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What's in a Seal?: How a Fish Came to Represent the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana

What's in a Seal?: How a Fish Came to Represent the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana Essay .................... What’s in a Seal? How a Fish Came to Represent the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana by Denise E. Bates The garfish plays a vital role in the Coushatta tribe’s story, past and present, and serves as a cultural and historical anchor for them. Illustrations by Catherine A. Moore.   he garfish is a “prehistoric hang-­over,” a living fossil that has inhabited southern waterways for millennia. Archeologists have found gar fossils, up to 9,000 years old, from sites throughout the Southeast and have identified five different species that range in size from the smaller Florida gar, measuring approximately two feet long, to the alligator gar, which averages nine feet long and can tip the scale at more than 300 pounds. The various species of southern gar join one of the most diverse aquatic topographies in North America, inhabiting fresh water and gravitating to slow-­moving rivers, streams, and bayous, where they are considered “one of the best kept secrets in angling” by some sports fishers.1 To many Native peoples of the Southeast, however, this slender-­ odied fish with jutting, sharp teeth and covered in bony scales holds a venerated status. In particular, the garfish plays a vital role http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Southern Cultures University of North Carolina Press

What's in a Seal?: How a Fish Came to Represent the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana

Southern Cultures , Volume 23 (3) – Oct 31, 2017

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Center for the Study of the American South.
ISSN
1534-1488
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Abstract

Essay .................... What’s in a Seal? How a Fish Came to Represent the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana by Denise E. Bates The garfish plays a vital role in the Coushatta tribe’s story, past and present, and serves as a cultural and historical anchor for them. Illustrations by Catherine A. Moore.   he garfish is a “prehistoric hang-­over,” a living fossil that has inhabited southern waterways for millennia. Archeologists have found gar fossils, up to 9,000 years old, from sites throughout the Southeast and have identified five different species that range in size from the smaller Florida gar, measuring approximately two feet long, to the alligator gar, which averages nine feet long and can tip the scale at more than 300 pounds. The various species of southern gar join one of the most diverse aquatic topographies in North America, inhabiting fresh water and gravitating to slow-­moving rivers, streams, and bayous, where they are considered “one of the best kept secrets in angling” by some sports fishers.1 To many Native peoples of the Southeast, however, this slender-­ odied fish with jutting, sharp teeth and covered in bony scales holds a venerated status. In particular, the garfish plays a vital role

Journal

Southern CulturesUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Oct 31, 2017

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