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.
Seminole Days Celebration 2017
Friday, September 15 – Sunday, September 17, 2017
Friday, September 15, 2017:
Sunday, September 17, 2017:
Friday, September 15, 2017
7:30 AM - Trip to Seminole Canyon
The first activity on our itinerary is our annual trip to Seminole Canyon. Seminole Indian Scout descendant Cynthia Atchico of Wewoka, Oklahoma first organized this outing in 2013. Since then, participation and interest in this annual trip has grown, and it is something that everyone looks forward to doing each year.
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.
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Lecture Series/Meet and Greet
For our lecture series this year, we are pleased to welcome Allen Mack, founder of the Living History Foundation. Mr. Mack will speak about the life and times of the Buffalo Soldiers. He is an in-demand historian whose portrayal of the lives of black soldiers has entertained and informed young and old alike. Following Mr. Mack, Dr. Shirley Mock will give a short presentation about her research on Black Seminole women. The lecture series will take place at the Carver School, beginning at six PM.
Following the presentation, we will have refreshments.
Saturday, September 16, 2017
8:30 AM - Robert "Bobby" Kibbetts
At 8:30 AM, we look forward to dedicating a marker to Robert "Bobby" Kibbetts and his descendants. The marker dedication has become an annual project. Each year, we partner with the Fort Clark Historical Society to decide on a scout and complete the necessary research and installation of the marker.
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.
10:00 AM - Parade
Our annual parade will begin at 10 AM. This year, our parade marshal is Mr. Pete Louis Pierce. He is a resident of Del Rio, Texas, and a beloved member of the Seminole Indian Scouts Cemetery Association.
Would you like to participate in the parade? Let us know.
11:00 AM - Annual Program
We are honored to have Pastor Y.J. Jimenez as our guest speaker for our annual program. Pastor Jimenez is the preacher at First Baptist Church here in Brackettville. We are looking forward to his speech on Saturday morning.
12:00 PM - Barbecue Plate Sale
Who is ready for some barbecue?
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"?
1:00 PM - Special Screening of
Joseph Hill's Documentary
We are honored that Mr. Joseph Hill will be screening his documentary during Seminole Days. Come and watch Black Border Warriors at the Brackett ISD Auditorium on Saturday at 1 PM.
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM - B-I-N-G-O!
What is more fun than yelling "BINGO"? Come on down and try your luck at the Carver School Grounds. The fun will begin at three!
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM - Spaghetti Dinner
Our spaghetti dinner has become a new favorite event. Who doesn't love spaghetti, right? And this year, we are in for treat. Our very own Mr. Al Nofi will be lending his culinary skills to us and making a few batches of his famous spaghetti sauce. Needless to say, we cannot wait! Join us. The dinner is $5.
8:00 PM - 1:00 AM - Dance
There will be no better way to work off that great spaghetti dinner than by dancing the night away. DJ Musicman Trevino will providing the music. The dance will begin at 8 and will end at 1. Come and dance, as we have for decades, under the stars.
Sunday, September 17, 2017
10:00 AM - Cemetery Service
Join us at the Seminole Indian Scouts Cemetery at 10 AM. During our service, we will pay our respects to all the loved ones we've lost this year. Mrs. Billie Jean Frierson will be the mistress of ceremonies. Following the service, we will gather at the Carver School for a short meeting.
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.
Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association
Legal Defense Fund
SISCA is deeply unhappy to have to bring you bad news just before Seminole Days, but we have just been put in a position that we feel you all need to know about.
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.
Is it time to renew your membership? Our website makes it easy. Just click the button below to become a new member or to renew you membership. Or you can send us you check by mail, if you prefer. Your membership is very important to us, especially as we prepare for court. There truly is strength in numbers. Become a member of the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association today. Thank you!
Thank you, first of all, for making it through this entire newsletter. We felt that it was important to, along with getting the word out about Seminole Days, keep everyone abreast of what is going on. We thank you for your kindness and your support. We thank you for your willingness to give a helping hand. As we say all the time, thank you never seems like it is enough. We are truly humbled and honored by you all.