Jeffery U. Darensbourg is a Tribal Councilperson of the Atakapa-Ishak Nation of Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas. Born in Baton Rouge, he currently lives in New Orleans and has family roots in Pointe Coupee, Orleans, St. Charles, and Calcasieu Parishes. He is of Atakapa-Ishak, Louisiana Creole, and Choctaw ancestry. Darensbourg is a librarian and teacher with a Ph.D. in cognitive science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and is editor of the zine Bulbancha Is Still a Place: Indigenous Culture from New Orleans.
This project is a monograph-length work about the Ishak, an Indigenous nation of the Gulf South, more often known as the “Atakapa.” It is an attempt to create a professionally-researched work on this nation by one of its own members, a work that tells the story of this group of people across time and in our time, and that incorporates critical studies of both Indigenous history and mixed-ethnicity people. Research on the project will take place across Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas. The book itself will tell the story of the Ishak using Ishak methods of storytelling, and include historical anecdotes, family stories, linguistics, accounts from colonizers, food culture, poetry, and travelogues. It will present the Ishak as a living group of people, and as a group strongly tied to and influential upon regional cultures.