While the United States designates just one day each year, the second Monday in October, to celebrate the undeniable impact of Indigenous people throughout history, Angelique Broussard does so daily. A member of the federally recognized Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, Broussard recently founded a non-profit organization, the Clementine Pierite-Broussard (Tunica Nation) Foundation, Inc., in honor of her great-grandmother, the tribe’s matriarch.
“I thought there was an underrepresentation of my fellow Native American women and girls to be recognized as achievers, prominent figureheads, as leaders and entrepreneurs,” Broussard tells EBONY by phone last week of her desire to create the organization. “We don’t have that light in our community so I thought what better way to pay homage to my great grandmother, the organization’s namesake, as well as one of my own inspirations who owned the land and was an entrepreneur in her own right.”
Growing up Black and Indigenous in Louisiana, Broussard had an acute consciousness of her Tunica heritage. Her great-grandmother had 100 percent Tunica heritage flowing through her veins and heavily influenced her at a young age. She’s now channeling her nurturing spirit and doing her part to further her grandmother’s mission of assisting native communities, as well as others.
“This has been my brainchild for a long time,” Broussard says of the newly established organization. “It stemmed from her words in my head and my desire to create more opportunities for women and girls.” In helping this marginalized group, she also hopes to raise awareness of their plight. Though her organization is still in its infancy, Broussard is deliberate to plant seeds that will reach Indigenous women nationwide.
Since its inception last spring, the foundation has been able to provide financial assistance to a Tunica woman and her family and has brought monetary support for tribal women and girls through organized events. Broussard says these happenings have stimulated the tribal economy as a whole. “The plan is to generate as much awareness as possible and to have as many events as possible,” Broussard says. In doing so, Broussard expects some of that awareness to focus on the Indigenous women and girls who have gone missing, those who have lost their lives without consequence, and those who face heightened racism because of their multi-ethnicity.
“Colorism is still a huge issue,” Broussard says. “In my personal experience, dark-skinned, Indigenous women encounter the same discrimination, because of our skin tone, that every darker-skinned woman in this country experiences.” The Florida resident says that includes, but is not limited to challenges within the workplace and school settings, as well as in relationships and society as a whole.
With the Clementine Pierite-Broussard Foundation, Broussard hopes to disrupt narratives and make a considerable impact in these areas of concern. “Our mission is to encourage, motivate and support the succeeding generation of Native American women and girls in a way that will help them envision themselves as prominent figureheads, trailblazers, developers, entrepreneurs, STEM achievers, and professionals in academia,” says Broussard. “I need them to understand that they can.”