Native American tribes in southern
Louisiana continue their struggle against Big Oil after decades of land
destruction. The Choctaw, Chitimacha, Houma, Attakapas and Biloxi tribes,
all native to the Gulf marshes, have seen the oil from the BP spill destroy
their fishing grounds and livelihoods.

Emary Billiot, a Native American
fisherman from the region, explained: “Once the oil gets in the marshes, it’s
all over, that’s where your shrimp spawn. Then we’re in trouble.”

Oil’s assault on Native lands is
nothing new.  In the early 19th
century, the federal government claimed the land and sold it off to oil and
land companies. Oil companies dug canals for private pipelines that ruined the
marshes by saltwater seepage.

The destruction from BP’s April
rig explosion, coupled with decades of legal Native environmental and cultural
devastation, shows that the oil industry, and the government that supports it,
are the problem. A historian with the United Houma Nation tribe explained,
“This is not a two-week story, but a hundred-year story.”