Family members collaborate on new book, diving into the roots, recipes and remedies of the Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Louisiana Toledo Bend Lake

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Family, faith and food brought a sister, brother and cousin together to collaborate on a new book, which will be introduced at the Choctaw-Apache XXVIII Powwow Friday, April 23 and Saturday, April 24.

“American’s First ‘Trail of Tears:’ The Story of the Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Louisiana Toledo Bend Lake” is coauthored by brother and sister Danny Ebarb and Dorsey Ebarb-Bronson and their cousin, Mary Meshell Carlin. In 2014, they gathered at the Ebarb home of Mary’s Mother, Lillie Sepulvado Meshell (1920-2015) to collect her ole-timey recipes for Louisiana Cooking By Native American Choctaw-Apache. In 2016, the coauthors began researching and documenting their Native American ancestors.

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This April, the coauthors published “America First ‘Trail of Tears’,” sharing their discoveries. “Our purpose in publishing this book is to provide the thousands of Choctaw-Apache members throughout Louisiana, the United Sates and the world with a sense of place. The Ebarb Louisiana ancestral land is their homeland,” said coauthor Ebarb-Bronson.

The book title is from a little-known slice of history of the Los Adaes natives, who were forcibly marched by armed Spanish soldiers from their homeland, 400 miles to San Antonio, the First “Trail of Tears.” In 1773, The Spanish government abandoned Los Adaes, its military outpost and mission, located at present-day Robeline, Louisiana, approximately six miles from Natchitoches. The Spanish government ordered hundreds of families, including freed Apache slaves who intermarried with the Spanish soldiers and French Laffitt settlers of Natchitoches, to leave their homeland.

The coauthors are descendants of the Apache slaves and the Laffitts. Their great-great-great grandmother, Marquitta Procella, was Choctaw-born in Nacogdoches, Texas.

“America’s First ‘Trail of Tears’” is a 150 page historical book featuring roots, remedies and recipes. It is sold for $25 at www.ChoctawApacheCookbook.com. Proceeds benefit Choctaw-Apache Tribe’s Federal Recognition Petition expenses. Copies can also be found at French Market Express in Natchitoches

In addition to the book signing, this year’s Powwow, for the first time in its history, celebrates the wedding of a member and offers free COVID vaccine shots administered by the state of Louisiana. Admission to the Powwow is free at the Choctaw-Apache Tribal Grounds, 217 Gene Knight Road, in Noble. The grounds open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, which is Native Heritage cultural educational day for Indian School children. On Saturday, the Powwow starts at 9 a.m. and will extend the day to early evening to feature a wedding.