BOYCOTT Yahoo Search Engine and Mac Afee Virus Protection
 For Unfairly Labeling this and another Native American Web Site
as "UNSAFE". 
 Read Details...

Snow Owl – September 2004

Chickasaw renew raids on the colonies.

French and Indian War.

Choctaw forced out of their homes by the British.

Choctaw pottery survived into the 20th century with only a few practitioners. Grady John, who learned the craft from his cousin L. D. John, created duck, crawfish, and opossum effigy pots as well as bowls and jars.
Not many people know it, but Louisiana had the third largest Indian population (16,040) in the eastern U.S., according to 1980 census information. This census information showed only North Carolina and Florida to have higher populations. Some Louisiana Indians can still speak their native languages as well as English, French or Spanish. Archeological findings date as far back as 10 to 12 thousand years before the birth of Christ.

Louisiana Indians had very fertile land to live on. They had abundant resources: game, waterfowl and other birds, fish, a variety of crops, salt domes, shellfish, bitumen (asphalt), pearls, etc. The rich Louisiana soil gave them a variety of hardwoods to work with including cedar, oak, hickory, black walnut and more. Trade routes brought in materials from as far away as the Great Lakes, Rocky Mountains and Florida.
Untitled Oil/Acrylic by Choctaw Artist Sue Davis
PO Box 324
Terrell, TX 75160 USA
These native peoples were known by names such as Atakapa, Opelousa, Coushata, Chitimacha, Houma, Tunica, Natchez and Koroa. After European contact, other Indians moved into Louisiana, further enriching the Indian population and culture. This contact in later years forced many Indians to move to the Oklahoma reservations or further south to the more harsh coastal lands on the Gulf of Mexico.

Much of the rich land used for farming and gathering raw materials such as cane for baskets, game and fish has been reduced by Eurocentric industry, growing populations of non-Indians and the resulting waste production. These issues are of concern to ALL Louisianians, not just the Indians. My hope is that solutions to these modern-day problems will be enacted soon. Otherwise, future generations may never see the beautiful and rich Louisiana environment as it was originally made by the creator.

Today, there are four Federally recognised nations and five state recognised nations.
UNITED HOUMAS (Lafourche Parish)


COUSHATTA (Port Allen Parish)
CHITIMACHA (St. Mary Parish)
TUNICA-BILOXI (Avoyelles Parish)

ADAI CADDO (Natchitoches Parsh)
CLIFTON CHOCTAW (Rapides Parish)
(4 Winds is actually a Confederation, not a Nation)
The Chitimacha originally lived on Grand Lake, form Charenton to Bayou Portage. One story states that originally four sacred trees marked their boundaries. Two trees were located in what is now known as Cypermort Point and Maringouin. Of the other two, one was somewhere south of New Orleans and somewhere on the Mississippi River.
Chitimacha Basket 20th Century
This double-woven lidded basket is an excellent example of the Chitimacha weaver's art.
" To still walk this same land our ancestors walked. To again be able to care and provide for our people and those around us. To rekindle the pride in being Chitimacha. That is the greatest gift we can give our children.”- Ralph Darden

Waxtuygi, caad kasiihtuqunki qapx xahyte! In the early 1700s, the Chitimacha were the most powerful tribe of the northern gulf coast west of Florida in the United States territory. We also attained prominence in early Louisiana history due to our long war with the French and the number of Chitimacha slaves in colonial families as a result of the war. We were known as the best basket makers in the entire Gulf region. John R. Swanton, Bureau of American Ethnology: Bulletin 137, Bulletin 145

Through determination and hard work, in spite of prejudice and injustice, our people have survived, thrived and prospered. Today, we number approximately 1,000. We believe that our ancestors would be proud of the success we have achieved.

Chief Frambroise wore full formal regalia, similar to this, when attending the 1718 peace ceremony that ended our twelve-year war with the French. In his speech to Governor Bienville at the Concession of M. Paris, Chief Frambroise said:

"My heart laughs with joy at seeing myself before you. We have all heard the word of peace which you have sent to us; the heart of all our nation laughs with joy even to trembling; the women, forgetting on the instant all that is past, have danced; the children have jumped, like young deer, and run about as if they had lost their senses.

Your word will never be lost; our hearts and ears are filled with it, and our descendants will preserve it as long as the ancient word shall endure. As the war has made us poor, we have been compelled to hunt, in order to bring you the hides, and prepare the skins before coming; but our men did not dare to go far on the chase, on account of the other nations, for fear lest they had not yet heard your word, and because they are jealous of us.

We ourselves even have only followed our course in coming hither with trembling until we have seen your face. How satisfied are my heart and my eyes to see you now, to speak myself to yourself, without fear that the wind carry off our words on the way! Our gifts are small, but our hearts large to obey your word. When you speak you will see our legs run and leap like those of stags, to do what you wish.

Ah! How beautiful is this sun now in comparison with what it was when you were angry with us! How dangerous is a bad man! You know that one single person killed the Frenchman, whose death has made fall with him our best warriors; there remains to us only old men, women and children; you have demanded the head of the bad man, in order to make peace; we have sent it to you, and there is the only old warrior who had dared to attack him and kill him.

Be not surprised at it; he has always been a true man and a true warrior; he is relation of our sovereign (Chief), and his heart wept day and night because his wife and child are no more since this war; but he is satisfied and I also now, because he has killed your enemy and his. Formerly the sun was red, the roads filled with brambles and thorns, the clouds were black, the water troubled and stained with our blood, our women wept unceasingly, our children cried with fright, the game fled far from us, our houses were abandoned, and our fields uncultivated, we all have empty bellies and our bones are visible.

Now the sun is warm and brilliant, the heaven is clear, there are no more clouds, the roads are clean and pleasant, the water is so clear that we can see ourselves within it, the game comes back, our women dance until they forget to eat, our children leap like young fawns, the heart of the entire nation laughs with joy, to see that we will walk along the same road as you all. Frenchmen; the same sun will illuminate us; we will have but one word; our hearts will make but one, we will eat together like brothers; will that not be good, what say you?"

Ways of our Ancestors - The Chitimacha lived utilizing available resources from the land and water provided by neyq (earth), carefully taking only what was needed for survival. Living in harmony with the land, we cultivated maize and sweet potatoes, and also harvested wild vegetables, game, fish, and shellfish. Our culture was distinct. We used two forms of our language, polite and common, and had a complex clan system. Tribal members held certain positions within the Tribe and could be distinguished by lifestyle, dress, hairstyle, and body art.

Traditional Dress - Women traditionally painted their faces red and white only, while men painted theirs red and black only. Women wore their hair loose, in braids or tresses, depending on their martial status. Men also wore their hair loose or braided, except during war and ceremony, when it was pulled high up into a “ponytail.” Both women and men adorned their hair with feathers. Warriors were distinguished by necklaces, nose rings, earrings, tattoos, and scarification of their knees.

Clothing at the time of European contact consisted of breechcloths, moccasins, and dresses made from deer hide. These hides were brain tanned scraping off the hair, working the brain into the hide for softness and curing, and the stretching the hide over a framework of poles for smoking. Under the framework, a small, but heavily smoked fire was made using palmetto leaves. The hide was smoked on both sides until it cured. Hide garments were sewn using sinew and then decorated according to personal taste. Shells and woodpecker scalps were part of the adornment on the women's dresses. Chiefs used hides that had been blackened with charcoal for their breechcloths.

In addition to hide, the Chitimacha used cloth that they wove from native plants for clothing until the introduction of European trade cloth. By the late seventeen hundreds, our clothing styles had already begun to reflect the strong influence of the European culture.

Legend - Origin of basket weaving. They say she was just going along the road. Then an unfinished basket struck her on her arm and fell to the ground. She picked up that basket. Then she heard someone say, “Weave that basket! Finish it up!” She kept hearing just that. She looked all about her for that person, but all along the path (where) she went she could not see the person.

She went along working on that basket. When she arrived home, she showed it to her people. “Some one struck me with an unfinished basket. The person, remaining hidden in the woods, spoke with me and said to me, “Finish that basket!” Then I worked and finished it. (The voice also said) “If you wish to learn (to make another) basket again, if you will pass along this road again, I will teach you something else.” Her people said, “She is losing her head. She is losing her mind. No one was talking to her. She is just saying that. She is losing her mind.”

Nevertheless she said she had to do it. After that she used to go along (on that road). She learned how to weave baskets. After that they saw (realized) that the holy woman taught the virgin girl that. The holy woman threw that basket at her. Then she spoke with her. In that way, she learned from the holy woman how to weave baskets. It was because that girl was a virgin that she learned rapidly. Then she taught her people. That is how the Indians learned how to construct baskets. Since then the Indians that are here worked those baskets.

If an Indian woman enters the cane (patch) and breaks cane, when she returns (to the patch later) she will see (where) the holy woman has felt of the cane joints with (her) hand. Her thumb (print) is embossed in those cane joints. If you see that, you can take your cane there. That cane is all good. Sometimes you see the whole hand imprinted. Sometimes she embosses only one thumb.

The Canoe - The canoe was the primary mode of transportation used to navigate the bayous and Atchafalaya Basin, allowing access to hunting and fishing grounds. The traditional canoe was made from water-resistant cypress, cottonwood or elm. Large canoes were approximately 30 feet long and could hold 15 to 30 people.

Its flat-hulled, narrow shape was ideal for navigating everything from shallow cypress swamps to open waters, and its influence can be seen in the design of historic pirogues as well as modern Delta boats.

Legend – How the First Canoe Was Made. It is said that the knowledge of how to make the canoe was given to the Chitimacha by their Supreme Deity who took six Indians into the woods and showed them how to fell a cypress tree by burning the trunk. After the tree had fallen he showed them how to secure a section of the right length by lighting fires under the log, and how to shape the bottom ends of the canoe by burning the surface of the log and scraping the charred wood with a clam shell. A fire was made on top of the log for its entire length in order to make the inside of the canoe, the wood being charred and scraped so the opening would be the right depth and width. A mold of mud was laid along the upper edge of the partly finished canoe so that burning would not go too far down on the side, and the upper edge of the opening was made smooth by careful scraping. The Supreme Deity showed them how to do all this, so the canoe: “would be useful to the Indians in going from place to place.” It was propelled by a paddle, like that used by other tribes.


The Atakapaw call themselves ISHAK, or "The People". ATAKAPAW is Mobilian or Choctaw for "Eaters of Human Flesh." But the Atakapaw only ate specific parts of slain enemies in a victory ceremony after a battle. They lived from Bayou Teche to the Sabine River and from Alexandria to the Gulf of Mexico. The population was dispersed with lots of vacant land between villages. Four bands made up this nation. Two eastern tribes known as the Sunrise People, and two western tribes known as the Sunset People. They created very high quality pottery and built large mounds. One shell mound, which could still be seen until recently, was 600 feet long and in the shape of an Alligator. The early Louisiana explorers rarely saw the Atakapaw. They stayed well hidden and used smoke and fires to distract from their presence.

The Atakapans are a hard group to find out much about. The first Europeans to come in contact with them did not bother to write down much about them. Later Europeans did the same, so almost no record from eye witness accounts is available to us today. The accounts we do have are often second hand and appear to have some racial bias mixed in to them. Almost all of the more recent written material about them is in obscure archeological reports in filing cabinets at state agencies and universities.

Here is some of what is known. Atakapan is a language and not really a tribe. There were several tribes, or maybe just bands, who lived in the same geographical area and spoke Atakapan. The Atakapan language seems to be part of the larger Tunican language family. If this is so it would link the Atakapan speakers of Texas with the Southeastern Indians to the east of Texas. The other Tunican speakers are found in south eastern Arkansas going down along the Mississippi river to Natchez Mississippi. Atakapan itself is a Choctaw word that means "man eaters".

The several tribes and bands lived in an area starting around modern Houston and going east into Louisiana. In fact, some Louisiana Atakapans are still living there. Swanton places the Atakapans as far east as the Lake Charles area of Louisiana. Some of them lived along the coast and others lived father north going up to the Caddo Indian territory. Most of the villages and campsites in Texas are near the major rivers in this area, the Trinity river and Sabine river. This area has several very different environmental zones and the zone a band lived in made a difference in how they lived. R. E. Moore

The Caddo were made up of five tribes. The Adai, Doustioni, Natchitouches, Ouachita and Yatasi. They lived on the Red River and moved, sometimes great distances, due to frequent flooding. The Caddo proper, KADOHODACHO, moved from Cddo Lake to Arkansas in the late 1700's. Their language was unlike others in the east. They hunted Bison in northwest Louisiana, traded, hunted and fished.
"Caddo Creation Legend" by Acee Blue Eagle. Courtesy of Northwest State University of Louisiana, Watson Memorial Library, Cammie G. Henry Research Center, Caroline Dormon Collection.
The Caddo Indians are the principal southern representatives of the great Caddoan linguistic family, which include the Wichita, Kichai, Pawnee, and Arikara. Their confederacy consisted of several tribes or divisions, claiming as their original territory the whole of lower Red River and adjacent country in Louisiana, eastern Texas, and Southern Arkansas.
The earliest documentary records indicate that the Coushatta Tribe originated and resided in the present state of Alabama, near the Tennessee River, during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Coushatta, then known as the Koasati, belonged to the southern section of the Muskhogean linguistic group and were members of the Creek Confederacy, a loose association of the Muskogee family of tribes. The Koasati were an agricultural group with their own towns, officials, and distinctive culture. According to DeSoto's sixteenth-century journals, the Koasati were regional traders who also served as guides and liaisons between white explorers and other Indian tribes in the area.
Southeastern Indian symbol for fire and the sun.
The arms are the logs and the small circle in the middle is the fire.
The friendly relations initially forged between whites and neighboring tribes came to a rather tumultuous end in the late 1700s as white settlers began invading Indian territory. With their towns and crops destroyed, the Koasati were forced to leave their home in Tennessee River Country. This uprooting initiated dissonance and conflict among traditionally friendly tribes. The now fragmented Coushatta found new homes in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana.
The first group to enter Louisiana settled along Red River and consisted of approximately 80 to 100 individuals. In 1861, more than 250 Coushatta Indians inhabited the area along the Calcasieu River near Kinder. They relocated in 1884 to Allen Parish, where they reside today. Currently boasting a population of 400 and 685 acres of reservation land in trust, members of the Coushatta community in Allen Parish have retained their identity and pride in their heritage. The entire community speaks the Coushatta language, maintains their individual homesteads, and continues the craft of basket making that is synonymous with the Coushatta.tribe. The Coushatta Indian Tribe of Louisiana obtained federal recognition in June 1973, a year after the Louisiana legislature officially acknowledged them as a tribe. In garnering national recognition, the Coushatta were able to establish their own tribal government and obtain federal programs to assist the Coushatta people in developing their community.
Alana A. Carmon

Below are Links to  Louisiana Indians Pages
Louisiana Indians Page 1 ] [ Louisiana Indians Page 2 ] [ Louisiana Indians Page 3 ]
Louisiana Indians Page 4 ] [ Louisiana Indians Page 5 ]

Below are Links to Native American People/Tribes Pages
[ Native American People/Tribes Contents Page ] [ The Abenaki ] [ The Algonquin ]
[ The Anazasi ] [ The Blackfoot Nation ] [ The Cherokee ] [ The Comanche ]
[ Haida People ] [ The Hopi-Navajo-Zuni ] [ Inuit People Page 1 ] [ The Kiowa ]
[ The Kootenai ] [ The Louisiana Indians ] [ Natchez Trace and the People ]
[ The Penobscots ] [ The Pequot ] [ The Great Sioux Nation ] [ The Tlingit Nation ]
[ The Wampanoag ]

Below are Links to the Main Pages which are also on the Slide Out Menu
[ Home ] [ Contents of SnowwOwl's Website ] [ Flash News!-NA Current Issues ] [ Music Options ] [ NA Information Contents Page ] [ Native American People/Tribes-Contents ]
[ Native American History-Contents ] [ Powwow Information Contents Page ]
[ Native American Life Living Art-Contents ] [ Native American-Leaders ]
[ Hear the Voices of the People-Native American Testimony ] [ The Natural World ]
[Native American-Recipes ] [ SnowwOwl's Writings-Contents ] [ The Outraged Owl ]
[ Spotted Wolf's Corner ] [ Hill & Holler Column ] [ Wotanging Ikche ]
[ So Says, Spirit Hawk ^i^ ] [ Student Projects ] [ Guest Contributions Contents ]
[ Dedicated People Contents ] [ SnowwOwl-A Few SnowwOwl Feathers ]
[ Featured Websites Contents ] [ Featured Artists Contents Page ] [ Credits and Links ]
[ Guest Log Archives Contents Page ] [ Email Information ]
[ Snowwowl's Website Awards ]

Guest Book


Guest Log


You Are the

Visitor to This Page

This Site Designed and Maintained By-
ã November 3, 2001

Created April 2005

Website Hosted by