John Barbry has been appointed to lead the Tunica-Biloxi Language & Culture Revitalization Program (TBLCRP), the tribe announced this week. Barbry serves as the tribe’s Development & Programming director.
He is responsible not only for the TBLCRP efforts, but also developing education programs on Tunica and Biloxi history, languages and culture. He also coordinates the tribe’s ongoing fundraising initiatives. “The mission of the TBLCRP is to revitalize and preserve the cultural life-ways of the Tunica-Biloxi people through the development of educational programing in traditional language, history, folklore, song, dance, and crafts,” tribal council member Brenda Lintinger said. Barbry earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from McNeese State University and a master’s in History from the University of New Orleans. He assisted with cataloging the “Tunica Treasure,” which was returned to the tribe after being stored in the Old U.S. Mint-Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans. Barbry also served as research supervisor in the manuscripts division at the Historic New Orleans Collection. He was the first Native American archivist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, appointed in 1993. Keynote address Upon returning to the state, Barbry gave the keynote address to the Louisiana Archaeologists Society meeting in 1995. He presented a paper on Tunica-Biloxi history at the Louisiana Historical Association that same year. Among his many articles on the importance of archival and preserving historic documents was “Archives and the Repatriation of Intellectual Culture,” presented at the Society of American Archivists in 1992 and the American Association of State & Local History at its 1993 meeting in Columbus, Ohio. For the past 20 years, Barbry has been working in casino marketing and management in California and Louisiana. He has served on the board of directors for Le Theatre Des Bon Temps in Marksville and the Native American Village Advisory Board for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Barbry has served as chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Pow Wow Committee since 1995 and has participated in tribal youth activities in connection with the Tunica Language Revitalization Project. “Cultural awareness and preservation is of paramount importance to the Tunica-Biloxi as we strive to keep in touch with the old ways,” Tribal Chairman Joey Barbry said. “A big part of our vision is to protect our culture and cultural resources for this generation and generations to come. “We are proud to have a tribal member with John’s background who can help add vigor and multi-faceted programming to our cultural preservation efforts,” he added. CERC programs The TBLCRP will be located in the Tunica-Biloxi Cultural and Educational Resources Center (CERC). The CERC, opened in 2011, is part of the tribe’s long-range commitment to broaden the cultural, artistic and educational offerings to tribe members and the surrounding communities. CERC includes a museum exhibit hall, conservation and restoration laboratory, gift shop, library, auditorium, classrooms, distance learning center, meeting rooms and tribal government offices. Partnering with Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, the CERC offers videoconference and online distance-learning classes. This provides students — especially homebound students — another option to obtain a higher education.