The term Redbone became disfavored in the late 1960s, as it was a pejorative nickname applied by others to the geographically and socially isolated light-complexioned populations in most western Louisiana parishes, from Sabine Parish in the northwest and Rapides Parish near the center of the state down to Calcasieu Parish in the southwest. This area is roughly coextensive with what was once known as the Neutral Ground or Sabine Free State, when no US state exercised jurisdiction over the area from the Calcasieu River on the east to the Sabine River on the west.
Families ancestral to the Louisiana Redbones came primarily from South Carolina (where they faced legal classification as "other free persons", in other words, non-white) to the hills and prairies of western Louisiana, following the Louisiana Purchase by the United States in 1803. In this area, the settlers successfully resisted categorization as non-white. Enough discrimination existed so they typically established their own communities with churches, stores, and schools. Though their descendants now number over 20,000 individuals and are dispersed to other states, especially eastern Texas, academically the group has been termed "largely unstudied." 
In recent years some who belong to, or identify with this group, have embraced the name. They have established family name, genetic, and historical websites to collect and trace their common heritage. The DNA results thus far show that while most of the families have Native American markers in varying degrees, and some of them have sub-Saharan African markers, others lack the latter. Markers associated with the Romani people and other South Asian peoples have turned up, indicating that in some cases the dark complexions came from South Asian immigrants (Indians were transported to Virginia during colonial times as laborers), along with Protestantism and English surnames via the British Isles.