Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change Symposium

The Louisiana Tribe highlighted at the “Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change Symposium” the Global Indigenous Forum sponsored at FIU in November 2015, was awarded $48 million to relocate due to sea level rise. The state-recognized Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw are the first official climate refugees in the United States. Chief Albert Naquin stated, "This award will allow our Tribe to design and develop a new, culturally appropriate and resilient site for our community, safely located further inland."

At the FIU Climate Change Symposium symposium, Theresa Dardar, from the Pointe-Au-Chien Tribe and Bob Gough, secretary for the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy participated by skype from Terrebone Parrish. They were there concluding a meeting of seven local tribes that had gathered to discuss how they were going to deal with impacts that sea level rise is having on tribal groups that live in the Parrish. The meeting was organized by the Lowlander Center.

At the symposium, Theresa and Bob commented that the tribes are located in an area that has experienced land subsidence from drilling and coastal erosion, worsened by cuts into wetlands for pipelines and canals, rising seas from global warming. The tribes have lost 98 percent of their land in the past 60 years. Further affected by chronic floods, hurricanes, and tropical storms over the last few years, the tribes have seen a dramatic decline in population as residents moved inland to higher ground. Theresa and Bob commented that resettlement of the communities further inland was one of the one of the possible responses to these threats that the tribes were considering, but up until that time had received no financial assistance to help with the resettlement. Thanks to the $48 million NDRC award, that has all changed now.

For more information: Lowlander Center press release:

Indian Country Today: