Among Hoole’s many fascinating treasures is this slim manuscript volume – eight pages of hand written text, which came to us as part of the T.P. Thompson Collection. The detail above gives us the words for rain, wind, sun, moon, star, earth, mountain, and stone — first in French, then in Choctaw.
Written about 1885, this “Vocabulaire de la langue des Indiens Choctaw (lac Ponchartrain) Louisiane” is in the hand of Abbé Adrien Roquette, who was also known by many as “Chahta-Lma”, Choctaw for “Like a Choctaw” — a beautiful sentiment. This name was bestowed upon him by the Choctaw people as a sign of belonging and respect. In hindsight this can be viewed in many ways — but the simplest notion of all is to see this expression as a reflection of everyone being connected as people — to say that you are one of us. A pure expression of belonging and connection.
This manuscript volume has been digitized, and is available as part of our digital program here.
The original item is part of the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library. To read more about Abbé Roquette, there is a 1913 biography available via Google Books.
No matter our language or our differences, we are one people. On one great, beautiful terre… yakni…earth…