Butte Tribe continues honored family tradition

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Indigenous traditions of the Butte Indians continue. Chief Rodger Collum remembers the time that chopping wood for winter fireplaces and cook stoves was a critical survival necessity, especially for the elders and those of the family incapable of gathering wood for themselves. It was the job of Collum and his cousins to ensure all tribe families were warm for the winter. From left are Collum and Joseph Heith Hernandez.

By Joshua L. Johnson, Tribal Reporter

For many generations, the Butte Tribe of Bayou Bourbeaux has honored their family and community by continuing the tribal tradition of the “Fall Hunt.” It has been a time-honored tradition started by Butte Tribe’s first chief, White Smoke, when the hunting season arrived each year. Before the big hunt, men of the tribe and community would gather in the swamp lands with the cool night winds blowing at a location of the chief’s choosing.

The greatest mission of the Butte Tribe is to teach children. Hanah Collum, daughter of Chief Rodger and Charlia Collum, was raised from a small child at her father’s feet to hunt and provide for her people.

They would sit around the campfire, drink a little fire-water, tell stories that were passed down from ancestors about unbelievable hunts of the past, and visit until the early morning hours when it was time to join the hunt. The tribe worked together on the kill, the processing and the sharing of meat. First to be served was the elders and disabled. Butte Tribe chief Rodger Collum was raised in this tradition and has continued it throughout his lifetime.

This article published in the Nov. 25, 2021, print edition

He has been a hunter of the Bayou Bourbeaux tribal land starting at the age of 5. At that age, he was allowed to hunt the bayou by himself where he killed and dragged a deer home by himself with the aid of his hunting dogs. This year is no exception! Chief Collum and several tribal members have returned to Butte tribal lands on Bayou Bourbeaux. In preparation for the upcoming holiday season and tribal gatherings, Collum and his braves have begun the hunt for the holiday feast. Several campouts have already been held near the buffalo lick on Prairie Lake where hog traps have been set and deer hunting is underway. Plans are in the making for a holiday “Cajun Boucherie” for the next tribal gathering.

Hunting and trapping feral hogs are a way of life on Butte tribal lands. Always working, always moving towards our goals of keeping, finding and teaching indigenous traditions to our people are ways to keep the tribe alive and hone ancestors. From left are Terry “Tad” Desadier Jr., Joseph Keith Hernandez and Chief Rodger Collum.

Butte Tribe members get ready for a fun event! For those who are interested and would like to know more about Butte Tribe and its history, go to BUTTETRIBE.ORG and enjoy our story under the Chiefs’ History tab.