Louisiana Colonization

At every full collective gathering we acknowledge that we live in a society founded on stolen land and stolen lives. Someone researches and presents a relevant topic and then we take a moment of silence to reflect. We share the research here for others as well.

The Louisiana Indians are the inheritors of ancient traditions. They consist of Alabama, Koasati (Coushatta), Choctaw (four groups: Jena, Bayou LaCombe, Clifton, and an urban group in East Baton Rouge Parish), Chitimacha, Houma, and Tunica-Biloxi. A mixed Choctaw and Apache group in northwest Louisiana rounds out a complicated cultural picture.

Their native languages have largely been replaced with French, Spanish, and English. The
Creole language is partly native, but was a compromised language for trade with colonizers. However, their cultural practices have mostly survived and are practiced regularly among the native peoples.

In 1519, the first contact with Europeans occurred. It was an expedition led by Alvarez de Pindea. After that event, began the very negative aspects of colonization experienced by all native people of Turtle Island. Some tribes of Louisiana were persuaded to join forces with colonizers and actively raided neighboring tribes to capture and enslave people. The Natchez Wars, the Chickasaw Wars, and the French and Indian Wars all fragmented and destroyed many native lives. The state of Louisiana was actively bought and sold amongst European countries throughout the years without any sort of consent of the native people who had been living there for thousands of years.

The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 was a major turning point for the quality of life of native people in Louisiana. Article VI of the treaty actively dissolved any type of treaties that the French and Spanish had made with the native people. These treaties were not to the benefit of the native people, but at the very least let them have some sort of dignity. The U.S. actively removed these tribes from their homes and forced them into Oklahoma. The native people who declined to be removed, moved into the margins of the state where there was little interest for development/homesteading.

The band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw, a Native American tribe living in the Louisiana coastal wetlands (the main marginal community that natives moved to), has lost some 98 percent of its land since the 1950s. The loss of land is the result of soil erosion and rising sea levels. This has resulted in the loss of over 15, 000 acres. The relocation would be subsidized by around $48 million in government funds, said Forbes, and would take a few years to complete.

The current colonization and degradation of the native people’s land is the construction of the final ‘leg’ of the oil pipeline from North Dakota, which was fiercely protested in South Dakota in 2016. There is an active resistance to the pipeline construction that has been using direct action, other forms of protest, and legal means. This fight is still currently developing.

Louisiana law already prohibits trespassing at sites known as “critical infrastructure,” including power plants, oil refineries, chemical plants, water treatment facilities, and natural gas terminals. House Bill 727 adds pipelines and their construction areas to the list of critical infrastructure sites, a move in reaction to growing pipeline protests nationwide.

The company (Energy Transfer Partners) directing this construction has the worst track record for oil spills. Considering the poisonous nature of oil and the fact that over 53% of wetlands have been removed in the U.S., this pipeline is a serious threat to one of the last and largest wetland ecosystems in the so-called U.S. The crawfish is a point of emphasis in the protests and has been a important to the native tribes’ cultural identities. 43% of species on the endangered species list depend on wetland ecosystems which are also important to the cultural identities of the tribes, as these parts of ecosystems always are.

Colonization is continuing to destroy lives and leaving little left of the wild world that is the entirety of any indigenous culture.


Works Cited



Marasco, Sue A. “Indian (Native American) Removal” knowlouisiana.org Encyclopedia of Louisiana. Ed. David Johnson. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 20 Dec 2012. Web. 11 May 2018.





Comments are closed.