Photo courtesy of Theresa Billiot, 2004
This photo was taken shortly after receiving State Recognition.
Left to Right: Theresa Dardar (PACIT), Second Chairman Donald Dardar (PACIT), Chief Randy Verdun (BL-BCCM), Patty Ferguson-Bohnee (PACIT Tribal Attorney), Chief Albert Naquin (IJC-BCCM), Councilman Ernie Dardar (IJC-BCCM), Councilman Ronald Courteaux (GCD-BCCM), Principal Dawn Lafont (Pointe-aux-Chenes Elementary). Shirley Verdin (PACIT). Kneeling: Secretary Michelle Matherne (PACIT), Elder Theresa Billiot (PACIT). Also present for the hearings but unavailable for the picture was Elder Arline Naquin (PACIT).
In June 2004, the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe, (PACIT) the Isle a Jean Charles Band of the Biloxi Chitimacha Confederation of Muskogees, the Bayou Lafourche Band of the Biloxi Chitimacha Confederation of Muskogees, and the Grand Caillou Dulac Band of the Biloxi Chitimacha Confederation of Muskogees (BCCM) were officially re-recognized as tribal communities and recognized as Indian tribes by the State of Louisiana. PACIT AND BCCM MEMBERS WORKED TOGETHER TO OBTAIN STATE RECOGNITION. Chief Randy Verdun of the Bayou Lafourche Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha, Pointe-aux-Chenes School Principal Dawn Lafont, and PACIT Tribal Attorney Patty Ferguson-Bohnee testified on behalf of effort. Resolutions to recognize the tribes passed committees in both chambers the same day.
The Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe has been seeking federal acknowledgment since the mid 1990s. Although Pointe-au-Chien is a one of the oldest inhabited communities in the United States, the Tribe did not seek formal recognition until the 1990s. The effort was prompted by the lack of assistance received following Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and the Tribe's efforts to protect the land. Without federal recognition, government entities often overlook and fail to address the issues facing our Tribal community.
The Tribe submitted initial documents in 1996, and the petition became active in 2005. The Office of Federal Acknowledgment issued a negative proposed finding in 2008 outlining several areas that require additional evidence, specifically political authority from 1940-1988 and historical evidence of tribal origins. New regulations were adopted in 2015, and PACIT is currently in the process of preparing its petition to be submitted to the Office of Federal Acknowledgment.
Preparing a petition is expensive, time consuming, and requires expert assistance. An obstacle for Pointe-au-Chien is the lack of primary research about Louisiana Indians. Because of this, PACIT and its researchers have dedicated enormous amounts of time researching colonial archives in order to prepare the Tribe's petition.
Lafourche Parish and Terrebonne Parish have both recognized the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe, and on May 27, 2008, the Terrebonne Parish School Board recognized the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe.