Chitimacha Native Americans maintain a reservation in south Louisiana in the town of Charenton. While their history dates back some 6000 years, there is a dark secret that few have ever heard. For the past 100 years, the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana has refused to acknowledge the existence of its black members. This group calls themselves the Lost Tribe.
Prior to 1900, the tribe was racially diverse. Tribal members were a mixture of Chitimacha, Creole, black and white ancestry. During the period of racial segregation in the United States, some members of Native American and white decent began to feel superior to those with any black ancestry. This feeling of superiority came to a head when black tribal members were purged from the tribe. This process began sometime after 1904.
By 1919 all tribal members with black ancestry were evicted from the Chitimacha Reservation in Charenton, La. Their property was seized and turned over to other tribal members. Those who remained in the tribe were forbidden to interact with the ostracized former members. To do so would threaten their own membership in the tribe.
In 1920, anti-miscegenation laws banned marriage between Native Americans and African Americans in the state of Louisiana. The Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana could now ensure a “superior race” free of tribal members with black ancestry.
An ethnic cleansing of all black Chitimacha
Indians had taken place.
The sins of the past are still felt today. In 2013 the disenfranchised group decided to fight back against the blatant act of racism that had been carried out on their ancestors. The Lost Tribe is on a mission to restore their heritage.
The goal is simple: The Lost Tribe wants acceptance and recognition by the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana for who they are, Native Americans.