RJ Molinere

Grand Bois, Louisiana

United Houma Nation

RJ, along with his son Jay Paul, is featured in the History Channel’s Swamp People, a reality series about alligator hunting.

“I have a son that’s been with me fishing alligators since he’s three years old. Because his mama came to this school here, this college here. And she wanted to get her education. And he was like three years old when she was doing her clinicals and she said ‘RJ, I know alligator season just started and you know, I’ma need a sitter.’ I said, that’s no problem baby, I said I have a seat and I have a life vest he can come fishing with me. No problem because she knew what I’d done. “I turned them down like three times and eventually the third time. So what like, Well, where is your partner? I said My partner’s Jay Paul, my son. So, they interviewed Jay Paul and they told me it was going to be a no because they didn’t want my partner. By nine o’clock the next morning they freaking out. Because they showed the boss and the boss said, ‘What more can you ask for father and son really, and y’all don’t want Jay Paul?’ He said ‘you call RJ now.’ And they called me that day, and let me tell y’all, that was a blessing, you know?”

“My kids when they were growing up, if they had something on their mind, and it was bothering them, they couldn’t sleep at night, they was having bad dreams and stuff like that. The next morning, they would come find me and they will tell me ‘dad could you come smudge my room?’ I’m like ‘what’s up brother or sister?’ whatever. I call them my kids, brother and sister. Anyway, I said no problem. I would, but I wouldn’t only smudge their room. I would do the whole house you know, walk around and that’s where this comes into place, my eagle feathers. And as I’m burning my Sage, I’m also praying to my whole house especially in the bedroom that my son or my daughter sleeping in, and it just makes you feel good when you’re your son or your daughter will come back to you and say ‘thanks dad.’”

“First thing they teach you is how to pray. They teach you your prayers right away the minute you can talk and they know you old enough, that’s one thing we taught our prayers, you know, so that’s just one thing. To me, that’s a blessing.”

“Growing up as a kid, I mean, I’m talking about as far as I can remember. You know, my people always lived off the land. And, and you know, when you’re growing up as a kid, your growing up and doing things with your grandparents and your parents and stuff like that. You don’t realize that you’re there and you just living a normal life and you think everything is normal, you know, so, not realizing that I was learning the way the Houma. In other words, the way that Native Americans from the Houma Tribe that I’m from. I didn’t even know that I was even a Native American actually.

“I don’t want to make this sound crazy, but we live like in a disputed area. And it was like Lafourche Parish on one side and Terrebonne Parish on the other side. So, you either had a choice to go five minutes to school, or you had to go 10-12 miles to school. So that was kind of hard, you know, because you didn’t have a choice.

“As I got older, I just started living off the land in other words, trapping, hunting for our food, shrimping, fishing alligators, on and on and on everything that my people did, I did, you know, and that was just part of life, the way we live, you know, and it was normal. It was good. It was a good life, you know. But, again, today, I regret my education, I wish I would have had to get the chance to get my education.”