DENHAM SPRINGS — A history lesson about Native Americans at a Livingston Parish library provided details that those attending won’t soon forget.
A packed room at the Denham Springs-Walker Branch of the Livingston Parish Library listened to Ken Dixon and Regina Smith on Nov. 25 as they talked about the culture and traditions of Native Americans, many of whom still reside in Louisiana, Dixon said.
“We’re hoping that they can recognize their culture,” Dixon said, adding that November was Native American History Month. “Hopefully, with this presentation they will feel more involved with their culture.”
Dixon said 24 tribes reside in Louisiana. Many of the library patrons — young and old — raised their hands when asked if they were of Native American descent.
“If you do DNA tests, you can find out your culture and what’s in your background,” said Smith, who is one-eighth American Indian.
Smith said her goal is to erase the stereotypes associated with Native Americans and teach youths and adults the correct facts.
She said some Native Americans who left Mississippi during the Trail of Tears settled in Louisiana. Most of the Native Americans located in Louisiana are Choctaws, and many are trying to get back to their original culture and speak their native language.
Lisa Cobb took her daughter, Anna Cobb, 14, and her niece and nephew, Avery Cobb, 5, and Grant Cobb, 8, to the presentation to help dispel the perceptions they may have seen on television, she said.
“It seemed like the most interesting thing to do,” Lisa Cobb said.
Treasure Mitchell, 10, said she wanted to learn more about Indian traditions.
“In school we learned some things about (Native Americans). I just thought I’d try something different,” Treasure said.
“Hopefully, it will open her mind to a different culture,” said Treasure’s mother, Latoya Mitchell.
The presentation was filled with games, dances and crafts, all of which the youths were invited to participate in.
Heather DeShazer, 14, and a member of the library’s Teen Advisory Board, came to help prepare for the event, but said she too, has “Native American blood in me.”
“I knew there were Indian tribes (here) but I didn’t know how many,” Heather said.
For upcoming events at the Livingston Parish Library, visit www.mylpl.info.