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The Start Of The Tribune

I have been asked many times: how did the Seminole Tribune get started. The Tribune has a long history. It actually started back in 1956 before the Seminole Tribe was even organized.

At that time the late Alice Osceola and I began writing the Seminole News. We ran the paper out of my home. I supplied news about the Hollywood Reservation and Alice brought in news from the Trail.

We charged 10 cents a copy and we usually sold just enough to afford to put out the next paper. It was pretty simple by todayís standards, but we kept it going.

The paper went on for three months. Then, I got sick and Alice didnít think she could do the paper by herself, so we stopped.

But, some other people thought they would put the paper out, and they took over. They changed the name to the Smoke Signal. They tried to run it, but dropped the project after a few times. Then, some other people picked it up and they put out more issues and they dropped it, too.

Then one day in 1979, Chairman James Billie called me into his office and asked me if I could run the newspaper again. At first I told him I didnít want to, but I thought it was important to have the paper for Tribal news and to let people know what was going on.

I talked to two ladies about what James had asked. The two ladies Ė Barbara Doctor and Twila Perkins Ė got excited about the idea of a newspaper and they said, ďBetty, do it! Weíll help you. Weíre both good typists. Weíll work hard.Ē

After thinking about it some more, I decided to give it a try. So, I went back to the Chairman and told him I thought it over and I will try to make the newspaper go for the Tribe.

So, we started Ė the three of us ladies Ė and in two weeks the Alligator Times came out for the first time, replacing the old Seminole News. I handed over the first issue to James Billie and told him this was our first.

I think he was surprised to see it and that we produced the newspaper in two weeks. This was our beginning, and we promised to get the paper out on time. We did the paper for a long time. For some time, my son Moses Jumper Jr., was the editor.

By 1982, the newspaper was changed again. The Chairman changed the name to The Seminole Tribune and I came back to be the editor. Around this time we added Virginia Mitchell and later Marlin Billie. Later, we added Pete Gallagher.

Today, we have many new people and faces. Virginia, Pete and I are still here, but we also got Dan McDonald, Melissa Sherman, Ernie Tiger, Elrod Bowers, Libby Blake and Valerie Frank on staff, and a bunch of free lance writers and contributors. Now we have people covering events from other reservations and wherever news pops up. We are also responsible for the Tribal Internet content.

Sometimes I think of the old days, and I get sad because some things arenít as good as they once were. But, Iím glad to see the changes in The Seminole Tribune. This newspaper has come a long way and Iím happy to say itís a lot better now than it ever was in the old days.

One of the reasons I think the paper is still around and still will be around is the spirit of my grandmother, Mary Tiger. She always told me that once you start something, make sure you finish it. She didnít like me going off to school in Cherokee, N.C., to learn the white manís language. She was against it.

But, when I finally graduated and came home, she was proud of me for sticking with it and finishing. She was one of the first to give me a hug and to tell me she was proud of what I had done.

Thatís the way I feel about The Seminole Tribune. I feel it wonít stop now. It has been started and itís on its way and it wonít stop. Iím proud that Iíve had a part in helping to keep this Tribal newspaper going and trust it will be going for a long time to come.

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