Tunica-Biloxi Offers Flu Vaccines to Tribal Citizens, Employees, and More

Flu Vaccines will be available to tribal members, their families, Mobiloans and Tunica-Biloxi employees on Friday, October 23 and Monday, October 26 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Tunica-Biloxi Health Department.

Vaccines will be administered at the back of the Health Department building. No appointment necessary. 

For more information please call Tashina Pierite at (318) 240-6438 or 240-6435.

Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana Announces Appointment of Elders Council and Programs To Benefit Senior Tribal Members

Several member of the Tunica-Biloxi Elder Council with Chairman Marshall Pierite

The Tribal Council of the Tunica-Biloxi Indian Tribe has recently announced the appointment of 10 members to its Elders Council.  Serving as officers of the group of elder wisdom keepers are Joanie Arteta, Chairperson, from Wake Forest, NC, Vice-Chairperson Brenda Lintinger, Covington, LA, Secretary Anna Farris, Houston, TX, Kathleen Ubnoske and Pamela Oglesby, Stephenville, TX and Marksville, LA, respectively as Co-Treasurers, Michelle Richardson , San Dimas, CA, David Jackson of Pineville, LA, Raymond Bertalotto, Sr. of Hamburg, LA, Joe Barbry and Rudy Wambsgans, III, both of Marksville, LA.

The group began laying the foundation for its existence and operations in early May 2020.  The Tribal Council, the tribe’s governing body, approved the final version of organizational documents drafted by the tribe’s elders the first week of September 2020.  During the previous four months, the Elders Council started planning programs that would benefit community elders and others.

“Our elders are vital to carrying the culture and traditions of our Tribe into the next generation,” said Chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, Marshall Pierite. “The Elders Council will work diligently to show our elders how appreciated they truly are, meet their needs and spread their wisdom throughout the Tribe. We’re confident that this group of Tribal citizens will effectively achieve this mission.”

In mid-September, the Elders Council created Elder Care Packages that were mailed out to all tribal elders and included personal hygiene and self-health monitoring items. Several Elders Council members gathered on the reservation in Marksville, to sort and organize the care packages as a way to send a clear message to senior members of the Tribe that they are being thought of and that their potential needs were being addressed amid the COVID-19 pandemic and hurricane season. For photos of this effort, click here.

In addition to the elder packages, ‘goodie bag—back to school backpacks’ are being prepared by the Tunica-Biloxi 7th Generation Youth Council for all school-aged tribal children.  The Elders and Youth Councils and the Tribal Task Force are coordinating member service efforts to reduce shipping costs.  Each package will contain some of the latest updates to services and programs important and available to our elders and all the members of the tribal community.

Another positive for tribal elders will be an offer from AARP for a one-year membership to the company’s services and benefits for all tribal elders.  This initiative is a collaborative effort between the Elders Council, the Tribal Council and Mobiloans to cover the cost of access to AARP’s membership.  EC Chairperson Joanie Arteta has been negotiating with the corporate offices of AARP to secure this opportunity for tribal elders. For those elders who already possess a membership with AARP, they should be able to apply the tribe’s contribution to their existing enrollment with the program.  More information will be forthcoming. “It is really so important for our elders to know that we are thinking about them and that we care about the challenges they are facing.  We want to communicate with them and all of our members, to let them know what programs and services are offered by the tribal government,” Chairwoman Joanie Arteta stated.

One of the most critical issues for the entire tribal membership, particularly for elder community members is timely communications from tribal government offices.  An exciting new program for tribal members’ benefit will be the implementation of Alert Media, a communication software that keeps members up to date on live messages through mass notifications from the tribal government offices.  The tribe’s Human Resources office will be sharing how members can sign up for this program.  This will come in handy especially during times of crisis.  Other services offered by AlertMedia include monitoring of Loneworker Safety, Wellness checks, Emergency Services, and Local Threat Monitoring, to name just a few of the advantages of www.AlertMedia.com

Currently under development is an Elder Relief Fund program that will support training and vo-tech opportunities for tribal elders, rental and mortgage assistance, and supplemental meal programs (this program has been operative since the early days of the nationwide COVID crisis).  The Tunica-Biloxi Elders Council is pushing aggressively to provide valuable services to elder members by offering an additional level of vocal influence with elected officials.  In the midst of so much upheaval as has been witnessed with the health pandemic and the regional weather threats, Elders Council members lobby continuously with the Tribal Council so that the needs of tribal elders are ever at the forefront.

The underlying theme and focus for the Tunica-Biloxi Elders Council will be working cooperatively with other tribal groups and government departments to raise the level of awareness of the needs of our elder members and tribal members overall.  Meeting some of those issues whenever possible will be a primary objective for this very special group of tribal leaders.  Excitement is at an all-time high with the anticipation of future programs targeting the special demands of our elder members.

For more information on the Tunica Biloxi Elder Council and the services and resources that it is providing, click here. Those interested in learning more can also contact Joanie Arteta at jarteta55@gmail.com.


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Elder Care Packages

In September 2020, Tribal citizens came together to put together Elder Care Packages. This was just one of the Elders Council’s many initiatives to better serve our citizens.

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Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana and American Philosophical Society Partner on New Project Aimed at Enhancing the Field of Linguistics

Project will utilize Tunica-Biloxi manuscripts to develop a pilot example of a new digital archiving platform

Pictured: Sesostrie Youchigant the last known fluent speaker of Tunica and the third of Tunica’s 14 notebooks that this project will be based off of.

Marskville, LA The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana’s Language and Cultural Revitalization Program (LCRP) has begun working with The American Philosophical Society (APS) on their newly-launched Indigenous Language Manuscript Interface (ILMI) project. The project was made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and will contribute new solutions to the widespread issues found in linguistics and archiving.

“Part of the challenge when exploring Indigenous languages is having access to existing resources and information,’” said Brian Carpenter, Curator of Native American Materials for the APS Center for Native American and Indigenous Research. “We have worked with Tunica-Biloxi since 2014 through their incredible journey of revitalizing the Tunica language from ‘dormant’ to ‘reawakened.’ Because of the Tribe’s extensive archives and years of research, we knew that they would be the best partner for us in showcasing the capabilities of this new platform. We hope that this project opens doors for both Tunica-Biloxi and other Tribes interested in exploring their native languages.”

Through the project, Tunica-Biloxi will partner with APS, which houses the oldest archive of Indigenous languages, cultures and histories in the United States. Together, the Tribe and APS will create a new addition to archives-based, open-source platforms, allowing researchers to navigate and view digitized original pages of manuscripts written in endangered languages in new, enhanced ways. The platform will also house data about the original text and information added by linguists and community language experts. The goal of this platform is to make all resources readily available to larger audiences thus encouraging the exploration of Indigenous languages.

“We are very proud of all that we have accomplished in our journey of revitalizing the Tunica language and thrilled for the opportunity to make language exploration more accessible for others,” said John Barbry, Director of Development and Programing for the Tunica-Biloxi Language and Culture Revitalization Program. “There is so much that can be learned about a tribe’s culture and history by understanding their language. We hope that through this project we can encourage other Tribes to embark on their own linguistic journey.”

This partnership will focus on the 1930s Tunica language notebooks of Mary Haas and the last known fluent Tunica speaker, Sesostrie Youchigant. The Tribe’s language experts and apprentices will produce transcripts, transliterations and additional information, which will integrate community expertise into the project and provide opportunities for language apprentices to expand their training.

The finished product will be a full Tunica language portal hosted by the APS which will be shared with researchers and used as a model for how other linguists can utilize the capabilities of this platform to enhance the usability of their manuscripts.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this project and grateful for the opportunity to serve as an example for other Tribes that are interested in learning more about their language and culture,” said Marshall Pierite, Chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe. “Thank you to APS and the National Science Foundation for your commitment to supporting us and other Tribes in our mission of uncovering our past.”

For more information on the project, click here.  

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About the American Philosophical Society

The American Philosophical Society, established in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin for the purpose of “promoting useful knowledge,” is the nation’s oldest learned society. An intellectual bedrock of the early United States, the APS counts nearly all of the nation’s founders as Members of the Society. Election to Membership honors those who have made exceptionally significant contributions to science, the arts and humanities, and public life. The Society promotes scholarly research through its Library, including 40 fellowships each year, and through its research grant program. The Society sustains an informed citizenry through twice-yearly meetings and topical conferences and symposia. Public programs and museum exhibitions, which often draw close to 200,000 visitors annually, are inspired by the APS Library & Museum collections, which include 14 million pages of manuscripts, 275,000 books, and approximately 3,000 artifacts and fine art objects. The collection is strongest in early American history, Native American history and culture, and the history of science. APS publications are dedicated to publishing research that reflects a broad range of useful knowledge and is the oldest continuously operating scholarly press in the country.

About the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe

The Tunica-Biloxi people first appeared in the Mississippi Valley. In the late 1700s, they settled near Marksville, where they were skilled traders and entrepreneurs. Today, the Tribe has more than 1,200 members throughout the United States, primarily in Louisiana, Texas and Illinois.

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe received federal recognition in 1981 for its reservation within the boundaries of Louisiana. The tribe owns and operates the Paragon Casino Resort, the largest employer in Central Louisiana. Through its compact, negotiated by the late Tribal Chairman Earl J. Barbry Sr. and the State of Louisiana, the Tribe has assisted local governments in the area with its quarterly distribution of funds, totaling more than $40 million over two decades. For more information about the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, visit www.tunica.org and “like” us on Facebook

Tunica-Biloxi Participates in American Philosophical Society Panel on Language Revitalization

Our very own Elisabeth Pierite Mora and Patricia Anderson will be participating in a virtual panel on Wednesday, Sept. 23 from 2-3 p.m. (central) for the American Philosophical Society‘s conference “Relationships, Reciprocity, and Responsibilities: Indigenous Studies in Archives and Beyond.” The panel will cover Community-Based Language Revitalization.

To register for the panel, click here – https://us02web.zoom.us/…/reg…/WN_bxHUAPBKRgiEGyKYGHNwLg

Register for LCRP Virtual Language Class

LCRP is accepting applications for virtual language classes for all ages through Thursday, Oct. 29. Class time will be set based off of interest and availability. These classes are a fun way to learn the Tunica language!

If you are interested, we ask that you download and fill out a registration form below and return it to Jessica Barbry.

For questions, please contact Jessica Barbry for more information at 318-240-6469 or email jabarbry@tunica.org.

Tunica-Biloxi Providing Laptop Computers to Tribal Students

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe has access to federal funding through the Cares Act to provide tribal families with a computer device for Tunica-Biloxi students who will be doing virtual instruction online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As most school districts are providing devices, the Tribe will only provide a laptop if the family’s homeschool service provider or their school district has exhausted their inventory. Many school districts are requiring a device loan agreement. We will verify if there is device availability with the school district or homeschool service provider before issuing a computer. If you have not already done so, reach out to your child’s school or homeschool provider to inquire about receiving a computer.

To receive a computer through the Tribe, you may request an application from the following individuals.

John Barbry
Director of Development & Programming
jdbarbry@tunica.org

Jessica Barbry
Administrative Coordinator
jabarbry@tunica.org

NOTE:

Approval notification will be made within 5-10 business days. Shipment and delivery information is currently being finalized. If you have any questions, please contact the individuals listed above.

Tunica-Biloxi: COVID-19 Tribal Member Assessment

Tribal citizens,

Over the weekend, the Tunica-Biloxi Tribal Council released a survey in order to gain insight in how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our citizens. The purpose of the survey is to help the Tribe to develop future programming to assist our citizens in the best possible way. Due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic, we have authorized a COVID-19 relief assistance payment to each adult citizen by June 30, 2020.

Rest assured that by submitting your information through this survey, it will remain completely confidential. The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana has hired a third-party, HIPAA-certified consulting firm, Yona Consulting Services, as a way to safeguard our citizen’s personal information. Yona will confidentially review the data that you provide through this survey and send the Tribal Council and Tribal Administrator a comprehensive report. We will then review this report and determine how we can best assist our tribal citizens with their respective needs.

Additionally, The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana will not share your data with any entity other than a government agency that requests the use of this data for reporting and demographic purposes. The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana respects the privacy of its citizens and strictly adheres to HIPAA, and all other federal data privacy laws.

This COVID-19 relief payment with be made through the Tribe’s Health and Housing Assistance Program (“HHA”) which provides Tunica-Biloxi citizens with financial support to meet their basic living needs, such as safe and habitable housing, assistance with meals and home care, and assistance with medical expenses and non-prescription medications.

We care deeply for the health and well-being of our citizens and encourage each and every one of you to respond to this survey so we can better support you during this difficult time. We hope that by utilizing the information that you provide that we can continue to offer and expand meaningful support for Tribal citizens.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to myself and the rest of your Tunica-Biloxi Tribal Council. To access and fill out the survey, please click here.

Sincerely,

Chairman Marshall Pierite


CHATS WITH CHAIRMAN: COVID-19 RESPONSE EFFORTS

Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana to Host Free COVID-19 Testing Site in Marksville

Site will run from June 29 – July 2

As a way to ensure that their Tribal citizens and members of the Marksville community have proper testing resources, the Tunica Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana is partnering with the Louisiana National Guard and The Louisiana Department of Health (LADH) to host a free, public COVID-19 testing site.

“We’re so grateful to the National Guard and Department of Health for making this testing site possible,” said Tunica-Biloxi Chairman Marshall Pierite. “Early detection and treatment of this virus is so important which is why we’re doing everything we can to make these resources more accessible to our local community.”

The site will run on Monday, June 29 – Thursday, July 2 from 8 – 11 a.m. It will be located on Earl J. Barbry Sr. Blvd in Marksville between Highway 1 and Slim Lemoine Rd. There will be signage around the testing area to direct visitors on where to go.

The site will provide free testing to the general public, Tribal Government employees, Paragon employees, Tribal citizens and their children.

This is just one of several ways that the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe and their partners have worked to protect Tribal citizens throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Native Americans, like other minority groups and those in lower-income communities, are among those most impacted by this virus. For this reason, Native American tribes have a responsibility to protect the health and wellbeing of their citizens. For more information on Tunica-Biloxi’s COVID-19 response, click here.

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe’s Seventh Generation Youth Council is pleased to present Virtual Youth Camp

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe’s Seventh Generation Youth Council is pleased to present Virtual Youth Camp! The camp will take place on July 27-31 and will immerse Tunica-Biloxi children, ages 5-17, in all aspects of our culture through a series of virtual workshops. Workshops will cover topics such as traditional Tunica-Biloxi dress, language revitalization, traditional song and dance, tribal history, pow wow importance and more!

There will be approximately 3-4 workshops per day, each 20 minutes, which will run from 12-4 p.m. Registration closes on June 29. For more information on the camp and to register, visit the Facebook Event Page

To Register right now please fill out this form.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canceled: Language & Culture Youth Camp

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our Language & Culture Youth Camp, originally scheduled for June 8-12, 2020, has been cancelled. The decision was made out of an abundance of caution for our campers and counselors. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and look forward to when we can gather again safely in the future.