by Belinda Brooks
Saturday, May 25, branches of the Martin family met to hold their annual Martin Family Reunion. The event was held at the Goldonna Town Hall. Special guests were Butte Indians of Bayou Bourbeaux Chief, Rodger Collum; his wife, Charlia Collum; and, Vice Chief, Belinda Brooks. A special meeting was held to discuss the history of Butte Tribe. Family members spoke of ancestors and times that have gone past. Fond memories were shared. Billy Martin told the story of a conversation that his father had with him when he was growing up. Billy’s father told him, “Son, if anything ever happens to the family after I pass away and we are in desperate need of help, go to Clarence Desadier. Should Clarence have passed and Rodger (Collum) have not come of age, go to Perry Desadier.” Billy said that their family always knew the line of family leadership. It was plainly stated publicly and known by all that Rodger had been raised by the elders to lead the family. And, what a fine job he has done! Stories of his protection of his family and family possessions of land and property are never ending. So proud of our CHIEF RODGER COLLUM who was chosen by the elders to serve his family, his tribe. Rodger has given untold hours of time, money and labor to help his family survive. He did it for love and not a title. Thanks, Rodger, for the burden that you have carried all these years. Your family loves and supports you. bb
Documented ancestors of the Butte Indians are as follows:
Chitimacha – Marie Anna Theresa De La Grande Terre
Louisiana Natchez Missionary de Saint Cosme traveled to Mobile in November 1707. On the trail, he was attacked by a band of Chitimacha Indians who murdered him by hacking him to death. De Saint Cosme was feared and hated by local Indians due to his violent mistreatment of his indigenous slaves.
In January 1708, Bienville sent the a battle ship, Esperance, with arms and munitions to St. Denis at Fort La Boulaye. The arms and munitions were gifts sent with the intention of enticing other Indian tribes to make war upon the Chitimacha. Two days later with his combined force, St. Denis attacked a small Chitimacha village while they slept, killing the men and taking the women as well as innocent young children prisoners to be sold individually for 200 livres in Mobile as slaves. The boat “Esperance” later ran aground and was destroyed by a storm at the port in Massacre Island.
Marie Anne Theresa de la Grande Terre was captured during the raid of the Chitimacha village by St. Denis. Marie Theresa was bought by a French soldier, Jacques Guedon dit Nantois. They later moved to the new fort at Natchitoches and were married at Fort Adaes in 1721. It was at this time the priest gave her the Christian name of Marie Anne Theresa. De la Grande Terre is the designation of the Chitimacha tribe which means “of the big land.”
Jacques Guedon and Marie Theresa settled the fort at Lake End on a bluff overlooking the Bayou Pierre. It was there that they raised their family among other Native American families. They later moved back to Natchitoches were buried there. One of their daughters, Louise Marguerite Guedon who married Alexis Grappe, and their children became the founding families of the Butte Tribe communities which was establish in the mid-1700s.
American Indians of Texas Spanish Colonial Missions aka “Mission Indians.”
In the Butte family area, there are several names that would call attention to Texas Mission Indian bloodline: Desadier, Perez, Cordova, Pardee and Sanchez to name a few. Documented ancestors are: White Smoke & Two Moons, Joseph Pereda Desadier & Marie Luisa Perez, Maria Vicenta Perez (wife of Charles Simon), Bernard Sanchez & Modeste Simon, Charles Carlo Cordova & Marie Porcilla Desadier, along with others not mentioned here. Ask a council chief if you have a question about your ancestor.
Our records date back to the early 1700s. These records include various San Antonio missions’ birth, marriage and death records.
Regarding these Texas Spanish missions, the Spanish captured many Native American and made them slaves. These slaves were forced into the Spanish culture. The plan of the Spanish government and missionaries was to have the Native American Indians people move into their missions and have them assume the Spanish culture and religion. After 10 years of being on their own, and showing that they had forsaken their old ways, the Indians would be considered “Espanol” not “Indios.” On census records, one can see the transition as the years went by.
History has much to say about our Mission Indian ancestors. For now, it is important to know that our ancestors escaped the Spanish Missions in fear of future attacks by the Apache, Commanche, Osage and Wichita Indians who were raiding missions in search for horses, weapons and better hunting grounds. Our ancestors ended up in Nacogdoches. Some traveled south to Opelousas. All eventually found their way home to Bayou Bourbeaux in Natchitoches Parish.
by: Belinda Brooks
Butte Indians are an inimitable blend of indigenous blooded people who settled in the present-day location of Natchitoches Parish on Bayou Bourbeaux beginning in the 17th century. Through the centuries, these clans blended through unions of a mixture of Texas (Mission) and Chitimacha Indian bloodline and became the unique, one-blooded line of Native Americans called Butte Indians.
The blend of Native American blood within the Butte line includes the following documented lines of ancestors that lived, made their homes, raised their families and died in the Butte Community: Chitimacha, American Indians of Texas Spanish Colonial Missions (AITSCM) aka Mission Indians (documented, Apache, Hasani and Adai.) Other bloodlines of the Natchitoches Nation flow but can not be documented because no records exist for that nation.
Note: As a researcher, I have not found an ancestor that I would actually call a blooded Natchitoches Indian. The only ancestor that I have documented as a Natchitoches Indian was born Hasani and buried Natchitoches. This person was Angelique wife of Charles Dumont. For that reason, I strongly hesitate in naming Angelique as a Natchitoches Indian.
Butte Indians derived their tribal name from Butte Hill located on the Bayou Bourbeaux in Natchitoches Parish. Protected and kept secret for over 200 years in recent history from outsiders by Butte Indian descendants, Butte Hill is actually one of the biggest indigenous mounds in mid-Northwestern Louisiana. The last Butte Indian ancestors buried on Butte Hill were “White Smoke”, the first Chief of the Butte Indians of Bayou Bourbeaux, and “Two Moons,” parents of the first ancestor to hold the Desadier name, Joseph 1798 Pereda Desadier (b. 1798- d. 1868.)
Butte Hill, itself, has been in existence longer than man can recount. From surrounding mounds in this area, local archeologists date artifacts as far back as five to ten thousand years old, as well as those that reveal French and Spanish influences that were handed down to the indigenous population of the area, our ancestors, dating back to the 17th century. The Butte Indian community includes but is not limited to the communities of: Trichell, Pace, Bayou Bourbeaux, Prairie Lake, Clear Lake, Ashland, Black Lake, Creston, Goldonna, Campti, Clarence, Saline, Quitman, Coushatta and other small communities throughout North & Central Louisiana , west to the Mississippi River delta lands.
Recent evidence leads the Butte Council to believe that the center of indigenous activity in this area began on Bayou Bourbeaux at Butte Hill. Numerous mounds, too many to count, are scattered throughout the area. An ancient map that dates back to the 1850s reveals the location of many of these mounds which includes mounds where several artifacts have been recovered from the eroding earth surrounding the mounds. No telling how many vessels/artifacts have been lost in local waterways to recent rains and flash flood waters.