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George Whitewater video interview on experiences in World War II (transcript)

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GEORGE WHITE WATER

 

WORLD WAR II ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW

 

     This is an interview with George White Water from Horton, Kansas, Kickapoo Nation, and the date today is 2-22-2007.  The interviewer is Dee White Eye.

 

We are going to start talking about some of the things we began a little bit of a conversation with George.  I have your name as George White Water and you are here at 1139 113th Drive, Horton, Kansas.  And you told me you were born here on the Kickapoo Reservation.

 

Mr. White Water:  A mile south of here.

 

Dee:  A mile south, at home.

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.

 

Dee:  With a midwife.

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.

 

Dee:  And what was the date of your birth?

 

Mr. White Water:  December 13, 1919.

 

Dee:  OK. And you are 100 per cent Native American.  Is that right?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.

 

Dee:  OK. And what was your branch that you joined?

 

Mr. White Water:  I first joined the 114th Cavalry, Troop 5.  They were all Indians.

 

Dee:  Oh!  OK.  So that was the 114th Cavalry?

 

Mr. White Water:  114th Cavalry.

 

Dee:  OK.

 

Mr. White Water:  Troop 5.

 

Dee:  Troop 5.  OK.  And tell me more about this, an all Indian Cavalry?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes. 

 

Dee:  OK.  And where were they all from?

 

Mr. White Water:  All over.

 

Dee:  All over the United States.  Very good.  And then you went into the U. S. Army.

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.

 

Dee:  As a paratrooper.

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.

 

Dee:  What was that?

 

Mr. White Water:  I was in the 127th Field Artillery, and that was all-Indian, Battery E.

 

Dee:  OK.

 

Mr. White Water:  127th Field Artillery, 35th Division.

 

Dee:  Was that the 503rd parachute?

 

Mr. White Water:  That was after I graduated.

 

Dee:  Ah, OK.

 

Mr. White Water:  They sent us to North Carolina, then they sent us to South Carolina, away from everything, and I was with the, well, somebody said we were the shock troop.  We were expendable.

 

Dee:  Ohhh.

 

Mr. White Water:  They kept us away from everybody.

 

Dee:  And then when you were there, your date of entry into the service was May 1939 until December 1945?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.  What is this? 

 

Dee:  OK.  It says ’39 when you came in, we found in some of your papers.

 

Mr. White Water:  When I was discharged, yeah, was December.

 

Dee:  1945.

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.

 

Dee:  OK.  And this is for World War II.  You were telling me all the places you got to be.  You started out in Fort Riley, went to Red Leg, then down in Arkansas,

 

Mr. White Water:  and Louisiana

 

Dee:  and Louisiana, OK.  And then you also were in California, several places,

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.

 

Dee:  And you ended finally over in the southwest Pacific.

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.  Well, this is what happened really. We were at, what’s the name of that place, that Marine base..

 

Dee:  in California?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.  Camp Farragut.  We were sent there to train Marines. Artillery.  They didn’t like us.  They didn’t like it because we were the Army and teaching them how to do that artillery.

 

Dee:  Yea, that doesn’t set very well with them, does it?!

 

Mr. White Water:  Yeah.

 

Dee:  OK.  So you were there helping train them.

 

Mr. White Water:  Yeah.  I saw ‘em taking them up on those jump towers, they called ‘em, and I was sitting there looking at ‘em.  I personally remember when I said, “You know it takes a crazy guy to do that.”  And in three weeks, I was jumping!

 

Dee:  You fit the bill, eh?!

 

Mr. White Water:  Yeah.

 

Dee:  And wonderfully displayed here we have some of your medals that you obtained while you were in the military, that you earned.  Maybe you could explain some of what these things are that are here in front of us.

 

Mr. White Water:  Really, I just can’t.  It tells you here what they are.

 

Dee:  Oh, it tells on the box too.  If she kind of zooms in maybe I can read.  There’s one for the Mid-Eastern campaign that we are looking at.

 

Georgia White Water:  These are some of his ribbons that he got also.

 

Dee:  It’s a good thing that we have Georgia, is your last name White Water also? If you hear another voice, that’s her helping us out.  But these are some of the ones that you had and I see this one, right there, yeah.  That’s wonderful, the ribbons, and this patch.  What is that patch from, George?

 

Mr. White Water:  That was my patch that we wore on my jacket. 

 

Dee:  For the parachuters?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.  That was for the 462nd, that was field artillery.

 

Dee:  And I wish I could read ‘em, but I don’t know which one is which.  Let me see what I can do here.  I mentioned that there was the Mid-Eastern campaign, and then there’s the American set, some of these don’t have any names.

 

Mr. White Water:  I know this one here is for good conduct.

 

Dee:  That’s your good conduct one?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yeah.

 

Dee:  Ok, maybe you can help us.

 

Mr. White Water:  I think this is for three years’ service.

 

Dee:  Three years of service.  OK, we have a little cheat sheet going here.  OK, these are the medals:  a good conduct medal, the Presidential unit citation, I don’t know if we know which one that is.

 

Mr. White Water:  Let’s see, I had that one.

 

Dee:  And then the next one we’ve got is the American Defense service medal, American campaign medal, the European African Mid-Eastern campaign medal.  That’s the one I sort of mentioned a time ago, with the Bronze Star attachment.  And arrowhead.  World War II victory medal, Philippine liberation ribbon, and bronze star attachment, a single one there.  Honorable service____button with World War II expert badge, and carbine bars and a parachutist badge, basic bronze star attachment.  That was fabulous!!  If you had your uniform on, you could put all of these on there!  Would you have a big enough jacket?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes, yes!!

 

Dee:  Oh, this is wonderful.  And then you said there’s something interesting about this.  Can you tell us what this is?

 

Mr. White Water:  This is 160 American people, 160 delegates went to the United Nations, Geneva ______.  See, I lived in Mexico at that time, and I got a call telling me to come to Oklahoma City, that I was going overseas.  Well, I didn’t ask; I just got ready and left and I got there.  They said all you have to do is tell them your name.  So I went up and said I was George White Water, and they looked at the, yeah, yeah, it is, and you’ll be leaving in 35 minutes going to New York.  And I got to New York and they said did you ever get a visa?  I said no, I don’t know what that is.  Well, we’ll get you one. 

 

Dee:  Were you with the Kickapoo?  So down there, just crossed the border?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes, uh, huh.

 

Dee:  I saw that when I went to Texas and I said what are the Kickapoos doing down here?  We finally got our ____over to the Mexican side.  OK.

 

Dee:  So you got to do that and be a representative?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.  I was up there representing the Kickapoo.

 

Dee:  And did you come as a veteran?

 

Mr. White Water:  Oh, yes.  Uh, huh.

 

Dee:  Well, we’ll try to put these back good.  I don’t know if we’ll put them in the right spot.  This is a wonderful, wonderful display of medals.  And what we talked about a little bit is, let’s go on to some of the questions.  We talked about your birth date.  Did you ever get married?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.

 

Dee:  Were you married when you went to the war?

 

Mr. White Water:  No, I didn’t even have a girl friend or nothing.

 

Dee:  OK.  Do you have children?

 

Mr. White Water:  I’ve got five girls.

 

Dee:  Five girls, and we’re talking with Georgia here.

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes, that’s the oldest one.

 

Dee:  And do they all still live around Horton, Kickapoo reservation?

 

Mr. White Water:  No, Rosemary, she’s workin’ for the Cherokee, in Oklahoma.  And Susan, she was working for the Kickapoo but she quit on account of being harassed by, well, you know how some think they know more than…  But my daughter, she knew, but she just thought, well, I better quit it.

 

Dee:  Where did she end up going?

 

Mr. White Water:  She’s living in Minka, Oklahoma.  Right now, she’s on a, what they call it?

 

Georgia:  She’s on a cruise. 

 

Dee:  Oh, that would be fun!!

 

Georgia:  She’s been saving and saving for a long time.


Dee:  Well, that’s going to be fun.

 

Mr. White Water:  And she also went to South Dakota for that Sun dance.  She has one more time to go back.

 

Dee:  Um, hum.  And she’s participating.  And did she do four years?

 

Georgia: It’ll be her fourth year.

 

Mr. White Water:  Yeah.

 

Dee:  So she practices a little bit of that.  Does she also do Kickapoo?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yeah, she’s a Sioux, you know.  Her mother was a Sioux.  And she is too.

 

Dee:  What Sioux nation—Dakota or Lakota?

 

Georgia:  (Can’t hear well)

 

Dee:  Ok.  Because I’ve been up to the Sun dance up there at Rainson area.

 

Mr. White Water:  Oh, yes.  She goes every year.

 

Dee:  OK.  So those are, did we list all the girls?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.  And then Lorraine, Rainey, she lives in Stillwater,

 

Dee:  Oklahoma?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.  And then Denisha she lives in Little Axe, Oklahoma.  That’s the Shawnee reservation.  And that’s where she lives.

 

Dee:  And then Georgia, lives right here in Kickapoo reservation.

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.

 

Dee:  What was your occupation when you first started out?    Yes.

 

Dee:  What was your occupation when you first started out?  You were just a student?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yeah.

 

Dee:  Before you went in?

 

Mr. White Water:  I left before the commencement and I just got my diploma in the last year.

 

Dee:  So you joined before you graduated?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.

 

Dee:  OK.  And did you finish it while you were in the military?

 

Mr. White Water:  No, that was our last week.  I didn’t go to the commencement; I went with the Army.  I went to maneuvers.

 

Dee:  I see.  OK.  And like we talked about, when you enlisted, you were actually in a separate division for Native Americans?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.

 

Dee:  And they came from all over?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.

 

Dee:  How big was the unit?

 

Mr. White Water:  Well, the cavalry, there was 64 I believe. And the 127th field artillery, I don’t just remember how many there was, but there was, the ones that were in the cavalry went right straight to the, about the same amount of guys, but they brought in some more, to the field artillery.

 

Dee:  And then those of you that were going to specialize in something, you ended up out in California training.

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes, Yes.

 

Dee:  OK.  Did you join with a buddy or did you just decide to join by yourself?

 

Mr. White Water:  Do what?

 

Dee:  Like when you joined, do you go with another friend?

 

Mr. White Water:  No, I just went alone.

 

Dee:  OK, you just went.  We talked about where you served and you were in the South Pacific.  Talk a little bit about what that was like.

 

Mr. White Water:  Well, we hit Port Moresby.  That was the first one.  I don’t like to say this because we helped the Marines to take it, but they didn’t like it. 

 

Dee:  But you were helping.

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes. And we took Port Moresby in about, oh, I’d say in about 11 hours.  And then we went around the south end of New Guinea and Buna, and Lae, and all the way up to the east coast of New Guinea, fighting all the way, day and night, and a lot of times we went without eating because….we had to go without.  They did try to feed us but the planes would fly over and they never took the wind direction.  They’d throw it out, it blowed over to the enemy..

 

Dee:  And you wouldn’t get it!!

 

Mr. White Water:  Um, hum.  We’d go three-four days without eating.  And the longest we went was nine days.  We didn’t eat for nine days.  I thought to myself, I wonder how come nowadays when I get hungry I get nervous.  And there I didn’t get that way. 

 

Dee:  Did you have water to drink?

 

Mr. White Water:  Oh, we had water, yes.  They give us pills; we couldn’t get water just from anywhere.  I carried three canteens; I always carried plenty of water.  And now, I hardly ever drink water.  I don’t know what for.

 

Dee:  Well, you needed it then. Your body was trying to survive without food.

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.

 

Dee:  So anyway, let me see what else we have on here, things that might get you started talking about.  Did you have significant memory or experience that you would like to share? 

 

Did you form some friendships when you were over there, some lasting ones?  Do some of the guys you were with keep track of you and stuff?

 

Mr. White Water:  Now, what?

 

Dee:  Did you make friendships with some of the men that were over there?  You know, close buddies?

 

Mr. White Water:  The natives, or my outfit?

 

Dee: Well, either one.

 

Mr. White Water:  I was a loner.  Even they would have what they called little devotions before we went on a mission, I’d sit back and listen to it.  The chaplain one time came to me and said, “White Water, how come you don’t come and sit with us?”  I said, “Well, I have my religion too. My religion was down in Mexico.  They had a ceremony for me before I left.”  I said, “I’m just listening to you guys.”  He said, “Well, OK.”  So he never did say nothing to me again.  Yeah, they’d always have a little devotion before we went on a mission.  By the time they’d get through with the mission, we’d have to march maybe 10 miles to get on a plane and fly out to wherever we was supposed to go.  But we’d jump at night.  Yeah, we had to jump at night.

 

Dee:  You’d just go and jump out of the plane into this are.

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.  But we jumped in the daylight in New Guinea, but the plane put out smoke.  But still a lot of ‘em got killed in the daylight.  So they never did use that again.  And we continued jumping at night.

 

Dee:  So when you jumped they’d have shooters trying to put you down.

 

Mr. White Water: They were shooting at us, yes.

 

Dee:  Oh, my gosh.  So, you’re saying you’re pretty much a loner.  I saw Georgia shaking her head.  Did he have some friends, Georgia?

 

Georgia:  Yes, he did.

 

Mr. White Water:  I did, I did have friends.  Yes.

 

Georgia:  Yes, Jimmy McFall.

 

Dee:  Jimmy McFall.  Where’s he from, George?

 

Georgia:  He’s from Hutchinson.

 

Mr. White Water:  He wrote that letter.

 

Dee:  From him, maybe.  OK.  Dear Person…I was with George White Water …Oh, they’re talking about when he was in the paratroopers with you, when he landed on a jump from the parachute and hurt his leg. 

 

Mr. White Water:  But I don’t get nothing for it.  They don’t believe that.  They don’t believe me, but I said it was all right.

 

Dee: What happened that day then, when you got an injury?

 

Mr. White Water:  Well, I don’t know just what happened.  But I think I reached for the ground before I hit the ground.  I straightened out my legs, thinking I was going to hit the ground but when I hit it, my knee kind of pulled back and when I got up, I fell and McFall came running and helped me to stand up.  And that’s when they took my picture there, those Oklahoma City papers took my picture, and I guess he followed me all the way, the newspaper reporters, you know, what we were doing, how we was doing, and everything.  We got a notice from New York telling us that we were too cruel and our commander,.

 

Dee:  Too cruel to the enemy?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yeah, and our commander wrote to them and told ‘em, “why don’t you come and fight this war?  And let us go home.”  Because when we left Darwin, Australia, they said you will take no prisoners. You will kill ‘em all.  So that’s what we did.  We had to kill everybody.

 

Dee:  And so who was saying you were too cruel?  Who were these people that were saying.

 

Mr. White Water:  From New York, the Humane Society.

 

Dee:  Oh.

 

Mr. White Water:  But they never did say nothing after they said, “You come and fight this war.” 

 

Dee:  Tell me, you were a young boy at that time, young man, and you were facing..were you scared?  I just wonder how you handled that?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes, yeah.  Well, my ceremony helped me, yeah, ‘cause I had to fast.  When I had that ceremony I was on my way going to Australia at that time.  And it seemed like I knew when everything was over with, when I got to, I forgot what they called that little camp where they sent us, but the nearest town was Jabumba.  That was the name of that town.  I kinda felt like I was all right.

 

Dee:  Did you kinda feel like maybe some of the ancestors were with you?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yeah, uh, huh.  Now when we lived in South Carolina, I was making money.  I was jumping for other guys at night, but, one time, on a Friday night, I left camp, taking an overnight pass, and I was sitting down eating a piece of pie and a cup of coffee when a guy approached me and said, “Are you White Water?”  I said, “Yeah.”  He said, “Well, I come to see if you would jump for me tonight.”

 

Dee:  So you could go and jump for somebody else?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yeah.

 

Dee:  Did you get in trouble?

 

Mr. White Water:  Well, this is what happened.  I refused that guy because my girlfriend went to visit me.  I said, “Well, I’m sorry. I hate to go back to camp and I already took a pass.  That was my first pass in two years.”  And then he even offered me $200 to jump for him that night. And I said, “No, I can’t do it,”.  I already had enough money to spend.  So, the next morning, no, when we got to camp, Capt. McCall, the news, they told, “That plane you would be riding in blew up when it took off, killed all the jumpers.”  And I just thought, my God.

 

Dee:  So you didn’t feel right about it for a reason.

 

Mr. White Water:  Yeah. Then it made me think.  That’s what’s doin’ it for me.  What they did for me when I left.  The traditional way.  And that helped me all the way.  And we got to Corregidor, that book you know we saw?

 

Dee:  Yeah, it’s got that word I couldn’t pronounce?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yeah, we jumped there in the morning.  I don’t know, round about 5 in the morning we jumped.  And I mean, they killed a lot of guys there, I mean, a lot of ‘em got killed.  See, the plane, the rock was like this, and the ocean, when that plane was flyin’, the navigator took the elevation from the water, he didn’t take it from the rock, and we were just 400 feet above the ground when we jumped.  And we were supposed to be jumping 1200 feet.  And it killed a lot of ‘em when they hit the ground.  And I was lucky; I hit the open field.

 

Dee:  Have you had any health problems from jumping so much, like you know, in your neck, or back?

 

Mr. White Water:  No!

 

Dee:  I’ve heard where some parachutists have their necks get jammed a lot from hitting the ground.

 

Mr. White Water:  Oh, maybe some of ‘em did, but I didn’t.  I was lucky.

 

Dee:  You had protection.

 

Mr. White Water:  Yeah.  Then the next time, that evening I believe it was, I went to headquarters and they said that you take five men with you and set up on the southeast end of the route.  So I left, took them, got ‘em ready, and we were in the bomb crater.  Where they could lay down and fix their machine guns and just as they got everything all ready, a runner came and said, “There you are.  They want you at headquarters.”  So I went to headquarters, I wasn’t gone over 35 or 40 minutes.  When I got back, all those guys were dead.  The only thing that was missing was the ammunition.  They took that ammunition, those Japs did.  But they killed all those guys.  That was another one I thought, well, I’ve still got protection.

 

Dee:  Did you have, like you know after a lot of men have gone to battle, they have bad dreams? Call you tell me anything about that.

 

Mr. White Water:  Oh, yes.  For awhile, I had that.  My mother, she says we’re going to have to do something about that.  So whatever they did, they called me, and I went over, they smoked me, you know.  Talked to me about it.  That’s when they made me War Chief.  And the leader asked me to come to the village, and we still had Indian houses down there.  We still have them.  I got all right after they made me War Chief.  Each man, four of ‘em, each man talked to me about what my life was going to be like.  And the second to the last said, “Now, grandson, you’re a War Chief now, but, this is what you are going to run into.  People, we Indians are very jealous people.  We’re begrudgeoned. They are going to tell you something but don’t get angry.  They are only talking about themselves.”  And sure enough, that happened.

 

We went to an adoption, they asked me to go to an adoption, and I went there.  They called me inside and they said, “Well, now, you’re a leading us here.  You’re a War Chief.  So whatever you do out there, is all right with us. And it’s all also OK with him because that’s why He put you there.  And now you’re a War Chief, but somebody’s gonna say, ‘Ah, what’s he doin’ out there?  My son could’ve been.  My grandson, my nephew,..”  And sure enough that happened.  But I thought of that when the first one pointed right at me, and said, “That one there don’t even have no business dancing around out there.”

 

Dee:  So this is when you came back?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes, that’s when the war was all over.

It must have been about five years after that I was picked because even after I come back from Mexico.

 

Dee:  So did you join like any of the veteran groups or did you just join the Kickapoo Honor Guard here?

 

Mr. White Water:  Well, this is where I first joined them.  Later I kind of stayed away from them because they always had something to say.  And to keep me from saying anything I stayed away from them.

 

Dee:  Boy, there’s so many things.  She’s giving me the sign, five more minutes.  Were you treated differently?  Like you mentioned a little bit before we turned on the camera about being treated a little differently as a Native American?  Did you feel like, I know some of the men have said they always called me Chief and I wasn’t.  Did you always get that?

 

Mr. White Water:  OK. Yeah, when I first went into Fort Benning, when I first got there, I trained with a lot of white boys.  And they started calling me Blanket.

 

Dee:  Blanket?!  OK.

 

Mr. White Water:  “What are you going to do, Blanket?”  I wouldn’t say nothing.  I just listened to ‘em.  And then when we got in combat, the guys that had called me Blanket said, “What are we going to do, Chief?”  My name changed from Blanket to Chief.  I’d say, as I looked at my arm, “How come you’re asking me?  I don’t have no stripes!”  But anyway I helped them.  My rifle was taken away from me when I was on Corregidor.  I took off my shirt, and I had a white T-shirt on, and my friend come runnin’ up and he said, “Hey, our buddy’s gone into bomb crater and he got hit.  We’d better get him out.”  I said, “OK”, so I ran over there and jumped in that bomb crater, he was down there.  He was much taller than I; he was about 5’7”, or something like that, and I was only 5 feet.  But I dragged him out of there.  And when I got him out, I took him behind the wall there, and told him to stay there and we’ll get things fixed for you.  And when I come out, I met a lieutenant.  He busted me right there.  He said, “You’re busted.  You’re not a corporal no more because you’re running around here making a target of yourself.”  So he took my rifle and we were told when they take your rifle that’s it.  That can’t command you.  You’re a free man.  So I just went over there and just set down and I guess somebody heard what happened, so they went to the colonel and told him, they busted White Water out there.  They claim he’s running around making a target of himself.  And me and the colonel were buddy buddies.  He called me in, and he said, “Where’s your rifle?”  I said, “ Lt. Weeks took it.”  So he called Lt. Weeks.  He said, “From now on, you have nothing to say to these veterans of war.  You can’t say nothing to ‘em no more.  And you will not bust them. You will get his stuff back tomorrow.” 

 

Dee:  Oh, cause he could see what you’d done was probably more courageous than some of the other guys.

 

Mr. White Water:  Yeah, yeah.  But somebody said you should have got a silver star for that.

 

Dee:  You think maybe he did that because of you being Indian?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes I think so.  And our last mission to Penai, I made a jump and I didn’t tightened my leg strap on my right side, and when I jumped, and that chute opened, that buckle hit my gland and I walked double for about two weeks.  And they finally sent me to an evacuation hospital.  At the same time, that was 45 days after the war was over.  But we were being chased by Japanese airplanes.

 

Dee:  So when the war ended, on the day that it ended, you were still fighting?

 

Mr. White Water:  Still fighting.  In the southern Philippines.

 

Dee:  How did you find out the war was over?

 

Mr. White Water:  We didn’t find out until after.

 

Dee:  After you did that mission?

 

Mr. White Water:  Yeah, uh, huh. I was in the hospital in Leyte Island, and then when I got out, and that’s when I heard that the war was over.  I told the doctor, I said, “Well, we’re still fighting.”  He said, “You’re not supposed to be.”  I said, “We are.”

 

Dee:  They didn’t have cell phones!

 

Mr. White Water:  And that’s where I was supposed to have been killed.  That was another Indian guy.  He was a Sioux.  His name was Thomas Carlyle Holy Ugface.  He got killed.  My papers were laying there, and mine went on top….put my papers underneath.  When they took his body, they took my papers with him.  So they thought I died.

 

Dee:  So I imagine your mother was pretty upset.

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.  When I got home, she handed me a letter, I looked at it.  It said, “We regret to inform you that….” So we went to report it.  And they didn’t believe me.

 

Dee:  And so you had to get that changed.

 

Mr. White Water:  Yes.  I pulled my dog tags out and told ‘em, “Here it is.”  And they said, “Well, we’ll find out.” So they called and said, “Yeh, White Water is supposed to be still alive,…”

 

Dee:  I wished we could just keep going on.  I’m thinking about putting another one in.  But, the thing is, those stories are always going to be passed on, and hopefully the gentleman that did your tape that is in California…but this one will go in the Library of Congress, so that will be used for education purposes.  I guess the final say is that when you came back, did you do anything, like use your GI Bill, or your veterans’ benefits?

 

Mr. White Water:  The only thing that,…there was,..a loan company, I went to them, I was going to borrow a little money to buy a bus ticket to go find me a job, and he said, “Aren’t you getting that 52-20?”  And I said, “What is that?”  He said, “That’ll pay you for 52 weeks, $20 a week.”  I said, “Well, I didn’t get nothin’ like that.”  So he got that for me.  Then I went to work before I used it all up.

 

Dee:  Where did you go to work at?

 

Mr. White Water:  In Eagle Pass, Texas.  I worked for a freight company.  I just let it go.  I never tried to get any more.  But I think I used about two-thirds of it.

 

Dee:  And now you are back here, and living on the Kickapoo Res. 

 

Mr. White Water:  Yeah.

 

Georgia:  (talking, but can’t hear or understand)

 

Dee:  You worked at Kickapoo for…

 

Mr. White Water:  Yeah, for 30 years.  I worked there 30 years. 

 

Dee:  Thirty years at where?

 

Mr. White Water:  Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City.  I worked there for 30 years.  And the reason I stayed there for 30 years is I wanted to show them I could take whatever they dished out.  And I got them water fountains and restrooms changed because there, if the water fountain was there, one would have colored and the other for whites.

 

Dee:  And we had to use coloreds.

 

Mr. White Water:  Yeah.  Restrooms same thing.  I went across the street just to show them that I, that they were wrong.  I wanted them to see me leave.  They escorted me and my boss was standing out there on the ramp when I came back.  And he said, “What are you doing out here, leaving your work area?”  I said, “Well,”.  No, they took me to headquarters.  And they said, “What were you doing out there?”  I said, “Well, I went to the restroom and the sign said ‘colored’ and the other said ‘white’, and I didn’t see any for Indians.  So I went across the street to use their restroom, thinking they wouldn’t say nothing to me, but when I got back, you guys jumped on me.  I said you better fix the restrooms for Indians.”  And the same way with the fountain.  I jumped off the ramp and was drinking water, and I got back and my foreman was standing there, and he said, “You’re going to headquarters.”  So went to headquarters,

 

Dee:  Because you had…

 

Mr. White Water:  Yeah. For leaving my work area.  So I told ‘em, well, in about a year and a half they changed all that.

 

Dee:  I’m 54, it was still when I was growing up.  My dad, being Indian, and we stood there and we didn’t know if we were supposed to use which one, and he said…because I’m white enough to pass, you know.  We had to go use another one.  We’ve got everything mentioned.  We could talk more, George, but I am going to end the tape right now because the tape has your life story.  And I want to thank you for letting us visit you today.

 

Mr. White Water:  OK.

 

Dee:  Thank you. 



Item Description

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