04 June 2010

Gloria Award Winner Speaks Out as Oil Invades Gulf

Last night on NPR, Chief of the United Houma Nation, Brenda Dardar Robichaux, gave an important interview on how the newest disaster in the gulf is impacting the people of the region -- particularly the 17,000 plus members of her tribe.

Dardar Robichaux is a beloved Ms. Foundation ally: she was named a Woman of Vision at the Foundation’s 2008 Gloria Awards for her work with the United Houma Relief Fund, which she founded to meet the immediate needs of the Houma Nation (devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita), and which would eventually offer training in non-traditional jobs for women and leadership programming for girls. She spoke at length with NPR’s Michel Martin, describing how the influx of oil into the gulf is "threatening [the tribe's] existence in a way that few other challenges have." "My biggest concern is the future of our people," Dardar Robichaux said.
We have lived off the land, we have lived in our traditional homeland for generation after generation. I have great concern of what the oil spill is going to do to our communities. You know, we grow up learning how to deal with hurricanes. We have experienced four devastating hurricanes in the last three years. Our people are resilient. We know how to gut out our homes, rebuild, repair our fishing vessels and move on.
But this is totally different. The impact that this could be totally devastating to our tribal citizens and it's quite frightening...

Our people are not able to go out on their fishing vessels anymore. The season has been closed and that's the way that they earn their living. Where other people live check to check, we live catch to catch. Those fishing nets are not in the water, so they are not catching anything. And they're not able to provide for their families.
You can listen to the entirety of Dardar Robichaux's interview below or on the NPR site -- and for an interesting look at just how widespread this disaster really is, read today's post from Katha Pollitt on The Nation.com.

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