My young life was a puzzle of confusion and listening to the spirit was always difficult for me. Now, I realize that I was being pulled towards things that I wasn’t able to see or understand. One from my ancestors and the other from the holy spirit trying to teach me and move me to my destination in life. As I tell the story of the Native Americans of Terrebonne and Lafourche Parish. I’m going to embark on a journey of my own life and how I struggled with my emotions growing up, and how I wanted to be somewhere I did not know how to get to.
As my genealogy tells me. My life stems from a people that were looked down on, that were scattered and that were lied to. But when I look deeper, and I see the trials and tribulations my people went through, I see a people that were proud, strong, resilient and determined.
My family tree has 160 names attached to it that reach all the way back to the 1700’s. Names like Dion, Billiot, Verdin, Saulet, Parfait, Gregoire and even, LaForét.
My people of south Louisiana have been here for centuries. Their stories have been passed down from parents to children from generation to generation by oral transmission.
“Their stories include many varied struggles, personalities, and unique ways of living.”
They lived in the traditional ways of their forefathers by hunting, fishing, moss- picking, trapping and logging (or "swamping"). They also raised cattle on their individually owned sections of land.
Before the Civil War, there was only some discrimination evident against the Indian community in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes. But after the Civil War, discrimination and prejudice became manifest when non-Louisianan’s arrived, and all the races struggled for economic survival.
When Reconstruction ended and the carpetbaggers left, segregation became official. The problem for the Indians was the government recognized only two races, White and Colored. Anyone not considered White was officially "Colored" and Indians were mostly excluded from both of these categories, not legally acknowledged by racial distinction and having no civil rights. My people remained in their isolated communities continuing to live as their ancestors had.
This is a people that have lost a lot but have a lot to share. Today, my people still face displacement. They are still fighting to keep their land and fighting to save their heritage.
Copyright © 2022 Finding My People at Yagni Chitto - All Rights Reserved.