Published on October 25, 2012 by Amy
The Tunica-Biloxi Regional Indian Center and Museum was opened in 1989 to house the “Tunica Treasure” – Tribal grave goods which had been stolen from a Tribal burial ground by a grave robber who desecrated this burial site in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The journey for the Tunica Treasure was that of a long legal battle from the burial site into the possession of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe. There was no reliable record of the gravesite as to which individual burial had what objects in it, so rather than mass bury the recovered artifacts, the Museum was constructed to look like a burial mound, thereby symbolically reburying the Tunica Treasure within the structure’s earthen covered walls.
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While open, the Tunica-Biloxi Regional Indian Center and Museum was a well-visited facility by numerous educational facilities and civic organizations located in and around Louisiana. Visitors from other countries, primarily France and Germany frequently included the Tunica-Biloxi Regional Indian Center and Museum on their travel itineraries.
Due to structural issues, which were cost prohibitive to remedy, the Tunica-Biloxi Regional Indian Center and Museum was razed in 1999 and planning was soon underway for a new, larger and more comprehensive Cultural and Educational facility.
Continuous Tribal development on and around Tribal lands has resulted in the Tribe essentially becoming a sizeable municipality. To accommodate the present and future growth of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe in regards to business, educational and cultural development, the Tribal Council has supported the development of a comprehensive project called the Tunica-Biloxi Cultural and Educational Resources Center. Also, the growth in responsibilities of the Museum staff has led to the formation of the Tunica-Biloxi Department of Cultural and Historic Preservation.
The new Tunica-Biloxi Tribal Museum will become part of this multi faceted complex. The original project of construction of a new Tribal museum has steadily grown to include construction of a gift shop, library, conservation and restoration laboratory, auditorium, conference and meeting rooms, classrooms, distance learning facility, and additional office space for Tribal government operations. The facility will be a truly unique education and cultural complex, second to none, located on a Native American reservation. The Tribe is pursuing partnerships with local universities to offer college courses and in time Degree programs right here on the Tunica-Biloxi Reservation. With that, the possibility of a daycare program is in the long range planning in order to assist families trying to manage employment and family responsibilities while attempting to pursue higher education.
This facility will be a valuable asset to the advancement and development of a Tribal educational, cultural and artistic presence in and around the local and surrounding areas. The facility will serve Tribal members as well as members of surrounding communities in regards to providing much needed and readily available educational offerings.
This facility, when at full operation, will aim to be a distribution hub of Tribal information for members to utilize should they have questions or concerns they wish to have answered or make aware of. We hope to make this a point of information distribution on all aspects of the Tribe to the members. We aim to make this a one-stop shop of information for a Tribal member who wants to know what up-to-date information is available to them from all aspects of Tribal Government and Tribal Enterprises on any given day. With this we hope to provide a good outlet to improve the lines of communication between the Tribe and Tribal members – an aid to all Tribal Offices, Departments, Boards, and Committees to distribute information to members.