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"This is a way for us to bring back the old traditions," reviving the Biloxi tongue

Biloxi language coloring book image
Posted at 7:56 PM, Jun 26, 2024

MARKSVILLE, La. — The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana has been working for years to revive the Tunica language, and now they're turning toward the Biloxi language to do the same.

"This is a way for us to bring back the old traditions...the language and also the culture," said John Barbry, the director of development and programming for the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana.

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana consists of two native tribes joined together.

"We've been focusing more on the Tunica language, but we're introducing the Biloxi in little bits," Barbry said.

One of those little bits is a Biloxi-language coloring book made in partnership with the Louisiana Wildlife Federation.

"We can't really think of anything more important than working with our native tribes to bring the first languages that were in Louisiana and the first stories that were in Louisiana to life," said Jimmy Frederick, communications director for Louisiana Wildlife Federation.

The stories feature animals native to Louisiana.

"Sixty-four pages in this book. Fifty-nine of those are actually animal pictures and animals, and the rest of them are a little bit of information, including an index and a pronunciation guide and also a guide to educators," Frederick said.

According to Frederick, the book meets Louisiana education standards and can be used as a teaching aid, both for young tribal citizens and anyone else looking to learn.

"We're open to the public learning about our culture, learning about our languages, and so this is a way to connect with the greater community, as well as our tribal community," Barbry said.

You can get a copy of the coloring book at the Tunica-Biloxi Museum gift shop at 150 Melacon Rd. in Marksville, or you can download a digital version of the book here.