Resettling the First American Climate Refugees

What happens when Beasts of the Southern Wild come alive?

We’re going to lose all our heritage, all our culture,” lamented Chief Albert Naquin of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw, the tribe to which most Isle de Jean Charles residents belong. “It’s all going to be history.”

 Resettling the First American ‘Climate Refugees’

Coral Davenport and Campbell Robertson of The New York Times explore the immediate impacts of climate change on American communities in the recently published article Resettling the First American ‘Climate Refugees’

The story’s location, Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana has been home to the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe for more than 175, when indigenous Americans  throughout the southeastern United states were forced from their homelands as a part of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Their residence on the island, was an act of defiance, as many Native Americans migrated to mid-western states like Oklahoma.

Sixty years ago, Isle de Jean Charles spanned 34 square miles, today as a result of rising sea levels, land-subsidence, and off-shore oiling the island is about 1/2 square miles. The federal government is providing assistance to residents to relocate – forcing families to leave behind more than century of culture and heritage behind. Snatching the sacredness of the land.

This is a clear example of how climate change impacts the most disenfranchised communities first. Robbing us of our heritage, culture, and sacred connection with creation.

Read the full article in The New York Times.

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