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James Parish and spread down the bayous. Today many of the men work at oil-related industries, as do their neighbors, the Chitimacha. However, Houma men have also become famous boat wrights and their inland waterway shrimp boats, a type of Lafitte Skiff, are famous among Gulf Coast fishermen from Galveston to Mobile Bay.
This folk industry, while tying the Houma to the outside world, has served them well at home, too. They are still among the best fishermen in south Louisiana. Acculturation from l8th century contact has also left them in the position of being among the most traditional speakers of the Acadian dialect in the state.
While only snatches of Houma songs and a few isolated Indian words remain, conservative "old-fashioned" French music and language dominate Houma communities. Geographic isolation and the fact that the Houma were segregated from both blacks and whites in schools, movies, churches, and other public places, kept the people together and limited language exchanges.
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Today, the Houma have selectively integrated the best of both culturesFrench and Indian. Change has come, but newer elements, like Lafitte Skiffs, have become powerful recent sources of community identity, and Indian culture has survived. The Tunica-Biloxi fused in the s; the two tribes had become so inextricably mixed socially and culturally that they chose a unitary chief Downs Once they occupied several villages, but they now are concentrated near Marksville in Avoyelles Parish.
While their last Tunica and Biloxi speakers died in the s, the older people have preserved a relatively large number of both Tunica and Biloxi words.
Many remember songs and stories, and at least two men recall the traditional Fete de Ble rituals and the old dances. Material culture has survived there, too. Older men still manufacture ball sticks or raquettes, and the tanning of deerskins--a Tunica specialty at least since French colonial times--is maintained.
Women have their own unique styles of pine needle baskets--the last of their cane basket makers, an Ofo Indian, Alice Picote, died only a few years ago.
Horn spoons, once utilitarian items, are now made for craft sales, and occasionally a traditional piece of silverwork is produced. Like the Chitimacha, the Tunica-Biloxi are much mixed with local French families and, like the Houma, they have been severely discriminated against.
Their children even those of predominantly white ancestryfor example, were not able to attend local schools until the s. Coupled with fierce pride and community identity, such social isolation provided the ambiance for the conservation of large blocks of Tunica-Biloxi culture, not to mention that of the Ofo and Avoyel absorbed by them Haas Choctaw, especially near Jena and Georgetown, Louisiana, Gregory Recently Anderson Lewis, their traditional tanner, has taught several younger men to tan.
George Allen of Jena, for example, is very active. This core group represents possibly the last active Indian tanners in the whole southeast. Nationally, Indian craftsmen often buy deerskin tanned in the northern plains or by the Mexico Kickapoo. A single elderly tanner, Paul Thomas, at Clifton, Louisiana, also continues working, but only sporadically.
He, like Anderson Lewis, recalls that they tanned the hides to make whip "crackers" and "string" to sell to muleskinners working for nearby logging outfits. Both men learned their skills from their fathers. The creamy brown color and smoky smell of soft buckskin can still be an aesthetic experience in central Louisiana. In the s and on into the s the family of the late Joseph Pierite, Chief of the Tunica-Biloxi, also tanned their own deerskins.
Although they used different techniques than the Choctaw, the method was very traditional. Chief Joe made long hunting shirts, dolls, drums, moccasins, and variety of other things from the materials. His crafts are in collections at the Smithsonian, the University of Pennsylvania, the Denver Museum, and elsewhere. Stickball was played by most tribal groups in central Louisiana.
They played inter-tribally and with each other. These games were popular entertainment for whites and blacks until the s. The Tunica-Biloxi had weekly games on their ballgrounds at Marksville. Older people, both Indian and non-Indian, recall the games with great pleasure.
Accompanied by a great deal of gambling and some drinking, the games were frowned upon by the missionaries, and most groups had ceased to play by the s. Those who continued to play did so at isolated spots in the woods so as not to offend ministers.
Today older people remember those games vividly and still make, on occasion, the hickory racquets or kapoche, the looped sticks used to handle the ball. Near New Orleans the white Creoles developed their own teams, and blacks also are reported to have played near Mandeville.
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Like their Indian counterparts these teams had special songs and rituals. In recent years a French team played at Mamou, but the attempt to revive the rough and tumble sport apparently has failed Dixie Roto Visits to the Mississippi Choctaw Fair or the spring ball game of the Alabama and Koasati in east Texas help keep the memories alive.
Music and dance were also popular Indian arts. The dances were open to non-Indians as well. At Marksville the tribal elders love to tell of their dance which involved serpentine movements, spiraling into the center and then out again.
White Creoles who were present invariably wound up on the end of the line of dancers and were "popped off" into the woods! Until the Missionaries became active in the Indian communitiessuch dancing was very popular. A drum, made of an iron kettle or a cypress knee covered with deerhide, beat with a single stick, was the most common musical accompaniment, but the ex-slave, Northrop, described a dance he attended on Indian Creek in the s, where a fiddle had become part of the music Northrop Indian fiddle players have a long history in Louisiana, even though little has been written about them, and their music is virtually unrecorded.
In south central Louisiana near Oakdale, the Choctaw family named Blue-eyes was famous for their fiddling at country dances.
Similarly, the Toby family in Sabine Parish, also of Choctaw tribal origin, provided a number of fiddlers. He seemed to know "older" French songs than anyone else. Alan Lomax has suggested possible Indian cantometric measurable cultural traits elements in Acadian music personal communicationbut Indian music remains a virtually unrecognized area of Louisiana folk tradition.
He also taped a number of fiddle pieces by Joe Langley, a Coushatta. Himself a fine Indian singer, Medford's collection is the best in the state.
Emanuel Drechsel personal communication has taped a fine collection of Tunica-Biloxi songs and fragments. The Coushatta tribe at Elton has recently organized a youth group which, under the tutelage of Rosabel Sylestine, has attempted to revitalize the traditional songs and dances there.
That group eschews the influence of Plains Indian costumes and the pan-tribal "round dances" and "war dances" seen at the urban pow-wows held annually in Baton Rouge, Houston, and at the Alabama-Coushatta reservation near Livingston, Texas. Instead, tribal elders have taught traditional Coushatta songs and dances, especially those of the late Cissie Robinson, the oldest of the Alabama speakers. They went to Mississippi and brought Prentiss Jackson and his wife to drum and sing in the old Choctaw tradition.
"A Promise From The Sun: The Folklife Traditions Of Louisiana Indians"
Again, the tribal Choctaw at Jena have disdained participation in non-traditional Indian dance activities like pow-wows. The pow-wow circuit has brought a different approach to Louisiana Indian music and dance the two are virtually inseparable in urban areas.
The annual inter-tribal pow-wow is held by the Indian Angels, Inc. It is held at various places: Indians and non-Indians alike visit and participate in the dancing, and traditional pow-wow musicians are usually hired in Oklahoma to provide the drumming and singing.
Predominantly in a Plains tradition, pow-wow music is heard nationwide, and, like the feather headdress or, "war bonnet," has come to be a strong new symbol of Indian national rather than tribal specific identity, especially to urban Indian groups Thomas ; Booker Even so, the strengths of traditional southeastern Indian musics have surfaced again at Jena and Elton.
Densmore collected Chitimacha songs. However, no sacred songs were in that collection. Neither have many of the sacred songs of Coushatta or Tunica-Biloxi made it into collections. Most of these have been carefully curated by the tribes as sacred knowledge not shared with outsiders, or they have been lost. Storytelling, in all its functional aspects, has been kept alive in the Indian communities Swanton Faye Stouff has preserved recent Chitimacha stories Stouff and Twittyaugmenting Swanton's Swanton also collected Koasati and Alabama stories which are parallel and sometimes identical to those in Louisiana.
Byingtonhas left us a compliment of Choctaw stories from Bayou La Combe. Mary Haashas published a collection of Tunica stories and myths, including snatches of oral history in which she has pointed out the antiquity and strength of those traditions. At Jena, Choctaw elders still tell traditional Choctaw etiological stories--possibly the origin of many of the animal tales told by other groups in the Southeast.
Such stories are usually told at night and by grandparents. Children learn all sorts of social rules and morals by their example to this day. Indian joking and humor are as well developed in Louisiana as they are elsewhere in North America. Frequently they involve the white man, but outsiders seldom hear them and those who do complain that Indians joke "too hard. An example is one told by a Coushatta. They asked questions all about us.
How did we cook? How did we eat? Finally one asked me, 'How do you sleep? Home visits are frequent and kinship ties very strong. Some Indians have had their deceased members returned from Texas for burial on tribal land. Stereotypes suffer, however, upon meeting Louisiana Indians. Few relate to the "uniform" of Indian identity seen elsewhere in the nation. The Tunica frequently chose bright colors; red, white and blue, were their favorites.
Coushatta kept yellow, black, red and white preferences, the older sacred colors of the southeast. Tunica silverwork had virtually ceased by the s, but many families still keep an array of ornaments of hammered and polished coins and German silver. One Tunica burial even contained the tools of the silversmith's trade Gregory Broaches, arm bands, head bands, bracelets, ear and nose ornaments, breast plates, and other items were popular in traditional dress.
Aftersuch items spread widely among the state tribes Gregory Ribbons, introduced originally into the Indian trade when surplus patriotic ribbons flooded the country at the end of the French Revolution, have continued to be traditional decoration, especially in women's clothing Underhill Beadwork, both the traditional scroll baldrics and complicated chain-meander pattern loom beading, as well as necklaces--Venetian collars and "Daisy Chains"--continue among the Coushatta, the Choctaw at Jena, and the Tunica-Biloxi.
Worn singlely, any of the above items are not a necessary mark of "Indianess," but in combination these elements are clearly so. Younger Indians are increasingly drawn to pan-tribal symbols, too.
These items contrast with the western boots, jeans, denim work shirts, and overalls of the often more traditionally tribal rural folks.
Palmetto hats, made at home by the Houma, are still more popular than imported Indian elements down on the bayou. Toy pirogues, blowguns, moss dolls, basketry, horn spoons, Chinaberry necklaces, seed necklaces of Mamou "beans," wooden crabs, crayfish, and birds offer striking contrasts to the stereotypes of Indian crafts.
Folk medicines in Louisiana are more often Indian than European or African. Frank Speck has pointed this out graphically for the Houma, and Spitzer has suggested that medicinal plants and traditional cures are a strong Indian identity factor for those people.
Many strange foodstuffs that fall upon one's palate in Louisiana came from Indian dietary schedules Speck and Dexter Corn dishes abound, as well. Though they are frequently highly seasoned today, they are still clearly Indian in origin. The Coushatta continue to serve their traditional corn soup, chawaka, a version of sofki, once a widespread Indian food in the southeast.
On the Sabine River, in northwestern Louisiana, the descendants of Choctaw and ex-slave Apacheans have preserved the tortilla, tamale, and beans traditions of more typical southwestern Indians.
Mixed with other Spanish colonial influences, these foods have long served to set the area's identity apart. Fried bread, both wheat and maize, are typical Indian foods all over North America.
The Louisiana Indians continue that tradition, too. Choctaw and Tunica make "blue corn" dumplings, eaten with mustard greens, and talk about tomfula, their favored pounded corn food. While some Indian foods, like crawfish, have become Louisiana culinary delights, it should be pointed out that many Houma still refuse to eat them.
It may just be the stigma of meeting through social media that drive Tanushree and Rishi to tweak their story, but you can hardly blame them. App-based dating, however, is yet to go full-throttle in India.
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While there are a flurry of apps like Tinder, Vee, TrulyMadly, Happn and OKCupid which use geotagging, algorithms and math to determine who is a good match within seconds, the concept, quite different from social networking platforms because of the fact that they have been specifically designed for dating people, is picking up pace quite slowly.
I would rather go to a bar and talk to people face-to-face. With an estimated 50 million downloads worldwide, Tinder leads the bandwagon. Launched in in India, the location-based social search app has met with contradictory reactions.
Although young Indians are defying family and society by using smartphone apps to meet partners, the long-term goal tend to differ. Shruti Bhasin is a Tinder user who has no intentions of finding her significant other online.
Then why use Tinder? Bhasin downloaded Tinder last year which helped her find 12 guys with matching algorithms. Anonymous browsing which enables strangers looking through your profile and personal information may seem to be a little dicey. Personal background check can be one of the parameter to check this drawback but the magnitude of the app usage makes it ineffable to understand. After a few chat sessions, we decided to meet up, says Tanya B, a year-old student in Delhi University.
Over the years, now it is a given that online dating has never been for the frail-hearted. One has to take this chance and see who is on the other side.
Ajith met Trishala on Tinder in and after 2 days of chatting, they met over coffee, coffee turned to family dinners and are now planning a winter wedding this year.
The median age in the world is around years. And most of the dating apps cater to an audience under and But what about the rest?