Ethnography & Oral History
My project-thesis “Choctaw-Apache Foodways” depends on ethnographic fieldwork and oral history among the Choctaw-Apache of Ebarb community.
I have written short, unpublished ethnographic papers on the following:
– Czech Cowboy culture
-Archaeologists and their relationship to the descendants of the people they study
-Native born American Buddhists
-Islamophobia in France, U.K., and Germany: What about the Czech Republic?
-French Market of New Orleans: A case of Continuity or Adaptive Reuse?
-Theravada Buddhism and Ethnic Identity in Texas
My hope is to continue researching the intersections of food and culture. I plan on writing a short article on the Zwolle Tamale Fiesta and ethnic identity in Sabine Parish. I have a research plan on a book on the relationship between grits and culture in the U.S. South, tentatively entitled, “How d’ you take your grits?”
I follow the ethical standards of the American Anthropology Association requiring informed consent, and the practices embodied in the Principles and Best Practices of the Oral History Association and the follow University requirements for Oral History under Human Subjects Institutional Review Board.
Advocacy & Public Awareness
Letter Writing and Petitioning
I have been active in numerous letter writing and petition campaigns on behalf of the preservation of historic sites and in defense of cultural resources, including Blair Mountain.
I was very active in the attempt to keep the Heritage Resources program at NSU from being eliminated. I penned numerous letters to administrators, elected officials and to editors of newspapers on behalf of students in defense of the Heritage Resources program. Here is a sample of my advocacy:
Save Heritage Resources: Letter 3presidents to Dr Webb
I am active in many civic, professional, and student organizations as well as with my tribe.
Texas & Pacific Railroad Research
In Fall 2009, I conducted background research regarding Natchitoches’ 1927 Texas and Pacific Railroad Depot.
The Depot represents the shift from riverboat transportation to rail and the hegemony of Natchitoches’ town elite over downriver Creole planters and more rural Anglo settlers. Initially the Texas & Pacific line circumvented Natchitoches. Instead of allowing Prudhomme (Cypress, LA,) Marthaville, or Robeline to become the premier main rail hub in the Parish, Natchitoches businessmen created a new joint stock company to build a “tap line” to bring rail access to the town. The Texas & Pacific Railway constructed the two-storied brick depot after securing that “tap line” and integrating Natchitoches as part of their main line.
The depot’s architect , F. G. Shaw, drew on Spanish and colonial themes, reportedly to honor Natchitoches founder St. Denis’s Spanish wife. The beams and windows of the main waiting room are influenced by the architect’s imagination of the master’s cabin of Christopher Columbus the Santa Mari and the chandeliers were modeled after the hilt of the sword worn by St. Denis.
Natchitoches’ Jim Crow segregation is evident in the building’s design. The large central hall was the white waiting area. One, smaller, side wing was the black waiting area, while the other side was used for freight. Once restored, the building is ideal for an African American and/or Civil Rights museum.
Research on the history and context of the Texas and Pacific Railroad brought me to Dallas/ Fort Worth. En route I visited the restored 1912 T&P station in Marshall, TX (still in use as an Amtrak station) and the restored 1912 era T&P Depot (Amtrak Station) and Texas and Pacific Railway Museum. I did archival research at SMU’s DeGoyer Library and visited U.T. Arlington. I rode the Trinity Railway from downtown Dallas to the magnificent 1931 T&P station where I photo documented the building’s architecture.