April 25, 2015

Biloxi Indian criticizes Biloxi "Indians"

Two weeks after the Biloxi "Indians" controversy broke out, we finally heard from people connected with the real Biloxi Indians:

Biloxi Indians aren't complaining about band's use of name, headdress

Spokesman says he's heard no mention of issue

By Paul Hampton
There are no Biloxi Indians in or around Biloxi. They moved on to Louisiana about the time the first Europeans started poking around the area that is now the Mississippi Coast.

And the 600 or so who live on and near the Tunica-Biloxi Reservation in and around Marksvillle, La., don't seem much concerned that a high school band is using their name and ceremonial headdresses. No one from the tribe returned phone calls or emails requesting a comment.

The tribe's Facebook page and websites are more concerned with their lucrative Paragon Casino Resort, an upcoming Pow-Wow and a Language and Culture Camp.

"It hasn't come up in the year I've been working with them," said Malcolm Ehrhardt of the tribe's PR firm, The Ehrhardt Group.

Raymond Daye, co-editor of the Avoyelles Today newspaper in Marksville, said he hasn't heard any complaints of that nature from the tribe.

"I don't think they've ever complained about that," he said. "I think 'more business and less politics' is the motto over there."
A lack of complaint about an issue that hasn't come up is basically nothing, of course. It's a far cry from approving or disapproving the mascotry.

Unlike the non-Native PR flack quoted above, here's what an actual Tunica-Biloxi Indian had to say:

Educate yourself about the people of Tunica-Biloxi

By Jean-Luc PieriteThe headdress worn by the Biloxi High School band is an ill-informed costume-design choice.

That said, our communities are faced with such challenges that if a group of outsiders would parade in mockery under the guise of honor, then it wouldn't make much difference.

It neither hurts nor helps my Tribe's unemployment rate.

Nor does it determine the fate of crucial social programs that have gone underfunded since the decline of our so-called "lucrative" enterprise.

For the Biloxi-Chitimacha, to my knowledge, your "honor" does not rebuild their homes.

Nor does it provide them with the resources to legitimize the claim that they continue as they have for centuries as an indigenous population.
Comment:  For more on Biloxi High School, see Biloxi Headdresses Are "Dignified and Proper"? and Indians Protest Biloxi "Indians."

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