JEANERETTE, La. --- Louisiana’s coast is dotted with hundreds of mounds that were built by indigenous people hundreds of years ago. Coastal erosion and subsidence is a constant threat to these sacred grounds and cultural heritage is not a renewable resource.
Keepers of the Mound, a short documentary film produced by Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities will be shown at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at the Jeanerette Museum. Following the film viewing, a discussion and a brief talk about the Indian Mounds found along Bayou Teche will be led by University of Louisiana Lafayette Professor Mark Rees.
Keepers of the Mound shows a mound in Bayou Grand Caillou in Terrebonne Parish that is at risk due to a rapidly changing ecosystem that could wash it away. Today, it sits on property owned by developers, not by the United Houma Nation. Carla Chauvin, a member of the tribe who lives next door to this mound, wants it protected from sea level rise, but she also wants (legal) access to this sacred space. The film follows Carla and Houma youth as they explore the meaning of the mounds in terms of their cultural heritage and utilize marsh creation to save it. They define a community in action.
Mounds along Bayou Teche also are at risk due a number of factors. Dr. Mark Rees will give insight into these mounds. He is an archaeologist, Director of the Louisiana Public Archaeology Lab, and Nalley Board of Regents Support Fund Professor of Social Sciences at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He holds a PhD in Anthropology with a concentration in archaeology from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Historical Archaeology from the University of Massachusetts at Boston.
His recent publications include co-authored works on the Portage Mounds site and Troyville mound site. He is currently directing an assessment of the effects of an oil spill on coastal archaeological sites and leading the New Acadia Project, a public archaeology initiative to locate and study the 1765 colony of New Acadia in south Louisiana.
For more information, visit
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or call (337) 380-9057. The museum is located at 500 E. Main St. on the corner of Main Street and Moresi Alley in Jeanerette, LA.
Keepers of the Mound
is being held free of charge and is suitable for an adult audience.
The local Water/Ways exhibit project is a part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities made possible through funding from the Walton Family Foundation. This program is also sponsored by the Friends of the Jeanerette Museum.