An Impression of Seminole Days 2002
By Paulina del Moral
Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico
It was so unexpected for me when Bennie McRae invited me to be the guest speaker at this yearly event held by the Seminole Black community of Brackettville, Texas. As author of a book on the origins of the Mascogos in Coahuila, Mexico, I never thought I would play a small role in the contemporary history of the descendants of the Seminole Negro Indian Scouts, and, indeed, one of the most interesting group of people I have met in the borderlands of Mexico-USA.
Having shared time with Izola Raspberry during our visit to the University of Tuskegee in December 2001, I was delighted to have the opportunity to share my points of view with the members of the Seminole Negro Indian Scouts Cemetery Association, and learn more about the way they are preserving their heritage.
I was in Brackettville in September 1995, while my team was shooting a documentary video, and I remembered Miss Charles Emily Wilson was the leading voice of the festivity. At that time I was impressed by the many admirers of the Scouts, most of them scholars and outsiders, that came from different places and gathered at the cemetery during the memorial.
This year there were outside researchers there as well. However, I noticed more relatives and descendants of the Scouts attended this two-day meeting and, at least two of them are conducting research about their ancestors. I think this is the ideal scenario for a researcher, having, besides the academic skills, the incredible opportunity to be related to a community of relatives who willingly share stories with their peers.
Dub Warrior delighted a group of us with a torrent of stories and an interesting tour through the area of Las Moras River, which is surprisingly much larger than I had imagined and a wonderful place for nature observers. The landscape reminded me a little of the region watered by the Sabinas River in El Nacimiento, Coahuila.
The gathering from Thursday through Sunday at Izola's house with her relatives and friends gave me a taste of the spirit of the family reunions of their ancestors. Joy, chat, storytelling, cooking, jokes, laughing, and freedom to do whatever you feel like: watching old videos, touring over the area, listening to blues, etc. Because of my Mexican background I simply felt very at home with the whole "fiesta".
I look forward to share more Seminole Days or maybe a Juneteenth with all of my friends in the future.