In a ColorLines web exclusive, Kari Lydersen reports on how the Native American community in southern Louisiana struggles to keep the traditional way of life intact as oil and gas industries destroy their land.

Here is an excerpt:

For Laura Billiot, Brenda Dardar Robichaux and their peers among the Native American community in southern Louisiana, growing up meant shrimping, trapping and farming with family and friends. These long-standing traditions provided sustenance, camaraderie and a link with their past.

Before the May shrimping season, fishermen would line up their freshly painted boats to show off to the community. Robichaux, now principal chief of the Houma Nation based about 60 miles southwest of New Orleans, has fond childhood memories of helping her father, Whitney Dardar, on his shrimp boat, though as a teen she would often protest the hard work and long hours. Dardar, now 73, still shrimps, but he is driven by passion rather than profit, since profits are now scant thanks to environmental degradation and competition from shrimp farms and bulk imports. He knows his grandsons will not follow in his footsteps but instead will likely work in the same offshore oil fields that have helped destroy the traditional Houma way of life.

Read the rest of the story here.

Read this online at http://colorlines.com/archives/2009/11/the_cultural_impact_of_eroding_wetlands.html

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