Saturday, June 17, 2017
On Saturday, the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association celebrated Juneteenth. Last week, I discussed the history. This week, I’d like to talk about what happened during our celebration. This year, we kept it very simple; we had a special program and a barbecue plate sale.
The Juneteenth program began at ten in the morning. Mrs. Adams began the program with an opening prayer. Her words were wise, heartfelt, and a fitting start to our annual celebration. I followed Mrs. Adams. I welcomed everyone and introduced “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is also known as the Negro National Anthem. Unfortunately, for me, (but fortunately for anyone who is looking for a good laugh), there might be a few videos floating around Facebook of me singing. All that can be said is that I did my best. While I might not be the best singer, the lyrics to “Life Every Voice and Sing” are some of my favorite, and I am happy that we were able to share this beautiful song with those who might not have heard it before.
Following the welcome, we felt it was necessary to explain what Juneteenth is, so my niece Windy Goodloe talked about the history of Juneteenth. After the explanation for Juneteenth was given, Mr. Albert Nofi read General Order No. 3, which is also known as the Texas Emancipation Proclamation. We appreciate him giving such a moving reading of this important historical document.
One of the most important Juneteenth traditions involves the food that was traditionally eaten. Red food was most commonly consumed because crimson is a symbol of ingenuity and resilience in bondage. To give everyone a little taste of this tradition, we gave everyone a cup of Big Red and some strawberries to snack while they learned about this rich food tradition.
Next, we opened the floor to our guests who wanted to make remarks. First, I got up and spoke. Then, Beverly Kelly spoke about her memories of previous Juneteenths. Mary Vasquez-Gamble spoke about her memories as well. Finally, Jon Arnold, the military and veterans’ affairs liaison for U.S. Representative Will Hurd, introduced himself and his family and talked about his Juneteenth experiences.
Lastly, Windy Goodloe led a group recitation of Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise.” From here, we took the program outside, where as we thanked and remembered those who came before us, before we released balloons.
Following the conclusion of the program, several of our Juneteenth celebration attendees toured our Seminole Negro Indian Scout Museum. Also, several members of the Pierce family, who were celebrating their family reunion, congregated at the school. This is the second year that we’ve been able to celebrate Juneteenth with this beautiful family of Seminole Negro Indian Scout descendants.
The barbecue plate sale went better than expected. Many of those who bought plates, instead of leaving, decided to eat at the school, so many of us stayed at the school well into the evening, enjoying each other, laughing, reminiscing, and just being grateful for a day well-spent.
written by Augusta Pines, Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association President
Fourth of July Celebration
Saturday, July 1, 2017
Independence Day or the Fourth of July is a federal holiday that commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire. The Congress actually voted to declare independence two days earlier, on July 2 (Wikipedia).
On July 3, 1776, John Adams wrote the following to his wife Abigail: “The second day of July 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with the pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
In 1777, thirteen gunshots were fired in salute, once in the morning and once again as evening fell on July 4, on Bristol, Rhode Island. Philadelphia celebrated the first anniversary in a manner that we modern Americans would find quite familiar: an official dinner for the Continental Congress, toasts, 13-gun salute, speeches, prayers, music, parades, troop reviews, and fireworks. Ships in port were decked with red, white, and blue bunting (Wikipedia).
Here in Brackettville, we did just that. The patriotic program and the fireworks were highlights. This past weekend was full of festivities that highlighted our freedom and our love for our country.
written by Augusta Pines, SISCA President
Cemetery Cleanup and Meeting
Saturday, July 8, 2017
While the cemetery cleanup crew was improving the look of the cemetery, several other SISCA members gathered at our museum. The task on Saturday was to start cleaning out the back storage room. The goal is to make it a resource room. We hope to call it the Charles Emily Wilson Resource Room. This project is being spearheaded by Beverly A. Kelly.
During our monthly meeting, which started at 1 PM, we discussed our Juneteenth celebration, upcoming projects, and our annual Seminole Days celebration.
Following the meeting, many of the members gathered at the museum. We were delighted to get to share our history with J.J. Guidry and his beautiful family as they toured the museum.
Seminole Days 2017
September 15-17, 2017
We are currently planning our annual Seminole Days celebration. It is our goal to improve upon the success of the previous year. There are several events that are set in stone, but we look forward to improving upon and adding to these traditions each year.
On Friday, we will take our annual trip to Seminole Canyon. The group usually departs from the Carver School between seven and seven-thirty in the morning. Later that evening, we'll have our meet and greet/lecture series. We are excited about this year's series and look forward to sharing more details with you soon.
On Saturday, we will be having our marker dedication in Fort Clark. This is an on-going project that we've done with the Fort Clark Historical Society for the past five years. From there, we will have our parade. If you would like to participate in the parade, please contact us. After the parade, we will gather at the Carver School Grounds and spend the rest of the day celebrating there, as we have done for decades. Our annual Seminole Days program will begin at eleven. Following the program, at noon, we will begin our BBQ plate sale. Next up, there will be a bingo, a silent auction, and museum tours. There will also be several vendors on the grounds, selling their wares. That evening, we will have our spaghetti dinner. And following the spaghetti dinner, we will have our annual dance, which will take place on the Carver School Grounds, underneath the stars.
On Sunday, we will gather at the Seminole Indian Scouts Cemetery and pay our respects to our loved ones who are buried in those hallowed grounds.
SISCA's Seminole Days is a our annual celebration that was first created and celebrated under the auspices of Miss Charles Emily Wilson, our beloved founder. We have made it a tradition to return to Carver School each year because this is what she envisioned and wanted. Each Seminole Days, she is never far from our minds. We strive to make her proud as we come together to celebrate and honor our legacy.