Chapter 12 Implications: “Cane River Creole National Historical
The park name disturbs some local residents by seeming to disenfranchise
them, insult their ethnicity, and eliminate their past as worthy of note
in the new National Park Service unit. Black people particularly see the
park’s name as symbolic of longstanding disregard and disrespect for
them. “Creole” is neither what they call themselves nor are
called by others. On the other hand, the name pleases others whose ways
of life seem to be highlighted and legitimized by the new park. Whites,
including people of French ancestry, think the park is about architectural
and various other expressions of French heritage. Creoles of color perceive
the park as intended to highlight their own special heritage and status.
While this exclusive view is the prevailing one, there was some discomfort
with it and concern that the park name unfairly ignored the black community
and culture. Some Creoles of color noted that the black community is another
participant in the Cane River heritage, should be considered as such by
the park, and interpreted alongside the Creole culture. As they saw it,
it is problematic to talk of a Creole park and allow the black community
to feel it is disowned from being part of the park or the Cane River story.
Black people could not agree more.