Louisiana’s Coushatta boost Crazy Horse flag collection, scholarships
Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana officials, on a mission to help Pine Ridge Indian Reservation residents gear up for winter, also recently aided Crazy Horse Memorial’s cultural education efforts.
Chairman Kevin Sickey led the delegation in presenting the official Coushatta flag and $10,000 to the nonprofit Memorial, which is dedicated to honoring North American Indian people.
The outreach journey marked the Coushattas’ first cultural exchange with the Oglalas of Pine Ridge. The presentation included clothing and other items hauled more than 1,300 miles from Elton, La.
Sickey said the Crazy Horse gift also marked the first out-of-state contribution from the “Chairman’s Cup,” established in 2002 by sponsors and others participating in a yearly golf tournament at the tribe’s resort. The Coushatta Casino Resort is Louisiana’s second-largest private employer with more than 2,500 workers. The employment figure encompasses workers who are employed at the casino and on the reservation.
Memorial President-CEO Ruth Ziolkowski said the Coushattas’ contribution will help the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation Scholarship Fund.
“The get-acquainted visit by Chairman Sickey and the other Coushatta people was just a wonderful experience,” she said. “We are deeply grateful that they took the time to see the Memorial on their long journey from home. Receiving their flag is a tremendous honor, and there are no words to adequately express how moving it is that they also gave funding to help other Native Americans improve their lives.”
Since 1978, the Crazy Horse scholarship fund has awarded more than $1.6 million to South Dakota educational institutions nominating American Indian students for Crazy Horse grants. Scholarships also are awarded to select Native students attending the annual Crazy Horse Journalism Workshop and the Indian University of North America at Crazy Horse.
Memorial administrative director Don Gifford guided the Coushatta officials touring the university’s Living and Learning Center and the Crazy Horse visitor complex. The group included Sickey, Vice Chairman Wayne Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer Jerold Poncho, Councilwoman Missy Litteral and additional tribal members and staff.
There are more than 900 members of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, a federally-recognized sovereign nation. Tribal members migrated to the piney woods of southwestern Louisiana in the 1700s after leaving Alabama and Georgia to avoid encroaching settlers.
The Coushatta flag features the tribal seal that is centered on the garfish. The illustration honors a traditional food source that is symbolic of courage, wisdom, strength and discipline.
The Memorial’s growing tribal flag exhibit began in 1983 with presentations from the Oglala Sioux Tribe and Rosebud Sioux Tribe in honor of the late sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski. The collection has 112 flags from U.S. and Canadian First Nations groups. The banners, displayed in the order received, now spread through four areas of the 40,000-square-foot visitor complex. Information kiosks provide visitors with capsule information about the tribal groups represented and each flag’s symbolism.
For more about the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, visit www.coushatta.org.