A Second Edition of “The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe: Its Culture and People” Now Available
Marksville, La. – (Feb. 15, 2018) – The Tunica-Biloxi of Louisiana along with its Language and Culture Revitalization Program (LCRP) has released a second edition of their book, “The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe: Its Culture and People”. The new edition comes more than 30 years after the book’s original release in 1987 and contains new insights and information on the Tribe’s storied past and place in Louisiana history.
“The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe is ingrained in the culture and rich history of our region,” said co-author and Tunica-Biloxi LCRP Director John D. Barbry “Through the second edition of this book, we hope to fulfill our mission of sustaining our cultural influence and preserve our traditions for generations to come.”
The LCRP has brought the Tunica-Biloxi story to present with an expanded volume that includes recent scholarship and annotated photographs representing a broader cross-section of tribal families. The book tracks the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe from European contact to present and surveys its integral connection with the history of Louisiana and the lower-Mississippi region. The book also provides information on the linguistic significance of the Tribe’s native language which has recently been designated as “reawakening” by Ethnologue.com.
John D. Barbry, Donna M. Pierite and Elisabeth Pierite-Mora are the co-authors of this compelling work and serve as leaders of the LCRP, working to immerse the local and regional communities in the Tunica-Biloxi language and traditions. With backgrounds in historical archiving and linguistic education, the authors hold a unique perspective on the history of the Tribe and its place in Avoyelles Parish.
In addition to the authors, Dr. Patricia Anderson, Dr. Jeffrey P. Brain, Dr. Elizabeth N. Ellis, Dr. Hiram F. “Pete” Gregory, Dr. Raina Heaton, Dr. Brian Klopotek, Arlinda Locklear and Dr. Judith M. Maxwell all contributed their expertise to the book. Most notably, ethics and Native American culture expert, Dr. Brian Klopotek served as a principle editor and author of several articles throughout the work. Inspired by his own heritage as a non-federal Choctaw with Louisiana roots, Klopotek examines the ways Louisiana tribes have been affected by federal recognition policy, the politics of indigeneity and racial thinking.
This book was funded by the generous support of Lower Mississippi Delta Initiative of the National Park Service with assistance from Cane River Creole National Historical Park and the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana.
To purchase “The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe: Its Culture and People” visit the Tunica-Biloxi Museum and CERC Library gift shop at 151 Melacon Drive in Marksville, Louisiana or pick up a copy in the LA1 Shop at Paragon Casino Resort next door. For more information call (800) 272-9767.
About the Authors:
John D. Barbry is director of development and programing for the Tunica-Biloxi Language and Culture Revitalization Program (LCRP). He maintains day-to-day administration and operations of the LCRP including event coordination, outreach coordination, budget planning and expenditures, fundraising, reporting, personnel, and communications. Prior to joining the LCRP staff, Barbry worked for twenty years in marketing and business development for the tribe. He holds an MA in history from University of New Orleans with an emphasis on archives management. He has held positions at the Historic New Orleans Collection (1987–93), Goodwin & Associates where he helped catalog the Tunica Treasure prior to repatriation, and the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution (1993–94), where he was the first appointed Native American archivist. Barbry has chaired the Tunica-Biloxi Pow Wow Committee since 1995.
Donna M. Pierite is a language and lifeways instructor for the Tunica-Biloxi Language and Culture Revitalization Program (LCRP). She is responsible for lesson-planning, teaching, and directing educational assignments to promote the learning of the Tunica and Biloxi languages and culture. Pierite collaborates with Tulane University linguists in the Kuhpani Yoyani Luhchi Yoroniku (Tunica Language Working Group, KYLY) developing Tunica language foundational resources including linguistic texts, manuals, curricula, and pedagogical materials. She is a Louisiana State certified educator who has taught more than thirty-three years in Orleans and Avoyelles Parish schools. In addition to teaching French, Spanish, and English as a second language, Pierite has studied and taught Tunica since the 1970s
Elisabeth Pierite-Mora is a language and lifeways instructor for the Tunica-Biloxi Language and Culture Revitalization Program (LCRP) where she is responsible for facilitating learning of the Tunica and Biloxi languages and culture. Pierite-Mora collaborates with Tulane University linguists in the Kuhpani Yoyani Luhchi Yoroniku (Tunica Language Working Group, KYLY), developing Tunica language foundational resources including linguistic texts, manuals, curricula, and pedagogical materials. Pierite-Mora participated in the 2016 Institute on Collaborative Language Research (CoLang), a biannual training workshop in field linguistics and language documentation for linguistics students, professors, and members of indigenous language communities. Growing up in the Tunica, Biloxi, and Choctaw traditions of her family, Elisabeth has spoken Tunica since she was a child
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.