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Pointe-aux-Chenes is an unincorporated community located in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. It shares a zip code with Montegut, Louisiana (70377) and has many residents of Houma descent. In 1993, they established the independent Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe, which is one of three state-recognized Houma tribes.
This area was historically settled by Houma people in the early 19th century, who migrated here to escape pressure from European-American settlers. They were among the Muskogean-speaking peoples of the Southeast, who included the Choctaw and Chitimacha, most of whom were removed to Indian Territory in the 1830s (now Oklahoma).
Since the mid-20th century, the United Houma Nation reorganized, established a government and elections, and gained state recognition. As of October 2014, it has been unsuccessful in achieving federal recognition. The tribe was decentralized, with communities among six parishes in southern Louisiana.
Pointe-aux-Chenes is home to many members of the Pointe-au-Chien Tribe, which is state recognized Indian tribe but not federally recognized. The Pointe-au-Chien tribe was formed in 1993 as a breakaway group from the United Houma Nation. Tribal members consider themselves related to the Chitimacha, Choctaw, Acolapissa, and Atakapa.
Since the 1970s, tribal members have become increasingly involved in environmental preservation, as industrialization and dredging by shipping and oil companies have caused extensive damage to coastal wetlands and loss of property. The oil company dredged elsewhere, but the results were still catastrophic. Tribe members say the deep cuts made through the marshes brought in saltwater and led to coastal erosion of the wetlands. That erosion has turned the once abundant oak trees in Pointe-aux-Chenes, which means "Oak Point" in French, into empty husks. Erosion has also turned areas where people once lived into waterlogged marshes or open water. In 2005, Hurricane Rita caused flooding in the town of up to 8 feet (2.4 m) of water to parts of the town.
Houses in Pointe-aux-Chenes are built on stilts to accommodate seasonal and storm flooding.
Members of the Pointe-aux-Chenes Indian Tribe live in the community.
- Oppmann, Patrick. "Oil spill threatens Native American land", CNN. 1 June 2010. Retrieved on July 27, 2010.
- Barry Yeoman. ""The land is washing back to sea", OnEarth. December 6, 2010. Retrieved on February 12, 2011.
- "Pointe-au-Chien Tribal web site."
- State of Louisiana "List of state and federally recognized tribes",
- Kimberly Solet, "Grant will help local tribe document its past", Houma Courier, 28 Nov. 2005.
- "Proposed finding against federal recognition of Pointe-au-Chien Tribe", Bureau of Indian Affairs
- Sutter, John D. "How the Gulf of Mexico became the nation's 'toilet bowl'", CNN, 27 July 2010. Retrieved on July 27, 2010.
- "Pointe-au-Chenes Elementary," Terrebonne Parish School District. Retrieved on July 27, 2010. "1236 Hwy. 665, Montegut, LA 70377." Google maps view.