Throughout the twentieth century, anthropologists and historians have regarded the Houma Indians of southern Louisiana as the descendants of the Houma Indians encountered along the Mississippi River by French explorers and settlers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Oral history of the contemporary Houma traces the group's origin to Native Americans of the Houma and other tribes who moved into the bayou country of southeastern Louisiana during the late eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries. However,anthropologists and historians from the Bureau of Indian Affairs have concluded that there is no documentary evidence of any cultural or genealogical link between the modern Houma and the Houma of the French colonial period. Available documentary sources indicate that the modern Houma originated in the nineteenth century as a multiethnic group that included Europeans, African Americans, and some Native Americans, none of whom are known to have been Houmas. The genesis of the modern group's identity as Houma Indians can be understood as a response to legally sanctioned racial classifications and race discrimination in Louisiana from the late nineteenth century on.
Skip Nav Destination
Research Article| July 01 2001
A Case of Identity: Ethnogenesis of the New Houma Indians
Ethnohistory (2001) 48 (3): 473–494.
Dave D. Davis; A Case of Identity: Ethnogenesis of the New Houma Indians. Ethnohistory 1 July 2001; 48 (3): 473–494. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00141801-48-3-473
Download citation file:
Don't already have an account? Register
You could not be signed in. Please check your email address / username and password and try again.
Could not validate captcha. Please try again.
Sign in via your InstitutionSign In