Chief John Mayeux
Chief John Mayeux is a member of the Avogel tribe, one of the oldest Louisiana tribes still in existence. He was head chief for over twenty years, and is still one of the chiefs of the tribe. Avoyelles Parish is named for the Avogel people, a tribe that has been in the area for at least 5,000 years. As a child, Mayeux saw his culture and language start to disappear, which is one of the reasons he came to enjoy making the things that his people made years ago. The beauty of these things filled his heart with joy. Mayeux has always believed that the true representations of his people would have been more interesting to audiences than the fictitious misrepresentations shown in movies and television Westerns. Working at Vermilionville gives him the chance to tell people about history of his tribe and its people.
Mayeux is proud of his people and history, and says they have a great story to tell. He wants people to know the real Avogel Tribe, how it lived with others, and what it did to form America's ancient past. Without the indigenous people, American history is extremely short. Mayeux has worked at what he does all his life, and today he teaches his grandchildren what he knows so that his ancestors will continue through them and what they do. Having worked as a French teacher for many years, Mayeux says the methodology he practiced has helped him to teach the Avogel language to the children of the tribe. He would also like to revive it with the older people who have lost the language as a means of preserving their culture, even has his people have adapted to the modern American ways of living. It is his way of remaining true to the past, but continuing to tell his people's story for future generations.