"HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE"
American Indians of western Louisiana agreed to publicly identify themselves appropriately, in 1995. These people had long been oppressed and out of fear of retaliation from the federal government had chosen to hide their true identities. Earlier there could be no public acknowledgement of their rich heritage. Those who owned land feared it would be taken from them if they admitted they were American Indian, so therefore, many many census records reflect the racial status as "White, Free Person of Color, Black or Free Person", obviously an incorrect category. These people were denied the right to be proud (publicly) of their roots. Several generations have been deprived of their human rights due to this extreme injustice.
The descendants of the original American Indian inhabitants of western Louisiana formed the "Four Winds Tribe, Louisiana Cherokee Confederacy". It's geographical description is portions of or the entire parishes as follows; Vernon, Beauregard, Allen, Rapides, Natchitoches, Jefferson Davis and Sabine. The people of the tribe live mainly in the rural areas, however not exclusively. This tribe received recognition as an American Indian tribe from the state government in Louisiana in 1997.
There has been much suffering and ridicule concerning the name the original administration chose for the people. They have been made fun of and embarrassed by degrading comments from many people, who through ignorance, do not understand the legend behind the name. Most of all "CONFEDERACY" on the name seems to be the main issue--many allude that the tribe is only an association. This is so far from the truth--the real issue is that before and during the infamous"Indian Removal Act", many American Indians fled into this area of Louisiana known as "The Neutral Zone, or No Man's Land" (that land which was west of the Calcasieu River, east of the Sabine River, north to the Rio Hondo and south to the Gulf of Mexico--all land within those boundaries), for it was a safe haven for any refugees as there was no legal jurisdiction at that time. You were your own law--no one could come for you. This tribe is largely Cherokee with Choctaw, Micmac, Attakapas and Creek descendants as well. Does this make these people any less American Indian?????, no, they are proud people trying to recapture their heritage. It is an obligation the members of this tribe proudly uphold--"to advance the awareness of the truth of the ancestors". If in hindsight, "Confederacy" was a poor choice of wording, then let this record show the true intent. Let those who have mislabeled this tribe, see the true light and amend the discrimination.
American Indian identity remains strong within the people. The continued ongoing efforts to teach and instill pride in the people is accomplished by cultural training and heritage preservation. Wisdom is passed down from the elders of the tribe. Despite the denial of status and identify with some--this tribe has endured as a proud and magnificent people. They have found the love and protection of their Great Creator is sufficient to have the necessary faith to carry on in the tradition of the ancestors. They demand respect for their identity and culture, but a stronger desire to provide and protect their own.
Today, the tribe is advancing its own cause by improving their community and people. The Tribal Council is making great strides in seeking resources to address the social needs of the people. Along with the concepts of leadership, personal development, and the pursuit of a stabilized functioning government, they are aware of the educational, social, economic, domestic, medical and financial needs of the youth and elderly population, as well as the physically and mentally challenged individuals.
They challenge the people to maintain the culture and heritage of the American Indians of "No Man's Land". Let all people join hands and make the world a better place to live and pass to their descendants. They encourage everyone to put aside any prejudice and rely on the fact that the Great Creator looks upon all as one people--His people. Four Winds Tribe, Louisiana Cherokee Confederacy is a tribe "with pride".