“THE SEMINOLE FREEDMEN”, CAESAR BRUNER, SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION’S “indiVisible” & “FORT NEGROS” FIXICO
HOORAY AND HALLELUJAH,
Today is September 13th, 2017, sitting here in Southern California, I’m sending out prayers and well wishes in all 360 degrees of the world’s geography to all it’s populations, elevations , climates , land uses and states. The image above this Blog’s title features a newspaper article that includes 3 photo. The first photo is a historic daguerreotype featuring my g-grandfather Seminole Maroon Leader Caesar Bruner.. The Oklahoma Seminole Nation Freedmen Band is named after him.
The middle photo is an early 1920’s era “2-shot” the man on the Lt. is unidentified and the man on the Rt. is “Papa” Ceasar Bruner’s son Pompey Bruner Fixico. He is my grandfather and his mother was Wind Clan, Mikasuki Seminole Woman Dinah Fixico # 900 on the Dawes U.S. Census Rolls, that makes her my g-grandmother. This fact gives me and my 1st. cousins as direct Descendants of a female full-Blood Seminole listed on the Dawes Rolls the right to join the nation, as by-Blood members in the current Mekesuky Band.
No matter how much we may want to join the Caesar Bruner Freedmen Band we must follow our “inheritance rights” created by the listing of our directly identified female member. The third photo on the frontpage of the Seminole Producer Newspaper is a publicity shot taken from a nationally toured Play entitled: “the road weeps” and “the well runs dry” , written by Marcus Gardley . the play was written using the theme of the John Horse Exodus which left from Wewoka, Indian Territory in 1849.
Recently, on Facebook’s Black Seminoles of Oklahoma Seminole Nation (I.T.) & Friends, I mentioned that it was I and a matriarch that gave Dr. Kevin Mulroy, the author of :”THE SEMINOLE FREEDMEN” “A HISTORY” PUBLISHED BY OKLAHOMA UNIVERSITY PRESS in 2007 permission in behalf of the Descendants to include the photo above of Caesar Bruner. Additional permission came from Patriarch and family tree maker Charles Edwards, Frank “Buck” James ( Caesar Bruner contemporary as a child), Tommy Moore (grandson).
It turns out that two daughters of a much loved and high ranking Caesar Bruner Descendant French Wilson Bruner were rightfully incensed that they hadn’t been contacted for their rightful input. I can understand their anger and and it doesn’t bode well for my future familial relations with Diana Bruner-Puskas and Blossie Ann-Bruner the g-g-great grand daughters of Caesar Bruner. “Papa” Caesar Bruner is reported to have had 19 children in Indian Territory, it was his right as a Head Man to have children outside of his marriage. In a time when there was no guaranteed social safety net, an unattached woman within the group would have jumped at the chance to have a child by the Leader because it guaranteed that the family would be taken care of under any circumstances .
I apologize to any of his Descendants that don’t appreciate my taking responsibility for allow that the photo be used. My thinking was that it was an extremely important book about our Ancestors. It actually is a definitive book written by Dr. Kevin Mulroy, a prestigious author who many scholars consider him to be the “World’s Living Authority on Seminole Maroons” ( especially since the passing of Dr. Kenneth Porter). I didn’t know all of “Papa” Caesar’s Descendants but I do know that he deserved to have his picture in the book :”THE SEMINOLE FREEDMEN”. Not knowing who the photographer was there was a chance that photo was now under public domain. My research has given me some information about the source that I will not reveal now. I have shown the photo in Washington, DC at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of the American Indian, In St. Augustine, Florida, the Caribbean, South America, Brackettville, Texas and at “Fort Negro” on the Applachicola River. I never personally received any money for sharing it and did so to increase his LEGACY and for educational purposes for the Descendants and the general public.
Other people have used this photo , the first that I saw use it was Researcher Mr. Terry Ligon and I next saw it on the Maroon Culture Facebook page. In both instances it was done in a classy respectful way for educational purposes.
My reading of History and reconciliation of family Oral History leads me to believe that “Papa” Caesar’s purpose for having a child with Wind Clan Seminole Woman Dinah Fixico was to create an “Anchor Baby” to strengthen the bonds between the Black And Indigenous members of the SEMINOLE PEOPLE. In the final moments of my decision to go ahead with it. I asked myself :”What would Caesar Bruner have wanted me to do”.
The name FIXICO is a Warrior title, i made a decision as any warrior would in the struggle that we are all involved in. when I was selected to visit The Okanisi Ndyuka Maroons of Suriname as the North American Maroon Representative, I’ll never forget when I presented the Seminole Maroon Peace Belt Ceremony before the Paramount Chief and Grand Gaaman before his Congression members since the question arose that my skin color was the color of the Over Seers, I showed them “Papa” Ceasar’s photo and they accepted me as his Descendant and rightful Ambassador to their Nation.We became Cultural Cousins and formed a cultural alliance as fellow Maroons and Descendants of the TransAtlanticSlave trade.
Honor and Respect, Phil “Pompey Bruner” Fixico, Seminole Maroon Descendant/Activist and Private-Sector-Partner for the National Undeground Railroad/ Network to Freedom 1998 Act
http://thefloridachannel.org/videos/102216-history-speaks-fort-gadsden-200th-anniversary/ go to 50 min. to see the Ceremony