Remedies Family Reunion Thursday, Jul 29 2010 

I attended the Remedies Family Reunion on Saturday July 24, 2010. It was held at St. Johns Catholic Church in the school building. The event was attended by descendants of George and Susan Remedies (my maternal great-grandparents) as well as more distant relations. Lineal descendants included surviving children, a number of grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.
Lateral relations and friends in attendance included A.J. Remedies, Sammy Leone, Victor Reyes, Hosea Remedies, Stella Remedies, Mary Patricia Remedies Miller, and Bertha Marie Remedies, among others.
The event was personally rewarding, but it also contributed to my understanding of family history, genealogy, and foodways. It will help inform my current and future research.

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Making the hottest tamales: Foodways of the Choctaw-Apache of Ebarb Wednesday, May 5 2010 

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.

Foodways among the Choctaw-Apache Community Tuesday, May 4 2010 

A review of Traditional Arts in the Choctaw Apache Community of Ebarb (1996).

Tribal members and elders write about themselves, from their own perspective to share with each other and the public. The Choctaw-Apache community has very strong food traditions. Pepper (green pepper and eggs, etc), tamales, sausage (chorizo), and Pondalote Bread. The booklet is the best single source on foodways of the community, and the entries are very compelling.

In addition to food, the booklet features many ancillary categories, including a chapter on hunting and fishing crafts, and another on farming, planting, and butchering. The book also has categories on traditional music, sewing, quilting and other handcrafts, stories and lore, and occupation lore, mostly dealing with the logging industry. Under the broad category chapters (listed above,) the book is arranged by entries by community member.

Oral History Interviews Tuesday, May 4 2010 

I interviewed my great-aunt Margie Remedies in March 2010, for Dr. Dollar’s Oral History class. Margie Remedies grew up outside of Many, and married into the Remedies family, where she quickly learned their foodways. She offers a firsthand account that weaves together both an insider and outsider’s view of those foodways.

Two taped and transcribed  interviews include numerous food preparation and food preservation techniques, as well as informative family vignettes. She explains how to make tamales from scratch: “first you butcher your hog…,” to making homemade ash lye for lying the corn, to spicing the meat, to hand rolling seventy-five dozen tamales.

Preparation of, and eating chili peppers was a key part of family food culture. Fresh (green) and/or dried (red) peppers were eaten at every meal. Peppers were dried by stringing them or laying them out on tin roofs.  Pepper was prepared with eggs; fresh pepper with onions, garlic, and tomatoes, or as a spice in beans or peas.  Aunt Margie explains the preparation of corn and pepper using hand food grinders, and, historically, using a “metat rock.” She tells how to make pigtail gravy and how to make hominy, masa, and tortillas the old way.

I look forward to follow up conversations with her and the opportunity to accompany her on a visit to L& W Tamales, her favorite Tamale supplier in Zwolle. A thesis on foodways seems like a bunch of fun.  But it will inevitably be hard work too!

The Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb 17th Annual Pow Wow April 30 & May 1 Wednesday, Apr 28 2010 

The Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb
17th Annual Pow Wow
Friday April 30 and Saturday May 1, 2010
at Zwolle High School

The Head Staff are as follows:
MC- Harold Comby
AD- Vance Beaver
Head Gourd- Travis Harris
Head Man- Ricky Garcie
Head Lady- Janelle Peavy
Drum- Frank Tongkeamba
Head Little Lady- Barbara Ramedies
Head Little Man- Trenton Malmay

SCHEDULE:
FRIDAY
9-9:30 Gourd Dancing
9:30-2 PM- Demonstrations
6 PM – Gourd Dancing
7 PM – Grand Entry
SATURDAY
10 AM Gourd Dancing
12 Noon- Lunch
1 PM- Grand Entry
5 PM – Dinner
6 PM – Grand Entry

This is a smoke, drug, and alcohol free event.

_________________________________________________________________________-

Photos from Saturday May 1:

LaSalle Parish: White Sulphur Springs and Jena Band of Choctaw Friday, Nov 6 2009 

The second and third stops on the way to Poverty Point were two locations where MAHR students are doing thesis research in LaSalle Parish. Neither site had tourists or other visitors while we were present.

White Sulphur Springs

White Sulphur Springs has seen better days.

White Sulphur Springs

Courtney Cloy provided visitors with on-site interpretation and distributed a hand-out which included a map of the area, circa 1900. The visit entailed looking at what once was a more active spring and lots of walking through the woods in the rain.

Using the map as a reference, Mr. Cloy performed a pedestrian survey of the area which revealed surface evidence of the Bethards Hotel. Mr. Cloy will be mapping the area and preparing an amendment to previous National Register documentation as part of his thesis project.

The location is an unassuming roadside gazebo and associated Archaeology site on private property. Mr. Cloy’s excitement regarding the subject matter was evident. However, I think he tended to “over-interpret” the site, given current knowledge of the site. Much more investigation is needed to do interpretation. Mr. Cloy is a native of LaSalle Parish, which explains his fascination with this place. White Sulphur Springs was once an important tourist destination in LaSalle Parish. Most of the sprawling development, which included numerous hotels and stores, and may have included a casino and brothel, has been lost to history. Mr. Cloy aims at recovering it.

Marie Richards explains traditional and elected leadershipJena Band of Choctaw

Our cohort visited the Jena Band of Choctaw Administration Office where we met Marie Richards (MAHR 2010). Ms. Richards gave the class an extemporaneous overview of her thesis work and some introduction to the tribe and its history, including a list of traditional and elected leaders. The visit would have been improved with a member of the tribal council or a tribal crafts-person. The visit might have also been improved with a brochure or hand-out on the history of the band, tribal activities, or social services (especially the health center). I found the subject matter, a band of American Indians with a living culture, much more engaging than White Sulphur Springs, but I feel as though the site and topic were “under-interpreted” to our class.