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Louisiana's Disappearing Indigenous Lands


Event Date:

August 8, 2023 | 1:00 PM CDT TO 2:00 PM CDT
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Indigenous people living on Louisiana's rapidly disappearing coast are running out of time.

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Multiple Authors

The coastal tribes of Louisiana have adapted to life in a shifting environment. For centuries, they have relied on their traditional ecological knowledge to guide them. Yet their ancestral homes are vanishing due to Louisiana's receding coastline—the consequence of erosion and intense destruction caused by large hurricanes like Ida.

Join Pulitzer Center grantee Lorena O’Neil for a conversation on Tuesday, August 8, 2023, at 1:00pm with Reporting Fellow Gina Lee Castro, former Elder Chief Shirell Parfait-Dardar, Chief Devon Parfait, and climate scientist Alex Kolker. The panel will discuss how climate change and the oil industry are impacting Louisiana's Indigenous communities, their struggle for federal recognition, and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) aid disparities.  

There will be time for audience Q&A. The webinar is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Meet the Panelists: 

  • Lorena O’Neil is a freelance journalist based in New Orleans. Her reporting focuses on stories that explore the intersection of identity, culture, race, and gender.
  • Devon Parfait is the chief of the Grand Caillou/Dulac band of Biloxi Chitimacha Choctaw and is currently working as a coastal resilience analyst for the Environmental Defense Fund and for the Mississippi River Delta coalition.
  • Shirell Parfait-Dardar is the former active traditional tribal chief of the Grand Caillou/Dulac Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw and a founding member of the First People’s Conservation Council of Louisiana.
  • Alex Kolker is an oceanographer, geologist, and climate scientist. He has served on a panel run by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, the Science Advisory Group for Louisiana’s Climate Initiatives Task Force, and the Framework Development Team for the Louisiana 2017 Master Plan. 
  • Gina Lee Castro was a 2022 reporting fellow from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She frequently writes about communities of color, the LGBTQ community, and other social justice issues. 


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Connected Coastlines

Connected Coastlines


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Environment and Climate Change

Environment and Climate Change
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Indigenous Rights

Indigenous Rights