Israel and the Coushatta: one miracle that deserves another
In 2008, David Sickey of the Sovereign Nation of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana was glued to the media coverage of Israel’s sixtieth anniversary. As a result, by the end of that year, the Coushatta would become the first Native American tribe to establish a formal relationship with Israel, hosting an affirmation of friendship event with Israeli consular officials and issuing a proclamation that May 14 would be “Stakayoop Yanihta Yisrael,” or “the day to honor Israel.”
These days, the Coushatta are the exclusive American distributor of Aya Natural, an Israeli startup skincare company, and Sickey recently participated in the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance’s trade mission to Israel, led by Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu. Though ties between the Coushatta and the State of Israel have taken on an economic tone, the partnership is ultimately rooted in a shared appreciation for and commitment to nationhood, sovereignty and self-determination.
“When I came to the tribe with my idea to establish relations, they took an interest because the Coushatta value sovereignty and nationhood much like the Jewish people, and autonomy is something to be embraced,” recalled Sickey, who currently serves as vice-chairman of the tribe governing council. “We decided to explore ways of reaching out to Israel to celebrate their independence and recognize that achievement.”