BETTY MAE JUMPER Biography - Royalty, Rulers & leaders


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Name: Betty Mae Tiger Jumper                                                         
Born:April 27, 1923                                                                   
Betty Mae Tiger Jumper was born on April 27, 1923, in a                               
Seminole camp near Indiantown, Florida. She grew up in Dania, in Broward County.     
At night Tiger Jumper listened as older members of the tribe told stories passed     
down from their ancestors. "The stories taught you how to live," she says. She       
would later write down these stories to preserve them for future generations.         
Before she could do that, she had to learn how to read and write. At that time       
Seminole children were not allowed to attend public schools in Florida. Tiger         
Jumper decided to attend a boarding school for Native Americans. She became the       
Seminole to learn to read and write English and the to graduate from high school.     
Tiger Jumper continued her education and became a nurse. She travelled to             
Seminole towns to care for members of her tribe. She also wrote books and worked     
as an editor of a newspaper now called the Seminole Tribune.                         
In 1967 Tiger Jumper became the first female chair, or chief, of the Seminole         
tribe. When Tiger Jumper became chief, the tribe had just $35 in savings. Thanks     
to her leadership, the tribe had $500,000 when she left office in 1972. She also     
brought together several tribes to form an organization that runs health and         
education programs for its members. "I had three goals in my life," Tiger Jumper     
says. "To finish school, to take nurse's training and come back and work among       
my people, and to write three books." She has met those goals and many more.