By Jade Hawkins, photo editor

REGALIA Houma women from three generations — Jasmine Rain, Morning Dove and Bette Billiot — wearing traditional regalia that would be normally worn for ceremonies, dancing or prayer. They are all holding their shawls and feather fans, both would be used in dances. MorningDove says she loves to dance with her shawl and flicking the fringe as she moves

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morning dove

MorningDove’s love for otters has been fostered since she was a little girl. As a child, her family had a family of otters living on their land, and when one would accidentally find its way into one of her dad’s hunting traps, they would use the otter’s fur. MorningDove specified that they do not kill an animal in order to wear it, they get the fur when the animal gets trapped by accident or a roadkill. As she got older and began making her own Regalia, she continued using otter pelts by tying them in her hair. “When you dance with an animal that means the animal is dancing with you. You are dancing with their spirit, in other words they are still living,” says MorningDove.
MorningDove’s Moccasins were a gift from her mother, Irene Hamilton, who beaded the shoes and made sure to include cheyenne turtles. Irene Hamilton passed away a few years ago and MorningDove likes to wear these moccasins in honor and remembrance of her mom.
Eagle feathers are of great importance to the Houmas. They believe that because an eagle can fly the highest, then they can carry your prayers up to the heavens. When an eagle feather falls, it is prayed over and cleansed and then is used in spiritual ceremonies and/or Regalia. MorningDove has a fan of eagle feathers tied together by beading with the feature of a turtle. Turtles are MorningDove’s favorite animal and is meant to symbolize “a long life.” MorningDove highlights turtles on almost all of her Regalia.
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Jasmine Rain

Jasmine Rain makes sure that every Regalia outfit that she wears highlights her beadwork. Her beading was gifted to her by her uncle, Randy Sulliman, who is a member of the Choctaw tribe. Beadwork takes many hours to complete, so any gift of beadwork is often cherished.
Jasmine Rain’s crown is also a part of her beadwork. For traditional ceremonies, her grandma, MorningDove, will place an eagle feather that was gifted to her by her uncle in the back of the crown as a ploom. Jasmine Rain will then dance with that eagle feather in the competitions often hosted at powwows. Jasmine Rain is the current Junior Miss Princess of the United Houma Nations and she loves to be able to represent her culture. Jasmine Rain says “I love having the opportunity to live my great-grandparents dream, and do it for people who could not.”
On the side of her eyes, Jasmine Rain did a design of earth paint. She explains it is similar to that of war paint but this is a special clay made of materials important to the Houma culture.