"Can You Tell Me Who My People Are?" Ethnic Identity Among the Hispanic-Indian People of Sabine Parish, Louisiana
Date of Award
This thesis explores the puzzle of ethnic identity for the Hispanic-Indian people of Sabine Parish. Because their unique history precludes the clear-cut ethnic identification available to immigrant American groups, the community shares the awkward social position of both the remnant Native American groups and mixed-blood communities collectively known as American Isolates. The issue of group identity for members of the Zwolle-Ebarb community has been further confounded by the internal and external stigmas attached to aspects of the group's origins as well as the negative image associated with the group's home territory. After the people have been identified historically and genealogically, their experience is placed in the context of other American Isolates. Their ethnic identity is examined as one of the identities used in social interaction for the presentation of the self. Both insiders' and outsiders' definitions and perceptions of the group are described from this theoretical perspective. The different formal identity choices used by group members are then reviewed both for their local connotations and for the internal community divisions marked by their use. This basic understanding of the Ebarb-Zwolle community's sense of peoplehood informs the investigation into the ways group identity manifests itself in community members' interactions’ with various outsiders. The inquiry into Ebarb ethnic identity concludes by considering the annual Zwolle Tamale Fiesta. This tourist attraction advertised as an ethnic celebration seems to encapsulate the confusion about community heritage, current interethnic accommodations, and in-group differences. In conclusion, the people of the Zwolle-Ebarb community continue to interact on the basis of a unique group identity, but a tidy form of ethnic designation remains elusive.
Van Rheenen, Mary B., ""Can You Tell Me Who My People Are?" Ethnic Identity Among the Hispanic-Indian People of Sabine Parish, Louisiana" (1987). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 8351.