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back to index A Brief Ethnography of Magnolia Plantation: Planning for Cane River Creole National Historical Park

Chapter 12 Implications: “Cane River Creole National Historical Park”

The park name disturbs some local residents by seeming to disenfranchise them, insult their ethnicity, and eliminate their past as worthy of note in the new National Park Service unit. Black people particularly see the park’s name as symbolic of longstanding disregard and disrespect for them. “Creole” is neither what they call themselves nor are called by others. On the other hand, the name pleases others whose ways of life seem to be highlighted and legitimized by the new park. Whites, including people of French ancestry, think the park is about architectural and various other expressions of French heritage. Creoles of color perceive the park as intended to highlight their own special heritage and status. While this exclusive view is the prevailing one, there was some discomfort with it and concern that the park name unfairly ignored the black community and culture. Some Creoles of color noted that the black community is another participant in the Cane River heritage, should be considered as such by the park, and interpreted alongside the Creole culture. As they saw it, it is problematic to talk of a Creole park and allow the black community to feel it is disowned from being part of the park or the Cane River story. Black people could not agree more.

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