By Belinda Brooks, Butte Tribe Vice-Chief
Chief Rodger Collum of Butte Tribe of Bayou Bourbeaux released discovery of his Native American artifacts discovered at the Collum Sacred Temple Mound on Chief Collum’s personal land in Natchitoches Parish. These artifacts range in age from ancient artifacts to more recent relics from the early Native American settlements during the European explorations in the early 1700s. This mound is only one of several mounds that are scattered throughout the Butte tribal landscape. Until recently, the leaders of the Butte tribe have kept the mounds secret from the general population. Butte Hill, the namesake of the Butte Indian Tribe, is the burial ground for ancestors, White Smoke and Two Moons, of Chief Collum.
Little known by the surrounding community, over five hundred members of the Butte Indian family clans have remained within the Natchitoches area for over 200 years. Linked members are scattered throughout the surrounding Louisiana parishes which were historically known as the Chitimacha, Lower Caddo (Natchitoches) and Hasani Confederacies. Over those hundreds of years, the bloodlines of these confederacies were mixed as these indigenous people joined together and formed what is known today as the unique bloodline of the Butte Indians of Bayou Bourbeaux.
Between the 2016 -2019 rainy seasons, the Collum mound showed a heavy amount of erosion as the mound itself was covered with water numerous times. When vessels began to reveal themselves unaided, Chief Collum decided that it was best to excavate to artifacts that were near the edge of the water rather than take the chance of losing them to the swift water. In the last twenty years, Butte lands have lost twelve feet of the river banks which were lost to swift running water. Another sacred mound on Chief Collum’s land has been found. As of the time of this written article, it is under water and can not be explored. The following pictures are of the artifacts taken from Collum’s Mound.