Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Native origin of the stars from HEIRLOOM...

For what seemed like hours… and may have been… they danced and danced and told stories. One of the stories had caught Hathorne’s attention, mostly because Chula told it but, also because of his interest in folklore and science. Thankfully, they used English in honor of their guest.

“Grandfather,” began Chula…
“We humbly thank you for our harvest this season… most bountiful as it proved to be… and for keeping us safe in our land…”

Chula looked down from the sky. Interestingly enough, he prayed looking to the heavens. Hathorne had always prayed with eyes closed and head bowed in reverence. Chula was not a bad man, he knew. This must’ve been the way they prayed… simple as that.
Interesting, thought Hathorne.

Standing before the fire and looking all around at the many people in the square, he sprinkled something in the air that sparkled when they touched the flames. “Do you know where the stars come from?”

Children began to stop fidgeting and listened more intently, Hathorne noticed.

“Listen carefully and I will relate the story. Several warriors left their homelands to travel far to the east… they were on a mission to find the sun and return it to the heavens. For the sun had disappeared and did not return for many days and the people were with great fear and longing for the day… living in perpetual night. Predators were feeding without end, killing livestock and people throughout the entire cycle of the stars which now had no end…”

Chula looked sad… the young children listened with great intent to his story. Worry for the people in the story seemed to widen their eyes.

“So, these brave warriors set out to find the sun and return it to its former position of authority… as high upon the kingdom of the sky… ruler of the light!”

The children responded well to his voice, Hathorne noted. Chula was very good at this. Of course, he heard one of Chula’s stories before… only that was before Chula was speaking plainly enough to be understood. Hathorne snorted at the irony. Chula continued…

“… all the way to the Eastern horizon they went. Farther than anyone had ever been before… farther than the seas… farther than the lands beyond the seas… to the very edge of the Earth itself!”

Several quick breaths could be heard then.

“When the warriors found the edge of the Earth, there was a tremendous ridge… as high as many trees could reach, end to end… it was higher than anyone had ever been before. Yet, it was their task to continue, for the sun was still not present. He still had not reclaimed his domain. So, high upon that ridge they climbed… higher and higher… until they could hardly breathe. At last… they found the top. But, still… the sun could not be found. As they looked around the ridge, however… several animals resembling porcupines were scurrying about. They looked like normal porcupines except that their fur was very special… when they stopped and shook their little bodies, tiny lightening would ripple across the quills and fly out away from their bodies… there were so many quills and so much light that they shined brightly. Several of them would float into the sky as this happened and remain there for some great time while others searched for food on the ground. Does anybody know what these shining animals were?”

All of the children were raising their hands. Some of them held up both and some were saying “Cococampa!”

Chula smiled and was nodding…
“That’s right… they were the stars that we see at night… only from where we live, they are so small, all we see is the light they give off. Well… these warriors invited one of the porcupines to come back with them… being such an interesting find. The porcupine agreed and even helped them to find the sun. Apparently, the sun felt that people didn’t appreciate him anymore since he had not heard his song in so long… and, in fact, the people of this time were quite negligent in giving their thanks to the heavens. They took the heavens and all of its inhabitants for granted, just assuming that they would always be there. Well, the sun had feelings too. He didn’t like being taken for granted and wanted to hear his song. So, the warriors stood in a large circle and began to sing a song of light… a song of the day…

The great orb of light felt pride in hearing his song and came rising toward the ridge, coming faster and faster as the warriors sang! He rose upward until at last, he broke the ridge and light spread out across the lands! People all across the Earth praised the sun and began to sing his song again. They rejoiced! And the sun shone brighter and brighter until the crops were climbing out of the soil to meet his light… and predators fled back into the forests…
The warriors thanked the sun for his return and began the long journey home with their new friend star. And when they arrived back in their own lands, their friends welcomed them in great happiness and delight. Each of their dances found the porcupine star shining brightly for them. The people were happy then.”

Chula looked very happy, then very sad. The children responded in awe with only that simple change in Chula’s face. Hathorne smiled in amazement.

“The porcupine was lonely for his own people. He began to dance more slowly each night until the Mico sat him down to have a talk with him. Mico was wise and knew what troubled the little star. So, he promised that he would assemble his warriors for another trip to the land of the stars and they would guide him home. This made the porcupine so happy that he began to glow more brightly than ever before. The Mico took him from his lodge before it would catch the flames and burn. Together they stood and laughed… Mico and the porcupine star.

The next day, Mico assembled his warriors who were quite happy to return the little star to his home. That night they celebrated for their friend and prepared for the trip. The little porcupine thanked them all and Grandfather for the wonderful experience he had among these people… he promised to always hold a special place in the heavens for them… and after he returned to his home, Grandfather granted him a permanent place among his fellows… so that all of his people would surround him throughout the night and he, alone would remain steady. It was a place where he could be with his own people and always be able to see his newfound friends in the distance… to shine for them throughout the night. So, in the constellation we know as the little bear he remains to this day, watching us still… never leaving his place.”

Monday, December 21, 2009

Life Lessons from a Chicken!

You really can learn from a chicken.

When I was a tot, I used to think that fried chicken came from KFC with a crispy wrapper. It was just meat wrapped to keep it fresh. You see, my mother did this. So, I just assumed that the very capable people at KFC must be doing that, too. It was part of the customer service. My Dad, the store owner, told me that part.

Well, I got older. Fried chicken isn't in a wrapper! I know that! I knew that! You knew that I knew that... right? Time to feel stupid... or was that humility. I made mistakes. In fact, most of us make those same kind of mistakes (I had a friend once that thought the same thing... small world). That was the best thing I learned from a chicken. Then, I laughed. Hey! I was laughing at myself! Another good lesson. Man, that chicken is really having an effect on my life!

Then, as I got older and less patient with grownups, I ate chicken alot. KFC became the junk food mecca and a place that we occasionally got the family Sunday dinner. I arguably ate way too much chicken. Still, picking the meat off all those bones got to be such a hassle! Why the heck didn't chicken come without bones (wait till I found out about chicken breast filets at Winn-Dixie!!!)? Those bones were there for a reason. You see, that patience that I was losing? Well, I was getting it back... all because of chicken. This was a giant leap into manhood, I tell ya!

Then came the day that a chicken taught me about life itself and about how you should never take life so seriously (Yeah, even I needed that lesson). A chicken taught me depth. I was eleven years old, playing in a deep ditch beside my grandma's house (she couldn't see me). I knew she kept chickens in a chicken coop. They were pets, right? Not exactly. I never thuoght of my grandma as an axe-murderess... just a sweet old lady (with a stern paddle and an always ready pumpkin or pecan pie). I saw death. There was blood... it was horrible! Then, the strangest thing happened. I saw a chicken run around without its head. I mean, I was eleven. I heard all the good ones. But, I didn't know this one was real! It was incredible! I forgot all about the murder. Scientific curiosity snagged me and didn't let go. That chicken gave his life so that I would apply myself in school. I had to learn it all. And, I owe it all to a chicken.

As I continued to grow... well, at least as far as I was gonna grow, I had many trips to KFC and now I was beginning to feel like I knew all about life. I learned how to cook for myself, work a job, drive a car, and lots of other grown up things. The cooking was great because I learned the many ways to prepare chicken and it became a staple of all American life. I mean, I know that Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird... but, really, it should have been the chicken!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Morality and Profit


Barbadian capitalists, kicked out of England abused the resources of their adopted island homes, founding Carolina on slave-run plantations. Elite mariners in Charleston then influenced all of the American colonies, spreading overzealous capitalism through the heavy Atlantic Slave Trade. Unbounded, this capitalism grew into a uniquely American way of life, infesting future Americans with an insatiable need for more land and enormous wealth. Manifest Destiny destroyed the lives of red people as well as black in favor of the dominant white. Though predominately colorblind today, guilt and imperialism turned profit into a fundamentalist religion preaching social destruction for all Americans.


Barbadian immigrants to southern Carolina understood the relationship: money equals power. As per the colloquialism: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It goes without question. Abuse is the inevitable result, whether it involved Africans to serve as agricultural chattel or Chinese women prostituted against their will to American businessmen. Details are sketchy because histories were written by winners, skewed to favor the powerful. Capitalism came with West-Indies immigrants and slave labor in the seventeenth century, evolved a little during the Enlightenment and then, through the nineteenth-century era of Romanticism, fell to the depths of disgust with racism. Efforts to recognize the humanity of the African and the American Indian fell short of the goal. America guiltily avoided this particular issue, detouring around it with the semi-religious worship of money. In time, capitalists learned to prey upon themselves, recapturing the glory of Barbadian predecessors and the avarice of plantation society.

The Great Seal of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina, or as styled in 1663, Magnum Sigillum Carolinœ Dominorum, declared the feudal intent of the proprietors as Domitus cultoribus orbis, “to dominate and conquer the world.” After the brief Interregnum (1649-1660) period, monarchy once again found its place in England and cavaliers, or royalists spread across the Empire to settle upon mainland America. Royalist Barbadian businessmen once again in favor, rose aloft their feudal banner as the “Corporation of the Barbadoes Adventurers.” Capitalism well-defined their intentions: to continue the lucrative sugar plantation enterprises of their Caribbean home. As John Locke chastised the overindulgent reputation in 1671, saying that Barbadian cavaliers, “endeavour to rule all.” After the sale of the turbulent Carolina colony to the Crown in 1730, Thomas Lowndes, wrote to Allured Popple in reference to peopling the colony with settlers from Pennsylvania, “now their Lordships have it in their power to settle Carolina, with an industrious honest race of people.” By Lowndes assumption, the general opinion in England was that Barbadians were not honest.

Barbados was founded by extreme capitalistic ideals found in Englishmen cast out of their English home. These morally corrupt castaways tore Barbados apart and they swarmed upon Carolina to continue the process. America naturally evolved from this abuse, Barbadian hunger for abusive wealth affecting the gentler New England colonists as well. Brown University's Steering Report examines in great detail how the university owes its existence as well as much of its reputation and its present substance to the horrors of the slave trade.

Ironically, Rhode Island led America in denouncing the heavy taxes imposed by England before the Revolution. Stephen Hopkins, later President of the school that would become Brown University, wrote many treatises on why taxing so heavily was detrimental to the human race, why it was comparable to slavery. Hopkins stated “Liberty is the greatest blessing that men enjoy, and slavery is the heaviest curse that human nature is capable of,” he wrote, adding that “those who are governed at the will of another, and whose property may be taken from them...without their consent...are in the miserable condition of slaves.” Quite likely, Hopkins missed the irony. He never consciously considered the humanity of the African slave, to him, simply a product on the shelf. Hopkins, like most Americans, was concerned with free trade, the right to carry on their business. That business was predominately the Atlantic Slave Trade. Hopkins was a well-educated man. Unconsciously, he knew exactly what he was saying. God would, of course, forgive him as a Christian master over heathen slaves.

Early Anglicans in Barbados equated “God” with the “attainment of wealth.” As America grew, the ecclesiastical argument became refined and spread into many denominations, most favoring the acquisition of wealth and position. However, the "demonic" undercurrents remained within religious society as well. Greed still ran the show and won all the accolades. However, anthropologists studying human behavior realize that the need for social interaction coincident with the "survival of the fittest" ideology produces a dilemma: often, the fight will be won only with the loss of a friend. Americans desperately needed forgiveness to survive this kind of guilt, to justify what they had done. Rhetoric also found its place in that survival.

A very small percentage, mostly intellectuals, tried to avoid this destructive trend by questioning the apparent negligence of God (i.e. the great capitalist in the sky). Younger intellectuals could afford this distraction. Soon, they entered a generally accepted "American life" with responsibilities they did not have before and needed money to feed the kids that quickly came along with the stress. Social stress builds religious fervor. Americans feel the need to cling to benevolent feelings and perhaps a father figure in these often turbulent middle years. “Fighting to survive,” for dominance sacrifices your comfort zone and your friends. Idealism that may have cured the guilt of slavery died in the more immediate responsibilities.

Americans tried desperately to avoid the memory of what their greed led them to do. Millions upon millions of human beings were enslaved, beaten, and torn from their families, their dead bodies fed to sharks by the hundreds. That was before they landed on American shores. Guilt grew and had to be avoided, but it was difficult when surrounded by plantations full of slaves. Of course, prejudice is the natural result of forced avoidance, an intellectual variety of the same thing. Guilt-inspired Romanticism of nineteenth-century America overwhelmed the rationalist ideas of the Enlightenment, freeing whites from reason and the burden of conscience.

America’s present economic standing as a world power exists today from the sacrifice of slaves and Americans fight to avoid that painful history. The uncontrolled attainment of wealth, or profit became the sole reason to live, the salve for the old wound, or the crutch for the self-inflicted injury. With time, it became easier to avoid the guilt. Capitalism grew without a conscience.

The Civil War brought the end of slavery while it heralded the beginnings of true racism. Americans, filled with the pervading guilt of slavery, molded that guilt into pure, raw hatred. The beaten South justified their actions by turning the black man into something less than human. Jim Crow came to the South like Sherman to Atlanta endeavoring to maintain the romantic illusion of ruling whiteness, the heavenly-ordained fundamentality of profit. In 1898, that southern, democratic white ethic culminated in a riot, a racist coup d’état in Wilmington, North Carolina.

The African's significance was not only forced into the woods, but literally drowned in favor of the domineering white delusion, “even if we have to choke the Cape Fear River with carcasses,” declared Alfred Moore Waddell. The intricate nature of that delusion was best illustrated in Waddell’s reaction to the “Negro” in the press. In Collier’s Weekly of November 26, 1898, Waddell declared, “Never a hair on your heads will be harmed. I will dispense justice to you as I would to the first man in the community. I will try to discharge my duty honestly and impartially.” No one really knows how many blacks died that day. Estimates start at ten and end around five hundred. Waddell’s actions hardly resembled justice. Moreover, the truth was and still is rhetorically suppressed or changed to suit the dominant ethnic group.

South Carolina referred to the development of their very lucrative rice agriculture as an almost divine element in their history, the magical appearance of the "Madagascar rice seed" upon Charleston docks in the early eighteenth century. Only recently are historians re-discovering the real history of rice agriculture and finding it to be the result of centuries of observation, research, and development directly derived from the western coast of Africa.

After the Royal African Company realized the “limitless” potential of America, Carolina was settled to relieve the failing and depleted Barbados. Carolinians had a number of crops to try because they knew that sugar would not be as lucrative in Carolina as it was in Barbados. Rice was one of those crops considered by the company and it became the new sugar, influencing Charleston planters to obtain their slaves from rice-producing regions of West Africa, long known for rice agriculture and the hearty constitutions of the Gambians. Why hearty Gambians? Rice, like sugar was labor intensive and was grown in disease-infested swamps, killing slaves on a repetitive basis which caused a tremendous turnover in labor. The relative immunity to such diseases doomed the African, who arrived in droves. In only 35 years, by 1705, Carolina's population was more than half black.

There is a good possibility of record destruction to hide the embarrassing African contribution. James L. Pettigrew remarked to Robert F. W. Allston in 1843, “The water culture of Rice must have been more or less understood from the beginning…[of the Carolina colony].” He elaborates further upon the gained knowledge, proprietary as well as colonial, and…“the gradual results of experience, rather than the sudden accession of discovery.” Pettigrew did not say it, but he suspected the truth: that the gradual “experience” came little by little from Africa. The “magical” appearance of rice on Charleston docks was a hastily-contrived smoke screen. Still, it amazingly went unquestioned. Our history became an intentional lie. Barbadian immigrants, the plantation-owning cream of society knew the atrocities that they committed, lied to all posterity, and did not stop. The acquisition of wealth was more important than conscience. Becoming the masters of 3,000-acre plantations, producing tremendous riches, the possibility of gaining reputation and power, that was the that justified the means. It worked like a drug. Thus, it was easy to transition one lie into another during Reconstruction after emancipation.

America does not possess the sole responsibility for the mistreatment of African culture. Gold, ivory, slaves, and then diamonds became the desire of many western nations who took it for themselves while rewriting or misquoting African history to gain access to these riches. Many European nations colonized, abused, and raped the continent of Africa in the nineteenth century. Even some Africans helped to rape Africa. The thinking process was: The helpless African cannot defend against invasion; therefore he must be weak and backward. It became the validity for capitalistic abuse. Steal the gold, salt, slaves, and diamonds. Meanwhile, we will throw him a biscuit and all will be well. Destructive tautological politics are often the “gentle” weapon of the financially and physically strong… and the morally corrupt.

This logic was used contemporaneously on Native Americans as well. Manifest Destiny became the semi-religious doctrine that overran the American Indian like a bulldozer. In the developing Romanticism, the “separate species” view of the Indian, the linking of culture and race, declared that political and economic structures, artistic expression, and ethical values were exclusive attributes of each race and non-transferable. Late nineteenth-century American legislators used this value system to legally drive allotment of Indian lands into the hands of white investors, arguably the superior race. Today, Indians continue to fight for recognition by the United States to honor at least one of the hundreds of treaties, all of which have been broken in the name of land, wealth, financial security… profit. Meanwhile, television and popular movies of the mid-twentieth century have developed the cultural stereotype embodied in the proverb, "the only good Indian is a dead one." Hungry Indians died from American bullets and federal policy. Again, we sacrificed a friend. By the turn of the nineteenth century, however, we mastered the deadlier weapons of politics against our friends to achieve our financial desires.

Opponents of white supremacy and now, capitalistic radicalism have been labeled with many obtuse appellations. They are called liberals if they are lucky. Socialists if they are not. Communists if they speak out. Atheists if they "need a killin'." America is the land of "God, guts, and glory." You must be Christian, you must possess courage, and you must seek reputation… further, you must make a profit. However, in the American context of "God, guts, and glory," capitalism became a religion, a national mandate and source of pride to succeed over your neighbors, step on their backs if necessary. No need to worry. Forgiveness is yours. God says, “keep the money!”

Some argue that it is inevitable that humans are driven to this kind of behavior, so why try to avoid it? They argue that we should revel in our natures and try to make a profit from it. The reasoning goes: If you don't do it first, then it will be done to you. However, if we use that kind of logic, then the idea of a peaceful future, a retirement in security, is lost in the rhetoric. Wealth attracts thieves who threaten security. You can never let your guard down. Attempting to build civilization by ripping out each other’s throats like ravenous wolves simply will not work. The creative dulling of greed’s consequences will stab you and your civilization in the back. Many friends will be lost. Moreover, skin color factored out of the financial math.

As advertisers irresponsibly capitalize on our moral hesitation, they become emotionally insistent upon due dates, shortened grace periods, contractual obligations and many more coercive methods, degrading human values. Service contracts are often too wordy to read in a reasonable time. They are usually signed unread. Service providers knowingly trick you to get your money. The procedure is humorously detailed in a television commercial by a local cable/internet provider that does not require contracts (currently). Every answer to every customer complaint is comically answered with, "You have a contract!" More than likely, this company will continue to grow until one day they become the media giant that hassles customers on the phone with, "You have a contract!" Certainly, the reaction to this manipulative form of business is a hardened casual thought process, a knee-jerk reaction. The problem is that it is not just one company, it is almost all companies. The average citizen cannot live the normal American life without signing at least a few contracts.

This comical commercial simply exposes American behavior for what it is. As the population grows, people become simply inanimate sources of funding to companies that once touted ideals. A handful of people nearly collapsed the economy just recently by exploiting the market in an attempt to "take it all." Perhaps it would not have been so easy if Americans had not committed themselves to such tremendous debt to maintain the glorious illusion of the romantic ideal… the right to conquer all. The American consumer has become the ex-slave, the American Indian, the “separate species” object of contempt. The stratification of society is less culturally certain and the attacks much more random and chaotic. People are sacrificing other people like them, losing friends (and themselves) to win the game. White vs. Black/Indian becomes Rich vs. Poor in the abusive game of profit.

Let’s make this absolutely clear… we are still using the same destructive capitalistic methods today that were used by those who founded our country. Nothing has changed. Given the same circumstances, the very same opportunities, we would take advantage of those opportunities in the same exact ways. Time did not endow humans with any great humanitarian traits; evolution did not occur in the space of only 300 years. The slavers are still here, sitting in class, eating in restaurants, and shopping at Walmart. Powerful executives take their businesses out of America because of moral objections. However, Americans still buy their products. We dare not ask where these products come from because we want them so badly to keep up with the Jones.

It is no great feat of intelligence to understand the "golden" position of wealth over education in our society. The general belief in America today is that there is no profit in, or from, an education. Teachers are continually underpaid. It is a casual joke in our society that "those who can, do… those who cannot, teach." As evolved human beings, we gained a greater awareness of responsibility. That tool is already at America’s disposal. However, it must be used. Every act, every thought has been molded by a pervading, fundamentalist capitalism that retards civilized growth, unless losing friends is alright with Americans. Responsible human beings must transcend these boundaries. Learn from the past. Freedom of education is vital to this effort and America holds that most golden resource within its Constitution. However, education must be allowed to resume its former, constructive social tone and disregard the rhetoric of yesterday. Education, changing young minds will alter the social inequality in America and provide the defense needed against the morally-corrupt Barbadian profiteer of the present. Terminus dominion.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Land Pirates and Tory Capitalism

Thomas Pelham-Holles, Duke of Newcastle - with his brother, Henry Pelham and Sir Robert Walpole (the first Prime Minister), they formed a ruling Whig triumvirate that dominated English government for decades... beginning in 1730. In 1731, George Burrington comes back to North Carolina to found Wilmington and oppose the Family control at Brunswick Town. Archaeologists noted in 1998 that Brunswick Town “survived in the minds of North Carolina historians as little more than a historical footnote.”

The Great Seal of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina, or as styled in 1663, Magnum Sigillum Carolinœ Dominorum, declared the arguably feudal intent of the proprietors as Domitus cultoribus orbis, “to dominate and conquer the world.” After the Interregnum (1649-1660), monarchy once again found its place in England and cavaliers, or royalists spread across the Empire to settle upon mainland America… especially upon Cape Fear. Tories once again rose aloft their feudal banner to “dominate and conquer the world,” styled as the “Corporation of the Barbadoes Adventurers.” Capitalism well-defined their intentions: to continue the lucrative sugar plantation enterprises of their Caribbean home. Charles II, having regained the English throne and seeking to honor his father’s supporters, granted Carolina to the Lords Proprietors, who received their seal on August 12, 1663.

North Carolina, however, had been long settled even before the Interregnum by Virginians and other interlopers. For years, even before the 1663 charter, Virginian settlers escaped into northern Carolina, later known as the Albemarle Settlement. Albemarle settlers, many of them dissenting Quakers, came to the south side of the Dismal Swamp to evade tax collectors, Anglicans, and, occasionally, the law. Nathaniel Batts became the first recorded settler in what is now North Carolina, having arrived by 1654.

The Caribbean island nations became overpopulated and over-planted. “As Barbadoes decays fast,” Sir John Yeamans, came in 1663 with three shiploads of planters to “conquer” Clarendon, or the modern Lower Cape Fear region. Yeamans, son of the executed royalist Alderman, Robert Yeamans of Bristol, and others purchased thirty-two square miles along the “Charles,” now called the “Cape Fear River” from the Indians for the purpose of erecting this business venture. At the same time, New Englanders under William Hinton came as well (Figures 1-2). Tensions over leadership led to the removal of both parties. Settlement at Cape Fear would wait. Instead, separate settlements would define southern and northern Carolina for decades to come, New Englanders primarily in the Albemarle and Barbadians in Charleston. However, this social split was not well-defined. Normal for capitalistic enterprises, territorial allegiances took second place to financial possibilities. Money, rather than locale became the deciding factor in the Carolinas’ social stratification and Charleston held the upper hand in that financial game.

Duke of Albemarle to Lord Willoughby, August 31, 1663:

Presumes he is not a stranger to his Majesty's grant of the province of Carolina, which the Lords Proprietors have undertaken, to serve his Majesty and his people, and not for their own private interest. There are some persons in Barbadoes who have set forth their desires of beginning a settlement in those parts, which the Duke conceives will be rather advantageous to Willoughby's Government, for it will divert them from planting commodities with which his plantation abounds and put them upon such as the land of Barbados will not produce, and which the King has not yet in his territories, as wine, oil, raisins, currants, rice, silk, &c., as well as corn, meal, flour, beef, and pork, which will in a short time abound in that country.

The Duke of Albemarle, concerned about overproduction in his West Indies colony, enthusiastically recruited settlers for the Carolinas from Barbados. As one of the eight Lords Proprietors for the newly-chartered Carolina colony, Albemarle was most concerned for peopling his new colony with skilled plantation owners and laborers. These aristocratic Barbadians and their large plantations, reputed for large levels of sugar production, would be most inclined toward the quicker profit. As any corporate firm today, they conducted “R & D,” or extensive research to confirm the ideal solutions to their economic problems. From an early date, even before Barbadian settlers arrived, British officials and Proprietors planned for rice production in Carolina, a commodity that would become financially second only to maize, or corn in the Americas.

An ominous side-effect of the Barbadian immigration was the influx of immense numbers of slaves to Carolina. British historian, Mark Govier regards the Royal African Company (RAC) as “part of the social and economic order which chose slavery as the most viable means of generating wealth….” The second incarnation of the RAC, approved by King Charles II on April 22, 1663, historically paralleled the Carolina Charter of 1663. By 1708, only forty-five years later, historians generally agree that slaves outnumbered white colonists in Carolina. Moreover, these slaves came mostly from regions of West Africa where rice production had occurred for centuries. The timing and transplantation was intentional. Removal of skilled agricultural labor from West Africa may have proved beneficial to Carolina planters; however, the general practice eventually proved disastrous for the continent of African. Scholars have argued that the Atlantic Slave Trade “transformed Africa economically, politically, and socially.” Tories began this unique brand of highly profitable and destructive capitalism that fed the heavy slave/rice symbiosis but, economically capable Whigs refined it and proved more effective at it.

Yeamans settled upon “Charles Town,” this time in present-day South Carolina by November 1671, bringing the first slaves from Barbados. Wealthy, aristocratic and mostly Anglican settlers from the West Indies, already experienced planters, poured into the substantial Carolina port of “Charles Town.” Ostentatious planters flourished under the Tory leadership of the Lord Proprietors, later cultivating highly profitable rice, a staple product that replaced sugar (not easily grown in South Carolina).

Shifting, sandy shoals and barrier islands hindered the Albemarle. Not surprisingly, the Outer Banks stalled settlement of northern Carolina, which rapidly filled with social dissidents like Quakers and outlaws. Small, scattered settlements, like Edenton, Bath, and New Bern slowly but, sparsely populated the area. The infamous dangers of those waters prevented heavy settlement through the lack of a viable port. Therefore, the Lords Proprietors favored the southern half, much more capable of providing a profit in naval stores and, later through the “Golden Grain” of rice. These early Carolina settlements formed hundreds of miles apart, diverging even further through the years, with the vast, remote, and neglected Cape Fear region between them.

Another factor concentrated the differences. As colonists in both Carolinas settled further into the backcountry, their hunger for land pressured local Indians who feared the loss of their traditional lands and faced European prejudice from encroaching settlements. War erupted with the Yamassee and Tuscarora, causing a retrenchment of the expansionistic policies of the Lord Proprietors, specifically in the weaker northern half of Carolina. Settlement drew back to Bath and New Bern. As a result, the great possibilities of the Cape Fear region in remote Bath County continued to remain unexploited, while Charleston and nearby Goose Creek plantations flourished.

The British political discontinuity of the early eighteenth century, added to this social isolation and divergence, completes the political chaos. While the Lord Proprietors struggled over settlement issues, economic and political changes took place in England that altered the British political landscape around the globe. The Glorious Revolution brought an end to the power of the monarchy in favor of Parliament; this time, peacefully. Other economic or political changes include the introduction of the Bank of England in 1694, the union of England and Scotland in 1707, and the accession of the German House of Hanover to the British throne in 1714. Through this atmosphere of change, Robert Walpole and the Duke of Newcastle consolidated Whig victories while Tory leaders found their popularity waning. This eventuality had an enormous impact on America.

For Lord Carteret, Lord Proprietor of Carolina and Southern Secretary before Newcastle, “proprietary interests and private rights overrode mercantile principles.” These feudal “private rights” doomed Carteret’s administration amid a rising tide of Whig mercantilism, even as they continually shaped Charleston and the southern half of the royal colony of Carolina. Mercantilism, however, never became the self-sufficient trade loop that England sought. In theory, the Plantation Duty Act of 1673 provided England with suppliers and consumers in the same neat package. British colonies in the West Indies produced sugar and sold that sugar to many non-English destinations. Rum, produced in America from that sugar, shipped to many non-English destinations as well. England, so far away, often never collected the required duties. Tory arrogance in South Carolina soon aggravated English authorities and represented the classic case of divergence between England and America that eventually led to the American Revolution.

Historian Richard S. Dunn tells in his book, Sugar and Slaves, that life in the West Indies was thrilling, larger than life. Colonists expected the unexpected, that “outrageous things would happen to them.” In fact, these Englishmen businessmen “armed themselves with a code of conduct that would never be tolerated at home.”
Historian Stuart O. Stumpf, regarding the land policies of proprietary Carolina, stated that Charleston elites, as their later Brunswick Town sons, “granted large tracts to themselves and their favorites, thus discouraging settlement.” Stumpf wrote of Edward Randolph’s 1694 attack upon the mismanagement of proprietary rule in Carolina. Randolph argued that Carolina should have been placed immediately under royal authority. Carolinians proved to be continuously troublesome for the Lord Proprietors, violating the navigation laws as well as conducting illegal and evocative business practices; customs racketeering, for one. For decades, pirates, encouraged by the chaos of colonial administration roamed the coast, often supported by many avaricious colonial officials. Maurice Moore founded the Brunswick settlement in this chaotic political environment.

February 20, 1701-2, John Berringer and Capt. David Davis executed a bond to Governor Moore for Berringer's proper administration of the estate of Col. Jehu Berringer, late of Barbadoes, deceased. Witness : Edward Moseley. A warrant of appraisement was directed on the same day to Abraham Delaplane, James Beard, Joseph Williams, Robert Mackewn and Thomas Bellamy. Letters of administration granted the same day. (Page 57.)

The Carolina colony deed printed above has so much value to North Carolina history and especially to the Lower Cape Fear. The Davis and Moore families were both immigrants to Brunswick in the 1730s and Col. Jehu Berringer is the real grandfather of Maurice Moore. Berringer’s daughter, Margaret married James Moore (the Governor mentioned here) and her mother, also named Margaret (probably née Margaret Forster), marries Sir John Yeamans, becoming Maurice Moore's step-grandfather.

The relevancy does not end there. Edward Moseley, who came to Charleston from London on the merchant vessel, Joseph sometime after 1697, was only about twenty years old in 1702. He served as a minor court official there between 1701 and 1704 just before coming to the Albemarle and marrying the widow of Governor Henderson Walker in 1705. Note the names “James Beard” and “Thomas Bellamy.” “Capt.” James Beard lives in Bath, North Carolina by 1706 and is the reputed father of “Black” Edward Beard. This is a recent postulation of researcher Kevin Duffus, and others in their revisionist research of the old pirate legend of Black Beard. Moreover, “Black” Sam Bellamy was a friend and role model of the infamous North Carolina pirate. Arguably, that old “Charles Johnson,” or whatever his name was, information needed some revision.

The customary vision of a pirate and a gentleman planter of the early eighteenth century needed drastic revision, as well. The two had much more in common than previously believed. It is also the learned opinion of researchers like Kevin Duffus that pirates like “Black” Edward Beard lived a fairly normal life, compared to other residents.

So, what does this have to do with North Carolina, or Wilmington? Understanding the mindset of these early aristocrats that struggled over colonial control in a wilderness environment, with meager settlements, huge native populations, and harsh shifting sands instead of a deep port is absolutely vital. Englishmen could no longer control the colonies using erratic Tory tactics and officials that went off on their own at a whim. The British Empire faced changing realities. The Brunswick settlement simply came along at the wrong time. Piracy was fading, being cleared from the waters and with it, land pirates who only differed in the tools they used to ply their trade.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Maurice Moore's a Bad Boy...

Already, I'm going to have a hard time... you see, Maurice Moore and Edward Moseley, the men that I have termed "partners in crime," are generally considered well-respected founders of North Carolina. The man that has been given the historical shaft is George Burrington. Agreed, Burrington was hot-tempered and needed a spanking, but his charges against Edward Moseley and Maurice Moore were generally on target. There's even evidence of it in the earlier records before the troubles with "blank patents" between 1729-1732.

You see, Maurice Moore hung around in Northern Carolina after the Tuscarora War when he came from Southern Carolina in 1713 with his brother, James to whoop up on some more Native Americans (probably for getting in the way of profit... same reason we have always had for whooping it up on Indians). Maurice stayed and James went home. Maurice may have been interested in that pretty filly, a sister-in-law of Mr. Moseley, by the name of Elizabeth Swann (no, not the one from the movie).

Elizabeth was the daughter of Alexander Lillington. Her sister, Ann was married to Edward Moseley but, Elizabeth had already been married twice, the last time to Samuel Swann, who had recently died when Maurice arrived in 1713. So, Moseley has a rich widow sister-in-law and this new guy, Maurice is in town (something now of a war hero since beating the Tuscarora's off their money).

Moseley and Moore hit it off as the best of friends. My impression is that they once shared a cell in prison, but I do have a sarcastic sense of humor. Wait! That isn't a joke... they DO share a cell together... but, in 1718 concerning the Blackbeard affair when Governor Eden reacted badly to the "Dynamic Duo" of Maury and Eddie breaking into John Lovick's Secretary's office hunting for incriminating papers against Charles Eden and his pal, Tobias Knight.

You see, Eden & Knight were another pair of lovelies that were in cahootes with Edward Teach, Thatch, Drummond, Beard (Thanks, Kevin!) or whatever you choose to call him. Moseley and Moore had by now, some business enterprises together and I'm sure that Eden & Knight's illegal enterprises were probably interfering with the illegal efforts of Moseley and Moore. North Carolina had this reputation as a pirate hangout in the early days you know and corporate pirates were just as deadly sometimes as Blackbeard and his buddies... reference the corporate efforts against good ol' Captain Beard and his cronies. That Edward lost his head over the fallout of that little venture (he became a liability, as they say).

Anyway, Maury and Eddie went on to be more successful (Moseley was found guilty and couldn't hold public office for a year... big deal! He wasn't even fined any cash.). However, now that Blackbeard was out of the way and Eden and Knight moved around more quietly (Knight actually died in 1719, probably now a liability to both sides of the argument. Of course, it could've been that he choked on his lobster or something), the gang of Maury and Eddie could operate much more freely, building their business enterprises with only the Assembly to worry about.

The following is just one of the many references that illustrate the Assembly's and the Governor Council's response to Moore's illegal activities, his usurpation of land and lack of concern for his fellow colonists. Moseley, as the Surveyor General after 1723, proved a valuable partner in acquiring the Cape Fear lands in 1726 and the few years after until Burrington helped the Duke of Newcastle put a stop to it. It should be noted that Burrington was left hanging, too... in a (now) hostile territory (after 1732) without help or friends, awaiting his replacement as governor and just hoping he can get back to England outside of a pine box. Here's the record:

Minutes of the North Carolina Governor's Council
North Carolina. Council
April 03, 1719
Volume 02, Pages 328-331

-------------------- page 328 --------------------
[Council Journal.]

North Carolina—ss
At a council held at the house of William Dinkinfield Esqr April the 3d 1719
Present the Honble the Charles Eden Governor Capt. General and Admiral
The Surveyor General haveing made a returne to this Board reporting that the Land in Controvercy between Mr John Blount and Mr Maurice Moore resurvey'd by him by order of the Governor and Councill Contains three thousand feet above an acre and that there was an error in his first returne of that matter which he has now rectified and finds by the courses in his sd first returne which is within the fence of the aforsd Cleare ground there is some feet above an acre
And Mr James Wineright being sumoned upon this occassion laid before the Board a plat of the afsd Land in Controversy between the sd Blount and Moore according to the Courses and distances Observed by the surveyor General pursuant to the first order of Council which contains three hundred & ninety feet above an acre
Whereupon this Board haveing Considered the same are of opinion that the sd Land belonging to Mr John Blount was not Lapsable and that the pattent granted Mr Maurice Moore was Clandestinely and sereptiously obtained
Its therefore ordered by this Board that the sd Pattent granted to the afsd Maurice Moore be declared Null and Void to all intent and purposes as if the same had never been granted

Monday, November 30, 2009

African Influence on the Seminole Indians of Florida

The following is a recipe found on http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/food/fufu.html - the picture to the left is from that same site. Remember this picture...


Note: Conventional west African fufu is made by boiling such starchy foods as cassava, yam, plantain or rice, then
pounding them into a glutinous mass, usually in a giant, wooden mortar and pestle. This adaptation for North Americans may trouble you if you try to stick to minimally processed foods. But it's worth trying at least once with west African groundnut stews.

2 1/2 cups Bisquick 2 1/2 cups instant potato flakes

Bring 6 cups of water to a rapid boil in a large, heavy pot. combine the two ingredients and add to the water.

Stir constantly for 10-15 minutes -- a process that needs two people for best results: one to hold the pot while the other stirs vigorously with a strong implement (such as a thick wooden spoon). The mixture will become very thick and difficult to stir, but unless you are both vigilant and energetic, you'll get a lumpy mess.

When the fufu is ready (or you've stirred to the limits of your endurance!), dump about a cup of the mixture into a wet bowl and shake until it forms itself into a smooth ball. Serve on a large platter alongside a soup or stew.

Note the phrase in bold print. A mortar and pestle technique shows up again in historical references in South Carolina and in the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Weird, huh? Not when you consider that Spanish authorities offered safe haven to runaway slaves from the fledgling colony of Carolina and transported ex-slaves from South Carolina to Florida as early as October 1687. These Africans (ex-slaves from rice-producing Carolina) lived in Florida under the Spanish who called them "Maroons," from the word "Cimaroon," meaning runaway or "one who lives apart."

Another term came from the Spanish use of "Cimaroon." "Seminole" is a perversion of the very same word... meaning "runaway," as well. Now, look at this:

These are Seminole women using almost exactly the same technique to ground corn. The pestles even look the same, having the thinned down shaft for easy handling.

And the next photo of Gambian Artwork shows two African women operating an extraordinarily similar device!

"In Africa the standard device for preparing all cereals is the mortar, formed from a hollowed-out tree trunk. Grain is placed into the cavity of the mortar, where the hulls are removed by striking them with a wooden pestle. … a skilled operation like all other facets of food preparation, was already women's work in the initial period of the Atlantic slave trade." p. 27, Judith Carney, Black Rice.

"I am sure there is no woman can be under more servitude, with such great staves wee call Coole-Staves [pestles], beate and cleanse both the Rice, all manner of other graine they eate, which is onely womens worke..." Richard Jobson (c1620), The Golden Trade, p. 68.

H-Net Africa Discussion
Date: 8 Nov 1998
From: Judith Bettelheim

The mortar is very important in Yoruba culture, especially in Shango iconography. But I will leave that to the Yoruba scholars.

In Cuba and its diaspora, the mortar or "pilon" is also very important, often used in relation to Chango, or more generally in Santeria rituals. See David Brown's "Thrones of the Orisha" African Arts, Oct. 1993. One cabildo in Santiago de Cuba has a pilon that they say was brought to Santiago by slaves, and it is kept by a priestess of the cabildo to this day

From: Laurel Birch de Aguilar, St. Andrews University

Date: Sun, 8 Nov 1998

From my research among the Chewa in Malawi, the mortar and pestle is presented in two interesting ways, with the same kinds of significances as already cited by others. One is the appearance of imprints of the mortar and pestle in rock after the first rains fall from the sky, creating all life in thec Chewa myth of Kaphirintiwa.

The second is the action of a particular masked dancer, a male dancer and a male mask, who takes over pounding the grain for women with a mortar and pestle as part of a performance, a significant act, related to funerals and remembrances of ancestors. Both accounts are in my book: _Inscribing the Mask_, Fribourg University Press, Switzerland, 1996.

Further, the mortar in particular is an important ritual object among the Ndembu in Zambia, as cited by Victor Turner, and its significance is part of an analysis in my book.

"Black Seminoles" is a name commonly used to refer to African members of the tribe. I suppose that they would be more accurately referred to as "African-Indians" than "African Americans" for they certainly claimed nothing to do with Americans.

Judith Carney in her book, "Black Rice" refers repeatedly to the mortar and pestle technique as African technology. She also states that it was considered "Women's Wuck (work)" both in Africa as well as in South Carolina. Note all the pictures are mostly women doing the heavy pounding with the mortar and pestle.

Onnie Lee Logan spoke to Katherine Clark in Motherwit: An Alabama Midwife's story (New York: Dutton, 1989), p.9 (excerpted from Black Rice by Judith Carney, p. 124-5):

"We had this great big thing that Daddy would gallons of 'em [rice] at a time in that thing and beat it. A rice beater [mortar] we always called it. He cut an oak tree down and got a big stump off of it and sit that stump up. Tryin' to make a hole in the middle of that stump. After he couldn't chisel as much as he could to make it even then he set a fire in it there and burned it as far as he wanted to. He chiseled out almost as deep as he wanted and then he burned it. After burnin' he sand it out and make it smooth, good and smooth. Then he made what we call a maul [pestle]. It was a round piece of wood with a stick on it. He would take that around put the rice in there in the stump... and then we would take that maul and beat it up and down on the top of the rice..."

George S. Nelson painted this image trying to capture the image of a mortar and pestle being used by the Caddo 900 years ago. "This scene is based on archeological details from the George C. Davis site in east Texas and on early historic accounts," according to the Texas History Online site. George C. Davis site work states nothing at all about a wooden mortar and pestle, although it does list a stone version in its collection. So, the artist probably assumed that the wooden tools were in use that long ago when they actually might not have been.

Did the African Mortar & Pestle spread through the Southeast with Slaves and Ex-slaves who were either owned or lived with Native Americans and who adapted it for corn?

"Perhaps one of the most widespread indigenous devices of Southeastern Indians surviving into the twentieth century was the large wooden mortar and pestle, found over a wide spectrum of Indian groups in the Southeast until about mid-century."


"The Black Seminole culture that took shape after 1800 was a dynamic mixture of African, Native American, Spanish, and slave traditions. In the tradition of the Native Americans, maroons wore Seminole clothing; strained koonti, a native root; and made sofkee, a paste created by mashing corn with a mortar and pestle."

"Black Seminoles"
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Seminoles

Africa to South Carolina to Florida & elsewhere?
"... until the advent of water-driven mechanical devices during the second half of the eighteenth century, rice milling was performed in the African manner with an upright wooden mortar and pestle, the standard method women have used to process all food throughout the continent." p. 112, Judith Carney, Black Rice.

add to this...

"The English colonization of the Carolinas and Georgia threatened Spanish Florida. English raiders enslaved and killed thousands of Native Americans [as well as Africans], so Spain fought back by offering sanctuary to English slaves. The first eleven fugitive slaves from Charleston, South Carolina arrived by boat in October 1687; they were granted refuge by Governor Cendoya. On November 7, 1693, Spanish King Charles II issued a cedula (proclamation) promising that any English slave (maroon) who came to Spanish territory would be free. He said he was 'giving liberty to all…the men as well as the women…so that by their example and by my liberality others will do the same.' Several hundred English slaves fled by foot, horse, and boat to the sanctuary of Spanish Florida." --- Slavery in America, Jean M. West, http://www.slaveryinamerica.org/history/hs_es_florida_slavery_short.htm


"Milling, until the mid-eighteenth century, employed primitive techniques, based upon the mortar and pestle, a shaped wooden plunger. Homesteads continued to use this system into the late nineteenth century in the Carolinas and Louisiana. Considerable quantities of rice were shipped unmilled or "rough" to English mills, but by the late 1700s South Carolina had developed a sophisticated milling industry equal, if not superior, to that in other places."

Henry C. Dethloff, “Colonial Rice Trade,” Agricultural History, Vol. 56, No. 1, Symposium on the History of Agricultural Trade and Marketing (Jan., 1982), 239.

Seminole women using a similar technique...

"Only the African mortar-and-pestle method reduces grain breakage in processing glaberrima; this remains a problem in commercializing African rice to this day." (NRC, Lost Crops, 29). "The mortar and pestle remained in use to mill small quantities of rice by slaves and their descendants well into the twentieth century."

Judith Carney, 'Rice milling, gender and slave labour in colonial South Carolina', Past and Present 153 (1996), 108-34.

"Rice (Oryza glaberrima). Discussed in detail in the text, rice was cultivated over a broad area from South Carolina through the Caribbean and into Brazil. Bahian planter Gabriel Soares de Sousa noted in 1587 the cultivation of both rain-fed and swamp rice, the use of the mortar and pestle for milling, and the triumph of African dietary preferences among the slave population."

African Rice in the Columbian Exchange
Author(s): Judith A. Carney
Source: The Journal of African History, Vol. 42, No. 3 (2001), pp. 377-396
Published by: Cambridge University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3647168

This is a family in Senegal using the mortar and pestle...

"During the colonial period Carolina planters relied upon slaves hand-pounding rice in a mortar and pestle, the method used in Africa."

"In Africa the mortar and pestle is the principal mechanism by which all cereals and root-crops are processed. When rice is harvested, women alone are involved in preparing the crop for consumption. This involves cooking as well as milling."

Rice Milling, Gender and Slave Labour in Colonial South Carolina
Author(s): Judith Carney
Source: Past & Present, No. 153 (Nov., 1996), pp. 108-134
Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of The Past and Present Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/651137

Creek Woman/Black Child/Mortar & Pestle

Evidence for the use of a mortar and pestle made of wood, from a tree stump, with a pair of wooden plungers, and usually operated by women has been found with the Seneca, Iroquois, Caddo, Creek, Cherokee and Seminole Indians so far... undoubtedly, there are more. Jamaican references were found... One East Bolivian or Amazonian reference even describes a 10-foot pole! All verifiable references to the "Mound Builders," or Mississippean cultures refer to "metates," or stone mortars. Some references were made by scholars to a wooden version, however, it is only a supposition based on the fact that Indians had the wooden mortar later.

Note the style of the mortar and pestle in these pictures of the American Indians... it is remarkably similar in appearance to those of the Africans. Still, the "wooden mortar" is different from the idea of a mortar and pestle being made from stone, sometimes a depression in a large rock utilized for this purpose with a stone or bone pestle. I have found many instances of this type of mortar and pestle. However, this refers to the (what I believe) original "stone-age" technology found by Europeans with most Native American tribes. This is not to say that they didn't use a wooden one (traces would have disintegrated long ago). This stone method arguably worked for them and they had no reason to change it. But, when Europeans brought African slaves to America, beginning roughly after the beginning of the Jamestown venture in 1607 (Africans came within a few decades after), the idea of the wooden mortar and pestle (used by Africans for centuries) made its way into the American countryside (as much as throughout the Caribbean and in Brazil). I have found many records to indicate that a wooden version was available to all of these locales... but, also a stone version found in archaeological digs. That indicates really only one thing to me... that there was a change in the available technology. Still, wooden mortars don't survive the archaeological record (they disintegrate rapidly) and we really cannot say that Indians did not have this technology before the European invasion. So, proving that the African use of the wooden mortar became widespread in America would hinge on the various traveler's accounts of the Indians they encountered. While the technology of a wooden mortar might have easily crossed native borders, these European explorers had more difficulty. Still, Spanish and French explorers penetrated deep into the American South and Southwest. It could be possible to find records of those explorers. Henri Joutel accompanied the La Salle colonizing expedition in 1684 and kept a detailed journal which contains a reference to the "wooden mortar":

"They have large mortars that they [Cenis, or Caddo Indians] make from the trunk of a tree hollowed by fire to a certain depth after which they scrape and clean it. There are up to four women pounding the corn: each one takes a thick pestle about five feet in length and they keep time, as blacksmiths do when they strike their anvils." [The La Salle Expedition to Texas: The Journal of Henri Joutel 1684-1687 (Foster, 1998), p. 221]

By 1684, the wooden mortar, if it arrived with the African had already made its way to Caddo territory. This could have been through the South Carolina slaves since 1670, or by way of slaves who accompanied Spanish or French expeditions earlier than La Salle (Joutel's visit was not the first French visit to the area, certainly not the first European visit). So, basically this proves little.

What basically needs to be explored is... did these observations occur AFTER original contact of Africans in South Carolina (perhaps elsewhere on the east coast) with indigenous tribes in America. Native Americans are very innovative peoples and were always willing to try new ideas. Africans could very well have given them one.

Interestingly, this stone mortar and pestle was captioned as a Cherokee "stone-age mortar and pestle." It should be noted that the Native American was living in the stone age when the European arrived with enslaved Africans who already had the wooden variety in their bag of tricks. The use of the term "stone age" was probably an arbitrary choice. However, the unconscious intent of distinguishing between the "ancient" Indians and the Indians known to the European is rather instructive. The stone mortar allowed stone grit or sand in the corn meal (rough on teeth). The wooden version would have been seen as an improvement. Algonquins on the North Carolina coast were known also to use a stone mortar and pestle to grind their corn.

Neck Decoration With the Seminole and Africans:

Another unusual characteristic of the Seminole was the use of glass-beaded necklaces that covered the whole neck area. This must have been somewhat uncomfortable and heavy. Still, it became fashionable among Seminole women. It may also have been a cultural introduction of African society...

Black Seminole women displaying the heavy beadwork resembling African neck art...

and a painting called "Ndebele" ... a Seminole Woman...

Ndebele woman ............... Seminole children

Ndebele Art ... Seminole Clothing patterns


"Quest for Blackbeard" has finally been approved for Global Distribution which means that it will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Alibris, and other online booksellers.

It is already previewable on Google Books.

Lulu site at: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/bcbrooks

Seminole Invictus: Unconquered Runaways

Here is yet another history paper that I wrote for my Native American History class. Luckily, I picked the tribe I knew best from the hat... what luck is that, huh? Anyway, it's a nice departure from the Imperialism for a change. Please enjoy. I always do. And my 26 years in Florida allowed me to learn a lot about the Seminole... even some language! "Mutdoh!"

Yeah... I'm 75 pounds heavier in this photo... this was before the shedding of my skin... lol.

“The Seminole was to learn their potency and strength

from the effort to break them…”[1]

The author known only as “Logan,” writing for The Floridian newspaper in 1836, felt great pity for the Seminole Indians in the United States’ territory of Florida. Logan may have identified with the Native American’s unique view of land ownership or his natural belief systems. Then again, perhaps he grew weary of a war that did not seem necessary. Whatever attracted Logan’s sympathies does not well reveal its source in the articles. Still, most Americans outside of Florida did not share his vision or compassion. Very likely however, Logan did not have the cultural “tools” that he needed to understand the differences that separated the Indian from the White man. Unique and disparate rituals and cultural beliefs caused the initial cultural clash, differences nurtured through the millennia of separation by a great sea. By the nineteenth century, the Indian and the European had known each other for a severely short time by comparison, a small fraction of their time apart. Moreover, the Seminole diverged from English Americans for nearly a century further, living under the auspices of Spanish rule. In many ways, the Seminole’s story began relatively late as a reaction to the European presence in America, a desire to be free of the Englishman. Ironically, it was the Spaniard of the eighteenth century that treated him with more respect, if one can attribute any European having a respectful air toward the Indian. For most native tribes, the United States became the real threat, the indomitable enemy.

For the brief time under Spanish rule, the Seminole developed a culture, both unique among the Indian as it was unique among the European. They were termed “runaways” by many European accounts, reflecting this trait. An almost scientific curiosity settled upon those Seminole remaining in Florida after Indian removal to Oklahoma perhaps because they hid in a forsaken wilderness full of mosquitoes, alligators, panthers, and bears rather than face removal. Perhaps it struck the American heart more to the core than most cases. Perhaps the swamp land in question did not seem worth the effort. The distinctive culture of the Seminole remains perhaps the reason that they were regarded with such curiosity by ethnographers of the twentieth century. A rather stark disparity between the Seminole and their closely related and recently separated brethren, the Creek of Georgia and Alabama may have been an aversion to the European practice of slavery. Black “runaway” slaves from the South in Florida probably found kinship among these unique Florida Indians, regarded as “runaways” themselves. Moreover, Africans left by the Spanish in Florida retained many of their original customs and rituals while freely joining with the Native Americans. The harshness of the Englishman in America catalyzed the cultural development of the Seminole. Desiring to be left alone, uncertainties surround their culture and development. Still, curious Americans endeavored early to “discover” the Seminole and their unique culture in the early 20th century.

The Seminole Tribe earned “official” American respect as one of the “Five Civilized Tribes” of the American Southeast. The Seminoles’ mother tribe, the Creek of Alabama and Georgia, had a written language and an art unparalleled in the region.[2] Their clothing patterned after English styles, with paisley and floral patterns and later, bright colors seen in the reds, yellows, greens, and blues of their cotton dresses and glass beads, worn profusely around the neck. As civilized as they seemed, it did not prevent the invasion of outsiders coming with the sale of Florida to the United States in 1819 and the tremendous wave of land-hungry American settlers. Three wars erupted. Seminoles, like other native tribes, faced the long, arduous trek to Oklahoma, save for a smattering of Seminole hiding in the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp of south Florida, a wilderness much too fearsome for the American of the mid-nineteenth century. Floridians, like “Logan,” in 1836, felt shock and outrage at the apparent mistreatment of their fellow Floridians. Others, arguably, land-hungry settlers that desired their swamps, continued to see them as “savages.” Seminoles understandably fought back and lost. Yet, they still survive in Florida today and have increased their number and earned the status of a federally recognized tribe, along with their immediate family, the “Seminole Tribe of Oklahoma.”

The departure of Florida’s native population, the Timucua, Potano, Ais, Calusa, and others left a void that begged to be filled. The Creek, or Muskogee, Miccosuki, and as many as seven different tribes answered that call.[3] La Florida, a possession of Spain until 1819, began to turn more toward Christianization of the natives than enslavement by the nineteenth century. Native peoples lived comfortably within and outside the mission districts of Spanish La Florida. By 1750, the Spanish began to refer to natives living in the outlying regions as “Cimarrones.”[4] These “Seminoles” or “seceeders” tried to avoid contact with the English, while other Florida Creeks allied with them against the Spanish. The Creek, perhaps in reference to Seminoles having left their homeland in Alabama and Georgia, simply called them “runaways” and claimed that “Seminole” is a Creek word having that meaning.[5] Florida scholars, however, ascribe to the Spanish origin. J. W. Powell’s introduction to MacCauley’s “The Seminole Indians of Florida,” refers possibly to the Creek immigrants to Florida following the Creek Wars of 1813-14 as “turbulent and criminal Indians.”[6] The term “Simánole,” meaning separatist or renegade, refers to these Indians, he asserts, perhaps by the main body of Creeks still in their original Georgia and Alabama abodes. He notes also that the Seminoles of Florida thrust this appellation back upon the larger group who left Florida for the western territories (Oklahoma), “impugning their courage and steadfastness.”[7] In short, many legends surround the real origins of the name.

Seminoles began to attract many “runaways” to their Florida home, incorporating many nations, including vague remnants of native Floridian tribes and even runaway slaves from the nearby United States. Seminole Nation diversity reflects itself in the many languages spoken by their people: Muscogee, Hitchiti, Koasati, Alabama, Natchez, Yuchi and Shawnee. The Apalachi, a Hitchiti speaking people, may have been related to the Creek Tamathli, or Apalachicola. Representing a native remnant of an original Florida tribe, the Apalachicola existed there, on the Apalachicola River, at the time of Spanish contact. The first Creek-speaking people, relative late-comers to Florida, arrived about 1760 and settled in Chocuchattee (Red House) near present day Brooksville, Florida.[8] The fact that the early Florida Creeks, or Seminole owned cattle and became great herdsmen contributed to the American desire for their possessions. Florida remains today a large cattle state with large, flat expanses of pasture land.

Seminoles remained a small tribe, compared with their more numerous Creek brethren. Before the War of 1812, Seminoles numbered about 1,200 people to the Georgia and Alabama Creeks’ 25,000.[9] The matriclan, or matrilineal organizational unit of the Seminole, like the Creek, was composed of the individual clan and various moieties of that clan, all classified on the red-white color opposition that was basic to Creek society. War leaders usually were chosen by red clans, perhaps based on the idea of red representing war. Conversely, positive attributes like organization and leadership represented the white-clan responsibility. In general, there are eight Seminole clans - Panther, Bear, Deer, Wind, Bigtown, Bird, Snake, and Otter. When the last female in a clan passes on, the clan is considered extinct; for instance, the Alligator clan is now extinct. The Panther clan is the largest clan in today's Seminole Tribe of Florida.[10]

Seminoles were accomplished cattlemen, developing profitable herds in the region of north Florida centered upon modern Alachua. Consequently, the Jackson era of the 1820s became a time of great change in Florida’s native society. The United States, coveting the cattle and land in Florida, came to take it from both the Spanish and the Indian in 1821. Patterns of American migration paralleled the usurpation of Indian lands throughout the new country, especially after the invention of the cotton gin in 1790. Many conflicts, given various “official” names and causes by the Americans, were essentially wars against the Indians to gain their land. For the Seminole, the cause may not have been the swamps so much as the cattle.

The destruction of a British post on the Appalachicola River in 1821 was regarded as the end of the War of 1812 by some and the beginning of the First Seminole War by others. At the same time, native Floridians had begun to flourish and gained in population through the influx of the refuge Creeks after the war. Native population in 1823 had increased three or four times by immigration of the newcomers. It was this population of about five thousand collective peoples who experienced the fiercest of all wars ever waged by the U.S. Government against Indians, known as the Second Seminole War, 1835-1842. By the end of the war, only three-hundred Seminoles remained in Florida. The Third Seminole War removed another 240.[11]

By the end of the Second Seminole War in 1842, the three-hundred remaining Florida Seminole had organized themselves into bands and each band became associated with a medicine bundle.[12] Each bundle had a keeper and the ceremonial dances, with bundle and keeper became the focus of Seminole life. The hostility associated with the second war may have attributed to the centralization of the importance of medicine bundles, the opening of which by the keeper and display of the sacred objects, the “Power of War,” ensured the health of the tribe until the next Green Corn festival.[13] The war magic focused the tribe on the American threat at hand that would threaten them a third time after 1842.

The nuclear family became the fundamental unit of communal interaction in Creek society, and so it was with Seminole. Females shared responsibility in Creek communities, or Huti.[14] The term describes more than just the physical huts and their surroundings. Communal responsibility also contributed to the meaning of Huti. The matrilineal concept of Huti actually differed for men and women. For a woman, the Huti carried a more traditional meaning of “hearth and home,” whereas, for men, it implied the various homes of his mother and her clan.

Individual homes were grouped by clan into clusters within the town, which contained a town square in which the Mico, or chief and his advisors, or henihas, would conduct the business of the town. Another important member of this leadership was the tastanagi, or tustenugi, or war chief. The Mico and henihas sat facing the east and occupied the western arbor of the square, while the tustenagi and his fellow warriors sat on the south side, facing north. The remaining two sides remained for the visitors and other members of the talwa, or the town political structure, translated as “people of one fire.[15]

All community gatherings occurred around this totka, or “central fire,” a very important cultural bond, symbolizing purity and renewal. The overt ritual of cleanliness, especially of the Seminole, was a reflection of this concept of purity and many tangential rituals branched from this idea. Purity of spirit was so important to the Creek and Seminole that it sometimes involved the drinking of purgatives and scarification during the Green Corn ceremonies. Purity of body equated with the mind in the general practice of forgiving all trespasses during Green Corn. The practice of sprinkling small particles of tobacco into the totka while offering prayers to Hesekatomese, or “Grandfather,” may have lent a magical quality to these and other ceremonies by virtue of the bright red sparks they gave off. Troupes of Seminole dancers performed the "fire ant," "crow," "catfish" and other Seminole social stomp dances, as they still do today.[16]

Magic, or spiritualism meant a great deal to the Creek and early Seminole. Many believe that good luck, bad luck, success, failure, danger, safety, right decisions, wrong decisions, and other natural consequences can be influenced by the application of "medicine." These beliefs were assumed to have been simplified, or concentrated by the smaller Seminole tribe. In the late eighteenth century, the naturalist, William Bartram killed a rattlesnake that had crawled into an Indian camp, much to the alarm of its inhabitants. When the Indians tried to bleed Bartram to restore “mildness” to his nature, Bartram refused, much to the Indians’ alarm, afraid of the reptile’s spirit. A definite and precarious nature revolved around the spirit world for these people. Friends and relatives of the injured rattlesnake, as seen by the Indian, would seek vengeance for the wrong done to their brother unless appeased by the ritual. Further, a drunken rage murder in the Indian village of Alachua in 1764 may have prompted the entire village to move due to disturbed spirits of the slain man. They even refused to bury him. In contrast to Christianity, nature embodied everything, all creatures, both spiritual and real, as well as causes and their effects. Religious parallels of the Christian “God” and Hesekatomese were made obvious to the Indians only by a natural reference to God as “one who thunders.”[17]

Hesekatomese, or “Grandfather,” or “Master of Breath,” presided over a more numerous if less prominent pantheon of animals and spirits. The Green Corn Dance occurred in late June or July, a celebration of Huti renewal and the Hunting Dance occurred in the fall. These were ceremonies for the warriors and often excluded women. Green Corn has special significance in that it prepares the Huti for the next year, celebrating the ripening to milk stage of the new corn crop, ushering in a new cycle for the community. Green Corn lasted eight, sometimes four days. The cycle of four has a special significance to the Seminole. Normal dances generally occur in multiples of four as well. Properly performed dances, only in multiples of four, were essential to release the beneficent power of Grandfather upon his people. Every warrior was required to return to the village of his mother’s family to attend the Green Corn ceremony at the appointed time or risk angering the forces of nature and the censure of his fellows. The medicine bundle would be opened by the keeper and its contents prayed over. Purgative teas aided the purification of warriors who must accept the forgiveness of all debts before the renewal of the New Year. No Seminole would hold a grudge longer.[18]

Beginning in the late seventeenth century, the Spanish granted liberty to runaway slaves from the Carolinas and Georgia who crossed over the border into Florida. In return for their military support against the British, these Africans could live apart, own arms and property, travel at will, and select their own leaders.

The nature of slavery, if such a term can be applied to acts of the Seminole, has been a controversial subject. Historian Kenneth W. Porter, in Black Seminoles: History of a Freedom-seeking People, sought to understand the black Seminoles and their leader, John Horse. The tumultuous year of 1812 witnessed more than the American’s renewed war with the British. A young black woman living with the Seminole just west of St. Augustine, in the native town of Alachua, gave birth to a young son that she named John. John’s father may have been the Seminole tribesman, Charles Cavello, who may have owned her.[19]

Still, did Cavello own the black mother of John Horse? Slave-holding Creeks in Georgia may have recognized the mix of black Spanish colonists and runaway slaves living amongst the Florida Indians generally as “runaways.” The assumption remained that the Seminole “owned” slaves. Indeed, the early Creek immigrants to Florida may have viewed it as ownership. British officials, following the cession of Florida in 1763 to the Empire, gave the Florida tribes “King’s gifts,” or black servants as a reward for their services. However, Seminoles, as a multi-ethnic community after the Creek Wars, may have been perplexed as to how to manage their new “property.” Not intending to manage plantations like their neighbors in South Carolina, they began giving blacks tools to cut down trees, build houses, and raise corn. The Black Seminole came into being as a member of the tribe and not as a slave, per se. They did, however, live in separate communities for the most part. Runaway slaves, from the neighboring American colonies, then as the United States, became a source of refuge. It continued through the British period, the re-acquisition of Florida by the Spanish, and the eventual American takeover in 1821.[20]

After Seminole removal to Oklahoma and the Civil War, the Seminoles remaining in Florida were hiding in the alligator and panther-inhabited swamps of the Everglades. There they remained in remote acclimated peace for more than two decades. The land “fever” in America had subsided somewhat and the resulting tide of academia influenced by the Smithsonian Institute encouraged wonder at the now mysterious Florida Seminole.

In reflection, it seems ridiculous. Seminoles were an innovative, adaptive native culture living on their own in mosquito-infested, swampy turf whose older members remembered Americans and taught their children how to use guerilla warfare to fight them. The Seminoles wars were an early Vietnam for the United States. Even further, American soldiers fought three of these wars, suffered 1500 deaths, and spent $20 million in a violent bid for swamp land in Florida.[21]

During the winter of 1880-81, the Seminole still in Florida remained elusive. Reverend Clay MacCauley had to track them into the Everglades and surrounding environs for his report to the Bureau of Ethnology at the Smithsonian Institution. He endured the hardships of nineteenth-century South Florida to “inquire into the condition and to ascertain the number of Indians commonly known as the Seminole” that remained in Florida. He found 208, of thirty-seven families, living in twenty-two camps, and gathered amongst a few settlements. Five late settlements developed in south Florida were the Big Cypress Swamp, the Miami River, Fish Eating Creek, Cow Creek, and Cat Fish Lake.[22] Since the Civil War, Seminoles lived on “the fringes of society,” often as “hunters, guides and sometimes, curiosities for the tourists.”[23]

The 1950’s were a turning point for the Florida Seminoles. In 1953, the United States Congress passed legislation to terminate federal tribal programs and the State of Florida supported termination of services to the Seminoles. However, tribal members and their supporters were able to successfully argue against termination, drafting their own constitution by 1957. Self government came in the formation of a Tribal Council. At the same time, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Inc. was created to facilitate their businesses. These included Seminole casinos, a motocross park, Hard Rock café, and other lucrative businesses whose income supports a growing infrastructure for the Seminole community’s health and welfare, public safety, and education. Stable economics provided by gaming, as well as cattle, citrus, and other business enterprises, has made the Seminole Tribe of Florida one of the most successful native business ventures in the United States today. They employ more than 7,000 people and purchase more than $130.3 million in goods and services yearly.[24]


An Online Resource on the Historical and Present Day Creek Indians. Creekindian.com, 2001. http://www.creekindian.com/greene/creek_language.htm (accessed September 5, 2009).

Cohen, M. M. Notices of Florida and the Campaigns. Reproduction, 1836 original. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 1964.

Covington, James W. Seminoles of Florida. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1993.

Creek Language Archive: Resources for the Study of the Creek (Muscogee) Language. Edited by Jack B. Martin, Margaret McKane Mauldin, and Gloria McCarty. Williamsburg, VA: College of William and Mary, 2009. http://web.wm.edu/linguistics/creek/?svr=www (accessed September 5, 2009).

Fairbanks, Charles H. Florida Seminole People. Phoenix, AZ: Indian Tribal Series, 1973.

Foster, William S. This Miserable Pride of a Soldier: The Letters and Journals of Col. William S. Foster in the Second Seminole War. Compiled and edited by John and Mary Lou Missall. Tampa, FL: University of Tampa Press, 2005.

Kersey, Harry A. Jr. Florida Seminoles and the New Deal: 1933-1942. Boca Raton, FL: Florida Atlantic University Press, 1989.

Logan. Osceola, the Indian Warrior,” The Floridian, (Tallahassee, FL) Saturday, April 09, 1836; Issue [35]; col A.

MacCauley, Clay. Seminole Indians of Florida. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2000.

Milanich, Jerald T. Florida Indians and the Invasion from Europe. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1998.

Porter, Kenneth W. Black Seminoles: History of a Freedom-seeking People. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1996.

Steele, Willard. “Brief Summary of Seminole History,” Seminole Tribe of Florida. Hollywood, FL: Seminole Tribe of Florida, 2008. http://www.seminoletribe.com/history/brief.shtml (accessed September 5, 2009).

Weisman, Brent R. Like Beads on a String: A Culture History of the Seminole Indians in Northern Peninsular Florida. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1989.

Weisman, Brent R. Unconquered People: Florida’s Seminole and Miccosukee Indians. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1999.

Wickman, Patricia R. Tree That Bends: Discourse, Power, and the Survival of the Maskókȋ People. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1999.

Wright, J. Leitch Jr. Creeks and Seminoles: The Destruction and Regeneration of the Muscogulge People. Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press, 1986.

[1] Logan. Osceola, the Indian Warrior,” The Floridian, (Tallahassee, FL) Saturday, April 09, 1836; Issue [35]; col A.

[2] Creek Language Archive: Resources for the Study of the Creek (Muscogee) Language, edited by Jack B. Martin, Margaret McKane Mauldin, and Gloria McCarty (Williamsburg, VA: College of William and Mary, 2009), http://web.wm.edu/linguistics/creek/?svr=www (accessed September 5, 2009).

[3] Willard Steele, “Brief Summary of Seminole History,” Seminole Tribe of Florida (Hollywood, FL: Seminole Tribe of Florida, 2008-2009), http://www.seminoletribe.com/history/BriefSummary.aspx [www.semtribe.com] (accessed September 5, 2009).

[4] Jerald T. Milanich, Florida Indians and the Invasion from Europe (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1998), 234.

[5] An Online Resource on the Historical and Present Day Creek Indians (Creekindian.com, 2001), http://www.creekindian.com/greene/creek_language.htm (accessed September 5, 2009); Kenneth W. Porter, Black Seminoles: History of a Freedom-seeking People (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1996), 5.

[6] Clay MacCauley, Seminole Indians of Florida (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2000), intro.

[7] Clay MacCauley, Seminole Indians of Florida (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2000), 471.

[8] Steele, “Brief Summary” (accessed September 5, 2009).

[9] Ibid.

[10] “Clans,” Seminole Tribe of Florida, http://www.semtribe.com/Culture/Clans.aspx (accessed November 16, 2009).

[11] Steele, “Brief Summary.”

[12] Brent R Weisman, Like Beads on a String: A Culture History of the Seminole Indians in Northern Peninsular Florida (Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1989), 152.

[13] Brent R Weisman, Like Beads on a String: A Culture History of the Seminole Indians in Northern Peninsular Florida (Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1989), 152.

[14] Brent R Weisman, Like Beads on a String: A Culture History of the Seminole Indians in Northern Peninsular Florida (Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1989), 28.

[15] Ibid., 29.

[16] Ibid., 48-9.

[17] Ibid., 49; Brent R. Weisman, Unconquered People: Florida’s Seminole and Miccosukee Indians (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1999), 20-21.

[18] Charles H. Fairbanks, Florida Seminole People. (Phoenix, AZ: Indian Tribal Series, 1973), 80-81.

[19] Kenneth W. Porter, Black Seminoles: History of a Freedom-seeking People (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1996), 3.

[20] Porter, Black Seminoles, 5.

[21] “Survival in the Swamp,” Seminole Tribe of Florida, http://www.semtribe.com/History/SurvivalInTheSwamp.aspx (accessed November 10, 2009).

[22] MacCauley, Seminole Indians, 478.

[23] Steele, “Brief Summary.”

[24] “Seminoles Today,” Seminole Tribe of Florida, http://www.semtribe.com/History/SeminolesToday.aspx (accessed November 10, 2009).