The 17,000-member United Houma Nation tribe has withstood land grabs, civil rights abuses, devastating hurricanes and marsh degradation in the centuries that its people have trolled Louisiana’s bayous and rivers for seafood to both eat and sell.
But as MSNBC reports, in the aftermath of the BP oil spill they are hesitant to eat their traditional diet of seafood, let alone harvest and sell the stuff — if supply and demand even hold up. And they are faced with snap decisions on whether to accept quick lump-sum settlements from BP of $5,000 for individuals or up to $25,000 for businesses, or pursue longer-term legal action. They cannot do both.
Moreover, the Houma’s efforts are hampered because they are only state recognized, not federally recognized, so they fall through the bureaucratic cracks when it comes to being eligible for some types of compensation being offered by BP, MSNBC said.
Now Chief Thomas Dardar and his staff are hoping to obtain grants for programs that assess the mental and physical well-being of Houma members who live in low-lying areas. He tells MSNBC that this new challenge will be at the top of his agenda.