Special Seminole Days Newsletter
We wanted to do something a little different this year. Instead of waiting until after Seminole Days to publish our newsletter, we've decided to create this one before our celebration to act as a companion to the itinerary.
Note for smartphone users (from our friends at WikiTongues):
Best practices when capturing video and photos via smartphones:
* When getting photos from someone make sure you're getting the highest quality, which on iPhones and Androids is usually called "original." This may take a little longer to send/transfer, but will be well worth the wait.
* For video, make sure to hold the phone horizontally so that everything is in widescreen, and if there is a setting for video format, make sure to choose the highest possible quality.
*When shooting something, it's important to keep in mind that the most usable footage is usually the most stable footage. Staying with a single shot for, at least, 10 seconds or so before moving around is a good thing to keep in mind.
Friday, September 15 – Sunday, September 17, 2017
Friday, September 15, 2017:
- 7:30 AM – Trip to Seminole Canyon (The group will meet at the Carver School.)
- 6:00 – 8:00 PM – Lecture Series – Allen Mack, The Living History Foundation and Dr. Shirley Mock will give a short presentation about her research on Black Seminole women
- 8:30 AM – Robert “Bobby” Kibbetts Marker Dedication – Fort Clark Springs (This event might be canceled. Please check our website and Facebook page for more information.)
- 10:00 AM – Parade (Participants line up at Brackett ISD at 9:30 AM/ends at Carver School)
- 11:00 AM – Annual Program - Guest speak: Pastor Y.J. Jimenez
- 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM BBQ Plate Sale
- 1:00 PM – Joseph Hill’s The Black Border Warriors: The Seminole Negro Indian Scout – Brackett ISD Auditorium
- 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM Bingo
- 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Spaghetti Supper
- 8:00 PM – 1:00 AM – Dance
Sunday, September 17, 2017:
- 10:00 PM – Service at the Seminole Indian Scouts Cemetery
- Following the service - Special meeting at the Carver School
The group will meet at the Carver School at 7:30 AM and will depart from the school and make their way to Comstock, Texas, which is just outside of Del Rio. The Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association does not charge for the trip to Seminole Canyon, but there is a fee to enter Seminole Canyon. The entrance fee is $10.
Please Note: We will be providing breakfast for our Seminole Canyon group.
Following the presentation, we will have refreshments.
Please note: We might have to reschedule the marker dedication ceremony. Please check the front page of the our website and our Facebook page for more details.
Would you like to participate in the parade? Let us know.
Our barbecue plate sale will feature brisket, chicken, and goat. The sides are beans, rice, and potato salad. The price for the brisket and chicken plates are $10. The price for the goat plates are $12.
Can you say "yum"?
Joseph Hill's Documentary
Unknown Marker Project
Below is a picture of one of the first 16 unknown grave markers that have been placed at the cemetery. This is just the beginning of this project that we have partnered with the Fort Clark Historical Society to complete. We hope that highlighting these graves that offer little to no information will cause those who might know who is buried in them to come forward and divulge any information that they might have. Following our service on Sunday, we invite you to walk to the far right corner and take a look at the work that has begun there.
Legal Defense Fund
Lee Roy Young and the proposed Absentee Seminole Tribe of Texas (ASTT) have just brought a lawsuit against SISCA in an attempt to take away all of the properties that have been under SISCA's guardanship since 1967, including the cemetery and the school grounds. As long-term guardians of the cemetery and representatives of the will of the entire Black Seminole Indian Scout descendants community, we cannot allow the cemetery to come under the control of the ASTT, which represents only a small portion of scout descendants.
So we are fighting back. And we need your help.
SISCA operates on a shoestring budget and all our resources go to the management and upkeep of the cemetery and the Carver School. We do not have money for a legal battle; therefore, we are creating a Legal Defense Fund for SISCA. Once this issue is resolved, any remaining funds will go into SISCA's general budget for cemetery and school grounds upkeep.
On Sunday, following the cemetery service, we will have a short meeting at Carver School to answer your questions, but in the meantime, here is a summary of the events leading to this legal situation.
SISCA has made every effort to support the formation of the ASTT and to work together as two separate but complementary groups. From the beginning, we supported Mr. Young in his efforts to form the tribe by allowing him to hold his first meetings at the Carver School and by allowing him to use our post office box for correspondence.
While preparing for Seminole Days last year, Mr. Young and his representatives from the group wanted SISCA to have our annual dance at their banquet, instead of where we've had it for decades -- at the Carver School Grounds. Conflict between the two groups began when SISCA decided to stay with tradition. Members of the tribe verbally ridiculed SISCA for being old fashioned.
During their first banquet, Mr. Young presented surprise plans for the renovation of the cemetery's fence line, including architectural plans and a mock up. He did not first bring these plans to SISCA, and without any form of approval from SISCA, who are the guardians of the cemetery, he began raising funds for these plans that night, as he later stated at a SISCA meeting.
SISCA was not comfortable with the lack of due process and disregard for our role as custodians of the cemetery, but the board decided to try to work with Mr. Young and his group, rather than oppose them.
In February 2017, SISCA members who were in attendance at the February 11 meeting voted to allow the ASTT to continue fundraising for their proposed fence line renovation project, while the two groups worked together to determine exactly what the renovation project would be. The initial design was not approved by SISCA, as it did not preserve any of the older elements of the cemetery gate, which is part of the historical nature of the cemetery. SISCA asked Mr. Young to present us with new plans. Mr. Young, in his February 16 letter to SISCA, confirms that members wanted to have the sign incorporated into the design, yet he failed to provide a new design with these changes.
Following the February meeting, Mr. Young failed to appear at any of our subsequent meetings, although he was informed of every meeting and had promised to be at every meeting to keep us abreast of project developments. After six months without communication from Mr. Young, SISCA held a vote on August 12 to rescind the fence line project. We asked that he stop fundraising for the project. We presented this letter to Mr. Young on August 17 during a meeting that we had with Mr. Young and his group and Congressman Will Hurd's representatives.
We have not signed a contract with Mr. Lee, so there is no breach of contract, as he claims. We agreed to work together on the renovation project based on the submission of new plans, and when he did not fulfill his side of the exploratory phase, we did not feel comfortable continuing this project.
On August 21, we received a certified letter from Mr. Young, stating that he would not stop fundraising. We did not formally answer this letter. Instead, we informed our lawyer, who advised us to wait and see what Mr. Young did next.
On September 12, we received paperwork informing us that we were being sued by Mr. Young and his tribe. We are being sued for breach of contract, failure to maintain the cemetery and Carver School, and Mr. Young's pain and suffering (because, he alleges, his reputation has been damaged). He wants SISCA to pay his legal expenses, and he wants the judge to award him and his tribe all of the properties currently under SISCA's custodianship. Mr. Young is acting as his own lawyer.
We were not surprised by this action because we have been told numerous times by members of Mr. Young's group that, if we do not allow them to make the changes they want to the cemetery, they would find a way to take over. They are now making good on this threat, and it is fairly clear that this has been their intent all along.
We find it insulting that Mr. Young alleges that we do not take proper care of the cemetery and school grounds, as we work very hard at preserving our heritage and are very proud of it. We have invited Mr. Young and his tribe to participate in our cemetery cleanups, but our invites have continually gone unanswered. With limited funds and very little manpower, a small group of us have been maintaining and slowly improving the cemetery, school grounds, and, since its creation in 2015, the museum. It is a lot of work, and we welcome all of the help and support we can get, but we are not willing to trade our role as custodians, in order to allow the ASTT to take over.
We want to continue representing the will and desires of all of the Black Seminole Scouts descendants, not just those who have joined the tribe. We want to make sure that any changes made to the cemetery do not destroy its historical heritage and that the graves of our ancestors will not be molested by construction projects. We feel that any project to renovate the cemetery must first be approved by the entire community and that it is our job to make sure that happens.
We welcome the positive energy of the ASTT and any other organization that wishes to work with us and help us move in a prosperous direction. We need and welcome support that will help us improve and maintain our cemetery, but big changes must be done with the community's approval, and our role as the custodians of the cemetery must be acknowledged and respected, and we will fight for that.
We hope you agree with us and will give what you can to support us in this unfortunate legal battle. Your support is beyond necessary and very much appreciated. We will keep you updated on all that develops.
To donate, click the button below. You will be directed to our membership page. Simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can donate $10, $50, or $100. Please contact us if you have any questions.