Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb

The Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb is a state-recognized[1][3] Native American tribe in Sabine Parish, Louisiana. The reported number of tribal members varies between approximately 3,000 and 3,276, many of whom reside within the town of Zwolle, where the tribal offices are based; the villages of Converse and Noble, and the unincorporated communities of Ebarb, where the tribe has a pow-wow ground; Blue Lake, and Grady Hill.[3] This area is east of the Toledo Bend Reservoir and covers approximately 15 square miles.[1]

Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb
Total population
~3,000;[1] 3,276 [2]
Regions with significant populations
 United States ( Louisiana)
English, Spanish; formerly Nahuatl, Choctaw, and related Coahuiltecan[2]
Primarily Roman Catholic[1]
Related ethnic groups
Choctaw, Adai, Lipan Apache, Caddo; Mexican people, Spanish people


The Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb is an amalgamation of several distinct tribal groups which came together in the early 1700s, with some additions in the 19th centuries in western Louisiana. Their ancestors came together due to both ethnic cleansing and voluntary migration.

Its origins can be traced to 13 families from the Adai mission who settled on the east bank of the Sabine River in the early 1700s. They were later joined by four Lipan Apache families who were former slaves.[1]

Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Los Adaes Presidio was a fort in the area manned by Mestizo and Spanish soldiers. They married or had unions with local women of the Caddo, Adai, and Lipan Apache peoples living in the area. The resulting mixed-race children were generally reared primarily in their maternal Indian cultures.[3][4] When the Spanish dissolved the fort in 1773 and ordered the soldiers to return to San Antonio, many remained behind with their families. They settled in the area of Zwolle and Ebarb.[4][5]

Following the Louisiana Purchase by the United States in 1803, bands of Choctaw began moving into this area in search of new hunting grounds.[3] Additional Choctaw were moved into the area by US Indian Agent John Sibley,[1] who sought to protect them from the competing Creek and Chickasaw neighbors.[3] Twenty-one Choctaw families were listed in the 1870 Census for the area,[1] and some of this classification likely included people of Apache descent, as they intermarried.

In the 20th century, the people mostly worked in the timber and oil industries. They lived along the east bank of the Sabine River until the states of Texas and Louisiana created a project to dam it for flood control and power generation. The states claimed 180,000 acres of the ancestral land to create the Toledo Bend Reservoir. The tribe was forced to move.[3]


The Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb received recognition as a tribe by the state of Louisiana in 1978 by legislative action[3] (also reported as 1977).[1] They have also sought federal recognition but have so far been unsuccessful. Because their members come from so many backgrounds, the Bureau of Indian Affairs has considered them a remnant group rather than a tribe.

Its seven criteria for recognition include documentation of an unbroken cultural and genealogical chain to a historic tribe at the time of sustained European contact.[1] As an amalgamated tribe, the Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb have to prove a different kind of identity and continuity. The tribe has been in the federal recognition process since 1978, when it filed a letter of petition with the BIA. The BIA converted their application into a letter of intent to petition in 1981 to conform to the process.[6] Since then, the tribe has been working with a contract anthropologist to document their history and genealogy of member families.[1][6]

Family namesEdit

Many members of the Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb are descended from a handful of Spanish and Mestizo-fathered families who settled in the area in the 18th and 19th centuries. Their surnames reflect this past and include Procella (Procell), DelRio (Rivers), Sanchez (Santos), Martinez, Bermea (Malmay), Ybarbo (Ebarb), Sharnack (Ezernack), Rameris (Remedies), Leone, Padillia (Paddie), Parria (Parrie), Sepeda (Sepulvado), Garcia (Garcie), Menchaca (Manshack), and Cartinez.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Welborn, Vickie (2008-12-15). "Choctaw-Apache Tribe Growing". Sabine Parish, Louisiana at - Shreveport Times. Retrieved 2014-07-24.
  2. ^ a b "Ebarb Choctaw-Apache Tribe - Sabine Parish Louisiana bordering Toledo Bend Lake". Archived from the original on 2014-06-25. Retrieved 2014-07-24.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "About the Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb". Retrieved 2014-07-24.
  4. ^ a b Lee, Dayna Bowker. "Louisiana Indians In The 21st Century". Folklife in Louisiana: Louisiana's Living Traditions. Retrieved 2014-07-24.
  5. ^ "Legacy of Los Adaes". Texas Beyond History. Retrieved 2014-07-24.
  6. ^ a b "Federal Recognition". Choctaw Apache Tribe of Ebarb. Retrieved 2014-07-24.