"Like many Louisiana coastal residents, the Native Americans of Grand Bayou village have seen the landscape surrounding their community collapse over the past 50 years. The lush, freshwater wetlands and high ground that sustained them for centuries is now a ragged patchwork of crumbling salt marshes and expanding lagoons.
But unlike some other communities, these 40 residents of Plaquemines Parish don’t see the state’s 50-year, $92 billion coastal-restoration effort as a solution. They see it as the latest in a long string of injustices.
That’s because there are no projects to rebuild their wetlands — a habitat essential to livelihoods and culture — even though they were destroyed by state-sanctioned activities.
'The only thing they offer us is to move — but we can’t move,' said Rosina Phillipe, 60, an elder and spokeswoman for the Atakapas-Ishak/Chawaska tribe. 'For us, home is more than the building you live in. It’s everything in the environment that surrounds you. If you leave, you become someone else. You are no longer the same person. No longer the same people.'"