Butte Tribe members met on their homeland Saturday, June 28 to conduct tribal business and distribute Butte Garden produce. The informal, working meeting included a barbecue lunch fundraiser at the end.
Special speaker for the day’s meeting was Butte Tribe’s own Vice-Chief Belinda Brooks. Topics discussed were Butte Tribe’s Bureau of Indian Affair’s (BIA) member registration, the Louisiana Governor’s Emergency Preparedness Project and the Healthy Tribe Initiative.
Brooks explained where the federal BIA committee was on the completion of the tribe’s BIA member registration process. The process is a complex, intense listing of each member’s ancestors leading to each member’s Native American ancestry. This includes documented proof of each ancestor’s parentage or birth record. Butte Tribe BIA Committee has been working on their “Active” membership since June of 2021 when the BIA contacted the tribe to request their membership documentation. After reviewing the tribe’s petition the BIA acknowledged that the submission looked great and that it was obvious that Butte Tribe knew and understood what was needed for their consideration. The BIA reported to Butte Tribe’s representative, Council Chief Belinda “Bella” Haag, the only component missing for the BIA recognition process to begin was the tribe’s individual membership documentation. The documentation will be ready to mail within the next two to three months.
Butte Tribe’s current project with the State of Louisiana, Brooks explained, is the Butte Emergency & Awareness Response (B.E.A.R) Network. In the winter of 2021, Rudy Macklin of the Louisiana Governor’s Office contacted Brooks to include Butte Tribe of Bayou Bourbeaux in the Emergency Preparedness and Healthy Tribal Initiative. Collum and the Butte Tribe Council approved, and the project was underway. The purpose of the BEAR Network is to minimize fear and save lives in the event of a natural disaster or pandemic outbreak. Additionally, Butte Tribe will ensure that tribal residents do not fall through the cracks when federal, state, and charitable organizations distribute disaster relief items through FEMA assistance.
Regarding the healthy tribe initiative, Chief Rodger Collum facilitated the creation of the 2022 Butte Tribe Gardens. Collum gathered crops that were ready to be harvested and prepared shelled bags of field peas stored on ice for tribal members who attended the meeting.
The Governor’s office supplied FEMA Emergency backpacks loaded with evacuation supplies for Butte Tribe members. Tribe clan evacuation captains, tribal elders and working members of the tribe who attended were given the first order of backpacks. The remainder of active families that attend Butte tribal gatherings will receive backpacks in stages as the backpacks are received from the Governor’s office.
Butte Tribe member Jacqueline Garrett, who lives in Virginia, won the pistol door prize. This was Jacqueline’s first visit to her tribal gathering. Other first time member visitors were Jerry Wilson and Vicky Acy.
Those interested in knowing more about the history of Butte Tribe of Bayou Bourbeaux can read about it by visiting BUTTETRIBE.ORG and reading the Chiefs’ History.