Grand Bayou, LA

Uniting Native Tribes to protect their land and heritage.

The Challenge

The Mississippi Delta region of Louisiana is disappearing faster than any coastal area in the United States. At risk is more than an irreplaceable ecosystem. A vanishing Delta region also threatens several Native American tribes who depend on the land for farming, hunting, and fishing. Yet, their story had been largely untold. Fiercely independent, these tribes individually lacked a voice with the critical mass to gain attention.

The Approach

Applying for the resilience program, the Grand Bayou Project was launched to form the First People’s Conservation Council (FPCC) of Louisiana in 2012. The goal of the council is to unify Delta tribes to identify the natural resource issues affecting the region and to plan and implement solutions. Utilizing resilience protocols, the FPCC acts as a bridge between six tribes to help them find and amplify one voice to raise awareness.

Employing the resilience principle of “moral dialogue,” the FPCC emphasizes the responsibility of all people to care for each other and the land we all share and has established partnerships on a local, regional, state and national level

But more than raising awareness, the FPCC is committed to finding solutions that are firmly grounded in science. The Council built strong relationships with university scientists through an array of grant processes and gained easier access to vital data. Here, the resilience method of sharing data in times of crisis was utilized to help spur and accelerate action

The Progress

The Council has launched a variety of successful projects to protect the Delta region’s ecology, and to build a stronger, more connected and cooperative community. These initiatives include:

  • Climate change monitoring
  • Safe harbor, boat docks and bulkhead
  • Erecting wind turbines
  • Youth retreats
  • The Grand Bayou Glass Workshop
  • The “Protecting Sacred Sites” program, and many others

In addition, the success of these efforts has helped to further unite and solidify the Native American community in the region. Today, five additional tribes are seeking incorporation into the council.

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