For over 25 years the elders from these tribes have been pursuing federal acknowledgment as a Native American Tribe, and they have been doing this through the U.S. Federal Governments federal acknowledgement process and they’ve been encountering many challenges while trying to prove their case. From being told that there weren’t any Indians here in this part of the country, to documents disappearing and then having to entrust a non-native to collect documents.
The fight is still going on to gather evidence for Federal Acknowledgement, and the biggest fight is going on today. These tribes have suffered greatly due to a lie about the tribal identity that have spanned many decades. The Smithsonian collections contain a century old mistake that has hindered the bid for federal recognition for my people.
Most of the Smithsonian artifacts were gathered by early-20th-century researchers and a mix-up spawned from a Smithsonian anthropologist by the name of John Swanton who visited southeast Louisiana at the turn of the 20th century. While in Louisiana, he misidentified many of the people he encountered.
“In 2015, the Bureau of Indian Affairs found that these Native Americans hadn’t sufficiently demonstrated a link to a historic tribe. The rejection noted that, “they do not claim descent from the Houma tribe, although... members and ancestors have been called ‘Houma’ Indians since at least 1907.”
The Native American people of south Louisiana have been here for centuries. Living in Lafourche Parish, Bayou Teche, Grand Lake and Terrebonne Parish. It’s our job and It’s our duty to find, preserve and share the genealogy of the people from the bayous of Louisiana and never forget the importance of the lives of the people that have lived and are still to this day living here.
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