This profile of a Native American community in southern Louisiana imperiled by industrial encroachment and the climate crisis offers an up-close look at a unique culture facing rapid, inevitable change.
In the bayous of southern Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, a band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw natives has resided on the Isle de Jean Charles for seven or eight generations, since the Indian Removal Act of 1830 forced them from their ancestral home. However due to coastal erosion, the Isle de Jean Charles has been disappearing and its diverse wetland ecology has become increasingly imperiled. Dredging of canals in the Gulf of Mexico by oil companies, levee engineering in the Mississippi Delta, rising sea levels, and more frequent and powerful hurricanes precipitated by climate change are the leading causes of this transformation.
In recognition of their continued, inevitable displacement, the tribe recently agreed to a resettlement plan with the state and federal governments, that "will help to support and enhance tribal identity, sovereignty, and dignity". But not long afterward, they began to feel sidelined as leaders of the process. Various members of the community appear unwilling to migrate from the place they've spent their entire lives, or abandon their way of life in the marshes. Mostly fisherman by trade, some seem to have few other ways of earning income. Increasingly
questioning their isolation, and wavering between resistance and abandonment, these early-stage climate refugees sense the impending loss of community, culture, and environment that is never factored into statistics of economic growth or the price of energy.
73 Minutes | English and French with English subtitles.
Directed by: Francescu Artily
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