Capturing Houma’s History

Houma, LA – The United Houma Nation has come up with a group of members from the community in the efforts of collecting and preserving Houma’s tradition and history. It is a monumental effort to gather this information for future generations and for the United Houma Nation to never lose their mark on history. 

  This community-led project will be able to provide the tribes with archivists who have already started preserving this amazing history with the ability to securely file all the information collected. Melanie Hayes and Kathleen Bergeron have recently sat down with Ms. Corinne Paulk to scan photos, hear her story, and collect artifacts.

(To the left is Corinne Paulk being interviewed by the tribe’s archivist Melanie Hayes, browsing Corinne’s childhood yearbooks at an all-girls boarding school from 1958-61.)

  Throughout history, our Elders have been taught to hide their traditions or to not speak their native French. Due to this harsh time in history, we have lost some traditions and our language with the passing of our Elders. COVID-19 has taught the community that the Elder’s stories are so important to preserve them in the future. 

  Due to potential hiccups along the way, Diane Austin and Ben McMahan, two anthropologists, are going to teach volunteers wanting to participate in the interviewing techniques in order to carefully implement the interviews and collect any objects safely. Once the group feels they are ready, they will start conducting these interviews throughout the six parishes for the archivist to file. 

  Our goal is for our grandchildren’s children to be able to have the ability to request information from the tribe and for us to safely provide those files regarding their ancestry. Another part of this project is to get the youth involved in the interviewing and to provide them with educational classes utilizing the information collected. 

  This project is open for any community members of all ages who are wanting to participate. Most of the world communicates virtually, which allows members from other states to help in some ways. If you are interested in becoming part of this historical project, please call the Houma office at (985) 223-3093 and ask to speak to Tyler.