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Atakapas Ishak Indians, Atakapa Native American Indians, Creole Indians or the Native (aboriginal) People of Southwest Louisiana
and Southeast Texas

Search Tip: Google Louisiana Indians, then click on images at the right top of screen, and it pulls up an archive of Native American graphics, paintings, images, graphs and photos!!! Check it out.

More about American Indians - Homes, Clothing & Recreation
There were no tepees in Louisiana. Rather, Louisiana's first families lived and worshipped in palmetto-thatched houses, beehive-shaped grass houses, woodframe houses, and wattle-and-daub houses and temples.

Women prepared and cooked the food that they gathered and grew and that the men hunted and fished. Louisiana Indians boiled, roasted, baked and parched their food.

Native American women also manufactured all the clothing. Popular clothing materials were feathers, bark, cloth, and hides, as well as furs from deer, bear, bison, and smaller game animals. Both men and women fashioned such body ornaments as necklaces, bracelets, armbands, rings, and ear and nose plugs from locally available shells and pearls and imported copper.

Like Europeans and Africans of the same time period, the natives of Louisiana amused themselves with various games and sporting events. Long before Europeans arrived in the Mississippi Valley, Louisiana Indians gambled on the outcome of sporting events and games of chance. Players and spectators alike risked their earnings on all sorts of games and sports--wrestling, footracing, archery, dice, and toli, a game adopted by the French and called raquette. Dancing and music were often a part of these tribal sporting events, as well as feasts and religious ceremonies. With music in the background, Louisiana Indians performed as groups, pairs, and individuals.

Communal Dance 1758
Reproduced from Antoine Simon Le Page du Pratz, Histoire de la Louisiane
The illustrations for Histoire de la Louisiane were produced in Europe from descriptions supplied by the author.

This is an important reminder that our next big tribal gathering is quickly approaching. Everyone who is actively working on and supporting federal recognition efforts, is encouraged to attend. Remember, regular community gatherings among the tribal family, is key to this primary goal.



Issue No. 1 November 2006

October 28, 2006 - The Atakapa Ishak nation met for the first time in over 100 years as "One nation". There were 450 people who represented Louisiana and Texas. The mistress of ceremony and newly appointed Director of Publications and Communications, Rachel Mouton started us out by introducing Billy LaChapelle who opened the afternoon with an Atakapa prayer in English and in the Atakapa language. We raised our hands in the tradition of our people and bowed our heads in prayer to thank the Lord our Father for this beautiful day. After the opening prayer, Rachel shared with us a bit of history such as the meeting of Cabeza DeVaca, who with his Spanish shipmates were stranded with the Atakapa Ishaks. (Please see the timeline) for the historical reference. After her historical prelude, Rachel introduced Michael Amos our chief who introduced his council members as follows:

CHIEF: Michael Amos, Patiri Clan
Ray Soileau
Lafayette, La
SECRETARY: Ann LaChapelle, Akokisa
SECRETARY: Paula Kimble, Patiri

James Fretty, Akokisa
Danny Dyson, Quelqueshue
Hugh Singleton, Quelqueshue, Elder and council member

Noteworthy was the fact that the Mound People emboding 300 years of having lived on the same island was represented by their Clan Chief, Myrtle Phillips.

Ray Soileau came in his Pow-wow best. He was wearing southern straight dance regalia complete with porcupine roach and beaded sash. He was accompanied by his wife who also wore a woman's style southern straight regalia.

After Chief Michael introduced his council members he introduced Nyna Konishi who flew in from Washington DC to share the process for tribal recognition. There was a lot of dialogue between the audience and the speaker that helped to assist folks with some of their concerns regarding things that they read in the census and other records that they found. In a unanimous show of hands folks 100 per cent agreed to pursue Federal Acknowledgement of our Nation.

The gathering ended with a traditional Indian blanket ceremony where Hugh Singleton, Hammond, LA, was recognized for his tireless efforts in keeping the Atakapa Ishak Nation alive in the hearts of many. His nephew Russell and grand niece Bethany were given a Pendleton blanket significant to all Indians across Indian country and where the meaning of this blanket is that it signifies the wisdom and knowledge our elders share with us.

This was a great day for us all and we are blessed to have been a part of this and there will be more to come. There were a lot hugs and smooches going on, smiles and happy faces. The next gathering is scheduled for March/April and the date and time will be announced in the January Newsletter. Prior to some of the fun, we hope to share and make the first two hours a working meeting where folks who have gathered their documents can get help from folks who have completed their documents. Folks who are able to complete their documents before March and who have submitted them already will be given a chance to receive some feedback from Washington on whether their documents are completed or will be informed as to what else they need to complete their package. So please do not wait until March - submit your documents as soon as possible, if you have everything that you can find please submit them to P.O. Box 891, Port Arthur, Texas 77641-0891 for document review.

EASTERN ATAKAPA: The dialect is known from a word list of 287 entries recorded in 1802 by Martin Duralde. This dialect appears to be the most divergent of the three. These speakers lived around Poste des Attackapas (Saint Martinville) which is now FRANKLIN, LOUISIANA.

WESTERN ATAKAPA: The dialect is the best known with words, sentences, and texts recorded from 1885, 1907, and 1908 by Dr. Albert Gatschet, Smithsonian Institute scientist. The main language consultant was recorded in LAKE CHARLES, LA. The
last known speakers of the Atakapa language were Louison Huntington, called Kish Yuts, "Grown Woman" and Delilah Moss, called Toktoksh, "Round Eyes." Other known speakers of Atakapan were Teet Verdine and Armojean Reon.

An older vocabulary is in a list of 45 words recorded in 1721 by Jean Beranger, a French sea captain of the Orcoquisa tribe which differed slightly from the dialect of Lake Charles.

SUMMER - 2006

ATAKAPAS - Native American

Atakapas Ishak entwined in pre-history of Louisiana
The foot trails of the Atakapas Ishak are commemorated by their historical display in the WAR ROOM MUSEUM, located 21 miles from the Texas/Louisiana SABINE RIVER border, in DeRidder, Louisiana. Open by appointment: Call 1-800-738-5534
What Is It

Is it a flute?
Is it a whistle?
Is it Atakapa?
Atakapas-Ishak Indians' Newsletter
(uh-TAK-UH-PAW EE-shak)
The Native People of Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas
Volume 6, No. 1; Summer Edition; June 2006
Our name is a compound name. Its first part is a slur picked up and carelessly, even ignorantly, spread by Spaniards, early intruders into our homeland back in the late 1600's. Their harmful efforts were followed by those of the French who eagerly employed the slur to demonize our people in S.W. LA/S.E. TX, from the 1700's to the mid-1900's. The second part of our tribal name is our true, self chosen name from prehistory. It means 'The People'. All of this and much more about us can be read in the Smithsonian's 1932 "Dictionary of the Atakapa Language", and in the recent volume by this newsletter's editor entitled "The Indians Who Gave Us Zydeco." Search it out on this Atakapas-Ishak website. Thanks for checking out our website, and thanks for telling others about us, especially members and descendants of our tribe, the Native Americans in and from S.W. LA/S.E. TX
S H O K I W A N S H ! !
(Atakapa for "Tell me something!" An equivalent to "What's happening?")
The following news release was sent to newspapers in S.W. Louisiana on May 17, 2006. Your editor, student of S.W.LA/S.E.TX Atakapa Language, has found the long lost sources for two words popular in Louisiana: 'lagniappe' and 'jambalaya'. Both words, according to the sender's analysis of his findings in the Smithsonian's 1931-1932 publication, "A Dictionary of the Atakapa Language", trace back to the Atakapa-Ishak Indians.
"'Lagniappe' traces back to the Atakapa (name of the language) expression, "lagnap", meaning "the cash money is here", or "here is cash money". A merchant hearing that from a customer rewarded the customer in some small way. That reward itself came to be called a "lagn ap". The expression took on a variety of phoneticized spellings, for through three centuries Atakapa words were spelled the ways various Europeans thought they sounded. 'Lagn' is Atakapa's eastern dialect for "glitter (gold & silver), then cash, coin, money (even for paper money), eventually. The equivalent in its western dialect is "lak" Hence the word 'lagniappe' most closely traces back to an origin among the tribe's Mermentau River and Vermilion River Bands.
'Jambalaya', the dish and its name come not from Cajuns, as mistaken belief would have it, but from the Atakapas-Ishak Indians of S.W. LA/S.E.TX, as the Smithsonian's 1885 findings show. Singleton's analysis of the Smithsonian Dictionary's information traces Spanish influence on the name 'jambalaya' from a period around the 1600's and the early 1700's, before the intrusion of Cajuns into the Atakapas-Ishak homelands!

Singleton finds at that period the tribe's invitation to enjoy a dish (any dish) were their words: 'Sham, pal ha! Ya!' The invitation's meaning is "Be full, not skinny! Eat Up!" It was spoken by the Atakapas-Ishak Indian host in the same jovial manner as any host's similar invitation, e.g. the French host's Bon appetit!"

Three factors configured today's version, 'jambalaya', from the tribe's original expression, 'Sham, pal ha! Ya!: first, the early Spaniards' inability to shape for and to sound faithfully the Indians' initial "sh" (and their "ts") consonant blends; second, the Spaniards' (yet abiding) tendency to substitute "b" for "p" and vice versa; third, an unaspirated "h" on the Atakapa negative, 'ha'. Result, the early influence of Spanish on the Atakapa-Ishak Indians' jovial invitation, 'Sham, pal ha! Ya!", led to the spelling it yet has today, jambalaya, very familiar to the many thousands of this tribe's members in and from S.W.LA/S.E.TX.

1. Some Personal and Possessive Pronouns
"wi" = I, my; "na" = you, your (singular); "ha" = he, his, she, her & hers, it, its

2. Words of Family Relationships
"huket, hoket" = mother; "hitet, itet" = father; "kish" = woman, female; "keshesh" (pronounced kesheesh) = women, females; "ishak, iol" = man, male; "shakiol" = men, males; "sidsi kish" = baby girl; "sidsi ishak" = baby boy; "shesh" (rhymes with mesh) = babies; "nomsh" = child (male & female); "shak nomsh" = children (male & female); "kish nomsh" = little girl; "keshesh" (pronounced as for 'females' (above) "nomsh" = little girls; "ishak nomsh" = little boy; "shakiol nomsh" = little boys; "kish ishalit" (literally' a female next after us')= young (teen age) girl; "keshesh" (see its pronunciation for women (above) "ishalit" = young (teen age) girls; "iol" = young (teen age) boy; "shakiol" = young (teen age) boys. Many more such words in the future.

ARCHIVES of the Native Aboriginal People of Southeast Texas
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