Friday, October 14, 2016

Blue Cosmic Storm/ Blue Self-Existing Monkey - Electric Deer Moon of Service, Day 25

Image result for Houma tribal images
The United Houma Nation.

The Houma (Pronounced Ho ma) are a historic Native American tribe located in Louisiana on the east side of the Red River of the South. Their descendants, the United Houma Nation, have been a state recognized tribe since 1972. According to the tribe, they have about 17,000 enrolled tribal citizens residing within a six-parish (county) service area, which encompasses 4,750 square miles. The six parishes are the following: St. Mary, Terrebonne, Lafourche, Jefferson, Plaquemines, and St. Bernard parishes.

The city of Houma (meaning "red"), and the Red River were both named after this people. Oklahoma shares a similar etymology, as the root humma means "red" in Choctaw and related Western Muskogean languages, including Houma.

The indigenous Houma language is thought to have fallen out of use by the late 19th century due to European-American encroachment. As a result of a language shift which began during the French colonial period and trading in Louisiana, a majority of Houma people today speak Louisiana French. American English is also widely spoken by the community. Additionally, in light of their distinct society and isolated geography, as many as 3,000 mostly elderly people living on Houma tribal lands in the Lafourche Basin are believed to be monolingual speakers of French. 

In 1907, Swanton interviewed an elderly Houma woman to collect vocabulary from her Houma language. More recently, efforts have been made to collect vocabulary and grammar from elders in order to revitalize the language. As Houma has been identified as being very similar to standard Choctaw, some linguists have concluded that the Houma spoke a Western Muskogean language (akin to Choctaw or Chickasaw). Other scholars have suggested that the data in Swanton's vocabulary is Mobilian Jargon. Some unidentified words may be from other languages spoken on the Mississippi. The Tunica referred to the Mobilian Jargon as húma ʼúlu (meaning "Houma's language").

The Houma tribe, thought to be Muskogean-speaking like other Choctaw tribes, was recorded by the French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Sallein 1682 as living along the Red River on the east side of Mississippi River. Because their war emblem is the saktce-ho’ma, or Red Crawfish, the anthropologist John R. Swanton speculated that the Houma are an offshoot of the Yazoo River region’s Chakchiuma tribe, whose name is a corruption of saktce-ho’ma.

Individuals in the tribe maintained contact with other Choctaw communities after settling in present-day lower Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes. They used the waterways to harvest fish and crawfish, as well as to supply their water needs and for traveling. It is not certain how the Houma came to settle near the mouth of the Red River (formerly called the River of the Houma). By the time of French exploration, the Houma were settled at the site of present-day Angola, Louisiana.

With respect to native inhabitants, article six of the Louisiana Purchase Treaty states:

"The United States promise to execute such treaties and articles as may have been agreed between Spain and the tribes and nations of Indians, until, by mutual consent of the United States and the said tribes of nations, other suitable articles shall have been agreed upon."

Although the United States signed the treaty, they failed to uphold the policy. Dr. John Sibley was appointed by President Thomas Jefferson as US Indian agent for the region. He did not visit any villages in the swamps of southern Louisiana, and the Houma had no official representation to the federal government.

In 1885, the Houma lost a great leader, Rosalie Courteau. She had helped them survive through the aftermath of the American Civil War. She continues to be highly respected.

By the end of the 19th century, the Houma had developed a creole language based on the French language of the former colony. The Houma-French language which the Houma people speak today is a mix between the French spoken by early explorers and Houma words, such as shaui ("raccoon"). Yet, Houma-French language is still a French language, because it can be understood by French speakers from Canada, France, Rwanda or Louisiana. There are some differences in vocabulary, for example, chevrette to say crevette (shrimp). The accent of the Houma Nation French-speaker is comparable to the difference between an English-speaker from the United States and an English-speaker from England; every linguistic group develops many different accents.

As southern Louisiana became more urban and industrialized, the Houma remained relatively isolated in their bayou settlements. The population of the Houma at this time was divided among six other Native American settlements. Travel between settlements was made by pirogues and the waterways; the state did not build roads connecting the settlements until the 1940s. Like the other Native American populations, the Houma were often subjected to discrimination and isolation.

In 1907, John R. Swanton, an anthropologist from the Smithsonian Institution, visited the Houma. The Houma continue to have a hunter-gatherer type economy, which he documented, depending on the bayous and swamps for fish and game. They also cultivate small subsistence gardens. Houma members R.J. Molinere, Jr. and his son Jay Paul Molinere are featured hunting alligators on the television program, Swamp People.

After white Democrats regained power in Louisiana following the Reconstruction era, they passed laws establishing racial segregation. They had previously classified the Houma and other Native Americans as free people of color and required them to send their children to schools established for the children of freedmen, when available. The state was slow to construct any public schools in Houma settlements. It was not until 1964 after the Civil Rights Act was passed and ended segregation that Houma children were allowed to attend public schools. Before this time, Houma children attended only missionary schools established by religious groups.

As many of tribal communities are in coastal areas and depend on the swamps and bayous as a source of food and economic resource, they have been severely and adversely affected by the continuing coastal erosion and loss of wetlands. Different factors associated with industrialization have contributed to such losses, including dredging of navigation canals by shipping and oil companies, which increased water movement and erosion, increasing salt water intrusion and causing loss of wetlands plants. In addition, oil companies have buried piping under the ground but not covered it sufficiently.

The community of Isle de Jean Charles has suffered severe erosion; scientists estimate that the island will be lost by 2030 if no restoration takes place. The Houma tribe is looking for land in the area to buy in order to resettle all of the community together. Coastal erosion has adversely affected the quality of fishing. The tribe has suffered from a decrease in fish, as saltwater intrusion has destroyed many of the old fishing holes.*



Kin 39: Blue Cosmic Storm

I endure in order to catalyze
Transcending energy
I seal the matrix of self-generation
With the cosmic tone of presence
I am guided by the power of abundance
I am a galactic activation portal
Enter me.

The greatest ally on the path is the power of imagination; this is the creative force that fuels our journey.*

*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2016-2017.

The Sacred Tzolk'in 

Svadhistanha Chakra  (Kali Plasma)

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