An interview with
Post Office: Finley, Oklahoma
Investigator Field Worker's name: Johnson H. Hampton
Date of Interview: April 23, 1937
Transcribed & Submitted by Teresa Young
I was born near Rufe, Oklahoma, in McCurtain County, Oklahoma, April 9th,
1888. At that time there was no Rufe ---- it was a wilderness ---- in fact,
there was no town or village in that part of the country until the A. & C.
Railroad came through there. This place Rufe is an island village out about
12 miles north of Fort Towson, Oklahoma.
My fatherís name was Hick Mashaya, and my motherís name was Mary Mashaya;
both of them were full blood Indians and they lived around Rufe until their
death. I was a small boy when my father and mother died. I have been told
that my father was not in the Civil War as he was too young when the war
broke out so he did not enlist, though his sympathy was with the South, and
if he had lived a few years longer I might have found out about the war
My father was a farmer and lived on the farm until his death. After his
death, my mother lived on the place until she died. Then some of my kinfolks
lived on the place and took care of the stock that my father left. We had
cattle, hogs, and ponies when my father and mother died. I donít know what
become of the stock after that. I was a small boy then so I donít know who
I went to school at Armstrong Academy, an Indian school, supported by the
Choctaw Government. This school was for orphan children. At the time I was
in that school there were a good many full-blood Indian boys attended. It
was located in the woods away from any town, in fact, Caddo was the closest
town. But after the railroad went through that country then Bokchito was the
nearest town. It was about three miles from Bokchito, Oklahoma, in Blue
County, Choctaw Nation. This school was kept up by the Choctaw Nation and
was expressly for Indian Orphan children and only for full-bloods, but after
a while they let any Indian boy go to it. This building burned and the
school closed. It was never built up again.
I am an Indian Preacher - Methodist Church. I have attended lots of Indian
Camp Meetings and I have preached a good many memorials --- the white people
call it an Indian Cry, of course they cry, but it is a memorial and not an
Indian Cry. When the Indians would have one of those memorials, the white
people would gather around and poke fun at them, when it was a serious thing
with the Indians. Of course, they did not understand the ceremony that was
going on but it seemed to me that they would have the respect for themselves
as well as the Indians to stay at home. The Indians no longer have these Ďcrysí,
and I donít think that they ever will, because the white people make a show
out of it.
The folks that I lived with after I came home from school would make shuck
bread (banaha) and hominy (Holhponi) (Tonslabona) this was a dish that was
made by corn and fresh hog bones cooked together. I wish I had some now.
That is a preacherís favorite dish instead of chicken. They sure could make
some fine corn meal out of the corn by putting it in a mortar and beating it
until it was ground fine and just as white as flour. They called it Tanshi
Pulaska corn bread and it was fine eating.
I am a young man about 40 years old, so I am not able to give much of a
history and I donít think that there are any old Indians in the country that
can give you much history. The thing we can tell is what we have heard other
I am now living at Finley, Oklahoma. Although my home is at Rufe, my
preaching circuit is mostly in this country so I moved into Pushmataha
County so I could be close to my work. Our churches are not what they used
to be. The Indians are about to die out. I see in the papers where Collier
says that Indians are increasing. If he would come down to the southeastern
country he would not make that statement.
Okla Nana anoli banna keyu ha tok o pulumi fihna shi a hobaiske.
Transcribed & Submitted by Teresa Young
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