Tuscaroras oppose redistricting
In this excerpt, Jones discusses the Tuscarora Movement of the 1970s, which saw Lumbee and Tuscarora Indians petitioning for recognition from the federal government. Jones remembers that the Tuscaroras were among those who resisted redistricting and kept their children out of the schools they did not want them to attend. Jones declines to speak further on the conflict sparked by their protest.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with James Arthur Jones, November 19, 2003. Interview U-0005. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Full Text of the Excerpt
MM: Right. There’s one other thing I want to ask you about that time period, and then I want to move forward a little bit to the 1980s and your thoughts about the mergers of the high schools and then of the whole system, but I want to ask about the Tuscaroras in the 70s, what your impressions were of that movement? Were they involved in the goings on at Prospect School?
JJ: Yes, right.
JJ: The Tuscaroras over at Maxton in the Red Hill section, that’s where they are, and right up here on the Keever Road, but the Red Hill was more active. They were Tuscaroras, and the Tuscaroras were part of the people who were supposed to go to Oxendine School. And they said, “We’re not going to Oxendine School. We’re not going to Maxton School.” They said, “We’re not going to Maxton School.” Those Tuscaroras, that’s when they extended the district lines over to Red Hill. They said, “We’re not going to Maxton.” And most of them didn’t go. They didn’t go. Maybe one or two of them. I’m not sure. I won’t put the number on it, but they didn’t go.
They said, “We won’t even go to school. We won’t even go to school. We’re not sending them to school.” We didn’t have a truant officer back then to go out and enforce truancy. Maybe because of the situation the Native Americans, if they don’t get an education maybe that’s all right. They make their own decision. And that’s the sad part. If Indians fail to get an education they’re hurting nobody but us. We’re hurting ourselves if we don’t get an education. That’s the thing. That was how Tuscarora were dealing with the situation.
MM: So many of those parents who were holding their kids out of Oxendine then were Tuscarora parents?
JJ: They certainly were.
MM: Do you think that when they took on that identity as Tuscaroras, had that group of folks always had that, or was that part of their, you know what I mean, resistance to the situation?
JJ: I think they kept a low profile until maybe that period of time, and they just spurt up suddenly up here. But they kept it low. They had their little gatherings though, but it wasn’t wide spread. It was just a very few. And they didn’t. They’d go ahead and go to school somewhat, but they didn’t boast out, maybe one or two would say, “I’m a Tuscarora,” or something like this. It didn’t get out of hand. It didn’t raise to that much other than that one time, and when all of that uproar was that opening day, the Tuscaroras was right in the midst of that. They were in the midst of that.
MM: And they were claiming themselves as Tuscaroras?
JJ: Oh they were claiming. That’s right.
MM: Did that create some opposition or some conflict?
JJ: Yeah. Um-hum. It did.
MM: What kind of conflict?
JJ: Well, I’d rather not even go into that issue part of it. I just like to omit. That’s one little tiny bit I’d like to omit and not even share that with you.