Hundreds come to Cassidy Park for Native American Cultural Day

Published 8:35 am Wednesday, November 12, 2014

More than 900 people were estimated at Cassidy Park Saturday for Native American Cultural Day.

Seven Louisiana tribes were represented during the event. They included Coushatta, Chitimacha, Jena Band of Choctaws, Tunica-Biloxi, United Houma Nation, Clifton Choctaws and Choctaw-Apache.

During the daylong event, tribal members engaged in native games like stickball, participated in hut building and shared native foods, languages, jewelry arts and crafts and traditional dances. The stomp dances were particularly popular.

“I think the day went really well,” Museums of Cassidy Park Board President, event coordinator and Tunica-Biloxi tribal member Jo Ann Miller said. “People asked a lot of questions of the tribal members about their cultures.”

The event was sponsored by the Museums of Cassidy Park and the Intertribal Council of Louisiana and the Institute for Indian Development Inc. Kevin Billiot attended and represented the Intertribal Council. He is a member of the United Houma Nation.

Chiefs, or chairmen of the tribes in attendance, included United Houma Nation’s Thomas Dardar, Chitimacha’s John Paul Darden and Elaine Cantu of the Clifton Choctaws.

The Coushatta were represented by Jonas John and Claudine Hasting, while the Jena Band of Choctaw representatives were Councilwomen Christine Norris and Dana Masters. The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe was represented by John Barbry, Donna Pierite and Elisabeth Pierite Mora. Choctaw-Apache representatives included Elvis Purcell, Cougar Goodbear and Joe Machac.

Other tribal representatives included the Chitimacha’s Kim Walden, United Houma Nation Vice Chairman Lora Chaisson and councilman John Silver. The Clifton Choctaws attendees were Juan Cantu, Kim Ashworth, Lonnie Sue Thomas, Marcelette Clifton, Michelle LaCour and Chris LaCour.

“I was very appreciative of all the tribes coming,” Miller said. “We had a lot of positive comments and an interest in holding it again next year.”