Oil Spill May Spell Disaster for Atakapa Indian Tribe

June 18th, 2010  |  Published in Health  | 

By Fritz Faerber, June 8, 2010 National Geographic

The catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has caused irreparable damage to people and wildlife, but might it also cause the extinction of an American Indian tribe?

The Atakapa-Ishak Indians are a small group of Indians living in the marshes of  Louisiana in the Grand Bayou Village.  Rosina Philippe, a spokesperson for the tribe had this to say.

” The Atakapa have survived smallpox, Manifest Destiny and a millennium of hurricanes, but the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which represents a complete unknown, is the scariest threat of all…”

Maurice Phillips, another member of the Atakapa-Ishak Tribe had this comment,

“I’ve been a shrimper all my life, and trapping. That’s all I ever did. We live off the land. We get all our wildlife, seafood, and everything off the land…I can’t even think about leaving it. And the way the economy is, where are you going to go and live?”

Ruby Ancar, is also a member of the Atakapa-Ishak and here are her thoughts,

“Nature, you can’t control. You can’t control a hurricane you can’t control a tornado. But when you have things that are man made: that destroys a person’s life or an entire village or an entire community, I mean, that’s uncalled for.“

A big “thank you” to National Geographic for calling public attention to the  plight of the Atakapa-Ishak Indians.

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