Sunday, July 19th, 2009 by

The Birmingham News and the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s weekly magazine recently featured Jacqueline Matte, historian and NewSouth author of They Say the Wind is Red: The Alabama Choctaw — Lost in Their Own Land.

The articles center on Matte’s combined efforts with UAB anthropologist Loretta Cormier to validate the existence of the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians. The MOWA Band of Choctaws, who remained hidden in the face of forced relocation to Oklahoma during the nineteenth century, are currently struggling to gain recognition from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Despite being recognized by the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs in 1991, the BIA has continuously denied MOWA petitions for federal recognition.

In the UAB piece, Cormier discusses how Matte’s work helped her get started. Cormier said, “I wanted to know something about local Indians in the area, so I went to the library and saw Jackie’s book. I gave her a call, and we met and just clicked. She put me to work immediately.”

Read full articles from The Birmingham News and The University of Alabama at Birmingham at their links.

Jacqueline Matte holds master’s degrees in History and Education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a B.S. from Samford University. Matte first contacted the MOWA Choctaw in 1980 while researching her first book, and now holds the title of Tribal Historian. Matte continues to spend her time with the MOWA Choctaw, also testifying as an expert witness before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearings for federal recognition of the Alabama Choctaw.

They Say the Wind is Red is available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer.