The Jena Band of Choctaw Indians are located primarily in the parishes of LaSalle, Grant, and Rapides in the state of Louisiana and has lands in LaSalle and Grant parishes. The Tribe has 352 members who descended from basically two families that migrated to Louisiana from Mississippi during the time of forced removal.
THE JENA BAND OF CHOCTAW INDIANS
1052 Chanaha Hina St.
Trout, Louisiana 71371
B. Cheryl Smith, Chief (2010-Present)
The Tribe has a democratically elected form of government comprised of a chief and four tribal council members all of whom serve staggered four-year terms. For the past four years, the governing body of the Tribe has been comprised of all women. The Tribal Council has the right to promote self-government on the Jena Band of Choctaw Lands and acts pursuant to the Tribal Constitution duly adopted by the membership. Judicial authority is vested in the Tribal Court created by the Tribal Council, and cases, including Indian Child Welfare and Tribal Families in Need of Services case, are heard by a Tribal Judge appointed by the Council.
Congressional House Representation:
Ralph Abraham, Republican, District 5, 2018-2020
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTThe Jena Band of Choctaw Indians owns enterprises in gaming, childcare, food and beverage, and hospitality. The Tribal Council created by ordinances the Jena Choctaw Indian Gaming Authority and the Jena Choctaw Indian Economic Development Authority.
Jena Choctaw Pines Casino opened in February 2013 features 46,000 square feet of entertainment with over 700 Class II gaming machines, live poker, a buffet, and sports bar. The Casino has karaoke once a week and features live bands or a DJ on weekends.
Phone: (318) 648-7773
Twisted Feather is a tribally owned liquor store opened in December 2011.
Phone: (318) 992-4000
Baby Feathers Learning Center is a tribally owned child care facility.
Phone: (318) 992-4442
Miko’s Steak & Spirits is a tribally owned restaurant opened in December 2017 that offers patrons a fine dining experience in Jena.
Phone: (318) 992-1000
Miko’s Gaming opened in January 2018 and is a Class II facility with 40 gaming machines.
The earliest recorded notice of the Choctaw Indians is about 1540 in the area of southern Mississippi and in the early 1700s near present-day Mobile, Alabama; Biloxi, Mississippi; and Natchitoches and New Orleans, Louisiana.
Choctaw Indians have been observed living in the vicinity of Jena, Louisiana since at least 1880. The group existed as a stable settlement of several families and about two dozen people until the 1910’s, living on the lands of local farmers and working as sharecroppers, day laborers, and household help. Until the mid-1900s, The Jena Choctaw maintained a very insular community and a very distinct social institution with activities that included marriages, burials, and the maintenance of a tribal cemetery.
In 1974, the first tribal election of Tribal Chief was held. Subsequently, the Jena Band of Choctaw Indians was officially recognized by the state of Louisiana. The Tribe received federal recognition in 1995 through the Federal Acknowledgement Process. The Tribe remained landless until 2003 when six distinct parcels comprising approximately sixty-four acres were taken into trust by the United States for the benefit of the Tribe.
Today, the Tribe continues to promote education in traditional Choctaw language and culture to maintain a sense of its Native American identity. As a sovereign government, the Tribe strives to improve the well-being of its tribal members and those of future generations.