Houma Indian

 
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This is a statue of a Houma Indian along the Intercoastal Waterway in Houma, Louisiana. The Houma Indian tribe is not recognized by the federal government.

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Guest - May 28, 2007 09:18 AM EDT
Thanks!! I agree about the historical authenticity. The federal government does not recognize many smaller tribes due to various reasons. In the case of the Houma Indians, read the following from the local newspaper. Houma Indians still vying for federal recognition By MIKA EDWARDS The Courier Advertisement HOUMA – The United Houma Nation’s decades-long struggle to be recognized as an American Indian tribe by the federal government has been stalled for at least another five months, a delay that does not surprise tribe officials. Waiting is something the 16,000-strong United Houma Nation has grown accustomed to, said Principal Chief Brenda Dardar Robichaux. The south Louisiana-based tribe, which stretches from St. Mary to Plaquemines parishes, has been seeking recognition from the government since 1984. The Houma United Nation had hoped the federal government’s Bureau of Indian Affairs would issue a final determination on its status by the end of the month. Federal recognition would clear the way for the tribe to get federal money from the Bureau of Indian Affairs for health, education and other social programs. It also grants the tribe the right to set aside and govern its own lands. Instead of issuing a decision soon, as tribe officials had expected, the federal government extended its own deadline. The move will allow the bureau to complete the final determination on another tribe before it tackles the United Houma Nation’s petition. “We never get our hopes up,” Dardar Robichaux said. “This is part of the way they operate. They give us a deadline and then they don’t meet their own deadline. … We have heard a lot of excuses, besides incompetence. Over 20 years you hear a lot of excuses.” Indian Affairs officials told the United Houma Nation that its petition probably won’t be reviewed until December. Once that process begins, it could be several years before the government issues its decision, said Gary Garrison, public-affairs specialist for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. “The material that is submitted has to be cross referenced and the staff has to make sure it’s accurate, and that may take quite awhile to do,” he said. Garrison said there is no set number of final determinations issued annually, adding the bureau has acknowledged 15 tribes and denied the petitions of 23 others since 1978. The Houma United Nation first filed paperwork requesting federal recognition in the mid-1980s. At the time, tribe officials were under the impression that the answer would come relatively quickly, said Michael Dardar, vice principal chief and tribe historian for the United Houma Nation. “Unfortunately, I’m not surprised,” he said of the latest delay. “The federal-recognition effort has been ongoing since 1984 in what was billed to us as an 18-month to two-year process, and has been stretched into two decades.” The tribe’s petition has already been denied once. That was in 1994 when researchers with the Bureau of Indian Affairs determined the Houma Indians had failed to properly show they meet three of seven required criteria. Here are the ones that federal officials say the tribe hasn’t proven: That it descends from a historical tribe from the point of first contact with European settlers. Has maintained a cohesive political identity from historical times to present. Has maintained itself as a community from historic times to present. In the years since it was refused, the United Houma Nation has been working to prove the tribe meets all the criteria, including the three in question. “We feel our petition has enough evidence that we meet those three criteria, most definitely,” Dardar Robichaux said. According to Dardar and Dardar Robichaux, there are multiple benefits to having federal recognition. It would make the tribe eligible for federal grants, housing and health care – benefits the large group currently cannot receive. “It does help a lot, but it’s not a cure-all,” Dardar Robichaux said. “What it does is open doors and it allows you to have opportunities and it gives you a government-to-government relationship with the United States.” Dardar said the process itself – though it has its advantages – is insulting and in no way a validation of the tribe’s identity. “They are saying you have to prove that you are an Indian, and in a way, it’s insulting,” he said. “But you deal with it because it’s worthwhile in pursuing.” Courier staff writer Mika Edwards
Guest - May 28, 2007 04:01 AM EDT
A beautiful statue although I doubt any Indian was muscled like this statue considering their life style and diet. This looks like something from a romance novel. Lol! Great abs! I have never heard of this tribe. Why are they not recognized by the government? Thanks for sharing a bit of your state's history.
Guest - May 27, 2007 09:20 PM EDT
Thanks!! I think the artist who did it did a great job. I am glad to see the Houma honored in this way. By the way, their tribal symbol is the crawfish. That would happen only in Louisiana.
Guest - May 27, 2007 04:31 PM EDT
I have never seen a statue this great, thank you for posting so we all may see.

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