Posted: Nov 30, 2009 1:04 PM by Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana Press Release
ELTON, LOUISIANA (November 30, 2009) - The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana is working to protect and showcase it's rich culture and proud history, investing in the development of a new, 20,000-square-foot Coushatta Heritage Center that is set to be completed in 2010.
The Center will house a theater, interactive digital exhibits and video displays that tell the Tribe's story. It will also feature an archive of genealogical materials and information about the Coushatta language, "Koasati." Specifically, it will include a Koasati language library featuring books, computer games, tapes and audio equipment.
"The new CoushattaHeritageCenter will be a state-of-the-art facility that will provide a unique and entertaining way for visitors from around the state, the country and the world to learn about the Coushatta." said Tribal Chairman Kevin Sickey. "It will also serve as an important educational and cultural resource for the Coushatta community."
The mission of the new CoushattaHeritageCenter is to educate the public by providing an accurate representation of the Coushatta people, community, history and culture. When it is completed, it will be the only Native American culture and history museum in Southwest Louisiana and one of only a handful in the state. In addition, the HeritageCenter's unique combination of state-of-the-art technology and interactive exhibits will make it the only attraction of its kind in Louisiana.
The museum is associated with the Koasati Language Project, which is a Tribal partnership involving the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Smithsonian. The goal of this project is to train Tribal members to document the language, develop an electronic "talking" dictionary, develop a digital archive and database, and create programs to encourage Tribal members to speak the language.
The project is being led by Dr. Linda Langley of McNeeseStateUniversity, and its goal is to digitize more than 11,000 pages of Koasati language manuscripts. The project is supported in large part by a $450,000 Documenting Endangered Languages grant awarded by the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2007. Digital surrogates of the collection will be available through SIRIS, the Smithsonian's online catalog, as well as in the new CoushattaHeritageCenter.