Tuscaroras break off from Lumbees
Mangum describes the emergence of the Tuscarora movement in this excerpt. He chooses his words carefully, but implies that the Tuscarora movement was a result of inflamed tempers and the ensuing loss of direction. He was disappointed that the Native American movement split, but relieved that white leadership responded to the Tuscaroras relatively moderately.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Robert Lee Mangum, November 18, 2003. Interview U-0008. 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: Would you want to talk a little bit about the emergence of the Tuscarora organization at that time. I know some of their activity centered on Prospect School in the early ‘70s before you would have been pastor there.
RLM: Before I was there Mr. Danford Dial was principal, and those were painful days. Of course, some of that leadership was also participating in the life of Prospect, too. That’s what I’m saying, that there were energies for immediate change and for not understanding some of the directions that were taking place that were good and were lasting. I was not in the community then, but those were times of real tension, as you know.
Whenever you get emotions enflamed it’s very difficult to reason, so those were times when people have been denied, and people have been overlooked, and people have not been treated with dignity and respect. Often rather than engendering positive emotions of gathering together and being all that we can be together to make the changes, we just become very angry and lose our sense, sometimes, of direction. And fail to think through what we’re doing and the consequences of what we’re doing, and what effect it will have on the changes we really want. So out of frustration I think people who have felt denied through poverty as well as through ethnicity, through various aspects of denial they just sort of exploded for a while. As you know there were fires back then, and we never did know just exactly where they came from. AIM came here for awhile.
END OF TAPE ONE, SIDE A
BEGINNING OF TAPE ONE, SIDE B
MM: Here we go. Explosive and dangerous times.
RLM: Dangerous times. But I want to commend people for, no matter what mistakes may have been made in confrontation during that time, commend people for getting excited about what they believed would be better, and then to respect and be thankful for people that had to defend the system, or had to defend the institution when it wasn’t understood that you don’t make these changes over night, that there have to be certain rules that you abide by. So here we had the Indians fighting Indians in a sense in those confrontations. That was very unfortunate.
I also commend the restraint of whites in authority during some of those tense times. Had there been less restraint and more authoritarian resistance and reaction to some of those days of tension it would have been horrible what may have happened. So we have to commend, even though we felt that there was such denial of Native people through the systems of that day, there are people that were in power that we have to appreciate because of their restraint in trying to deal with, and reconcile, and negotiate with resistance, strong resistance efforts, and strong aggressive efforts during those days that were often what we would call civil injustice or civil disobedience is what we would call it.
There were some felonies, as you know. The burnings of Old Main. The Old Main situation, that was a great rally point for Native Americans, Janie Maynor, Mr. Dial, whose name I mentioned, Danford, and others who were part of Save Old Main Movement. It was a proud moment for Natives to stand up for their tradition, for their background, for their history, and to insist on something being done. It was Holshouser, I believe, the governor who was sympathetic and caring at that time. It was just good. Bad that it burned, but it was good that so many rallied around that issue.