Butte Tribe meets for Spring 2020 Business Meeting

Chief Rodger Collum addresses his tribe. Standing behind him in plans for beginning the project of the Butte Cultural Center are members: (Left to Right) Buddy Hays, Dallas Desadier, Tad Desadier & Keith Hernandez.
Chief Collum greats members.

By: Belinda Brooks

Council Members, Estella Almond & Belinda Brooks enjoyed the day with family.

Saturday, March 14th, Butte Tribe members met for their Spring 2020 seasonal meeting with approximately 100 members attending.  The meeting was held at the Pace Recreation Center in Natchitoches, Louisiana.  Special guest was Eric Kirkendall, Shreveport Ambassador of Ansley’s Angels of North West Louisiana.

Members gathered for their quarterly business meeting.  Chief Rodger Collum reported on the Butte Tribe Cultural Center Project that is now in process.  Land survey and tribe pledges were discussed.  He discussed his recent meeting with the Natchitoches Police Jury and the requirements that are needed to put tribe plans into action.  Treasurer Brad Desadier gave the financial report.  Vice-Chief Belinda Brooks spoke to the tribe about the current series of articles on the Butte Chiefs of Bayou Bourbeaux that is being published the Natchitoches Times newspaper.  Members were encouraged to take time to read the articles to learn more about the history of their tribe. 

New membership cards and feathers were handed out to the members who were present.  Approximately 100 new members were added to the tribal rolls.  Presentation of feathers is a ceremonial event of the Butte Tribe.  Traditionally, both men and women wear feathers within the Butte Tribe.  Feathers must be earned and the decision of who receives feathers is made by the chief. 

Butte Tribe ladies who were presented feathers are pictured here: (left to right): Merissa Banes, Linda Banes, Norma Jean Scallion, Meshal Free, Sonia Sistrunk, Linda Curtis, Brenda Key, Sally Futch, Jamee Stampley and Tammy Perot. Thank you to all of these wonderful ladies who play a very important roll in Butte Tribe.
Ravin Trichell set up her Northeast Louisiana Overall Championship presentation on her tribe, Butte Tribe of Bayou Bourbeaux.

Raven Trichell, Butte member, displayed her history presentation that will be entered in 2020 Louisiana State History Fair competition in May.  The Butte Tribe presentation won the Overall Championship Honors at the regional competition in Monroe, Louisiana. 

Meshal Kavalir Free, Butte member, invited special guest, Eric Kirkendall, Shreveport Ambassador of Ansley’s Angels of North West Louisiana.  Free is an avid supporter and volunteer of Ansley’s Angels.  Her son, Will, loves to ride with his mother guiding the wheels.  Free and Kirkendall expressed their feelings of joy when at the end of marathons their riders receive metals just like those who could actually run the race.  Kirkendall spoke to the tribe about his non-profit organization, Ansley’s Angels.  Rides were provided for those at the meeting who wanted to experience the fun of being pushed at a running pace down the highway.  Ainsley’s Angels provides exciting bike riding experiences for disabled children of all ages.  Specially designed four-wheel push-bikes that enable the riders to sit safely and comfortably are pushed by volunteer runners to enable the riders to enjoy the thrill of road gliding and to feel the breeze of air brushing by their bodies.

Belinda Brooks, Vice-Chief & Chief Rodger Collum enjoy the ride with guest, Eric Kirkendall , & member, Meshal Free.

Joseph Pareda Desadier – Chief #2 Butte Tribe of Bayou Bourbeaux

Written by: Belinda Brooks
Oral History by: Chief Rodger Lee Collum

Chief Joseph Pareda Desadier (Joseph Sr.,) 2nd Chief of the Butte Tribe of Bayou Bourbeaux was born February 10, 1798, in the San Fernando Mission at San Antonio, Texas.  Listed on the Mission’s baptismal records as his parents were Jose Francisco Pereda and Ana Maria Leal who were both natives of the city.  Understanding Catholic baptismal records during the Spanish occupation, one understood that the Spanish’s purpose of converting Native Americans to the Catholic religion was their way of assimilating natives to Spanish culture and claiming their land for Spain.  To the ultra-religious Spanish, the indigenous people of America were ignorant heathens who needed salvation. 

Therefore, Mission Indians were required to be baptized.  Upon baptism, the priest would gift each native with a Christian name.  That person would then become a Spanish citizen and no longer considered Indian.  Christian names given to Joseph’s parents listed above were their baptismal names.  Their Native Americans names were White Smoke and Two Moons.  The story of their escape from the missions to Bayou Bourbeaux will be revealed in the next and final story of the Chiefs of Bayou Bourbeaux.

As Joseph grew, he earned the native name of Powder Face.  When a Butte raiding party would ride out from the village, Joseph’s signature painted face was made with water and white powder.  The mixture made a white paint that he used to paint his face solid white.  Raiding, killing and torturing their enemies were not given a second thought when it came to protecting their lands and family.  Joseph made his first kill at the age of 15.  At that time, White Smoke considered his son a man.

In 1827, Joseph Sr. married Marie Louise Perez.   Marie Louise was older than her husband, and like Joseph was born in the San Fernando Mission in San Antonio, Texas.  Her family migrated to Louisiana by way of Opelousas, Louisiana.  From there, they found their way to Bayou Bourbeaux.  She met Joseph there where they raised their family.


Trading goods with other tribes and Europeans was a way of life with natives.  As a young man, Joseph spent most of his life on the rivers and trails of North America bartering for goods needed by the family.  The most popular trade item Buttes had was salt which was gathered from the Goldonna salt licks. Goldonna’s clan was part of the Butte Tribe.  Joseph and other young tribal braves would travel the Saline Bayou to Goldonna, back to the Red River; from there, the band of braves would go south to New Orleans, Mexico, South America, or travel north.  Butte Tribe traded for items such as bear grease, flint, rock, etc. These trips could last as long as six months or longer.   When the braves returned, their first stop would be at the temple mound.  There they would leave their best gifts and make their way to the village.  The tribe would celebrate by sitting around fires, smoking pipes, telling stories, singing, dancing, and eating specially prepared foods.


Joseph Pareda Desadier was raised on the Louisiana prairie grass and bayou land of Bayou Bourbeaux.  His father, Chief White Smoke, moved his people to this land shortly after his birth in 1798.  White Smoke controlled all the lands and tribes in the Bayou Bourbeaux area.    The prairie grassland was abundant with thousands of buffalos and other wildlife.  The buffalo was very important to the survival of the Indians.  Native Americans would only kill enough buffalo to supply their needs.  Every part of the buffalo would be used and nothing wasted.

Since the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, White Smoke met with the territorial Indian Agent, John Sibley.   Sibley’s main job as agent was to prepare area tribes for governmental land survey.  Sibley assured White Smoke of the “Great White Father’s,” President Thomas Jefferson’s, promise that Butte tribal land would be held as sacred land and the government would not take one acre of their land without White Smoke’s consent.  Having lived and escaped from the Texas Missions, White Smoke had no trust in the words of white men.  Joseph was raised with the knowledge of all the things that his people had lived through. 

As time passed and the government changed leaders, Andrew Jackson became the 7th President of the United States in 1829. Jackson wasted no time targeting Native Americans.  In his 1829 State of the Union Address, Jackson called for removal of Native Americans from the southeast to Texas and Oklahoma territories.  By forcibly removing the Native Americans west, the Southern states would gain the ill-gotten land that belonged to the natives.  The Indian Removal Act was signed in 1830 and put into action immediately.

Joseph and his father were waiting.  European settlers had tried to claim their land many times before.  Their plan was put into action.  The family would first assimilate to the white man’s ways.  Then, they would watch and be ready.  Next, everyone knew what shutting down the bayou meant.  It had happened before.  It would happen again.  Beware to settlers who dared to cross Butte land!


As time passed, white settlers soon found their way to the bayou lands.  Oddly enough, there were no white settlers on Butte land.  But, the rich land and abundance of wildlife around Natchitoches Parish were too enticing for settlers to resist.  They started marking off land near Butte land with no thought of natives who had lived on the land for hundreds of years.  Buffalo were being slaughtered.  Contention between Native Americans and whites were high.   The senseless killing of numerous buffalo for sport by white men left little for the natives’ lifestyle.  By the 1830s, there were very few buffalo left on the prairie. 

Joseph had to start a new chapter in the lives of his people.  Horses and Texas long-horns were where Joseph’s new interests lie.   Joseph would travel anywhere to find the fastest, most stunning horses.  He was known far and wide for his outstanding walking and quarter horses.  Texas long-horn cattle were free-range cattle.  They were there for the taking and the market was in high demand.  One steer could bring ten times its cost.  As a good business man, Joseph couldn’t pass that up.  He with his band of men traveled the El Camino Real and Old San Antonio Trail often to return with hundreds of heads of cattle to sell or trade on the open market in New Orleans or at the docks on the Mississippi River. 


Joseph ‘s wife, Marie Louise was away from her home one day when she was attacked by a raiding group of Indians led by a warrior named Red Hawk.  She took an arrow to her arm, was scalped, and left for dead.  Within a short time, Joseph got word of the attack.  It only took a few minutes to don his painted face, saddle up his fastest, gather his raiding party and hit the trail heading for St. Maurice.


Powder Face took Red Hawks Scalp

Joseph aka “Powder Face” knew his enemy, Red Hawk, well.  Red Hawk and his men were known for stealing livestock and killing settlers in the surrounding area.    The attack on Marie Louise may have been by accident with Red Hawk not realizing who he was attacking until the deed was done.  Whatever the case, he had Powder Face to deal with now.  The two bands clashed on the trail to Winn Parish near St. Maurice.  Powder Face, angry and ready to draw blood, rushed in on the offending band of Indians.  He only had tunnel vision for Red Hawk.   As he drew near to Red Hawk, he leaped from his horse with a sharp war-cry and attacked.  Both warriors hit the ground, quickly jumping to their feet, and drawing their knives for hand-to-hand battle.  Powder Face drew first blood by slicing Red Hawk across the face.  He gave his rival a wicked grin.  As was his custom, he backed fair enough away to taunt Red Hawk for his weakness.  Red Hawk reached up to touch the deep slash on his face.  In anger, he rushed toward Powder Face who stepped aside taunting Red Hawk again with a sparkle in his eyes.  As Red Hawk turned around, Powder Face went in for the kill.  The battle ended quickly after that with Red Hawk’s bloody scalp dangling from Powder Face’s lance.  Powder Face kept the scalp on the end of his spear until the day he died.  He was buried standing up with his arms folded around his lance adorned by Red Hawk’s scalp.  As for Marie Louise, she recovered from the scalping, but her hand became infected and she eventually lost two fingers.


Another story that was told by the elders was about Joseph’s buffalo kill.  There were few buffalo on the prairie.  Joseph decided that he was in need of a buffalo to feed his family.  As there was no refrigeration, the buffalo meat would be shared among the tribe families.  The remaining parts of the animal would be used for other essential needs.  He rode out to the prairie to find his mark.  It didn’t take long to spot his buffalo.  He rushed toward the buffalo with his lance held high.  He hurled the lance in such a way that the spear pierced the buffalo through and through, killing it instantly, and pinning it to the ground.   Looking back at his kill as he rode forward, Joseph saw the buffalo laying on the grass, the lance standing straight up with Red Hawk’s scalp blowing in the wind.


Jim Bowie of Alamo fame and his younger brother, Reazin, spent the majority of their lives in Louisiana.  Although Bowie has been honored for his stand in the Alamo, the truth of the story as the people in the Rapides, Winn and Natchitoches Parish knew it was that Bowie was a con-man, thief, killer and chaser/seller of slaves.  His history with Butte Indians began early during White Smokes reign as chief, but Joseph Sr. had a run-in with him one night near the lost San Saba Silver Mines in Texas in the 1830s.  Joseph’s band partnered with a small group of Texas/Caddo Indians to round-up steers to sell in Louisiana.  They were camped down for the night when in the distance they heard horses riding in.  Joseph and his band readied themselves for a fight.  Whoever it was, at this time of night, was up to no-good. 

When Bowie neared the camp, he and his men were ambushed by Joseph’s group.  Bowie fought Powder Face aka Joseph Sr. in semi-darkness.  In the fight, Joseph sliced Bowie across his arm.  As was the way of both, White Smoke and Powder Face, Joseph backed off to return again for the kill.  In the process of doing so, Bowie and his men ran into the darkness without their horses.  Butte braves circled their animals and camp for the rest of the night.  In the early morning, they rose, gathered their property with the additional horses left by Bowie and headed toward Louisiana leaving Bowie and his men on foot to tell their story.


Consumer demand for cattle following the Civil War caused a booming market economy.   Steers costing $3 in Texas could easily bring the ranchers $30 a head on the open market.  Therefore, Joseph was very active in the cattle trade.

One steamy, hot July day in 1868, Joseph Sr. was herding long-horn steers across Saline Bayou to market them at the Mississippi River docks in Concordia Parish, Louisiana.  As Joseph moved on his horse across the bayou, a long-horn steer broke out from the herd from behind him.  The steer’s horn poked the horse’s rump unexpectedly as the steer moved up to incase Joseph and his horse between cattle on all sides.  Joseph’s horse was startled which caused Joseph to fall to the side of his saddle.  His foot tripped up in his stirrup. Cattle continued to move forward pulling Joseph down beneath the water where he was unable to recover his balance and he drowned.

The Chief was buried about three-quarters of a mile from his 3rd great- grandson’s home, the 6th Chief of the Butte Tribe, Chief Rodger Collum.  Joseph Jr.  buried his father there with honors, standing up, with his arms folded around his sacred lance.  Dangling from the lance ~ Red Hawk’s scalp.

Joseph Desadier Jr.– 3rd Chief of Butte Tribe of Bayou Bourbeaux

Written by: Belinda Brooks
Oral History by: Chief Rodger Lee Collum

Chief Joseph Desadier Jr., 3rd Chief of the Butte Tribe of Bayou Bourbeaux was born January 16, 1832, in Bayou Bourbeaux in Natchitoches Parish.  His parents were Joseph Desadier Sr. and Ana Louise Perez both Texas Indians born at the San Fernando Missions and raised in Louisiana at Bayou Bourbeaux. 

Of all the Butte chiefs, Joseph Jr.’s, life span covered the historical beginnings of Louisiana and Texas within the United States.  Less than a year and a half before his birth, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act which was in the process of being enforced on Joseph’s birthdate.   This process was the force that led the pathway for future decisions made by his father in the struggle for the survival for his people.  The decision was an easy one for the survival of the tribe.  The tribe would adopt the ways of the white man.  They would live as a family not a tribe.


As a child, Joseph would sit through meetings with the elders and here of atrocities dealt to their indigenous brothers and sisters to the East as they were forced to leave their homeland and belongings with the clothes on their backs in the dead of winter for a desolate land in the West.  Thousands were dying.  Some were escaping the forced journey to hide in the swamp lands of Bayou Bourbeaux.

By the age of 14, the United States had waged war on Mexico and annexed Texas Territory as a state.  Mexico signed an agreement on the Rio Grande and Texas borderline.  This was all good news for the Butte Tribe considering their trade in horses and cattle across the Texas line. 

One day, out of nowhere, federal troops rode into Bayou Bourbeaux.   They rounded up a large part of the community in one location.  At that point, eight children were taken from the group.  The people were told that the children were going to be placed in a school far away and when their schooling was over that they would be returned.  The action caused instant rebellious activity within the community.  Joseph Jr., as the family leader, was furious!  He was taken in chains to the military jail where he remained for four months.   The children were never returned.

At the age of 30 approximately one year after the beginning of the Civil War, President Lincoln signed the 1862 Homestead Act.  After the war, abolitionists were out for everything that they could steal from all people of color, even Native Americans.  Even before that time, Europeans had started moving into the bayou and marking off land as their own.  Confusion was around every corner where the land was the topic.  What belonged to the family had to be protected.  The family had to band together to keep as much of their land as possible.  The family had their ways.   What was meant by that was that the only way into the Bayou Bourbeaux community was by the family’s consent.   Should a person not be wanted nor welcomed in the area, the bayou would be shutdown.  What was understood and realized by Joseph Jr. was that there was no one to fight or care for the indigenous people of America.   The family would have to see to itself.


Joseph Jr.’s first wife was Maria Casimira Carmona whose parents and grandparents where from the Nacogdoches and Los Adaes Post in Texas.  Maria Casimira was a Texas Indian by bloodline.  Carmona died with no issue.

Marriage number two is the marriage that created the Butte bloodline of the family. Seraphine Josephine Ann LaRenaudiere was born June 5, 1837, to Charles Phillippe Larenaudiere and Marie Desneiges Denis. According to Chief Rodger Collum, she was the most beautiful of all of the chief’s wives.  Known as Josephine, her bloodline was linked to both Texas and Chitimacha Indians of Louisiana.  She was the 2nd great-granddaughter of Marie Theresa De La Grande Terre.  Marie Theresa is a documented Chitimacha captive of St. Denis after his French forces raided the Chitimacha village in Mobile in retaliation of the murder of a mission French priest.  Marie Theresa married French officer Jacques Guedon and settled in Bayou Bourbeaux area where many of their descendants remain today.   Twelve children were produced from this marriage.  One became the next chief of the Butte Tribe.

Following Josephine’s death, Joseph Jr. married Lorenza Sauce.  Sauce did have a Laffite ancestor and it is possible that she had Native American ancestors.  This marriage produced two children.

Last but not least at the age of 70, Joseph Jr.’s fourth wife was Delzina Gallien.  She was several years younger than he at the time of their marriage.  They had two sons.  One was the son known as “Goose.”  Goose was an interesting character in the tribe’s history.  Born in the early 1900’s, he never married and never wore shoes.  During his lifetime, Goose had the title of Keeper of the Mound.  The mound referenced Butte Hill which is actually one of the largest mounds in the Natchitoches Parish area.  Until recently revealed, few people knew anything about Butte Hill much less the fact that it was a mound.  Each morning, Goose would get up, head out for Butte Hill, spend the day and come home in the afternoon. 


Joseph Jr. and his wife, Josephine, were very well-to-do people.  They lived in a two-story house on Bayou Bourbeaux.  She owned a two-story house on Texas Street in Natchitoches with a large lot.  Together they owned most of Bayou Bourbeaux.  Additionally, they owned land on Red River at Grande Ecore. 

Family was Joseph’s main concern.  He employed most of his family.  Thus, he was responsible for the livelihood of all his families.  The main source of income was cotton, cattle and tobacco.  Crops would be planted on the lands other than the prairie lands.  Cattle were free range long-horns brought in by Butte Indians from Texas and were grazed on the prairie lands.  By this time most of the buffalo had been killed out by the white men that had moved into the area. 

Tribal meetings and get togethers were in private.   No matter the era, the government was always against the actions of Native Americans.  Survival depended on secrecy.  Survival depended on denial of one’s ethnicity.  Everything was judged by skin color.  To be black skinned was bad enough; but, according to the United States government, a red skinned man had no chance of owning land or casting a vote.   A red skinned man now was an invader in his own homeland.

One of Joseph’s greatest interest was his horses.  Known for his beautiful paint walking-horses, buyers came from surrounding parishes and states just to take a look at his stock.  Recently, Chief Collum was checking the bloodline of one of his mares bought years ago around Lake Charles to breed with his stud horse, Rock.  When looking at her papers, whose name should he see?  None other than his ancestor, Joseph Desadier Jr.  Yes, Joseph Jr.’s line had come home.


To read, write, and cipher were understood to be a basic part of life for the children of Joseph Jr.  He knew the importance of knowing how to calculate and having knowledge of documents that require signatures.   People of color were not allowed in the white schools of the area.  Besides that fact, Joseph did not trust the children of his tribe in a white school.  He would never forget the federal troops riding off with those eight children who never returned.  He did not want his children away from the bayou.  Therefore, he built the Desadier School in the 1870s which was the first school building in the Bayou Bourbeaux area.


The following oral history was given to Chief Rodger Collum by his great-grandmother, Victoria “Fee” Flores Desadier (1855-1961) who was 12 years old when the first killing took place, lived during these times and personally knew the people involved in all these events.  She was also the wife of Chief Adolph Felix Desadier and daughter-in-law of Chief Joseph Desadier Jr of the Butte Indians.  She died at the age of 108 years old.   Fee witnessed the actual killing of one of the outlaws by federal troops.  She is credited as being the historical visual story-teller of the West-Kimbell Clan, The Night Riders.  The story as it relates to the Butte Tribe goes like this:

Following the Civil War between 1866-1870, the Night Riders aka the West-Kimbell Clan were a local outlaw group from St. Maurice, Louisiana who ruthlessly murdered over 150 settlers traveling to the Texas territory.   All the surrounding communities with the exception of Bayou Bourbeaux’s Butte community had been hit with their vicious, unmerciful slaughter of innocent people.  

Operations for this malicious outlaw group was structured like a well-oiled machine.  It all centered around fast-moving horses.  As mentioned, Joseph Jr. had the best stock of horses in the area.   The Night Riders were well aware of that fact.  The issue was that the horses were on Butte land and no one wanted to mess with that tribe of people.

The plan was to first approach Joseph Jr. and bid on his fastest horses with no intention of actually paying for the horses.  When the offer was made and refused, a plan was put into place to raid the herd of horses at night and take what they wanted.  What the Night Riders were not prepared for was what was waiting for them when they arrived on Butte land. 

Joseph Jr. understood the pattern of the murderous West-Kimbell clan.  Joseph Jr. shut-down the bayou.  Groups of family members waited in ambush at every entrance to Butte land.  When the Night Riders came up the narrow trails in the dead of night, the Butte braves swarmed them like a hive of bees.   That was the last visit of the Night Riders to Butte lands until stories of a hidden treasurer began to spread across the bayou.

One a sunny day in 1870, Victoria Fee Flores (future wife of Chief Adolf Felix Desadier) was baby-sitting for a neighbor who was related to the West-Kimbell clan.  Fee was sitting on a log outside watching the children play when she saw horses riding up to the log cabin.  The group riding in were lawmen looking for the Night Riders.  A lady came out from the house to speak to the lawmen.  When asked where the men were, she told the lawmen that no one was at that location.  One of the children was nearby, heard the question and yelled out, “Yes, he is.  He’s in the field.” Then, the child pointed in the direction of the field that she was speaking about.  The lawmen circled the field and killed the man on the spot.

In 1872 the little community of Atlanta, Louisiana, formed a vigilante group to get rid of the Night Riders.  Meantime, trading post owner-bookkeeper and treasurer of the Night Riders evil gains, Williams, got wind of what was going on in Atlanta.  He called his slave, Pad, to come quickly.  Together they boxed up all the treasure and headed out to hide everything until the time was safe for his return.   Williams must have given previous thought of a location for hiding the loot; because when he left the trading post, he headed up the old Indian Trail and did not stop until they got to Chivery Dam.  There, they followed a trail of marked trees in his loaded wagon until they came to an old duck blind and that it where they stored their loot.  Williams and Pad headed out toward New Orleans until all the confusion settled down.  About a year or so later, Williams returned, recovered his treasure, moved across the Red River to Natchitoches and bought up most of the available property there.

Next:  Chief Joseph Pereda Desadier – 2nd Chief of Butte Tribe of Bayou Bourbeaux

Adolph Felix Desadier – 4th Chief of Butte Tribe of Bayou Bourbeaux

Written by: Belinda Brooks

Oral History by:  Rodger Collum

Adolf “Felix” Desadier was the seventh child (third son) of Joseph and Seraphine “Josephine” Ann LaRenaudiere Desadier.   He was born on December 5, 1870, in Natchitoches, Louisiana.  Felix grew up under the tutorship of his father Joseph Desadier Jr (1832-1906).  Joseph grew up during the years of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and remembered well the injustices that were poured upon his people.  Therefore, Felix’s generation was born a short time after the Civil War ended in 1864.  For the Butte Indians during this era, President Lincoln’s views on Native Americans left them with little hope of human rights, much less citizens’ rights within the United States.  In a speech delivered in 1859 at the Illinois College in Jacksonville, Lincoln stated that the United States “owns a large part of the world, by right of possessing it; and all the rest by right of wanting it, and intending to have it.”


Without a doubt this was the main topic of discussion when it came to the survival of the tribe.  The views of the United States government had not changed when it came to the indigenous people of America.  Therefore, the decision was clear where the Butte Tribe must stand on the topic of survival.  They would become the Butte “Family” of Bayou Bourbeaux rather than the Butte Tribe by order of Chief Joseph Desadier Jr.  In other words, the family must assimilate to the ways of the United States government or risk losing everything that had been passed down to the family from their ancestors.  


Felix Desadier was the last Butte Chief to live his life on the prairie lands of Bayou Bourbeaux area in Natchitoches Parish.  For those who are not knowledgeable concerning the history of the prairie grasslands in the Bayou Bourbeaux area, it will be surprising for them to learn that the lakes of the area are actually man-made.  Before the 1930s, the land was a vast prairie.  For hundreds, maybe thousands, of years through the beginnings of the 1830s and the Indian Removal Act, thousands of buffalo roamed those prairie grasslands.  Not only that but also, Bayou Bourbeau, specifically Chivery Dam, was the vertex where all the Indian Trails met at the Collum Temple Mounds.  The land itself tells the tale.

Right off of the prairie grassland near Bayou Bourbeaux, known today as Prairie Lake, Native Americans physically hauled tons and tons of white sand from the hills about three miles away to make sandhills for the buffalo to roll in.  These sand dunes were called “The Licks.”  Buffalo were constantly trying to brush off flies, bugs, ticks and other parasites.  When this happened, the Indians were sitting in wait to kill the buffalo as the buffalo were in an unsuspicious state of defense.  Today, hundreds of years after the prairie lands have been covered with water in what is now known as Prairie Lake in Natchitoches Parish, one can get a still glimpse the remains of “The Lick’s” white sand and find arrowheads that were used in attempts to kill buffalo that wallowed in sand when waters of the lake are low.

Another feature of Butte territory that marked the importance of its people were the Indian trails that led to what is known today as the Collum Temple Mound.  Three trails led out from the temple mound which sat on a creek which is today Chivery Dam.  These three trails led to Winn Parish, Campti and Goldonna (Salt Licks).  Native Americans marked the trails with bent trees which are still visible today.  Butte Hill was/is located on the Indian trails.  The only other waterways were Seline and Black Bayou.  It made sense that the trails would lead to the temple mound because the Butte territory was a hot-spot for indigenous travel across Americas.  As visiting natives would approach a Butte native village, they would first go to the temple mound, pray and leave their gift, then visit the village.  The evidence of numerous Native American villages and mounds all-encompassed the Butte area.

Along with the Licks, Butte Hill and the Indian Trials, another feature of Bayou Bourbeaux was Jewel Springs.  Jewel Springs was/is considered a mystic, healing springs.  All of the Butte chiefs used the spring for healing purposes.  They would often take their family there to picnic and spend a family day.  Should someone become deathly ill or accidently hurt, they would go to the springs to wash in the healing waters.  Chief Collum reports that he makes trips to the spring when the weather and the land is approachable. 


It was no secret that Felix was an avid hunter, tracker, and guide.  He loved nature and animals.  Felix was known for having beautiful horses. too.  He rode a giant16.5 hands white horse.  Rodger was told a story by his elders about Felix at twelve years old.  For several weeks Felix and his father had been finding dead calves scattered around the farm land.  There was obviously a rogue-cat on the loose thrill-killing helpless animals.  Normal big-cat kills would consist of making a kill, eating whatever the cat wanted of the kill, dragging what was left over to a safe place, covering the left-overs with grass or other such objects, and returning to eat the remains at another time until it was all consumed. This cat killed calves, ate what he wanted and left the remains to the buzzards.  Felix’s tracking skills were excellent. By now, Felix knew the cat was obviously a rouge-panther.  With his father’s permission, he headed out on the trails with full intentions of returning home with the pelt of the offending cat.  He tracked the cat for three days and nights.  On the late morning of the third day, he found the cat laid up in a den of branches, straw and grass.  One good shot and the cat was history. 



As Felix grew to be a young man, he met and married Theresa Thompson.  Not much is known about Theresa, but they had one child.  His second wife and life-long companion was Victorine “Fee” Flores.   Fee was 15 years older than Felix and the widow of William Carter.  Her marriage with Carter produced seven children.  As Native American stories and fact go, Felix Desadier was Fee’s second cousin.  Felix and Fee’s mother, Elizabeth Larenaudier were first cousins.  So, as a norm in Native American culture, this marriage was a familial relationship that lasted until Felix’s death in 1926.  Fee never remarried and died at the age of 108 in 1961.


Felix was a wealthy man.  He came into some money from San Antonio.  Although it is not exactly known where his wealth came from, it is highly likely that he may have been involved in illegal cattle trade activities but this has not been proven.   Felix and Fee lived a life of servitude to their family and their community throughout their marriage.  They knew and understood too well what being tagged “Indian” meant in the United States.  Family came first with them.  Obviously, their skin tone was not white.   Family children were not allowed in the “white” schools.  Knowing that would be an issue with the segregated school systems, Felix’s father, Joseph Jr., had prepared for that when Felix was a child.  Joseph had built the first school for the family children on the bayou, the Desadier School.  During Joseph’s childhood, eight children were taken from the tribe to be taught the American ways and never seen again.  They would always remember the children that never returned.  The family would always be careful, be prepared, be watching.

Felix attended the old school that his father, Joseph Jr. built.  By the time that Felix had become a man in 1905 and had his own family, the first schoolhouse was dilapidated Having a school that the family children could attend without having to be shipped off to another area was important to everyone, especially Felix.  Not trusting the government with the care of the family children, Felix helped rebuild a new school near the old Desidere schoolhouse stood and where the present-day Pace Community Center stands. 

Each morning before going to school, Felix’s children would milk the cows and do chores.  In the summertime, all the children had to work in the fields and take care of the cattle, mules, hogs, and chickens. All of the grandchildren knew how to milk cows.  The family was allowed to go to his barns and milk the cows whenever they needed to. Neighbors were also allowed to milk the cows when they were in need.

Everyday tribal life continued in the family regardless of whether one called the group a family or a tribe.  Felix had the responsibility of feeding a large number of family units.  The way that the family units ran in Bayou Bourbeaux is that everyone from children around 5/6 years of age up to the age of people who could work would do their part to put food on the table, clothes on the backs of the family, roofs over the heads and a bed to sleep on for everyone. 

Felix was known as a specialized farmer in his era.  After the Civil War in the South, slave labor was no longer allowed so farmer had to improvise.  Cotton was still king in the South and fighting Johnson-grass in cotton fields was a major concern.  As a child Felix raised geese that would follow him around the yard and pluck Johnson-grass right out from under his feet.   That memory gave him and idea!   He raised a flock of geese, drove them to the cotton fields, watched them pluck the Johnson-grass out of the cotton field at no cost and no-labor to the farmer, herded them back to the crib and locked them in for the night to protect them from coyotes or other predators.  As Felix got older, he raised a little over two-hundred geese to help with his cotton. 

Felix’s farm was also known for his fine-peach wine.  He had a huge orchard that he took much pride in.  His farmlands grew vegetables, grains and cotton which gave the family food and work. 

Each month the entire bayou tribe/family would gather to travel to Natchitoches to sell seasonal farm products (grains, cotton, vegetables, wine, Spring-water, salt, etc.) and buy whatever supplies they might need, especially ammunition.  In those days, the family would all have to ride the ferry across the river to Grand Ecore.  One of the important products that the Butte family would sell was water from Jewel Springs close to Butte Hill.  Jewel Springs was known as a healing springs in those days and people would pay for bottles of water that came from there.  A few members who know the location of the springs still travel to the springs today to wash or drink from it.


Years before July 5, 1905, Ozan Desadiere had left the Butte side of the bayou and moved to the Campti area when he married a Trichell cousin.  On that night in 1905, Ozan was sitting at home with his family when he heard someone calling from outside.  He walked to the front door and saw three men riding horses yelling out for help in the darkness.  They needed him to bring a light outside to help them.  Ozan hurried and did as he was asked.  As soon as he stepped out on the porch with the light, he was shot dead by the men on horses. 

As would be expected, word traveled fast on the bayou. Felix knew the men would be headed for Grand Ecore on the trail to escape to Texas.  These men had been hanging around the area trying to buy up land for a while.  He saddled his horse and headed up the trail to Grand Ecore where he waited in ambush for the murders.  Sure enough, in attempt to get to Texas one of the three assailants road up the trail on a mule.  Felix shot him off of the mule with buckshot but did not kill him.  The man got away on foot.  Felix took the mule home and kept him.  The other two men were caught and taken to jail.  Three weeks later, Felix got word that the man he shot made it to San Antonio and died of his wounds.


All Butte chiefs raised their children on the same land.  Felix and Fee were no different. Their homeland is located in what is known today as the Pace Community.  Bayou Bourbeaux runs straight through it.  In the beginning of the 1900s, the family held church service on their land under a little brush arbor.  That little brush arbor advanced to a family community brick church building named Christian Harmony Baptist Church in Natchitoches, Louisiana.  The land that the church and parsonage sit on today was donated by Felix, Fee and Clarence Desadier.  Throughout the years, numerous additions and upkeeps have been added to by the current chief, Rodger Collum and his wife, Charlia, as well as other family members.  *Note: The Pace bloodline mixed with the Butte bloodline through, Josephine Desadier, Felix Desadier’s youngest daughter.


Felix was a working man.  It was not enough for him to give orders for others to do a job.  He always had to be a part of the jobs that were going on.  One of his favorite things to do was to work in his orchards and make wine.  One day he fell from a pear tree.  That fall led to a punctured spleen and a long and painful death.  Felix was bed-ridden for a long time during his illness.  He was carried by sled to Jewel Springs several times and washed in the healing waters in hopes of a cure. 

Chief Adolf Felix Desadier was cut short at the age of 56 on December 26, 1926.  He left his son, Chief Clarence Desadier, to carry on and lead the family.

Next, Chief Joseph Desadier Jr, 3rd Chief of Butte Tribe of Bayou Bourbeaux