Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana Gains Control of Ancestral Lands

The Tunica-Biloxi tribe of Louisiana and the City of Marksville signed an agreement transferring ownership of the Marksville Historic State Park back to the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe.

Chairman and CEO of Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana Marshall Pierite says, “It is truly a delight, a joy to Tunica-Biloxi Tribe as well to all of its citizens and their families to finally get our ancestral homeland back in the hands of Tunica-Biloxi Tribe.”

After decades and multiple generations of tribal chairmen and state governors, both sides finally came together to execute this transfer of land ownership.

“Through this administration and through Mayor John Lemoine’s administration, we finally came to terms, and they felt it was best that the ancestral lands be returned to the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe.”

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana will restore and maintain the Marksville Historic State Park.

Chairman and CEO of Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana Marshall Pierite says, “Not only do we look at it as ancestral lands but we look at it as sacred ground because it was buried beneath these mounds as people’s stories that were never shared, opportunities that were never brought to fruition.”

Citizens of Marksville have fond memories of the park in its former glory.

Avoyelles Police Jury President Kirby Roy says, “I took many, many field trips to the museum and it’s a fabulous place, a lot of history, and really always enjoyed going to it.”

District Attorney Charles Riddle says, “Reopening it brings back a lot of memories, the Fourth of July parades that would end at the Prehistoric Indian Park. It would happen in the morning. We would enjoy being at the park all day long until the fireworks that evening. My whole family would be there, and I miss that.”

The late Earl Barbry Sr. was the first tribal chairman to try to regain the land. Now Earl Barbry Jr. wants to educate the public on its cultural significance.

Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Earl Barbry, Jr. says, “It adds another layer to the existing language and cultural revitalization project the tribe, but it adds another dimension to further the development of the tribes.”

Marshall Pierite says this project will generate continued awareness of Tunica Biloxi’s storied history.

“What our sacrifice today is totally different from what our ancestors sacrificed because they sacrificed with blood, sweat, and tears and it’s because of those sacrifices, we are here today, and we finally gain possession of our ancestral homelands.”

The Tunica Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana hopes it will generate employment opportunities for tribal citizens.

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe will establish a donor fund to raise money to revitalize the Marksville Historic Park.