October 29, 2009

Neville Brother is Chahta ambassador

Cyril Neville named ambassador of Chahta Indian tribe

By Paula DevlinCyril Neville, the youngest of the four Neville Brothers, said, "I am on a quest to complete the circle that has been broken."

All his life, his mother, father and uncle taught him that he was a Choctaw Indian, which he said is correctly pronounced "Chahta." But he only recently found the historical records that document his ancestry.

Neville was in Slidell last week at a Chahta village area known as Bonfouca to plan for the upcoming Coming Out of Exile reunion of the Tchefuncte nation. At the event, he will be introduced as the tribes' new ambassador.

"I feel humbled and empowered at the same time," Neville said.

Neville's new role as ambassador will be to speak for the tribes that are centered in St. Tammany and include descendants of the 125 Chahta, Creek and Cherokee who did not leave during the forced relocation under Andrew Jackson, called the Trail of Tears. Members are spread throughout the Florida Parishes, and since Hurricane Katrina, are scattered in 29 states.
Below:  "Cyril Neville has been named ambassador for the Chahta Indians. Chief Warhorse Elwin Gillum said of the choice of Neville: 'I knew it had to be a strong-willed person.'"

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