(November 5, 2010)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073

Vice Principal Chief of United Houma Nation to speak at Centenary Nov. 11

SHREVEPORT, La. (Centenary News Service) — Michael Raymond Dardar Sr., Tribal Historian and Vice Principal Chief of the United Houma Nation will be the featured speaker Thursday, Nov. 11 at Centenary College in celebration of Native American Heritage month.

Michael Raymond Dardar Sr.

Dardar will present a talk on "Native Peoples: Perspectives on Culture and Political Sovereignty" beginning at 6:45 p.m. in the Centenary Room of Bynum Commons.

Michael Raymond Dardar Sr. "T. Mayheart" was born in the Houma Indian settlement adjacent to the town of Golden Meadow, La. He is the son of Elsie and Raymond Mayheart Dardar and spent his childhood and adolescent years trawling and trapping with his father. He eventually graduated high school with a love of history and reading. Later Michael worked as a crane operator, diesel mechanic, and tankerman.

Michael has been a member of the United Houma Nation Tribal Council since 1994. He was inspired to Houma community service by the examples of his grandfather Jean Dardar and his aunt, former Tribal Chairperson Helen Gindrat. Through public talks and writings, Michael continues to be an outspoken advocate of Houma culture and political sovereignty.

The United Houma Nation is a state recognized tribe of approximately 17,000 tribal citizens residing within a six-parish service area encompassing 4,570 square miles. The six parishes, Terrebonne, Lafourche, Jefferson, St. Mary, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes are located along the southeastern coast of Louisiana. Within this area, distinct tribal communities are situated among the interwoven bayous and canals where Houmas traditionally earned a living.

Although by land and road these communities are distant, they were historically very close by water. However, boat travel is no longer a viable option due to the effects of coastal erosion, which has left these waterways either nonexistent or impassable and often treacherous.

The Houma Tribe has not yet been federally recognized, awaiting a response for over 20 years from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior

The event is sponsored by the Centenary College Diversity Committee. For more information, contact Dr. Dana Kress at dkress@centenary.edu or Dr. Kelly Weeks at kweeks@centenary.edu.

About Centenary College of Louisiana

Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and has been recognized as "One of the Best 373 Colleges" by the Princeton Review and one of "America's Best Colleges" and one of "America's Best Private Colleges" by Forbes.com. In 2008 Centenary College celebrated 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.