June 18, 2023 – Today marks one year since Principal Chief Lora Ann Chaisson was sworn into office. Take a look back at highlights from the past year, and read her message below:
It is hard to believe that today, June 18th, marks the one year anniversary of my inauguration as Principal Chief of the United Houma Nation. At times it felt like it has only been a few months and other times it felt like it has been several years! This past year was loaded with opportunities and obstacles, joy and sadness, victories, and challenges yet to be overcome. As Principal Chief, I have acted as a mediator, advocate, human resource manager, therapist, and project manager, as well as chief cook and bottle washer, along with many other duties. I am honored to serve in all these roles, and more, for my fellow UHN citizens.
I used the acronym F.A.C.E. for my campaign, which stands for Federal Recognition, Accountability, Cultural Preservation & Education, and Economic Development.
Since my first days in office, I have engaged partners; lawyers, anthropologists, and lobbyists to move our Federal Recognition process forward, and that process is ongoing.
In my dealings with UHN citizens, as well as people outside of our Tribe, I have insisted on Accountability through budgets, updated reports, and adding infrastructure to our office. I have met with the administrators and staff on a weekly basis, to make sure we are all working together to achieve our mutually desired outcomes.
After only a couple of days in office, I received a call regarding a Culturally historic site that was being disturbed and I immediately contacted anyone and everyone I could to successfully protect this area. With the help of Chitimacha, as well as several other entities, we were able to stop the destruction of this site. I also hired a Youth Coordinator to engage with our youth so that our history and language, as well as traditional arts, such as basketry and beadwork, are passed down for future generations.
We are in the process of separating our non-profit organization from our Tribal organization. This is taking more time than I would like, however, the end result will be worth it. The separation will allow for more Economic development projects and will be beneficial for our Tribal citizens. There is no instant solution to any of these issues, but progress is being made.
As I look back at the past year in pictures, I am reminded of the connections made, and the relationships built, that will benefit our Houma people in the future. I am looking forward to three more years of embracing the challenges and opportunities that present themselves. When I look at what our ancestors have overcome in our past, I know in my heart that we, as Houma people, are not just going to survive, we are going to thrive.