Dedication of White Smoke’s Memorial Louisiana Highway Marker, March 19, 2022

History was made today for Butte Tribe! The Louisiana Historical Highway Marker for Chief White Smoke was revealed today by Chief Rodger Collum. Chief Collum remarked that he had dreamed of this day for many years.  Without a doubt, he knows that this is the day that his ancestors prepared him for.

The dedication of White Smoke’s Memorial Louisiana Highway Marker was attended by friends and family.

Photo Caption: Chief White Smoke’s Highway Marker

Photo Caption: Chief Rodger Collum and Council Chief Joshua Johnson

Photo Caption: Chief Rodger Collum with his wife Charlia Presley Collum

Council Meets Virtually with Rudy Macklin on Feb. 18

Butte Tribe Council met Friday, February 18th, at the home of Chief Rodger Collum in Natchitoches, LA. Council members gathered to discuss the 2022 Butte Tribe Emergency Preparedness and Healthy Tribe Initiative Action Plan. Plans include but are not limited to the implementation of a comprehensive health plan. Butte Tribe is working in conjunction with the Bureau of Minority Health Access, Louisiana Department of Health, Executive Director Durand “Rudy” Macklin. The Council met virtually with Macklin and Council members T Estella Almond and Belinda Haag. Pictured L-R: Belinda Brooks, Joshua Johnson, Chief Rodger Collum, Tammy Perot, Darlene Thompson Hargrove, and Becky Dye.

Meeting with Executive Director Rudy Macklin on Feb. 26

Rudy Macklin, Executive Director of the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Minority Health Access, met with the Butte Tribe of Bayou Bourbeaux council to discuss the process of Butte Tribe’s Emergency Preparedness and Healthy Tribe Initiative. Butte Tribe has been recognized as one of the few tribes within the State of Louisiana that works for the betterment of their people on a consistent basis.

Tribal Gathering to Dedicate Louisiana Historical Marker

On March 19, 2022, Butte Tribe of Bayou Bourbeaux (BTBB) will hold a tribal gathering to dedicate the Louisiana Historical Marker honoring the first chief of BTBB. White Smoke’s oral history can be read online at (Chiefs’ History).

BTBB is known as the “Hidden Tribe of Louisiana.” The tribal land is full of historical locations that are recorded in their oral history. Butte Hill, guarded for over 200 years, was secretly an indigenous burial mound. Chief White Smoke and his wife, Two Moons, are buried there. White Smoke was buried standing up hold his sacred pipe with his coup stick beside him.

Chief Rodger Collum lives on the same land as the previous five chiefs lived and died on. Within 50 feet of his front door is the tribal temple mound. This mound has revealed numerous artifacts of pre and post European explorer age.

History tells of the buffalo prairie land that covered the backside of the tribal land. Hundreds of years ago, BTBB’s indigenous ancestors hand-carried hills of sand to the prairie land to create a huge buffalo lick. Buffalo would go to the lick to roll around on the sand to rid themselves pesty, biting insects. When that happened, the natives would make their kill.

Jewel Springs, a mystic native spring, is found near the prairie land. When sick and in need of healing, natives would travel there to lay in the mystic water.


Chief Thunderstick-Grand Marshall of Poverty Point World Heritage Festival

By: Belinda Brooks

Butte Tribe Chief Thunderstick, Rodger Collum, and his warhorse, Cochise, danced through the streets of Oak Grove, Louisiana, Saturday, April 10th, 2021.   On behalf of the Oak Grove City Council, Mayor Adam Holland invited Collum to be the Grand Marshall of the town’s first Poverty Point World Heritage parade.

Mayor Holland presented Chief Collum and Vice-Chief Brooks with City pins in appreciation for their contributions to the festivities.

Members of Butte Tribe of Bayou Bourbeaux traveled to West Carroll Parish to support the event with their chief.  The parade route was jammed packed with hundreds of sight-seers excited to see the chief in his colorful regalia riding his war-painted stud-horse, Cochise.  Collum brought with him a covered wagon in which his wife, Charla Collum, and Vice-Chief Belinda Brooks rode.  The wagon was followed by several Butte Tribe floats, decorated golf carts, and terrain vehicles.

Tribe members set up stations on the courthouse square.  While there, they taught Native American arts and crafts, tribal history,  dance, cooked Native foods, and visited with friends and family.

Butte Tribe has a long-standing history with West Carroll Parish.  Many tribal families extended Butte borders in the early 1900s to migrate to Northeast Louisiana in hopes of finding a better way of life and less discrimination of Native American culture following the Civil War and the US Indian Wars of the late 19th and early 20th century.

Chief Parrain’s Treasures

By: Belinda Brooks

As little boys, Rodger Collum and his younger cousin, Buddy Hays, were always hanging around their grandfather’s, Clarence Desadier’s aka Chief Parrain’s, home.  Of the chief’s numerous children and grandchildren, he chose his little spitfire grandson, Rodger, to lead the family after his passing.  Rodger was the son of the chief’s daughter, Olla Mae, and her husband, Duck Collum.  

These two little whippersnappers were always into something and under their grandfather’s feet.  One day, the chief called the boys into the house.  As they walked into the living room, they saw several items wrapped in cloth sitting on a table.  The chief did not let them open the package.   He had the boys store it in the old house’s attic to be forgotten about for 60 years. 

This memory was brought back to Chief Collum by Hays a year ago.  Vice-Chief Belinda Brooks began to pursue Chief Collum for evidence of this story.  Nothing goes unquestioned by her when one is talking about tribal history.   It took close to one year to talk Chief Collum into entering his grandfather’s old-crumbling house.  The danger there was real.  The walls were falling in.  Likewise, the floor and ceiling were dropping.

Finally, one night after being hounded for months to retrieve the packages, Chief Collum and his cousin, Keith Hernandez, braved the decaying old house by flashlight.  As expected, a slight touch to the ceiling and it came tumbling down, cutting Chief Collum’s hand.  Several items fell from above.   The history of the artifacts that fell from the ceiling will never be known. 

Butte Tribe Gardens

By: Belinda Brooks

In the Spring of 2020, throughout the summer, and now in the fall, Chief Rodger Collum and Butte Tribe members have been working diligently preparing the soil, planting, and harvesting vegetable crops for tribe members and the community.   This year’s planting has not been an easy one.   Scorching weather caused a lot of the produce to burn up.  Chief Collum decided to install an irrigation system of approximately one mile of irrigation pipe.  That was nice, but it just happened to be completed about the time that Hurricane Laura hit.  That entire garden had to be replanted.


For as long as Chief Collum can remember, the chiefs planted gardens for the family on Butte land.

This year, Butte Tribe lost a significant player in planting and harvesting its gardens.  Perry Desadier was Chief Collum’s right-hand man.  He loved to work in the garden. Next to Chief Rodger Collum, other central Butte people who need to be mentioned in raising the Butte gardens are Charlia Collum, Mike Carter, Keith Hernandez, April Womack.


Many people throughout the Pace Community, as well as the Butte Tribe family, have enjoyed the benefits of the Butte Tribe gardens.

Perry Desadier, BTBB Elder, Honored by “Ceremony of Feathers”

By:  Belinda Brooks

Stripped of culture and tradition by the United States government in the early 1800s, the Butte Tribe of Bayou Bourbeaux has picked up the pieces under the leadership of Chief Rodger Collum and is moving forward.  Collum decided to reveal his family and its history as an original tribe of Bayou Bourbeaux in April 2019.  He is moving his tribe toward its own pathway.  It is a conscious move toward distinctiveness as a tribe.  This move was not made in disrespect or dishonor of those Native Americans who move in the customary, traditional ways.  For Butte Tribe, this move to individualism is a necessity. It is built on the idea that it would be best to move forward without the concern of offending general Native American policy.  Therefore, Butte Tribe will not be intentionally dishonoring the traditions of other tribes by acting on its system of custom and tradition.

“Ceremony of Feathers” was established by Chief Rodger Collum.  Members, men and women, of the Butte Tribe, are required to earn their feathers in a way set forth by their chief.  In general, Native American women do not wear headdresses.  There are tribes throughout the United States, like Butte Tribe, where women proudly adorn themselves with feathers for special occasions.


Chief Collum and appointed tribal members met Friday, June 12th, at St. Maurice Cemetery to prepare the burial site of Perry Desadier’s grave.  The custom of digging family graves have been the responsibility of Collum since his teenage years.  Perry Desadier’s gravesite is located between the graves of his mother and father, and near the graves of his ancestors, Chief Adolph Felix and Chief Clarence Desadier.

Butte Singers honored Perry Desadier by leading the music ceremony.

In honor of Tribal Elder Perry Desadier, the Butte Tribe held the first  burial  “Ceremony of Feathers.”  The event occurred at the Pace Community Center in Natchitoches Parish.  Butte drums and singers opened the ceremony with a traditional Native American song.  

Chief Rodger Collum spoke in memory of his cousin and life-long close companion, Perry Desadier., and their times together on Bayou Bourbeaux.  Perry Desadier retired after forty-eight years of employment by Collum.   Collum spoke of Desadier’s hard work ethics and dedication to family and friends. 

Following Collum’s speech, Rev. George Holland and Pastor David Matlock of Christian Harmony Baptist Church in Pace Community led the end of the services.

Butte family tradition for the past 50 years has required that their leader, Chief Rodger Collum, be the driver escort of family bodies to the grave.  At regular funerals, Chief Collum drives the hearse at the request of the family.  In expected form, Collum escorted the ashes of Desadier to his burial site. 

Ceremony Pictures – Pace Community Center Memorial


Butte Tribe’s pastor, George Holland, spoke words over Desadier’s gravesite.   Joe Friday, Perry Desadier’s son, placed his father’s ashes in his burial place.  Chief Collum spoke, and had the honor of placing the first shovel of dirt in Perry’s grave.  At that point, each attending tribe member followed their chief’s lead by shoveling dirt.   The congregation returned to Pace Community Center for lunch.

Burial Pictures – St. Maurice Cemetery