Bel Abbey :
Bel Abbey was born on April 10,1916 in the Koasati area five kilometers north of Elingotn, Louisiana. Abbey was raised in the last generation of Koasati cultural and economic programs, and was taught traditional ways by his mother, grandmother and uncle.
He was a skilled hunter and had excellent knowledge of animal behavior and natural history. He knew the great names of plants and their various uses, such as medicine and food. But Bel Abbey’s best known was his main story about Koasati legends.
In addition to telling his stories in Koasati, he learned to speak Albanian, Choctaw, Mobilian, Cajun French and English. His amazing language and teaching skills attracted pathologists and linguists to see his work.
He also worked hard to preserve the traditional arts and was skilled at making bombs, arrows, bows, arrows, whistles and more. Also helped to preserve the many baskets made by his mother, who was a master of basket basket storage for trade. He helped translate the Bible into Koasati and recorded Koasati language and stories in English.
Mr. Abbey was inducted into the Hall of Master Folk Artists in 1982 and represented the Koasati at the Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival, World’s Fair in New Orleans, Louisiana State Folk Festival, and Smithsonian’s National Folk Festival on the Mall.
At the time of his death in 1992, he was in the process of revising the Koasati dictionary. Before she died she passed on many of her stories to her niece, Bertney Langley, who continued the tradition of telling stories. Bel Abbey helped bring the stories of his Native American people, the Koasati, to thousands and thousands of people they would never know, and helped to preserve traditional art.
Read Also :