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Title: Chitimacha Notebook - Writings of Emile Stouff—A Chitimacha Chief
Author: Stouff, Emile, Gaudet, Marcia
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                          CHITIMACHA NOTEBOOK
              Writings of Emile Stouff—A Chitimacha Chief


                        Edited by Marcia Gaudet

    [Illustration: Basket pattern]

            Lafayette Natural History Museum and Planetarium
                          Lafayette, Louisiana
                                  1986

    [Illustration: Page facsimile]

    [Illustration: Page facsimile]

    [Illustration: Emile Stouff, Chief of the Chitimachas]

    [Illustration: Chitimacha Chief Benjamin Paul and the Chitimacha
    children are pictured with a pirogue near the Chitimacha reservation
    in Charenton. The little girl is Jane Bernard Wilson, the boy in the
    center is Arthur Darden, and the boy sitting in the pirogue is
    Gabriel Darden.

    (M.R. Harrington, 1908. Photo courtesy of Museum of the American
    Indian, Heye Foundation)]



                           TABLE OF CONTENTS


  I. Introduction                                                      3
  II. The Chitimacha Story of Creation                                 5
  III. History of the Chitimacha Indians                              11
  IV. Previous Publications about the Chitimachas                     15



                          LIST OF PHOTOGRAPHS


  I. Chitimacha Chief Benjamin Paul with children and canoe  facing page
                                                                       1
  II. Chitimacha family—Regis Darden                                   2
  III. Chitimacha group—1908                                           4
  IV. Three members of a Chitimacha family                            10

    [Illustration: The Regis Darden Chitimacha family. Pictured from
    left to right are Lucy Mora Darden, Delphine Stouff (in back),
    Adelle Darden, Gaston Darden, Regis Darden (in back), and Stacy
    Darden. Adelle Darden, wife of Regis Darden, was known as “Gum
    DaDa.” Lucy Mora Darden was the wife of Gaston Darden. Chitimacha
    baskets are pictured in front of the group. Basket weaving is a
    traditional craft of the Chitimacha Indians.

    (M.R. Harrington, 1908. Photo courtesy of Museum of the American
    Indian, Heye Foundation)]



                              INTRODUCTION


Emile Stouff was Chief of the Chitimachas of Charenton, Louisiana, from
1948 to 1968. After Chief Stouff died in 1978, his widow, Faye Roger
Stouff, discovered two notebooks in which he had recorded some of the
things about the Chitimachas that he had learned from oral tradition.
The two manuscripts were written in Emile Stouff’s handwriting. Though
Chief Stouff had no formal education, Mrs. Stouff, who is not a Native
American, taught him to read and write after they were married and she
came to live with him on the Chitimacha land.

Mrs. Stouff said that her husband told her he had learned most of the
legends, stories, and myths that he knew from an aunt who would sit him
down and beat him with a cane to make him listen. She would tell him,
“You’ve got to learn this.” Learning the history, religious beliefs,
legends, and traditions of the tribe was apparently a very important
part of the education and development of the Chitimachas.

There are two separate notebooks with writings by Emile Stouff. One
begins with the story of creation and deals with the beliefs of the
Chitimachas. The other deals more with the history since the white man
came. Previous publications about the Chitimachas have presented parts
of the legend about the cypress tree in Lake Dauterive and the legend
about the little bird of the Chitimachas. Since Chief Stouff’s version
of the history is from the perspective of the Chitimachas, it differs
somewhat from previously published accounts. This is particularly
evident in a comparison of the Chitimacha account of the murder of St.
Cosme with accounts that rely on French historical sources.

Chief Stouff’s notebooks give an account of the Chitimacha beliefs and
history as they were passed down by oral tradition. He recognized that
this tradition would perhaps not be maintained, and he attempted to
record some of his knowledge of the people and their culture. As such,
his writings are of value and interest to anyone who would like to know
more about the Chitimachas.

In editing the notebooks, I have made as few changes as possible in
order to maintain the style and tone of Chief Stouff’s writing. The
changes from his original manuscript have been mainly to standardize
spelling and punctuation for clarity. For example, Chief Stouff spelled
Chitimacha several different ways (Chetamacha, Chetimacha, Chitamacha)
in his writing, and he usually used no punctuation at all. Thus, he was
writing just as he would have told these stories orally to the next
generation of Chitimachas.

                                                           Marcia Gaudet

    [Illustration: Chitimacha Group with finished Chitimacha baskets.
    Pictured left to right are Delphine Darden Stouff, the
    child—Constance Marie Stouff (died at age 13), Clara Darden, and
    Octave Stouff, Sr. They are, respectively, Emile Stouff’s mother,
    sister, great-aunt, and father.

    (M.R. Harrington, 1908. Photo courtesy of Museum of the American
    Indian, Heye Foundation)]



                       MANUSCRIPT OF EMILE STOUFF
                     Last Chief of the Chitimachas



                         THE STORY OF CREATION


In the beginning, the Great Spirit looked at a great mass of water. So
he said, “There should be something solid for animals with blood.” So he
called upon the crawfish to dig down and bring up some dirt, which they
did. As they brought up the dirt, the water receded. The crawfish is
still working at it. The Great Spirit was pleased. So he took the dirt
and made all living things with it. When he ran out of objects, he said,
“This is good, but I must make one to control these animals. I will make
man.” So he chose some good clay and made a clay man, but it was soft.
“I shall bake it in the fire from the sun,” he said. So he baked it, and
when he took it out, it was pale. So he just blew on it and set it
aside. Then, the more he looked at it, the more he was displeased with
it. So he said, “I will let it live, but I will make another one and
leave it longer to darken it.” He left it twice as long as before and
when he took this one out, it was black. So he set it aside and said, “I
shall make another,” and when he baked this one he cut the time in half,
and it came out exactly as he wanted it. So he made three—one white, one
black, and one red. He named that one _pinikan_, meaning Red.

Then he saw man needed a helpmate. “I made man out of dirt so I will
take part of man to make his helpmate so they will be as one, and she
will be known as female as she is part of the male.” After looking the
male over, he decided to make her out of bone. So he took a rib from the
rib case, right in front of the chest, leaving a bone dangling. When man
woke up, he saw this female sitting there. He noticed she was built
different and beautiful. When he started to her, he cried, “Wo Man,” and
they committed the first sin (as we know it). The man said, “You should
cover yourself up.” The female said, “And so should you. I know, I will
take the large leaves from this tree and make each a cover.” She made
the covers and tied them on with a vine known today as the white vine.
When they heard the Great Spirit coming, they were ashamed, and hid from
him. So he called for them to “Come out wherever you are.” Then the
Great Spirit asked them, “Why are you hiding?” Then the male said, “She
looked so enticing that I went into her without your permission.” The
Great Spirit said, “For that you shall go out on the earth and earn your
living by the sweat of your brow. If you do not work, you do not eat,
and you, woman, you shall bear his offspring in great pain. I did not
intend to have but you two, but since it is this way, you will be
fruitful and multiply so your seed may be many, and now that you are
smart, I will give you the earth, but remember you are made of her dirt
and you shall return to her. She is your mother. She will feed you and
clothe you. She will give you the trees to give you nuts and fruits for
you to eat and at seasons for birds to live in, and fur bearing animals.
You will also enjoy its shade. When you are tired, you may rest on the
soft grass that will grow. The tree will have many uses. It will be used
to warm you in the winter, to make rafts to float on the waters, and it
will make your homes for your protection against the cold winter. It
will heat you when it is cold. It will cook your food and its fire will
be a blessing as the flames leave by small parts into the skies. It will
also tell you the direction you must go so you need not ever get lost
while you are traveling. The seed you shall plant, the earth will help
them grow so you will have something to eat. She will separate and make
streams to harbor the fishes you will eat and for you to drink and
bathe. So protect the waters and keep them clean. Your life depends on
its purity just like the air you breathe. You may have my breath in you,
and if you disobey me, I will withdraw my breath and you will be no
more. And through my breath, I will be with you always. When you are
sick, the earth will bear roots and herbs for you to use. I will not
inflict any sickness that will not have herbs to cure. I will speak to
your medicine man through a coma only and only to this man I shall
designate the cures. I will speak to him only through a vision. No one
else shall see me again, and this man shall choose someone of his kind
and reveal this secret to any man worthy of him. To avoid conflict,
there will be only one in each group to speak to me. His power strength
will be as strong as his faith in me. I shall keep the mother earth in
my custody so I may destroy it any time that you have lost faith in me
and disobey my teaching. You will, at any time I choose for you, return
your body to the mother earth, but if you love me and keep the faith
your spirits will go to the Happy Hunting Ground, where everything will
be for your taking, and you will die no more. But if you do not, your
carcass will remain in mother womb and return to dirt of which you were
created.

“The earth will be for your use. Use it in any way you choose. But no
one can claim it as their own. It is not to be bought, sold, or rented,
because the earth is mine. Misuse it, and you shall repent for any wrong
use of the land or its streams. This I command you to live by, so go out
in the world that you have made for yourself and be fruitful and
multiply.”

That is the way the Indians said the Great Spirit gave it to the first
man, and it was in practice when the white man came into this country.
The Great Spirit showed them how to make coverups out of animal skin,
called breachcloths, and they were happy. Now the man who was to do the
treating found a certain herb that would put him into a coma, so he
would build a fire and drink a tea made from this herb and dance around
this fire chanting until this herb took effect. Then he would pass out.
While in this stage, he would communicate with the Great Spirit which
would tell him what to do or what to use or whatever his desire was.
Someone asked the medicine man to describe the Great Spirit since he
claims he saw him. The medicine man said he would be hard to describe
since he has no shape, and yet he has many shapes. “The way I saw him is
like a heavy mist. He had no eyes, yet he saw everything. He has no
ears, yet he hears everything, even the unspoken word within you. He has
no mouth, yet he speaks. You have heard him speak to you within your
head, something to not do that is wrong, or he will say do do that that
is good. He is watching you always. You cannot hide from his sight no
matter where you are or what you are doing.”

Now the Indians had no Hell, no Devil. They thought that returning to
dirt and not going to the Happy Hunting Ground was the worst thing that
could happen to them. It was their code, not religion. They lived by
sort of Moses’ law—an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Their chief
and councilmen would decide. Now the white man says that they found them
worshipping the moon or some stars. True, they knew he was up there
somewhere, so some would think he was the man in the moon, and thought
he was some bright star. They did not know. Nonetheless, they knew that
there was a power stronger than them. They could feel him in their mind.
They did not teach fear to their children like they would go to hell.
They taught them bravery, to fear no one. As long as they obeyed the
Great Spirit, they would be content.

A long time ago, no definite date, came among the Chitimacha a strange,
fair complected man who spoke their language, which amazed the Indians.
He was very smart. The Indians said he knew everything. He taught them
to make better crops by using fish byproducts and even fish by their
plants, and it would make them grow healthy and strong. He helped them
to substitute herbs when one was not available at different seasons.
Then came one day, he told the Indians it was time for him to leave the
Chitimacha and go do his father’s work. He picked out a cypress tree and
climbed to the top. Then he told the Chitimachas, “Whenever you need
rain for your crops, come and wet this tree and it will rain according
to your needs.” And until this day, it works. It has been proven by
many, many people, white and black. All over South Louisiana, people
know about it and believe in it strongly. That is how the Indians were
blessed by the Great Spirit. He gives and he takes. The Chitimacha did
not think it feasible to ask the Great Spirit for anything. All they
taught their children was how to thank him for all the good things they
got from him. If something went wrong along the way, you just checked
the past—you have done something to displease the Great Spirit. It has
always been and still is until today. So the Indians would punish
themselves to try and please the Great Spirit.

Now the Indian has been ridiculed for talking to the Great Spirit which
is an Indian belief. The white prophets of old spoke to their gods. Why
should it be unreasonable for an Indian to do the same under the Great
Spirit? Guidance as afore stated, the Chitimacha do not believe Adam and
Eve naked in the Garden of Eden ate an apple; however, the white man
says so, so the Indians do not deny it, since they had to accept the
white God, which is the same Supreme Being with different names. They
are both sacred to the Chitimacha. Since the Indians could not read or
write, all this was handed down mouth to mouth. So many things might be
left out and some could have been added. We do not know for sure, yet
some of your strongest and oldest organizations do not have anything
written and are still going strong.

We do know that the Indians did not preach religion. They live it. They
have a ceremonial for everything, and it was all done with respect to
the Great Spirit. Their dances, their chanting was somewhat like your
unknown tongue of today, and it was always done around a fire because we
believe that fire has life. If you watch a fire, you will notice part of
the flame leaves the fire and goes up to carry the message to the Great
Spirit, thanking him for a good harvest, good hunt, a good fish catch,
and many other things.

The council would meet and decide what punishment should be for a
wrongdoer, such as if one committed murder and they decided he should
die also, the chief would tell him. So having no jail, he would be free
until his time came. Time was measured by the moon. The council would
decide how many moons he had left. Then the criminal would return to
meet his execution and if he did not return, his mother or father or
brother or his son would have to pay for his crime, someone very close
to him. Now in the killing of one in a brawl, the living was not
punished by death. He had to see that the family of the deceased was fed
and clothed until all were capable of taking care of themselves. If he
had only enough for one family, he had to do without, so the dead man’s
family would not suffer hunger. Now if a squaw committed adultery, she
was punished by cutting the tip of her nose. She would be forever marked
as an unfaithful squaw. There is no punishment known today for the man.

Once an Indian had an eye sore the medicine man could not cure. So he
had to go into a coma and seek the aid of the Great Spirit. After the
preparation that the Great Spirit had instructed them to do, he passed
out, so to speak. The Great Spirit told him where to find the herb that
would cure any sore eye. It seems that the chief’s little girl had died
and was buried. The Great Spirit told him to go to the grave of this
little girl, and he will find a small vine growing from her eye. Use
that vine and leaves, and make an eye wash with it. He did and the eyes
were cured (and we were still using it till we were forbidden by the
medical association to use any herb), and many herbs were found, like
moner, and until today only one of the tribe knows the herbs that were
used since the beginning, which will not be revealed to anyone. The
Indians of today do not meet the standard that the Great Spirit set, nor
will they follow the ritual that goes with it, so it will die out just
like the other things the white man deprived the Indians of, their way
of living.

The chief duty was to see that everyone had something to eat before he
would eat. If some did not have any through no fault of their own,
everyone had to share what they had with the one that had none. These
were the unwritten laws that the Chitimacha lived by. As far as this
writer knows that is the way it was related a long time ago. (I make no
excuse for adding some or leaving some of it out. As time goes on,
perhaps some more will come to mind. If so, it will be added to this
brief resume of the one and only Great Spirit as the Indians knew him
before the white man came.)

The Indians knew how to make rain without the rain tree and how to make
the north wind blow to dry up the weather when necessary. I have seen it
work time after time. It is a secret given by the Great Spirit for their
use, but they were warned never to abuse it nor use it to harm your
fellow men. But such rituals cannot and will not be revealed to the
Indians of today. They are too well integrated with the white man and
his ways. It may not work for them, so let it die out like so many
rituals have. Like an old Indian chief once said, “The campfire is dying
out, the hunt is almost over.” But what will happen to the songs and the
folklore? They will soon die out also. Everything an Indian does is done
in a circle because all things are round. The moon, the stars, the sun,
the sky, the world is round. So he must also do everything in a circle.
The sun rises and circles overhead until it disappears and returns to do
the same thing again. So does the moon. The stars do the same thing.
Their homes were built in circles. Their lives were lived in a circle
from birth to death to birth after death.

The extremely beautiful creation of the Chitimacha Indians is amazingly
similar to the Biblical Genesis. The animal was created before man. So
in this Divine Origin, they have a certain proximity to the Great Spirit
himself which serves the same function as revealed scriptures in other
religions. There are intermediators or links between man and the Great
Spirit. The Great Spirit comes to the Indian vision involving animal
forms. One old Indian, the last we know of, received his spiritual power
from visions of a wolf and when he died in the house where an Indian
still lives, a pack of wolves came and ran around the house several
times and then left never to return as far as we know. We as Indians
have lost the communication with the Great Spirit. Then we still have a
very small bird that lives with the Indians, and it peeps things Indians
understand. It tells when someone is coming, when it is going to rain,
and many other things only an Indian understands. No Indian was allowed
to harm this little bird.

Indians see signs from all the wild animals—have some trait—an Indian
notices them very close, thinking they are the love of the Great Spirit.
Since he created them first, we regard all created beings as sacred and
important for everything.

This is the way it was told to me many years ago. So be it.

    [Illustration: Three members of a Chitimacha family. Pictured left
    to right are Felicia Mora Darden, Ernest Jack Darden, and Emma
    Darden Bernard.

    (M.R. Harrington, 1908. Photo courtesy of Museum of the American
    Indian, Heye Foundation)]



                   HISTORY OF THE CHITIMACHA INDIANS


I will try to write here what I know of the Chitimacha Indians as I know
it and what I heard from the old people.

The tribe once lived on Grand Lake from Bayou Portage, as that is where
the Sacred tree now stands, to the shell beach here in Charenton. That
is where they were living when one day a large boat came up from where
the sun rises. It stopped out in the lake a distance from shore. The
Indians were amazed at its size and stood on shore looking when some men
came ashore to see about coming ashore. Since they did not speak the
same language, they were chased back to their ship. (They were Spanish.)
Next day they decided to come ashore by force, but the night before the
chief consulted the medicine man to find out what should he do. The
medicine man took some kind of herbs and burnt them and gathered the
ashes and told the chief if he would spread the ashes on the shore line,
not one would put the foot on land. So it was done by the chief. They
tried, but the warriors held them off as the chief stood on the shell
knolls with the ashes in hand throwing bits in the air. They Spaniards
were so badly defeated, they went off in their ship. The Chitimacha,
thinking they had chased them off for good, forgot about them and again
were enjoying life like it was.

Not too many moons later, the Spaniards came back to the Indians on
Bayou de Chittamach (known now as Bayou Lafourche) and gathered the
Houma Indian which they had defeated and enslaved to fight the
Chitimachas. Somehow they came up Bayou Teche and attacked from that
side. While they were fighting the Houma Indians, the Spaniards came and
landed on the lake side, which is known now as the Shell Beach and
attacked from that side. The Chitimacha did not have a chance. Thousands
were killed and wounded and nothing to eat. We had to give up.

The enemy told the few remaining Chitimachas, “This is what we will give
you. You may remain here on this bayou and live. No harm will come to
you, but any Indian caught in the woods or lakeshore will be shot on
sight.”

This parcel of land we now hold is the very same place that they were
talking about.

We have no record of what happened to the Houmas that survived the war.
Perhaps the Spaniards took them home or they remained here and
intermixed with us. I do not know.

Hunting along the Bayou Teche was not so very good, so the Indians had
to eat whatever they could find such as acorns, wild fruit, and some
grass was edible until they could grow some vegetables. Then life became
more bearable.

Now that is the way I heard, true or not.

I do know that the Houma Indians were hated by all the old Indians as
late as the twenties. Few Houma Indians came over and were not received
by the old Indians with the exception of two women. I will cover them
later.

After the Spaniards settled, they had their first governor by the name
of Galvez. The year 1763, Galvez signed a treaty with the Chitimachas
for living so peaceful. He granted them 1100 acres of land on both sides
of Bayou Teche.

There is no record I can find how they built the town of Charenton in
the middle of the grant. The older Indians did not say what happened
from then to the time when Spain sold out to France.

When the Frenchmen came over, they started to take over the land that
was donated to the Chitimachas which they claimed the French had bought
it all from Spain. The treaty was no more good.

Then the French started killing Indians. The Indians tried to fight
back, but were no match for Frenchmen who nearly wiped out the Indians.
They killed them like animals, slaughtered, murdered until a few that
remained gave up. So the French took them and made slaves out of them,
those able to work in the fields. The women were made servants, the
young ones taken by the French as concubines. They were forced to lay
with the men, as young as ten years old. There were more men than there
were Indian women, so one Indian woman would satisfy the lust of five or
six Frenchmen.

Then half breeds were born to the Indian women. Some of us still have
French names.

There were only about fifty Indians escaped to Plaquemine, Weeks Island,
and all about. Some of them came back here and lived pretty peaceful
with the French. They populated well.

By that time the Frenchmen decided that the Indian worship of the Great
Spirit was wrong. They must forget their way of living and live like the
Frenchmen. So they sent a missionary among the Indians to teach them
their invisible God. The Indians, ready to believe anything to help
their plight, believed what this man was saying. His name was St.
Cosmos. He was so pleased with his work, he talked the Chief into
letting him take some Indians to meet the General to show him how they
had accepted the white God. So the Chief consented to let them go. He
took six of the Indian braves and left. It was not known where the
French army was located. Anyhow, when they got there the soldiers killed
all the Indians. The priest was outdone, so to speak, so he returned to
the reservation. When the Chief asked where were his men, the priest
told him they were all dead, shot by the French army. The chief was so
very angry, he ordered the priest killed and brought back to the French.
So be it. When the French woke up the next morning, there was the dead
priest. That is when all hell broke loose. The French hunted the
Chitimachas down and killed everyone in sight. Some Chitimachas ran and
hid all over the woods. Some went to what is now Weeks Island, some got
to Plaquemine. There were about fifty Chitimachas remaining on the same
land that is now the reservation.

At that time, O’Reilly was governor of Louisiana. He issued a
proclamation that the Indians could live there as long as they remained
peaceful and that they were on their own and that parcel of land would
show as a body of water on the map of Louisiana. This map can be found
in the archive of the state Capitol today.

Now about that time, Negro slaves were brought into the South. The white
plantation owners brought black slaves and began to let the Indians go
as they were not too good at work. So the free Indians had no place to
go but back to the Indian reserve with their half breed French and
Indian. It was assumed that is how the Chitimachas got their names until
today. Some of the ones that had escaped started to come back and some
did not. Some remained in Plaquemine where some of them still show the
Indian trace. Of course, they are whites today. And that is how we of
today are descendants of that bunch of Indians. There is no record of
how many there were. We are a small tribe today.

Now there is not much said about the Chief. It seems like they lived
without a chief until the late 1700’s when one Chief, Soulier Rouge,
seems like he acquired a pair of red shoes. Somehow the French started
calling him Soulier Rouge. His first name was Eugene. Nothing was said
about his reign. Only when he died, his squaw took over (Euginie) and
that is when the land started to disappear. She seems to be one of those
Indians that lick white man’s boots just to be with them. It is recorded
that she sold Rose Pecot 610 acres for $9.00 per acre and a man by the
name of Alex Frere 640 acres of land. The record shows that some of the
money was divided among some Indians at $40.00. That is the way it was
recorded in the Court House. The names on the record do not jive with
any name of the now Chitimachas. Somebody gave her an old Mexican silver
crown for a large acreage, but we cannot find out where, but we have the
crown. And it is recorded that in 1817 they leased 610 acres of 99
years. That was 168 years ago. It is also recorded that land was sold
the same year it was leased—which the sale is no good. Now my lawyer
told me that after the lease expires it cannot be re-leased by the same
party.

But we Chitimachas are a nation of people that are afraid to venture as
we may make the whites mad, and we seem as we do not want that. We have
the money to regain that property, but we do not trust lawyers in this
vicinity as we think they would work for the white instead of the
Indians, which was proven in the period of 1903 to 1910. One white
lawyer named George Demerest and one civil engineer named Fusilier
contacted the Indians stating that (the agreement with) Soulier Rouge
and Alex Dardenne was illegal as they could not read or write, that they
could gain all that land back for the Chitimachas. (I think John Paul
might have been Chief then.) The Indians had no money, so it was agreed
that Demerest would work for part of the land. It would not cost the
Indians one penny. So I guess the tribe, thinking that the land was lost
anyhow, so whatever they got back would be okay. So it was agreed that
Demerest would get 4/9 of the land for the Indians. The legal papers
were drawn and signed by both parties. So Demerest took to court in
Franklin. As to be expected, he lost the case. So the Indians must have
been a little outdone, but they figured the case was closed. But they
had signed to give George Demerest 4/9 of the land, win or lose. So
Demerest took all of Georgetown.

Fusilier surveyed the land and found that it was three acres short of
4/9, so he came over and started to measure three acres on Uncle Regis’
land. He was stopped by a shotgun pointing at his head and ordered to
get off. So he did, and they thought that was the end of it. I can
remember that incident. They would laugh when they said Regis was going
to shoot Fusilier. But what they did not know was that Demerest took out
a lien on the land. The Indians ignored the judgement until 1916, when
Demerest foreclosed on the land, which by now included all of the
Chitimacha’s land. The lien was to be sold on the courthouse steps. Now
Tante MiMi was Chief Ben Paul’s wife. She was in cahoots with one Sarah
McIlhenny at Avery Island in a basket trade. Miss Sarah would buy all
the baskets the Chitimacha women would make. The basket makers gathered
at Tante MiMi’s and decided to write to Miss Sarah and ask her help.
Being a very rich woman, they were sure that she would help. She did not
say she would or would not. She sent her lawyer to Franklin to pay off
the mortgage, and there was no sale. The land belonged to Avery Island.
Miss Sarah then made arrangements with Chief Ben Paul to rent the land
to some farmers and pay her back, as she did not want the land. She only
wanted her money back. So this was done. The chief let some Negro
farmers work on share as they had no money to pay rental. Come harvest
time, the Chief had a barn full of corn and sweet potatoes and no
market. The stuff just stayed there and rotted. He sold some. Up to
1918, he had sold and paid back $600.00, more or less.

In the meantime, McIlhenny lawyers were checking the title of the
property and found that the sale was illegal as some of the people had
title to the land, and the best thing for her to do was to petition the
B.I.A. (Bureau of Indian Affairs) to pay her back and take the land in
trust for the Indians. The B.I.A. hired a lawyer in Franklin named C.J.
Boatner to transact the deal in which he had all the Indians sign the
land over to the government, except some were not available at the time.
What the ignorant Indians did not know was that this property was not a
reserve any more. They were giving title to the land, and were paying
taxes on their property. The then Chief who made the deal with Demerest
did not have the authority to sign any deal with anyone. So the
government took over some private land which is not lawful. This
statement is recorded in the courthouse and can be made available
anytime. These records are not in Franklin, as Franklin is twenty miles
from here.



              PREVIOUS PUBLICATIONS ABOUT THE CHITIMACHAS


Hoover, Herbert T. _The Chitimacha People._ Phoenix: Indian Tribal
      Series, 1975.

Kniffen, Fred. _The Indians of Louisiana._ Baton Rouge: Louisiana Bureau
      of Educational Materials, Statistics and Research, College of
      Education, Louisiana State University, 1965.

Orso, Ethelyn and E. Charles Plaisance. “Chitimacha Folklore,”
      _Louisiana Folklore Miscellany_, vol. III, no. 4 (1975 for 1973),
      pp. 35-41.

Stouff, Faye. _The Chetimachas of Charenton._ Booklet published by
      Lafayette Natural History Museum, 1974.

Stouff, Faye and W. Bradley Twitty. _Sacred Chitimacha Indian Beliefs._
      Pompano Beach, Florida: Twitty and Twitty, Inc., 1971.

Swanton, John R. _Indian Tribes of the Lower Mississippi Valley and the
      Adjacent Coast of the Gulf of Mexico._ Washington, D.C.:
      Smithsonian Institute, Bureau of American Ethnography, Bulletin
      43, 1911; Reprinted 1970, Johnson Reprint Corp.

Taylor, Gertrude. “Early History of the Chitimacha,” _Attakapas
      Gazette_, vol. XVI, no. 2 (Summer 1981), pp. 65-69.



                          Transcriber’s Notes


—Silently corrected a few typos.

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by
  _underscores_.





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