This week, I will be giving a presentation at the Fort Clark Historical Society’s monthly meeting. It is entitled “Wade in the Water.” To say that I am nervous is an understatement. Even though I’ve been working on my presentation for months, as the time draws closer, I can’t help but feel a little frightened. I’ve heard that feeling nervous is natural. And of course, there are several techniques that can help to combat these feelings. I’ve been employing them.
I am also really excited about sharing this information with everyone, and I am really happy that the Fort Clark Historical Society has invited me to do so. I am looking forward to talking about Miss Charles Emily Wilson and the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association (SISCA). Both Miss Charles and SISCA are very near and dear to my heart. As a Black Seminole Scout descendant, I’ve learned that it is very important to tell their story. Every time I get an opportunity to, I do so.
I originally gave a very abbreviated version of this talk during Seminole Days last year, but there was a lot of information that was left out because of time, so I am honored that I’ll have the chance to expand on what I had written initially.
Miss Charles was someone that I admired greatly. She was our matriarch. She was a phenomenal speaker, writer, and historian. Storytelling was something that she excelled at. So many of the things that she told me still live in my head. Her elegance and wisdom has never left me, and I hope to impart some of that during my talk.
I’ve been a member of the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association for most of my life. I’ve been an officer for many years as well. Currently, I am the president of my beloved SISCA. Since I became president in 2013, we’ve done many things that I hope will have a positive lasting effect on the association. I plan to speak about that and how SISCA came about.
Needless to say, a lot of my late nights and early mornings have been fueled by coffee. Over these past few months, I’ve felt like a college student preparing for a huge final exam. It’s been terrifying and exhilarating. Even though I know that I will be in a room filled with familiar faces, the butterflies in my stomach keep reminding me how nerve-wracking public speaking can be. Nonetheless, I am looking forward to this exchange. I know that everyone who attends will be interested in what I have to say. They will be a receptive audience, and I really couldn’t ask for more.
Note: This blog appeared as an article in the 2/26/17 edition of the Kinney County Post.