Butte Hill, White Smoke’s Burial Mound

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Belinda Brooks
No one knows the exact date of White Smoke’s burial. It had to be sometime between 1830-1840, if not before. It is known his wife, Two Moons, and he are buried on Butte Hill. It is assumed that Butte Hill received its name from the French. It can also be assumed that throughout written history that Europeans were unaware of Butte Hill being an indigenous burial mound. Many Native Americans were buried there previous to White Smoke and Two Moons. To the knowledge of Chief Rodger Collum, they were the last to be buried on that sacred ground. Two large granite stones mark their graves. As was the custom for great leaders, oral history tells of White Smoke being buried standing up, holding his sacred pipe, with his coup stick standing beside him.
The first official record of White Smoke’s existence was the birth of his first son at San Fernando Mission in San Antonio, Texas, on Feb. 10, 1798. The Catholic priest, Father Valdez, scribed White Smoke’s Spanish name as Jose Francisco Pereda. His wife, Two Moons, was listed as Ana Maria Leal. Interestingly enough, their newborn son was assigned a caste of “lovo” at his baptism by the mission priest.
The Louisiana Territory was handed over to Spain by France in the 1760s. Spain along with the Catholic Church ruled as a form of self-righteous dictators. They were eager to assimilate indigenous and black people into the Spanish caste system. The caste “lineage” system was created by Spanish/Portuguese colonials as a racial and social identifier. The organization of the system was based on a hierarchy of race determined by the amount of Spanish blood that each person had. By integrating what they felt was an inferior race into their caste system and placing themselves on the top of the hierarchy, the Spanish/ Portuguese claimed the land and the people. Their rule of the “underlings” was a harsh one.
The natives of Natchitoches rebelled against Spanish rule. They favored French rule and trade over the Spanish because the French would trade firewater, guns, and ammunition.