You can’t be a real Indian; you don’t have an Indian name like “Running Deer” or “Crazy Horse.” Your skin isn’t dark enough or your skin is too dark. Your nose is too small, your hair isn’t long straight and black, or you don’t live in a teepee.
Most of us have heard these statements before by someone responding to our identifying ourselves as Indians. We’ve been called “sabines, mullotoes, coonasses, or French-Indians”; but very few people outside our tribe accept us as what we are…HOUMAS INDIANS.
Here in Plaquemines Parish, away from the traditional Indian communities in Terrebonne and Lafourche, we have been forgotten despite the fact that Houmas have been down here since the late 1800’s and our community members over five hundred.
Where do we go from here? Well if we are to survive and prosper as a distinct bank of the Houmas Nation then we have to unite as a community. We can do this by coming together at local tribal meetings to express our ideas and hopes for the future of our Nation and our children.
Many good things can be accomplished by the Houmas community of Plaquemines. The new Parish government and school board have expressed a desire to work with us to help build the Indian community, but it will take a great deal of effort on our part. What is needed first is a united front on the many important problems that face us; the land-relocation problems in the village, the consolidated public school issue, the struggle with the G.C.C. A. over gill nets, the Turtle Excluder Device’s debate, and other problems that affect us all.
My goal is to see the Houmas of our area attack these issues as a united people rediscovering the benefits of the tribal relationship.
By T. Mayheart Dardar
(Newspaper Clip from the 90s newsletter Talking Bayou.)