French diplomat forges ties with Native American tribes ::

– A French diplomat is working to forge links with francophones in Louisiana, in part by strengthening education programs.

New Orleans-based Consul General Nathalie Beras recently traveled to southern Louisiana to learn more about the Native American tribes in that region and that meetings with other groups are planned as well as possible French classes on weekends, reported Houma Today.

“Several hundred years ago the French came here, and Louisiana was sold to the Americans in 1803. So that was a long time ago, and we still share the culture and the language. Language is more than words, it’s an identity, “Beras told the newspaper.

Beras and his team traveled to Isle de Jean Charles and Pointe-aux-Chênes and met French-speaking members of Native American tribes during his outing which took place about two weeks ago. The newspaper said further meetings and visits are also planned.

Representatives from Télé-Louisiane, a media company that works to preserve French language and culture in Louisiana, were also on hand, including company CEO Will McGrew. The company is working with the Pointe-au-Chien tribe to launch weekend French lessons for children in the region in the future. McGrew told the newspaper the company is also ready to help local school boards if they want to launch French-language programs in their area.

The Council for the Development of French in Louisiana helps promote the French language in schools by partially paying teachers’ salaries.

Beras and his group also traveled the waterways around Jean Charles Island, a small strip of land in southern Louisiana that has seen its land slowly eroded by coastal erosion.

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