the rock candy down in the jar with the whiskey and let it set for days until it made a syrup.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: And she, she dosed us turpentine.
SG: [laughter]
JG: Truly. If you put four drops, and I remember it so well, four drops of turpentine on a teaspoonful of sugar.
SG: Yeah.
JG: I guarantee you it will stop a cough. It will stop congestion and a cough. But it was bitter medicine. She would give us this likker 'n' lemon concoction.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: She made poultices, she was //real good// with big poultices, yeah.
SG: //Oh really//.
JG: So see she had some Indian training in doctoring. But she made very healing poultices using different roots and grasses and things like that. And it's too bad I don't remember specifically.
SG: Yeah, yeah. It is.
JG: But she used salt. She used to sprinkle salt along the doorway. She would open the door, and reach out of the doorway, and all of the windowsills, because it kept bad spirits out.
SG: I see. Um-hum.
JG: And so she would do that. She, she did things like that that made you know that she had some training in those kinds of things. She knew about bad spirits. She knew about black medicine because—
SG: Really?
JG: Oh yes. Because she told me of her--An old, old woman that lived near them when she was a little girl.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And Mama [tape cuts] START TAPE 1, SIDE B
JG: -- lived near them when, when she was a little girl.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And Mama was born in 1870 something. [pause] But she said when she was a little girl their neighbor, and a neighbor was miles away, Mama said they had cows. Lots of cows.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And she said they had this old woman neighbor who came to their house repeatedly to borrow salt from Mama's mother, my great-grandmother. And finally my great-grandmother told the old woman she didn't have anymore, or wouldn't //let her// have anymore.
SG: //Um-hum//.
JG: And Mama said that night they called the cows, and they always called them, because they roamed, you know.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And they would call the cows in to milk them. And she said when they called the cows that night, they didn't come. And they didn't come. And they didn't come.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And Mama said they called them until almost dark, and finally the children--Mama had brothers and sisters.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And they went out to look for them. And they finally rounded up the cows and brought them in to the shed, and they milked.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And Mama said they put the milk in a big old crock like they always did, and set it in the milk house. I guess they had a little shed or something. And Mama said when they, and I remember this so vividly because I would have her to tell me this over and over, I was so incredulous.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: They went out the next morning and Mama said the milk was thick with cow hair. She said you couldn't hardly stir it.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: But they were so frightened because they knew this old woman had used black medicine against them. And my mama was not a teller of tall tales. She did not elaborate on things.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: You know, she didn't exaggerate. That just wasn't her nature. And she was, she would rather any of us had stolen something than to lie.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: To lie was the cardinal sin. And so I believe every word of it.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: She said it to me in all seriousness numbers of times. And so she said the old woman was apparently angry at her family because they wouldn't give //her any more salt//—
SG: // Um-huh.//
JG: Or didn't have any more salt.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And Mama did not remember whether they were out of salt or her mother refused it. Whichever. But the old woman was angry, and Mama said that the milk was almost black; that you could not stir it with your hand. It was thick with cow hair. It is. But I know those things work.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: Now there are conjurors over in Cherokee, NC right now, that can still do these kind of things. And anybody who does not believe that better get a grip [laughter].
SG: [laughter]
JG: Because I know it's true. I have seen these things work. But that was--Mama was a funny, interesting woman. And never thought she was.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: She had very low self-esteem. She played piano very well, self-taught. And she just, she was funny in that she would do things with us kids just to make us laugh. We went to church one night I remember well, when it had been raining and it was cloudy; it was very dark. We came home, and--There was me, and the older cousin, Dicky, the guy, and then my two little sisters. And we came up to this old house; it was dark where we lived, of course no streetlights or anything. And Mama said, "Jacque, you go ahead and open the door." I reached and turned the knob and pushed it--Nobody locked anything. And when I pushed that door open, Mama went, "OOOOOOOOOH!" [laughter] I jumped forty feet.
SG: [laughter]
JG: And that tickled her to death. And of course we all cracked up.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: You know, we knew it was a game.
SG: Yeah.
JG: But that was the kind of thing she would do just to make us laugh.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: We thought that was so funny. I think I had run almost through the back wall when I finally figured out it was nothing.
SG: [laughter] Yeah.
JG: You know, she was just playing. But she was, she was good with children.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: Papa had no tolerance for kids at all; he didn't want to be bothered. He--That was woman's work.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: Men don't have anything to do with children. The women do that. Women are the healers, and the caregivers, and that's it.
SG: On page five, I know I missed—There was something that we both laughed at the time. But I didn't quite hear it there.
JG: Oh, oh, I remember so well.
SG: Yeah.
JG: Papa could stand in the middle of a ploughed field and say, "Bring me a keg of nails,” and you'd better have one.
SG: Have one, was that all it was?
JG: //Yeah, that's all it was//.
SG: //Yeah, uh-huh//.
JG: You'd better have one.
SG: I was wondering if I’d missed something much more colorful.
JG: Nope.
SG: [laughter]
JG: The simple truth was, whatever he asked you to do, you did it without question.
SG: Yeah. And on page six you started telling me about Mr. Chandler.
JG: Yes.
SG: And we wandered off as usual of course.
JG: Yes, and I'm real good at that, Susan.
SG: Yeah.
JG: Only when I’m (fed).
SG: It’s not just you, I am.
JG: I think of all these sidelines.
SG: I know. I’m not even convinced they’re sidelines ( )/
JG: There was an old man, Mr. Chandler. He had had a stroke, and he was bedridden and he couldn't read. And I remember my family talking about nobody knowing who taught me to read. But I used to read to that old man.
SG: //( ) Bible//.
JG: I would read from the Bible, he loved for me to read from the Bible. And even as a young child, which I was when this went on. As a young child I could read the Bible, all the big words. I never stumbled, I never guessed at words, I could just read. And that's--I would go to Mr. Chandler's big old rambling, frame house. And they had a back kitchen and a back-back kitchen.
SG: Back-back.
JG: Uh-huh.
SG: Yeah.
JG: And that's exactly what they called it. And in the back kitchen was where we ate. There was a cooking area, and then there was a back kitchen, and they had a great big table with a big lazy Susan on it, quite a big thing. Not a contemporary thing; a wooden thing where you put the food on. And you could turn and serve because cause there was always a crowd there to eat. Mrs. Chandler had a large family.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: And then there was the back-back kitchen. The back-back kitchen is where you kept the food you canned. It was really a pantry, come to think of it. You kept the food you canned, the, the dried meat. Or the cured meat, flour, molasses, I remember very well being in there because they made molasses. Honey, homemade jams, pickles, and all these things would be lined up along the shelves in the //back-back kitchen//.
SG: // Back kitchen//.
JG: But isn't that interesting.
SG: Yeah.
JG: Now I'd forgotten about that; they called it the "back-back kitchen."
SG: So you read to Mr. Chandler--
JG: All the time. And he was such a pathetic old man; he couldn’t speak very clearly because of the stroke. And his whole right side was paralyzed, arm, leg and everything. And his mouth of course was pulled down on that side.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: He could talk a little bit. He could say, "Thank you," he could say "God bless you," so I could understand it. And he used to say that to me a lot, for reading to him. But I would pull up an old, straight chair, and Mrs. Chandler, who could not read either. But she was an old lady, they were old even then; they had grown-up grandchildren. And her sons--Come to think, I don't think she had a daughter, but her sons all lived nearby to them; they would come with their families, and so it was always a big crowd to eat, to cook for and eat. And the daughters-in-law would--In fact, I lived with two of them. Two of old Mr. Chandler's sons and their wives. I lived with Cleve Chandler and I lived with (Wayne) Chandler. And they each had their own families, with grown-up kids, so these old Chandlers were, were old when I did that. I must have been from eight until I guess I was about 12, when Mr. Chandler died. But I would go very often, even when I didn't live with them and I lived with them for a while. But I didn't live far away, probably a mile down that dirt road.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And I would go and read to Mr. Chandler. I brought that old, straight chair, and just sit and read to him. And it didn't matter what, you know, as long as you read; he loved for you to read.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And they had very few books. They had of course a Bible, their own Bible. But it seems to me there were another maybe one or two books that I read from. I remember reading from something other than the Bible, but I don't know what it was. And I can't imagine what it would have been. Maybe a book that somebody gave them or something. But I read from the King James Version of the Bible. And he would just lay and many times the tears would roll out of his eyes as I read to him, you know. And I would read, and finally I would say, "Mr. Chandler, is that enough, or do you want me to read some more?" And if he was sleepy, you know, he would say, "OK", or "God bless you," or whatever. Then he would sleep off and on during the day. And Miss Chandler would always give me a piece of corn bread—
SG: Um-hum.
JG: A sweet potato, a baked sweet potato--oh boy, that was good.
SG: Did they pay you for this?
JG: No, no they didn’t have to.
SG: You just had to come over there and—
JG: See, my grandfather would never have let me take money.
SG: Oh.
JG: To him that's what you do.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: That's what you do. He--There was a preacher who had three or four children, was at our church one time, as a pastor. And Papa bought all those children shoes and clothes. We didn't have good shoes to wear to school—
SG: Um-hum.
JG: But he saw to the church first.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: And he was a very committed tither, he always gave a tenth of his money to the church. And Papa was a person who--and it's almost a paradox. He would bring home itinerants.
SG: Really?
JG: Yeah. Nothing to eat.
SG: Remembering his itinerant days, maybe?
JG: I guess. But to feed them; he never, ever, ever turned away anybody.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: He fed everybody. No matter how little we had, he fed everybody. And if he--if people came along on the street, and he was working and they were begging—
SG: Um-hum.
JG: He'd bring them home; Mama would feed them. So we always had people coming and going that we never saw again. He did sheet metal work, I told you—
SG: Yeah, um-hum.
JG: --roofing. And he would hire people sometimes who were just itinerants; he'd pick them up off the street somewhere and feed them.
SG: Yes.
JG: But he fed everybody. And that's typical Indian.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: Everybody. You never turn anybody away. And if we had nothing but cornbread, whoever wanted food, had food. So he was generous like that, and yet he’s so unrelenting in his discipline, in, in his intolerance of mistakes, or failures to, what he considered failures, to achieve what he had in mind to the level that would be acceptable to him. He always seemed to think you're not doing your best, you can give me better than this. You can, you're smarter than this.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: Which, in a way, may have been his goal. It may have been that he wanted to push me so hard–
SG: Um-hum.
JG: --that I had to accept. And I was an over-achiever.
SG: It doesn't sound at all, though, like, you know, what I've read about. Well, of course, he wasn't a traditionalist—
JG: Yes.
SG: You know, traditional, tribal ways of living, the great affection for children—
JG: Right
SG: --the very gentle chastisement.
JG: He left us so early, right. He left so early from that environment.
SG: Yeah.
JG: You know, his mother died in childbirth.
SG: Uh-huh.
SG: Uh-huh. JG And then his father married a white woman.
SG: Right.
JG: Who abused him terribly. And so possibly that's why--just being sent out of that family circle or, or home situation so early and being on his own. Perhaps in order to survive, he had to be tough.
SG: Um-hum. ( )
JG: And he just retained that.
SG: He thought that you guys would have to be too. Hmm.
JG: And so he thought I would never make it if I wasn’t tough, I guess.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And so he set about to make me tough, and he did. Because I would not be alive today. I can look back and perhaps find anger or disappointment at some of the things he did, and yet in the same breath I would have to admit that I learned some very valuable lessons from him. And that I wouldn't even be here today, had it not been for the fact that he pushed me so hard.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: So, maybe it was a necessary thing.
SG: Yeah.
JG: That makes it easier for me to anyway, that he did that.
SG: Right, yes. (it is). There is just here—This is a minor detail, but you were talking about how you read an Engineering handbook.
JG: Um-hum.
SG: And taught yourself to re-route some kind of –
JG: A three slot—
SG: Three slot.
JG: Two pole, three slot—
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: Three grooves down the side. Two pole, north and south pole—
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: --motor.
SG: Oh, I see. Yeah, OK.
JG: I did! I truly did that.
SG: Oh, I believe you. Yeah.
JG: And that was such an accomplishment to me!
SG: Well, it is indeed.
JG: A three-slot, two-pole motor.
SG: Motor.
JG: [laughter] No wonder you didn't understand—
SG: Yes.
JG: --what I said there, because you wouldn't have any reason to be familiar with—[tape cuts] It, it's very strange, a woman visited me just three days ago and she has a daughter who is now 16. The daughter is blind from birth. And when I came to the Burnsville area, this little girl--I met this little blonde girl. And I worked with her for five or six years.
SG: Oh really?
JG: Um-hum. Using the Indian stories and teaching her about touching nature. And I would take her to the river.
SG: Wonderful.
JG: And we would name the rocks.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And we would have Crow Mother, and children of Crow Mother. And she would identify, by feel—
SG: Um-hum.
JG: --leaves and rocks and pinecones. So I worked with her about five years. And now she's gotten grown, she's got all kinds of scholarships, a brilliant girl, fabulous musician. And her mother visited me about three days ago and she said, "Jacque, I wish you would write a book."
SG: Um-hum.
JG: She said, "You have done so many wonderful things for children because of your past experiences."
SG: Yes.
JG: And she said, "You need to write this down." And it's funny it came up just that recently.
SG: Uh-huh. And I think, too if one is searching for meaning from such a strict upbringing and so forth. I mean, there's a meaning right there--
JG: Exactly.
SG: That's what's given you an enormous empathy—
JG: Yeah, sure.
SG: And that comes through, in this one already, about the children that you've helped with ( )--
JG: Yes. And you can't--
SG: You might not have had it. But you were--
JG: I'm sure I wouldn't—
SG: -- uniquely placed—
JG: Right.
SG: --to understand their position.
JG: I’m sure that I wouldn’t have been the same person, had I grown up in the average household.
SG: Um-umm. [negative]
JG: With reassurance and security and love and all that--I wouldn't have been.
SG: ( )Like the school reader: Dick and Jane and a dog named Fluffy.
JG: Right! [Both laugh] "See Spot run!"
SG: Yes, exactly.
JG: OK, where are we? We got the motor.
SG: Yeah, now we’re down to that—
JG: AB. A-B, just one b.
JG: Ab the Caveman.
SG: OK, A-B. Ab the Caveman.
JG: Um-hum. It was a little--it was a hardback book, but it was thin, I would give anything in the world to find that book.
SG: I’ve been—
JG: If your ever in a used bookstore.
SG: I have been looking for selective passages from Plato.
JG: Oh it’s (hell).
SG: And one of these years I’m will find it, I’m sure.
JG: Oh yes, and maybe you know—
SG: And “Ab the Caveman”. There are a couple of, you know, antique stores that are on the way to Mallard Park--
JG: Oh, well let’s look.
SG: That I had seen yesterday. And some of them had all children’s books, so maybe we can ( ).
JG: Oh, a friend of mine sent me the update of “Little Black Sambo”, and I was thrilled to death, because I loved that
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: And “Epaminonas”, you can't find that anymore.
SG: What’s that?
JG: And I'll bet you don't remember that.
SG: What is it?
JG: “Epaminonas” was a little Black guy.
SG: How do you spell it?
JG: E-P-A-M-I-N-O-N-A-S, Epaminonas.
SG: Epaminonas. Of course. Why didn't I think of that?
JG: A little Black guy. And his mother, I remember, his mother said, "“Epaminonas”! You be careful how you step in those pies I just made!" And “Epaminonas” carefully stepped into every single one! [laughter]
SG: Yes, I can imagine.
JG: Oh, that's a wonderful story! It's very similar to Little Black Sambo making the tiger butter. But “Epaminonas”. And my children—I guess I read that story ten million times to my kids, and it was another one of the little books—
SG: Um-hum.
JG: Like “Little Black Sambo”.
SG: Yeah.
JG: I would love to find that. So if you ever see “Epaminonas”.
SG: OK. Oh well, I just love looking for—I found a book for a friend the yesterday.
JG: Did you?
SG: That I was hoping I would find here and I did, and I just love cruising in //bookshops so//--.
JG: Oh I do. That is where I would spend most of my life if I could ( ) in bookstores.
SG: Oh. Well you know this is not really-- [tape cuts]
SG: Well that’s ( ).
JG: I don't want the freebies, I don't the annuities.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: I don't want the yearly check that they get because the government says, "We owe ya two dollars and forty cents this year"--I'm not interested in that.
SG: Right. For all that land we took and shoving you guys someplace else.
JG: And I don't want to have access to the Indian Health Service; I don't need it.
SG: Yeah.
JG: You know, I just--I wanted it [enrollment] I think not to prove to myself, but to prove to the world, the non-believers who don't know who non-status Indians are. And they think we're not Indians, when in fact we're much more Indian than some of them that live on the reservation.
SG: Actually, that’s true.
JG: I know. And so I, I will have a big thing in common her [with MariJo Moore]. I do have, and I will show it to her. I've got all kinds of identification.
SG: ( ) [laughter]
JG: But, now if MariJo wants to do what I do, there it is--the American, the National Enrollment Agency, and see that lists my tribal affiliation on the back, I think. Yes. And then--
SG: [looking at the card] Hmmm! And they're in Alaska--
JG: Yes. Um-hum.
SG: "National Registry of Federally “Non-recognized"
JG: See, it's for non-status Indians.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: Now I have a form at home, which I will send her—
SG: She might be interested, I don’t know. She might be.
JG: To contact these people. If they're still taking enrollment applications. And then too, see, I'm a member of Guilford Native [American Association, in Greensboro], which is harder to get in than to get on the enrollment.
SG: Is it really?
JG: Oh, mercy.
SG: Yeah, I’m not surprised.
JG: They're as tight as a drum, and, of course, that's state-recognized, you know, this carries a lot of weight.
SG: I’ll be this does. Yeah.
JG: A lot of weight. So, and anyway, that's my enrollment. But if MariJo is interested in that, I will get her address today and I will send it to her the information. I’ve got it all at home.
SG: It might, I have not idea, but--.
JG: It might. She might not even be interested. But you have to have a small photograph; they'll tell you what to send. But it shows my date of birth, and the date I was enrolled; see I was enrolled in '94. And you've got an agency number. And so it's, you know, to me, that's all the enrollment I need.
SG: Yeah, right. Uh-huh.
JG: I don't need to prove anything in addition to that. But I did happen to think of that when we were talking, about non-status because "non-status" doesn't mean anything except that your family never put your name on the roll. That's all it means.
SG: At the time it was being compiled.
JG: Sure, when it was available.
SG: Whether they knew about it or not, whether they cared about it or not, you know. The rolls are also riddled with corruption.
JG: //Exactly, exactly//. And of course, the fact that I am illegitimate, that made me more, reason not to put me down anywhere, you know. Yeah, see, that was another stigma. And so why I brag about her, you know. So there are lots of reasons why. OK, so, where are we?
SG: We're down here, I think, we were talking about relatives living outside Tahlequah. You named the place, but I didn't get it.
JG: Jay, J-A-Y—
SG: Um-hum. OK, Jay.
JG: Uh-huh. Jay, Oklahoma. And also at Millerton where all the Choctaws are.
SG: Oh, uh-huh. [pause] How does Stilwell enter into things?
JG: Stilwell Colcord, C-O-L-C-O-R-D. That's Jay, Colcord, and Stilwell. That’s all just little bitty places there that just run from one into the next one.
SG: How do you spell the Col--?
JG: C-O-L-C-O-R-D, Colcord.
SG: Oh, okay. Um-hum. Ok.
JG: Ok, we got that one.
SG: Ok.
JG: Goodness, Susan, we only have 25 more pages! ( ) [They are reviewing pp. 11-16 of the first interview.]
SG: But a lot of these, I realized, I could actually guess at, just because I was getting used to the way you talk. But on page eleven I wanted to verify this thing here about centering yourself. [pause]. And I know there’s centering until--
JG: These are the experiences that I’ve have had when I’ve been so stressed out. And I know that there’s no centering myself until—
SG: I Get?
JG: -- I go back to the center of the circle. Or go back I may have said.
SG: Yeah.
JG: And begin at the beginning. Until I go back, that’s what it is.. Yeah, that’s what I said because I elaborated here.
SG: Um-hum. Yeah. I'm just always so afraid of interpolating something that makes sense to me and it turn out to be not at all.
JG: Oh I know, I know. And it’s very hard when you’re transcribing someone else’s comments.
SG: Actually the hardest is, whether you believe it or not, I can’t usually—because I’m always concerned that I hear the other person. I can’t usually make out what I said, and you’d think I would know what I had said.
JG: [laughter] ( ) That makes it tough because I can’t help you with that.
SG: It’s just so crazy. This is about gender complementarily in traditional cultures.
JG: OK, now let’s see, and ( ) concepts. Only now coming to this, what am I saying is this.
SG: Oh.
JG: Balance of power.
SG: Right.
JG: Yeah, OK. When my people have had their own place in the order of their own society and women had their own role. Men had their own role. But [pause] I wonder what I said there—I don’t know. ( ) [reading].
SG: I think what you were after was that one wasn't seen as inferior or superior to the other.
JG: That is true. I’m wondering how I worded that: the women had their own role, the men had their own role, but-- [pause] but that has to be what that means I just don’t know how I said that. But that means, I’m sure I was saying, that neither would be subservient to the other.
SG: Maybe, you know, sometimes—Maybe you said neither, which I heard as nothing. //That is very possible//.
JG: That could be, that could be. Ok.
SG: Yeah, so why don’t we just say that neither was subservient to the other. That would be good. And then, let’s see, we get on into—Oh yeah. ( ) You’re talking about the medicine wheel here and-
JG: Oh okay, let’s see— ( ) where the color is black. The sign is the bear.
SG: Oh the sign, OK.
JG: The sign is the bear. That’s what—And the wisdom is retrospect--
SG: And the wisdom, OK.
JG: Is retrospect with death. That’s what’s supposed to go there.
SG: Retrospect with death? Meaning what?
JG: Or retrospect to death. In other words looking back over your life—Well, I’ve said it here.
SG: Yeah.
JG: OK, OK. That’s why on the medicine wheel at the west where the color is black, the sign is the bear and the wisdom is retrospect. And that’s as far as we have to say, I don’t have to say anything about death there.
SG: No, I was hearing retrospect and, but it also, I was wondering if I had also heard death.
JG: No you probably, I probably said death, but that says what I want to say. Ok, we got that straight.
SG: See, it’s very simple. [laughter]
JG: Once you get down to it isn’t it.
SG: This was talking about valuing girl children and male children.
JG: ( ) Some societies, and I have read of some cultures who think that a girl child is not an important child; they wanted male children. [reading] Maybe the reason for that was because physical strength [pause] I don’t what that is, Susan.
SG: And I think physical strength stands by itself anyway.
JG: It does.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: Let’s do it that way then, that’s really what I was saying anyway.
SG: Let’s just “x” that out. Here’s one page with nothing on it. I can’t believe that.
JG: [laughter]
SG: But this gets important, when we get to [page] sixteen?
JG: Sixteen, OK.
SG: Yeah. I was asking you how you became a storyteller. Was the word you used—You said a calling and—
JG: Yes. A leading--
SG: A leading. It was—
JG: A calling. Right.
SG: Ok.
JG: Um-hum.
SG: I heard it right. It made sense, but I just wasn’t sure.
JG: You did.
SG: And when you said that you heard the stories when you were young, I was wondering if you remember any in particular?
JG: The stories, the stories about superstition are the ones I remember.
SG: Oh, uh-huh.
JG: Snakes.
SG: Yeah. Your telling a snake story on that video.
JG: Um-hum, um-hum. The—Cats.
SG: Cats?
JG: Uh-huh. Because Indian people didn't like cats. Never had cats. My grandfather hated them.
SG: Not the domestic type, yeah.
JG: No, no. The big cats—( ) means "panther".
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: Greatly revered, one of the most secret ceremonies ever, ever practiced by the Cherokees had to do with the panther. And it's lost, we don't know what it was, or full ceremony is lost, as I understand. But the big cats were to be revered. And it was always made clear to me, you know, I don’t like these--Papa would go around, if a cat went in front of him—
SG: Really?
JG: He was very, very superstitious. And I don't know why. It could have something to do with some early teaching he had or something about the panther, but he said it's the little cats to fear. The little cats to fear. And so he had great respect for the big, the wild cats, but he was--I don't know if it was fear, or an intense dislike because of--usually that's because of fear, if you have an intense dislike is usually because of fear. But boy he hated cats; he really did. And in, in reading the old legends about the people, they never had cats.
SG: No, you don’t.
JG: You read about the camp dogs and, and the dogs which were used as burden-carriers, or whatever. And, among the Lakota even to eat and among some other societies, but still, not cats.
SG: No. No they’re definitely a European--
JG: Yeah. And he had a real aversion to cats; he didn't want one near him.
SG: I’ve known people like that. I mean not necessarily Indian people.
JG: Right.
SG: Also, you know, that it just gives them the shivers ( ).
JG: Oh, yeah. I know. A lot of people are that way. But I think a lot of that comes from who the cat is. The cat is very independent, and if you go back—Of course I’m telling you, a cat lover, but if you go back even to Egypt.
SG: Oh, absolutely.
JG: To the old mythology, I mean, look how closely connected to the cats. And so that’s, you know, I guess it depends on what society you stem from—
SG: Um-hum.
JG: How you perceive certain animals. But Papa had stories of wolves.
SG: Did he?
JG: And you don't find much of that in, in the more recent writings. And of course James E. Mooney is not a recent writer, but he told of the terrapin stealing the wolf's ears to make spoons out of them.
SG: Oh really? [laughter]
JG: And that’s the neatest story, yeah. And there are stories like that but no fearful stories. But Papa told of, you know being in the desert when the wolves came-- [reference to when he was alone in the desert, first interview].
SG: Yes.
JG: And he could see their eyes in the firelight. And so he had a big respect for the wolves. But the more contemporary writings seem to take him very lightly when he wasn’t. The wolf is female dominated, the pack is female-dominated.
SG: Um-hum. I just learned that recently, yeah. ( ) where they’ll stop and make their dens and, and they live longer. [laughter]
JG: Yes. And only the—Sure, sure. And, and only//. Exactly. Yes, and only the alpha male and the alpha female will breed out of a pack. Isn't that interesting? And yet all the other females take care of the cubs.
SG: Um-hum. Yeah.
JG: And so I studied the wolf pretty closely because of my association with it; in fact, my grandson's name is Spirit Wolf.
SG: Really? Um-hum.
JG: And so I have real strong ties, and one of my visions dealt with the wolf. Did I tell you of the vision in the cave?
SG: No you didn’t. No.
JG: I don't know yet what it means, I don't think. But I've had indications that I have followed the path that was set for me by this. I dreamed of going into a large cave entrance. And this dream was very profound, I had it several times and it never changes.
SG: Whoa.
JG: I enter a cave which is on my left, a huge opening, and the cave is light inside, as if there are fires burning or something in there. And as I enter, I just look to my left, and the cave is not, like, deep, it doesn't go way back in the mountain; it's shallow. And inside, to my left, there again left is prominent; it's the heart side, the woman's side. And that led me to think that that was important. OK, on my left was the entrance, and then on my left when I entered it was lighted. On the floor were all shapes and sizes of baskets, as if gifts had been brought. Oval baskets, tall baskets, flat baskets, fat baskets. And they were all kind of grouped in the floor. And I don't know why, but I looked up, my vision just lifted, I was looking at all these baskets. And I looked up, and hanging from the ceiling inside the cave was a leather strap. And suspended on this leather strap, and this is as clear to me as the first time I dreamed it, was a wolf's head woven from grapevines. It was beautifully done, beautifully done: the ears were prominent; the face was well shaped, the snout was beautifully shaped. And it was all only about this big. About the size of a real wolf's head. But it was woven out of grapevines, just woven together--You could see the little knots on the vines, you know, just beautiful. His jaws were slightly open. And lying across his lower jaw is a huge eagle feather. And then I wake up.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And I've had that dream several times. Now to me, as I—And, and my brother Orville, my Pawnee brother used to tell me, "Don't chase the vision, it will come.”
SG: Um-hum.
JG: “You’ll know when the time is right." So, I've tried very hard not to chase that, but it's hard not to because it's so different. But I believe that my family saying that we come from the Wolf Clan.
SG: Oh really?
JG: This is, this is the mark. That's why the wolf's head. And lying across the lower jaw is the big eagle feather. And I have interpreted that, in a rather casual way because I've really don't know yet, that the eagle feather being the greatest sign of honor, the sign of the greatest achievement that man can make.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: I believe the eagle feather is my teaching. And I think that I have been predestined to do what I'm doing and have done for all these years. And that the wolf, the clan, is saying to me, "You have done what was expected of you." And so that's my interpretation of it. But it's very vivid, very profound. All the baskets on the floor” they say "gifts" to me; and that teaching's a gift.
SG: Um-hum. Oh sure, yes.
JG: Look at the gifts that I have been given: The people I've met, the people I've learned from, the people who I've interacted with and, and gained some valuable experience. So these are gifts given to me, or given to my people, because of the work that I do. And so it's a, it’s a very profound vision to me. Very important. I woke with a start the first time that I had that, just almost panting for breath thinking what in the world, you know. And then I talked to my brother about it before he died. The first time I had this vision was eighteen-twenty years ago, before my brother died.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: And then I spoke to him of it and he said, "If only Aunt Susie were living." She was a seer.
SG: Oh really?
JG: What's a better word? But anyway, she could see into--dream interpreter. She was a dream interpreter. And so I could have, had she been living, I would have gone right to her. But Orville simply said, "Don't chase it, don't chase it. It will be revealed.”
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: And that is the meaning I have come to accept. It--There's more, I'm sure.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: You know, and more in the pattern of my life that will be revealed to me as I perceive down my path.
SG: Or as long as your alive, yeah. That’s ( ).
JG: But I thought that was an interesting vision.
SG: A very powerful one.
JG: Yeah it is, it is. I mean, it spoke so loudly to me. I was very concerned about it for months after I had it, thinking, "Do I need to be doing something? Do--is there something for me that is in my destiny, that I need to get on with?”
SG: //Is it telling you something.//
JG: And so I felt anxious about it for a long time, but I've stopped feeling that way since I've had the dream several times—four or five times. And then I have another recurring dream, for years and years and years about killing the animal, and so I have--I don't guess I told you that. [Laughing]
SG: No, killing the animal?
JG: Yeah.
SG: What kind of animal?
JG: I had a dream repeatedly, and sometimes I'd have it twice a week, for many years. I was in an orchard, an apple orchard: trees, beautiful apple trees, the fruit, and still blossoms, beautiful. And all of a sudden an animal races towards me. It has been a dog, it has been a wolf, it has been a bird of prey. I could not determine eagle or hawk or what, but a bird, a huge bird--it may have been a vulture--but a huge bird, a bird of prey. Anyway, as this animal races towards me, I reach just like this into its jaws and I crack its head open. And I feel the blood run down and drip off my elbows.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: And it's so real I can feel the warm blood. As I break the animal's head open, I can feel the blood run and drip, and I see it dripping at my feet. And then I wake.
SG: Wow.
JG: And I dreamed this for years. And it would sometimes be the same animal over and over, then it would change, it would be another animal. I even spoke to a psychiatrist about that. I had a girlfriend who’s a, her name was Jackie; she was a nurse for a psychiatrist. And I said, "I'm going to ask Bill about this," and she said, "That's the weirdest thing I've ever heard." And so I did. But he said, "Jacque, that is just so broad in scope", he said, you know "You could attribute that to a fear of something", but he said due to the fact that the animal changes, sometimes it's a bird. But he said, "You're telling me that the killing of this is always the same," and I said, "It's identical, identical, I break its head open, I get the upper jaw and the lower jaw, and I break the head open and the blood runs down. Drips of my elbows, at my feet, and I see it and I wake up." He said, "Ah, that would take some longtime therapy." [laughter] But he was wanting his no-free counseling, you know.
SG: Yeah.
JG: Right. //I said, “Okay Bill. Forget that.”//
SG: // Right, I know. Several thousand dollars later you ( )//, yeah.
JG: I might know. But then I don't think that a psychiatrist can decipher a visionary dream.
SG: No I don’t ( ) thing.
JG: That's a whole different thing in particular.
SG: But you don’t have it anymore?
JG: It stopped abruptly, and never returned. Apparently whatever was causing it has been solved. It could have alluded to a huge problem in my life, which I have now resolved. And the problem is dead. The problem is gone, and so there's no need for concern over it anymore. That's the only thing I know. I never, I never figured that out, but in actuality I had three visionary dreams, recurring dreams over my life time, but the wolf one was very significant to me: the wolf head, the woven wolf head. It was so beautiful, and who would think of weaving a wolf’s head out of grapevines. And it was just so--The symmetry was beautiful, it was so well balanced and composed. I mean as if it had been molded out of clay but you could see the vine--there was light that shone through the vines, and of course, where the eyes were there were just woven holes in there. But it was just so beautifully done. And I don't know how anybody could do a thing like that. Strange, isn't it? [laughter]
SG: It is.
JG: I'm a weird one, Susan.
SG: What I was thinking of was that, in trying to visualize it, that in a way the wolf’s head was also a basket if it hanging kind of—
JG: Oh, it was. It was woven, yeah, literally it would have been. Because even though it didn't have an opening, I mean the head was woven solid, like grape, grape vine is, you know, it's not even or anything. And it has little, tiny knots on it where the growing takes place. And that was very identifiable, you could see all that. And just a leather strap, suspended from the head to the ceiling and it hung down from the ceiling of the cave, just above my head where I could see it, you know. And when I went in, I'm looking at the floor, at all the, the gift baskets, and then I look up and there's the wolf's head--just beautiful.
SG: This wasn't something I wanted to verify but something I thought maybe you could expand on. We were talking about Indians and Christianity, and you were talking about how much easier it certainly was at certain times for Indian people to say, "Oh, sure, I believe this," just so people would be let them alone. You know, rather than actually--
JG: Right, right, exactly. And they did do that.
SG: Oh, I’m sure.
JG: Many, many cases of that.
SG: And I strongly suspect on the Cherokee reservation here, you know, people are so bound to their churches, but I have a notion that the basis, the foundation, the psychological foundation of that church-belonging goes way further back; it’s base on some ancient kind of affiliation or group.
JG: Exactly, exactly.
SG: But what I was talking about, and I particularly have found it with Lumbee people. You know when I was talking about some of the ( ).
JG: A profound Christian influence, yes.
SG: Yeah, being brainwashed. START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A
SG: ( ) wants the young people to holler--
JG: Exactly.
SG: --and do all of this. I think of him as dangerous.
JG: He is dangerous, Susan.
SG: And there's a member of the congregation, Mr. Barnes. And I’ve often had the fortune to be sitting next to Mr. Barnes //at something or other//—
JG: //Yes//.
SG: And, you know, very minor things such as Ruth Revels has done in her congregation in Greensboro. Like having a choir robe stole made out of, say, Native American cloth, or looking cloth anyway.
JG: Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh.
SG: Or even talking about what might have been traditional--He would be so uptight.
JG: Oh, yes.
SG: I mean he really does think of it as the devil, or Satan or something. And he won't let his kids go to those cultural evenings where they try to talk about—
JG: Sure.
SG: Native American //influences// on Christianity rather than the other way around.
JG: //Traditions// Right. He ruled that out because that's "heathenistic"; they perceive it to be.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: But, now, did you ever read a book called Winning Through Intimidation?
SG: No.
JG: OK. The same man who wrote what was called the Peter Principle. ( )
SG: Oh yeah, uh-huh, uh-huh.
JG: Anyway, I couldn't think of his name. But this is what they do. These fire and brimstone preachers, they use fear, they use intimidation, they scare people about hell, about-- Oh, all these--They get up and they bang on the desks, they, everybody's got to get up and do what they call “testify”.
SG: Yes.
JG: And see, I hate that. I guess my leanings are so strong, towards the traditional way of perceiving religious beliefs as very personal. I don't think you drive religion down someone else's throat. I think it's very, very wrong. And this is what missionaries did to the Indians, and this is why they said, "OK, I give up. I believe whatever you say." You know?
SG: Right. And now maybe I’ll be left in peace.
JG: Right. That’s the whole thing. But a lot of these—And I'm going to say this, Susan, even though I know I have a lot of Lumbee friends, a lot of people who are profound Christians. And they distrust tradition.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: But, you have to remember, the Lumbees don't have a tradition.
SG: Yeah, it’s so non-( ). Whatever it was.
JG: Whoever they were. They have no language. They have no religion.
SG: Sort of like the Catawbas being Mormons—
JG: Right.
JG: I suppose the Mormons hit them at a time of great cultural, like deprivation--
JG: Exactly. When they were—Well deprivation is a good, a good way.
SG: A deterioration maybe is what I’m looking for. I mean, they were almost gone as a people, and so to be told by people, "Oh, you're one of the Ten Lost Tribes." It was a kind of salvation.
JG: Right, see. And of course. I mean you grab--A drowning will grasp at any straw, you know.
SG: Yeah.
JG: So I think that's the case with a lot of the Lumbee people: they, they don't have a tradition they can look back to, except white tradition.
SG: Yeah.
JG: Baptist churches--Protestant churches, and there may be some Catholics among the Lumbees, I don’t know.
SG: I sure never heard of a Catholic Lumbee.
JG: I did. I did. They're Baptist, they're hard-shell Baptists, Methodists, some Presbyterian, Holiness—
SG: The Holiness ( ) and—
JG: That’s Baptist really.
SG: Is part of it?
JG: Yeah, Holiness. What we call foot washing--
SG: Yeah.
JG: Baptist, OK. Primitive Baptist. And there’s another ( ).
SG: So that's become their tradition, is what you're saying.
JG: Right. This is what they have. This is all they have. And of course they fear what we are saying about tradition because this questions their belief in what they were taught. They--We are making them question—If they're saying, “I'm an Indian person,” then we are making them question their beliefs. Because their beliefs are white. I mean, whoever the, whoever the Lumbees stem from. If they actually do stem from the colonists and the Hatteras Indians, which is one theory, then whatever language they had is gone. Whatever religious beliefs or ceremonies or practices they had is gone. So for hundreds of years, now, they have been taught the Protestant beliefs. And of course none of us wants to be put in the position of having our religious beliefs questioned because that makes us feel stupid. It does. You're saying, “Well heck, you know, I believe this, am I a dummy or what?”
SG: But one of those evenings Ruth had come from Greensboro, and some members of her congregation, and so they were just talking about how they were trying to have a truly Native American congregation that was Christian, but was also Native American. And I think they also thought this would be an inspiration for their ministry there [Charlotte] Well in the middle of all this, this man suddenly blurted out, you know, and of course he was very defensive, “Not once had he heard the name of Jesus Christ!” And there we were, sitting in a Christian church hall, I mean, what's the need for it, you know.
JG: Right.
SG: There it is. And--what was the other thing he said. Nobody here said anything about Jesus Christ, so that was thing that just--Oh, and then Rosa went on, felt obligated, I guess, to pour oil on the troubled waters, to give this long disquisition about how she believed in the Trinity. And--
JG: Right, and that is true. The Trinity--See, the Cherokee word for "God" is Yowa. It means "trinity": the ( ) the mother, and there were three. And "Yowa" is very similar to the Hebrew word, Yahweh, and so, you know, that just tells me that all these people that said the Indians were heathenistic pagans. But we knew about this eons before the white man came. I mean, you're telling us? We're the guys, we been doing it long before you got here, you know, tell it to somebody who don't know anything about it.
SG: Uh-huh.
JG: But, now, I do--I don't know what "Christian" means. I'm sorry, I don't. I hear people who profess to be Christian who will cheat, who will lie you, who will stab you in the back, and they can be your worst enemy. I don't know what that means, you know. All I know is if I had been a Roman, and I were given a choice of the Christians or the lions, I would have take the lions because I knew what they would do. You can predict that, you know. So I don't know, I'm not always sure when someone says, "I'm Christian," exactly what they mean by that. Because I believe in a Supreme Power. I may not perceive that power the same as all people do. You know, we say "He," "God," "He"--we don't know, God is genderless, you know. How do you—women. Women are the life-givers. I mean why not she. So I'm not sure it's ever very wise for me to get in a conversation like you were describing there because I am very tunnel vision when it comes to my spiritual beliefs, and most people are. But I don't like to be force-fed—
SG: No, no.
JG: --on religion. I know what my experience has been, I know what I believe in. And the fact, as the man threw out at everybody, that Jesus Christ's name hadn't been mentioned--what did that mean?
SG: Yeah.
JG: You know.
SG: It was a meaningless comment. It really was.
JG: It really was. It was totally unnecessary. But why did he feel that he was obligated to do--he's the guy with a problem, not me.
SG: That’s what I thought too.
JG: Yeah.
SG: And of course, you know, a typical gathering of Indian people, no one would have said that forthrightly to him. There was a lot of murmuring, you could tell people wished he would shut up, but nobody would shut him up, you know.
JG: No. But he was—
SG: And I guess it was only when Rosa went on to her Trinity thing did that actually shut him up. [laughter]
JG: You didn’t have a problem. He had a problem.
SG: Yeah.
JG: And that's where I have a hard time listening, and, and staying calm, to comments like that.
SG: Here you were talking about high laws and low laws.
JG: Uh-huh.
SG: And you said go back to what somebody, someone called—
JG: Geronimo.
SG: It was Geronimo, that’s what I heard, but I wasn’t sure.
JG: Yes. Back to what Geronimo called the high laws and the low laws.
SG: Um-hum.
JG: Um-hum. So that one was easy.
SG: Yeah. [laughter]
JG: OK, here we go.
SG: Oh, on page twenty-three. You’ve already talked a bit about the panther.
JG: // Owl and panther medicine//.
SG: But I remember when I was at your place we, we were talking about owl and panther.
JG: I have both medicines there.
SG: Yes. What is the owl, if I may ask this, what is the owl medicine?
JG: Owl is used by the Western Cherokee for black medicine.
SG: Black Medicine?
JG: But to, now, different tribes perceive animals as different deities, if you will. So the owl is the Chief of the Night and the Guardian of the Spirit Path. Therefore he is protection from harm. A very wise old man, and I can't even remember his name, an Indian man said, "Life goes on in the dark, we just don't see it." You know, things continue to turn. And so that’s what the owl is to me. I stay as far away from black medicine as I can get, I have a terrible fear of it. I think it has harmed me personally. I think that's what that aneurysm was all about because I was in excellent health when it happened, excellent health. And so I perceive the owl as being a great protector, and so I do have owl medicine. Panther medicine, of course, that was the greatest and most secretive ceremony of the Cherokee way way way back. So panther medicine is in honor, in honor to the panther who, by the way, is in our area. They have been reintroduced. And so they're very hard to sight because they're very elusive, and they're night hunters. And so I do believe and will always believe I saw one near the river in the fall one morning when I was leaving real early. I'd gone down the hill, you know, the turn on the low water bridge? And it was just that--what we call the "dying time," it was false dawn. And just as my headlights swung on to the bridge, a long, low shape hit one bounce in the middle of the road and on across; just in one step, in one hit in the middle of the road, it didn't like run across. But it was a tawny color and Bob said to me later, "You saw a deer" But Susan, I didn't, the tail on that animal was feet long. So a deer has a short white tail, you know. And the animal was low to the ground, but it was very long. And it was a tawny color, and I will always believe that I saw the night hunter there. And I considered it a gift, and I said a prayer of thanks for just the look at it, you know because he’s so elusive. But the old lady who lived in my house, and I've probably told you about her, she said she has many times when her children were babies sat in my back bedroom with a shotgun and listened to the panther scream up on the mountain. They call them a panther, and she said she was fearful for her children. And so she tells--she's in her 80s, now--she tells of hearing them scream. She said they do sound like a woman screaming.
SG: Really. Yeah. Oh, that must be really eerie.
JG: And I have heard that. She said she'd be afraid to go to bed; she would sit by that window lest that old, big old panther come looking for food and be after one of her babies.
SG: Uh-huh. Wow.
JG: OK, we did that.
SG: We did. Oh, this is about the grandmother.
JG: OK, Mufawnwi.
SG: Yeah. I was wondering how to spell it.
JG: OK, I would say M-U-- I’m going to go phonetic.
JG: M-U-F-A-W-N-W-I, Mufawnwi.
JG: Shunatona. There was more to it: Mufawnwi Shunatona. S-H-U-N-A-T-O-N-A. That’s the way it sounded: Mufawnwi Shunatona. That’s the way I heard it. Mufawnwi--I’ll never ever ever forget that, but it was a long word. And this is what my brother told me about it—It’s on here, yeah.
SG: Um-hum. Yeah. And on this last page—
MG: Oh, we’re to the last page, Susan.
SG: I know, isn’t this incredible.
MG: Look.
SG: Oh, but wait until I do this one. ( )
MG: It’s going to be a book. A book.
SG: But this, part of it said-- this is with the, you know, the guy who denied me tenure said this was useless work.
MG: Can you imagine?
SG: And, you know, it took me a week to do this.
JG: Sure.
SG: Then of course I could’ve been scribbling some nonsense for an academic journal.
JG: That’s not what you were after though.
SG: But—Absolutely not. And the value simply, I’m not confining myself to this—We don’t need to hear this.