Working on my Thesis:

Food is an important marker of ethnicity, region, and even national identity. It has been used to delineate national and cultural boundaries, and to communicate social prestige or economic wealth. Food can be an integral part of both individual and group identity. Sometimes, foods are simultaneously markers for more than one identity, and sometimes foods create walls or borders for identity.Everywhere food is associated with home, family, and security, but often takes on deeper communicative functions, conveying complex social messages (Anderson 2005: 125-128).

Sabine Parish has a dense geographical distribution of enrolled members of the Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb, and those eligible for membership in the tribe. The Choctaw-Apache Community has a cultural heritage rich in food traditions, and the tribe recognizes the importance of food as a part of their traditions (Pierotti et al, 1996).  These food traditions have long constituted an important ethnic marker for the community.However, these foodways are understudied, even at “face value”. Academic treatments of the Choctaw-Apache foodways as an investigation of ethnic identity are virtually non-existent.

I am a member of the Choctaw-Apache Tribe, but have lived outside the traditional communities of the tribe for the vast majority of my life. I am a student of history, anthropology and heritage resources and a lifelong food enthusiast. The foundation of this project thesis will be a kind of “food dialogue” between myself and people from the communities of Ebarb, Loring Lake, Grady Hill, Bayou Scie, Coon Ridge as well as the towns of Noble, Zwolle, and Many.

This study builds on Traditional Arts and Crafts in the Choctaw-Apache Community of Ebarb and other relevant studies. The goal is to offer the tribe additional documentation of the foodways of our people, as well as new physical and analytical resources on this important aspect of ethnic identity.