Tyler Duplantis

Dularge, Louisiana
currently in Thibodaux, Louisiana

United Houma Nation

“Making Gourds. I like them because you are able to tell a story and its expression that you can express through creation.

“I’m also fascinated with drumming. It tells a story that isn’t by word of mouth but rather by sound.”

“It makes me realize the ties I have to the water and the man. It also gives me a sense of safety that you might not find in a typical small family because we all have the same blood. When someone says that they are a Houma, I automatically feel a connection with them.

“When we look down the line, we are related one way or another and when I meet new people that are natives, I can tell just by their cheek structure that they are Houma blood.”

“My grandma always protected me from the prejudice of our people because of the fear and discrimination that she would see from the white-wash of our people

“I think my family, the reason I wasn’t shared as much as I should have been, was because they were trying to protect me, or them themselves were scared of showing who they were. My grandma, I could’ve picked up on that language, I could’ve learned more, I could’ve helped out the tribe with storing and saving the tradition of our language and she was so scared to talk in that language. She was fussed and beaten for talking in that language. She protected me from that same thing. So, when you say that it sounds like ‘Well, how could they keep that from you?’ But, looking back with me working with the tribe, I know why they did that. It was so they could protect me. So, they had a good reason to do that.

“I didn’t know who I was and I knew I was different than other kids but it wasn’t something that we really talked about.”