The United Houma Nation Leadership
Councilman Janzen Verdin
United Houma Nation, District #3
By Loyrn Monceaux, Staff WRiter
For a tribe of over 19,000, proper communication channels are essential to keeping everyone well informed and active. However, these channels need to be properly developed and maintained by someone with experience.
Janzen Verdin joined the United Houma Nation tribal council in 2020, representing District 3 of the tribe which includes the lower Dulac and Dularge areas. With his experience in mass communication, Verdin plans on creating a media committee and reviving the tribal radio station.
Verdin says by creating this committee, they will be able to develop strategies to connect with their tribal members and get them more involved.
“That’s really my motivation… and the same thing with the radio station… I want to give people a reason to be proud to be Houma again, you know,” says Verdin.
Verdin looks to restore the tribe’s radio station, KUHN 88.9 FM, located in Golden Meadow. KUHN is a non-commercial radio station that is currently off-air. The station used to air Cajun, Zydeco and Swamp Pop music with local news programs Monday through Friday.
Verdin says that the United Houma Nation is in the process of getting an ordinance so they can put together a PR and media committee. Once the committee is set up, he will be able to work more on getting KUHN running again.
“We’ve had that station for a while now,” says Verdin. “We haven’t really been able to really use it like it should be used… at least in my opinion with a mass [communication] background… I want to try to use it to really be like a source of information not just for the area that it’s in, but for pretty much Indian country throughout at least the state of Louisiana.”
Verdin says that he is hoping to have at least two paid staff members and a few interns working for KUHN.
“We currently don’t have any staff working on it right now as far as I know,” he says, “but once we get this committee set up, I plan on being a lot more involved with the radio station, and I would like to ideally set up a partnership with Nicholls’ Mass [Communication] department to do like an internship-type deal at the station for students.”
Verdin is a 2014 graduate of Nicholls State University with a Bachelors in Mass Communications. After college, he joined the Inter-Tribal Council of Louisiana (ITC), where he worked as a work-force development specialist and then as a multimedia specialist until 2019.
According to the Inter-Tribal Council of Louisiana’s website, ITC is a non-profit workforce development organization that helps Native Americans in Louisiana with their academic and occupational needs.
Verdin traveled around the southern United States making testimonial videos about ITC’s grant program they offer to tribal citizens. He also developed a couple of websites along with managing ITC’s social media.
Verdin decided to run for the United Houma Nation’s tribal council after he left ITC.
“Before I started working for ITC, I didn’t realize how many Native American people were actually in Louisiana, and there’s a lot,” says Verdin. “Our tribe alone is 20,000 members and there are several other tribes in the state that aren’t federally recognized or even state recognized. There’s a lot of us here so after being able to experience that and seeing how things work in other tribes… I guess to kind of bring the strategies that I witnessed in these other tribes and apply it for us to help us get ahead.”