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Winey Lewis

PO: Rt. 1, Henryetta, Oklahoma
Field Worker: Grace Kelley
Date: August 12, 1937
(Interview 7142 , Addendum to Indian
Pioneer History Interviews)

When they allotted us, our parents had to go and file for themselves and also for us. They had already made homes and improvements which they wanted so they went and asked for land they had so improved. Sometimes another Indian beat them to it and he would have to move off to another place. We were lucky and got the home place where we were all born. Father was born one mile north of here but he filed on the place a quarter west, where he and mother lived. It was just like a race, the first ones there got what they wanted.

My husband's people didn't allot for they didn't know that it would be better for them than the way they were living. The Government alotted them. When a family or neighbor who knew a family real well went to allot, they were asked all about this neighbor; and if one wouldn't allot, this person who knew them so well, told all about the family and they were allotted anyway. Some were left out but not many. There was a place at Weleetka and one at Henryetta where they enrolled for allotment. I think there were several and you went to the closest place.

OLD TRAILS

From McDermott to Henryetta to Okmulgee the 75 Highway is close to the old trail which ran from McDermott to Sonora to Okmulgee, but not exactly, as it used to zig zag more.

FERRY BOAT (DEEP FORK)

The trees are still standing that they tied the big flat boat to. You just drove your wagon or horses onto it and they took you across with oars. I guess that was Sharps crossing.

MEDICINE MAN OR PROPHET

I believe I could make it plainer about the Medicine Man. Little Fish, my father, was a Medicine Man. He doctored all kinds of diseases, small pains, chills and fever, tuberculosis, venereal diseases, anything in the way of sickness. He used herbs and white people would come and get him when their white doctors gave up some of their people. Sometimes he'd stay several weeks with the them and cured the sick person. If he gave a person up, there was no use to go to anyone else for that person was too bad off to be cured or he would have cured them. He used a peculiar stick to stir his medicine with, similar to a thin cane the size of your finger and about a yard long.

Solomon Buckler and Chatman Riley are medicine men. Sam Bear is a prophet. Crazy George was a good prophet but people put him in the asylum at Norman. They thought he was crazy but he was smarter then they. He was Elec Low's brother-in-law. Elec Low lives at Weleetka. Jim Pigeon is both Medicine Man and Prophet. They are all full-blood Creeks and you would have to have an interpreter to talk with them.

OLD INDIAN

Old Aunt Sarah Jacobs was the old slave women Millie [Gilroy] told you about. She is a way past a hundred years old but is timid. I don't believe you can get her to talk to you for you are a stranger and she is like a full-blood Indian, but if she knew you she sure knows alot. She lives at Sunrise, which is an Indian church east of Okmulgee.

CEMETERIES

Yes, that is the Barnett cemetery but alot of the graves have sunk flat with the ground. There should have been two or three hundred grave there but no one can find them. Mary Fields could tell you who the ones are that can be found.

Asberry cemetery is right south of Bryant, west of Mary Field's place about two miles.

POLITICS, LAW, AND TOWNS

My father belonged to Nuyaka Town but I belong to Tuckabatcha Town. My husband [Saley Lewis] is Kealigee. I belong to the wind clan.

When a man marries he still belongs to his town but has to go to his wife's town too. He takes medicine at both towns but it doesn't hurt him for it is the same kind of medicine. He always belongs to his own town and is fined if he doesn't attend, but a real Christian never attends after his conversion for that is the same as a dance, to attend which is a sin. Some of the young boys go and then, as they have backslid, they have to repent and rebuild. We belong to Arbeca Church.

SQUARE NAMES

An Indian had his Square name but he kept his family name and his family went by the family name. Spokokee Harjo was a Light-Horseman. He just drifted in here. Tulsa Harjo was the name the King gave Little Fish. Tulsa Fixico (No Heart) was the name of his brother, John Fish.

OFFICERS

Sanco Johnson, Light-Horseman, did the whipping and punishing; Tommie Johnson was a Light-Horseman; William Sullivan was like a juryman, and Joe Siah Looney was Judge of Deep Fork District.

CHITTO HARJO

Chitto Harjo's daughter lives near the old Hickory Ground Town but I don't know her married name and it would be impossible for you to find her for she would be afraid to tell you who she was. I don't think Chitto Harjo is dead yet. His son was in Texas a few years ago when I was there.

CLAN KIN AND PUNISHMENTS

The Indian had to remember his clan kin but he also remembered his blood kin. It worse to marry a clan kin than blood kin though. Clan kin who were caught together were both punished according to the Judge by the Light-Horsemen. Some of the women had a piece of the nose or the ears cut off. Sometimes they would cut a place on the neck or cheek which would show well, put a dye in and tie it in such a way that it puckered when it got well. The dye looked like a birth mark and never went away. The man was also punished. It was always a lasting mark that showed all the time.

STEALING AMONG INDIANS

There wasn't much stealing among the Indians until they started to selling the cattle, hogs, and especially the horses. Horses brought good prices then for they were needed more than now. In the early days there were richer Indians the same as there are now. I guess they were better managers. The other Indians would live around the rich ones. Indians never let other Indians go hungry, so, as they didn't need them to sell, when they got hungry, they just killed a hog, but nobody thought of it as stealing. They had more than they could eat and and didn't really know how many they did have for the hogs just lived on acorns and nuts and bred themselves. However, they belonged to certain Indians and were usually marked. Little Fish had cattle and hogs; was quite a rancher. He notched the ears of his cattle and hogs, but I don't think he branded at all.

If a man stole a horse he was stretched up and whipped, for a horse was the most przed possession the Indian had.

GIRL BRONCO BUSTERS

The girls broke the horses the same as the boys did. Charity Buckler [Buckley] was a good bronco buster and could ride with the best of them. They broke wild horses, not just home raised horses.

CREEK BEADWORK

The Creeks do as good beadwork as any other tribe. My niece does good work. She uses a loom like a fiddle and works the beads through the strings to make a belt. Initials, stars, flowers, birds, butterflies are made but she uses no patterns, just her imagination. They also make pretty baskets of different shapes but not every person does this work. Some seem to be gifted and others are not.

[MENSTUATION PLATES]

I don't know about the Tuckabatcha Sacred Plates but it does remind me of some other plates. I guess they would be called Menstruation Plates. At least that is their only purpose. Each woman has her own dishes, knife, fork, cup, every dish necessary for her to use, and this dish is used by her only, and only at the menstuation time. She never sleeps with her man but has her own bed. If there is no one to cook, she has to, but if any other woman lives in the home, she does the cooking. It is harmful and unclean for man to touch anything she used during these days, whether it is a bed, dish or towel. She stays as much to herself as possible for her presence is not wanted. She doesn't feel badly about this way of doing for it is right and she would feel embarrassed otherwise.

NOTE from Submitter: Info added in brackets. See also Millie Gilroy interview.