In the bayous of Louisiana is the tribal community of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw whose ancestral home on Isle de Jean Charles is vanishing. By using oral history, I have been able to learn first-hand from those who have experienced the loss of not only their ancestral land but also about vanishing lifeways.
Sustainability has a global interest, but it is especially critical in Louisiana as it lies only 100 feet above sea level with one-quarter of the land in the Mississippi Delta and where fresh- and salt-water wetland cover one-third of the land. My research focuses on Isle de Jean Charles, the ancestral home of the Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians. The tribe is recognized as the first climate refugees in the contiguous United States. They want their experiences to become not just a warning of what can happen, but teachable to try to prevent future communities from losing their homes.