For Immediate Release: Gulf Coast Indigenous Nations Plan Solidarity Event – New Orleans January 20, 11 a.m. Idle No More Gulf Coast
GULF COAST INDIGENOUS NATIONS PLAN SOLIDARITY EVENT
ISLE DE JEAN CHARLES BAND OF BILOXI-CHITIMACHA-CHOCTAW AND GRAND CAILLOU-DULAC BAND OF BILOXI-CHITIMACHA-CHOCTAW HOST “IDLE NO MORE” EVENT IN NEW ORLEANS
When: Sunday, January 20th 11am – 3pm
Where: Pavilion #1, City Park, New Orleans, Louisiana
Even as the Isle De Jean Charles Band of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw and the Grand Caillou – Dulac Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw continue to deal with devastating land loss and economic disparity, after years of suffering from the effects of hurricanes and the BP Deepwater Drilling Disaster, the Louisiana indigenous tribes will support of the Canadian born indigenous movement, Idle No More, this Sunday, January 20.
The global Idle No More movement, “calls on all people to join in a revolution which honors and fulfills Indigenous sovereignty which protects land and water,” according to the website.
The event, which will be held at Pavilion One in New Orleans City Park beginning at 11 am, will include a traditional round dance, prayer offerings and discussion concerning the environmental issues facing the Gulf Coast region.
“The INM movement is a wonderful way to share our concerns and learn from others how and what we can do to resolve our concerns,” explains Chief Albert P. Naquin, Traditional Chief, Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians.
Tribal member and Senior Public Relations – Media Liaison, Babs Bagwell, agrees, “We join with other Tribal Nations around the globe, indigenous people of the world, and the Attawapiskat First Nation, in recognizing that we are at a crossroads in the health of Mother Earth and her people. That if we do not insist on our most basic of human rights, the right to clean air and clean water then we too have to accept the consequences of being inactive.”
Chief Shirell Parfait-Dardar of The Grand Caillou-Dulac Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians adds, “Since the first oil platform in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana was deployed in 1947, the number of platforms now stands at more than 3700. Along with concerns for our water safety after the BP Oil Spill, we are one of the fastest disappearing landmasses in the United States due to the numerous channels that have been cut in our marshes for oil and gas exploration. The levee system that controls the Mississippi River, has long been keeping our marshes and lands from the necessary sediment that once built them and maintained their health.”
“Isle de Jean Charles now equates to a sliver of land, the trees and plants are dying, and our seafood’s are showing fearsome signs of being exposed to toxicity.” Grand Caillou-Dulac maintain more tribal lands but they too are fast disappearing and will soon be in the same position as Isle de Jean Charles. “Our people have been battered by numerous storms and it is getting increasingly difficult to maintain our tribal land, culture, and traditions. Being a tribe in the process of Federal Recognition with State Recognition, we are non-income producing tribes, leaving us to help our members with the help from outside sources.”
“Despite our best efforts, and lots of hard work, we still fall upon deaf ears. Like many other tribal communities, we are left in the gap without adequate protections. It is time for change. When Canada removed the protection from a vast amount of waterways the story seemed all too familiar and we had no other choice as the keepers of Mother Earth but to stand with our brothers and sisters. Toxic effects, from the harvesting of natural resources for energy has become an issue, not just for tribal nations and communities, but for the globe as a whole. It seems to be all too often forgotten and ignored that we are the first people of this nation. Who will be the lesser people next?” says, Bagwell.
Adding, “The time has come for all, to peacefully gather and pray, to find solutions and start taking action. To become, Idle No More.”
The Idle No More – Gulf Coast event is open to the public. Participants are encouraged to prepare for the weather; as well as, to bring seating and drinks, and request the prohibition of alcohol.
Donations of blankets and household goods will be accepted to be sent to the deeply impoverished Attawapiskat people.