indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Feature: Alabama-Coushatta Tribe faces an uncertain future

Filed Under: National | Politics
More on: alabama-coushatta, bia, ihs, sequestration, texas
   

The Houston Press runs a lengthy feature on the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe, touching on a wide range of issues, including the devastating effects of sequestration on the reservation and the limited economic opportunities:
Singing filled the hall while the drumbeat rattled the yellow pine walls. Obrey Alec, eyes closed, gently shook his long, graying hair and smacked the drum while a wail poured from his throat. It was a song from another tribe and the words weren't in Alabama or Coushatta, the two closely related languages of the Alabama-Coushatta of Texas.

Bryant Celestine, tribe historian, watched it all through the lens of his video camera. The dancers wore sequin-covered costumes that were loosely historically accurate for their people. The children in the audience, even their own children from the reservation's Head Start program, stared up at the dancers, eyes round, mouths agape, peeking into an alien world. Celestine smiled a bit while taking care to hold the camera straight. Here they were, putting on their finest costumes, celebrating Federal Restoration Week, and most people in the U.S. had no idea they existed here on this patch of land just outside Livingston in East Texas.

They've been in Texas since the late 1700s and on this plot of land on the edge of the Big Thicket since the 1850s, but no one gave them much thought when the stories laced through the national media about the poor, forgotten Native Americans, the Navajo and the Cherokee — both tribes with vast riches in terms of money, power and numbers compared to the Alabama-Coushatta.

When the political battle in Washington, D.C., resulted in sequestration — automatic, across-the-board, bluntly delivered budget cuts — for federal programs, the Alabama-Coushatta took 5 percent reductions in their budget with grace and hoped the money would be restored. When the ideological struggle brought the entire federal government to a standstill at the beginning of October, the Alabama-Coushatta could only wait, helpless, and have faith that the government would be up and running before the federally funded programs — which about 500 members on the reservation and most of the 1,150 recognized members of the tribe rely on — ran out of money.

They waited while no one in the wider world gave them much thought. "We've been here for generations, but people don't even know we're still out here," Celestine said. "People think there are no Indians left in Texas."

This is a problem being felt by all tribes across the board, Amber Ebarb, budget and policy analyst for the National Congress of American Indians, said. "Tribal agreements have been collateral damage in this ideological back-and-forth in politics," Ebarb said. "We're getting lost in the larger debate."

This is tough for the larger tribes, but for tribes like the Alabama-Coushatta, it keeps them pinned in a corner, unable to move forward and become what they could be or to have any real control over their future.

Get the Story:
The Alabama-Coushatta Still Exist and Are Doing What They Need to Do to Continue (The Houston Press 11/13)


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Tim Giago: Deaths of Native men in Rapid City remain unsolved (10/20)
Charles 'Chuck' Trimble: Let Crazy Horse's spirit rest in peace (10/20)
Mark Trahant: Races come down to turnout in three key states (10/20)
Native Sun News: Billy Mills wows youth at Black Hills Powwow (10/20)
Cedric Sunray: Tribes abandon traditional aspects of inclusion (10/20)
Dustina Gill: Vote for Rick Weiland to protect our sacred waters (10/20)
Ousted Project Runway contestant reaffirms Puyallup heritage (10/20)
White House Tribal Nations Conference takes place December 3 (10/20)
Bryan Brewer: Park helps Oglala Sioux Tribe protect its culture (10/20)
Robert Porter: Don't let tribal issues fall prey to partisan politics (10/20)
Gabe Galanda: Abramoff's playbook still used in Indian Country (10/20)
Jay Daniels: Let BIA make changes to rights-of-way regulation (10/20)
Mike McBride: Sovereign goodwill at a low in tribal tax dispute (10/20)
Top Navajo Nation court holds hearing in presidential dispute (10/20)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe to open resort at ancestral site in Ohio (10/20)
Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas selects Lester Randall as new leader (10/20)
Editorial: Address safety concerns about tribal hunts at night (10/20)
Chukchansi Tribe sends layoff notices to most casino workers (10/20)
Rivals raise nearly $16M to block North Fork Rancheria casino (10/20)
Judge won't let BIA proceed with compact for Pojoaque Pueblo (10/20)
Candidates discuss Menominee Nation's off-reservation casino (10/20)
Opinion: Suckers help Chumash Tribe finance casino expansion (10/20)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe buckles to pressure on park (10/17)
Mark Trahant: Native vote could tip races in Idaho and Colorado (10/17)
Crystal Willcuts: Remembering the beauty that was my mother (10/17)
Blackfeet actress Misty Upham found dead after going missing (10/17)
Citizen Potawatomi Nation sues city over detachment petition (10/17)
Opinion: Politicians relying on Native voters in a close election (10/17)
Poarch Creeks donate another $500K to Democratic candidate (10/17)
Montana to transfer bison from Yellowstone to Fort Peck Tribes (10/17)
Opinion: Listen to Native Americans who oppose racist mascots (10/17)
Charges possible in dispute at Chukchansi Tribe's closed casino (10/17)
Oglala Sioux Tribe might open third casino under new compact (10/17)
Women dominate workforce at Northern Arapaho Tribe's casino (10/17)
Ho-Chunk Nation to shut down poker room after losing lawsuit (10/17)
Blog: What to know about Prop 48 and off-reservation gaming (10/17)
Native Sun News: Native vote plays key role in Senate matchup (10/16)
Dean Chavers: Calling out Ward Churchill and other wannabes (10/16)
Glenn Morris: A sorry spectacle at UN indigenous peoples meet (10/16)
Crosscut to present special award to late activist Billy Frank Jr. (10/16)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.