America’s First Climate Change Refugees

EP. 11 / USA

America’s First Climate Change Refugees

Along the gulf coast of Louisiana three Native American tribes struggle to define their future in the face of more frequent hurricanes, rising seas levels and the fallout of oil production.

As they watch their land base slowly erode, one community recently earned the dubious distinction as ‘America’s first climate change refugees’.

Since the first steps of man, Native peoples have shared a spiritual connection with mother earth, a belief that sustains us, shapes our cultures and gives us faith.

My name is Simon Baker and I’ve come the U.S. State of Louisiana, where rising sea levels, oil production and coastal erosion have recently created America’s first climate change refugees. For Native American tribes living along the Gulf Coast, more frequent hurricanes and flooding is dramatically changing their land base. New massive levees and floodgates hope to stem the tide, but for these Native American tribes relocation is rapidly changing from a possibility to a reality.

Pipeline Warning Signs in Louisiana.

Native Planet takes me to the bayous of Southern Louisiana to see how three Native American tribes are dealing with climate change and the fallout of oil production.

The Pointe-au-Chien Tribe is a small community of Native Americans living along the Bayou Pointe-au-Chien on the southern coast of Louisiana. Community leaders Teresa and Donald Dardar have graciously invited Native Planet into their community, their home and their lives. To better understand how rising sea water, climate and oil production is affecting Pointe au Chien, I’ve asked Donald and Teresa Dardar to take me out onto the water.

The future – honestly, it scares me a little because I know the land is eroding away, the salt water is coming in. We want to see all of our traditions and all of our cultural ways carried on; we don’t want it to die out with our current generation.

Simon visits a small community of Native Americans in The Pointe-au-Chien Tribe.

Simon meets the Chief, Albert Naquin of the Isle de Jean Charles Band of Choctaw.

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