Local History: The Tunica Indians
This week continues a summer long series of history stories by the late Ashley Harris that were first published in 1994 and 1995. Part III of a four part series appeared on June 9, 1994.
The pottery made by the Tunicas was different from that made by neighboring tribes because they added crushed mussel shells to the clay. This made the pottery more durable. A Frenchman described “earthen pots quite well made, especially little glazed pitchers, as neat as you would see in France.”
The same Frenchman, Father Jacques Gravier, gave this description of the Tunicas houses:
Their cabins are round and vaulted. They are lathed with canes and plastered with mud from bottom to top, within and without with a good covering of straw. There is no light except by the door, and no matter how little fire there is (the smoke of which has no escape but one door) it is hot as a vapour bath. At night a lighted torch of dried canes serves as a candle and keeps all the cabin warm.
Missing remains prompt review
County officials are asking the public for input regarding updates and additions to current zoning on cemeteries. A hearing has been set for Tuesday, July 5, at 9 a.m.
The added scrutiny comes on the heels on an incident involving the county Road Department, cemetery owner Christopher Thomas, and Amanda Reed, the mother of a baby girl who was stillborn in 2007 and buried in Thomas’s cemetery.
The body of tiny Heaven Sent Reed is missing, after some work was done to a county ditch that abuts the cemetery, and the baby’s grave was disturbed.
According to news reports, neighbors saw county workers at the site trying to alleviate drainage issues in a subdivision.
Thomas said he did not give anyone permission to dig on the cemetery property.
School district making progress
Almost a year after the state board of education recommended take over of Tunica County Schools, conservator Dr. Margie Pulley presented an update on the district in a community meeting on Tuesday, June 7 at Tunica Middle School.
Pulley announced that 25 standard violations have been cleared by the Mississippi Department of Education and less than five remain.
“I am happy to report that we will be writing the Accreditation Commission to request reinstatement of accreditation for Tunica County Schools,” Pulley said.
She anticipates that the correspondence will be sent in December or January.
County may require employees to live here
Citing out migration due to lack of housing, Board of Supervisors president James Dunn said June 6 that he would like the county to consider requiring future employees to be Tunica County residents.
“Community development is moving to other counties,” Dunn said, then calling on Board attorney John Perry to report his findings in the issue.
“Several counties have similar provisions,” Perry said. “You would need to have a rational basis. Economic development and creating growth would be a reason.”
Perry then noted that a large number of people who are already county employees would be “grandfathered in,” that is, these employees wouldn’t fall under the provisions of any new policy.
“Future employees would be on notice,” Perry said.
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