Local Filé Legend recognized as Honorary Louisiana Tradition Bearer

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John Oswald Colson was honored by the Louisiana Department of Culture Recreation and Tourism as an Honorary Louisiana Tradition Bearer Oct. 27 at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest History Museum. Dr. Shane Rasmussen, Louisiana Folklife Ambassador for the Louisiana Folklife Commission, opened the program by presenting Colson with the state Proclamation on behalf of Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser.

Anthropologist Dustin Fuqua, Colson’s long time apprentice, delivered a slideshow presentation which highlighted the process of making Filé. He explained the traditional ecological knowledge and sensitivity involved in the beloved Cane River tradition.

Dr. Pete Gregory, renowned NSULA Professor of Anthropology and Curator of the Williamson Museum, led a discussion of the Native American pille and pilon, mortar and pestle, which Colson uses to prepare gumbo Filé.

The Art of Filé Making was part of the Louisiana Folklife Month cultural programs, sponsored by the Louisiana Folklife Center at NSULA. Special thanks to the LA Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest History Museum for hosting the event. Dr. Rasmussen further announced that Colson will be inducted into the LA Folk Masters Hall of Fame at the 40th Natchitoches-NSU Folklife Festival July 20, 2019.