Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Mosterman, Andrea

Second Advisor

Atkinson, Connie

Third Advisor

Mitchell, Mary Niall


In 1917, Henry Billiot sued the Terrebonne Parish School Board because his children, who identified as Houma Indian, were denied access to a local white school. The resulting case, Henry Billiot v. Terrebonne Parish School Board, shaped the way in which the community of Terrebonne Parish categorized the race of not only the Billiot family but also the Houma tribe over the course of fifty years. Through the use of Jim Crow legislation, the white community legally refused to consider the Houma tribe as American Indian, and instead chose the derogatory term Sabine as the racial classification of this indigenous group, which detrimentally impacted the United Houma Nation’s fight for federal recognition as an American Indian tribe.


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