Isle De Jean Charles, LA
January 26-28, 2017
Local Coordinating Organization: Lowlander Center
Workshop Challenge: The Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw (IDJC) Native American Tribe located in coastal Louisiana is facing displacement due to man-made and natural disasters including rising sea levels, heightened storms, and land erosion. Much of the area has already been lost to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, forcing many Tribal members to leave their community for inland housing. In 2016, the tribe was awarded a $48 million grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to support its resettlement. The workshop brought together tribal members, a diverse resource team, and state, federal and local government representatives to support the Tribe in the process of envisioning, planning and shaping the design program for the Tribe’s proposed Community Center, which will be the social anchor at the Tribe’s new location.
Workshop Outcome: Discussions pointed to the crucial need to incorporate the traditional Tribal approach to land settlement into the State-funded design and planning process, immediately following land acquisition and throughout the design and construction of the Tribal center. The Tribe is now positioned to navigate imminent work vis-a-vis HUD and the future design team in a way that will ensure their unique cultural needs are met. The IDJC workshop brought together an unprecedented number of resource team members, including representatives from Tribal Nations from across the United States. This national network has the potential to become a recognized advisory team for Tribal communities facing climate-induced resettlement across the country. The design and planning process, too, will serve as an exemplary model that will guide government agencies and communities nationwide through the resettlement process. Throughout the workshop, Tribal members identified design and programmatic opportunities in order rejuvenate communal Tribal life, education, cultural activities and traditions through the process of resettlement.
Post-Workshop Accomplishments: In progress