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Kivalina joins four Louisiana tribes in a formal complaint to the United Nations about coastal erosion by Wesley Early January 23,2020   |  Source: KTOO

As climate change hits coastal communities in Alaska, many tribes are being forced to consider moving from their ancestral lands. But it’s not a uniquely Alaska challenge.

Last week, the Native Village of Kivalina joined four Louisiana tribes in a formal complaint to the United Nations. They allege the United States has not done enough to protect the human rights of villagers, as erosion creeps into their communities.

Chief Shirell Parfait-Dardar of the Grand Caillou/Dulac Band of Biloxi Chitamacha Choctaw tribe in coastal Louisiana has advocated for years to get officials to recognize the problems plaguing her community.

“Our food source is declining. Our health is declining,” Parfait-Dardar said. “So we have been fighting for many, many years, trying to adapt to all of these changes, trying to get officials to recognize what’s been going on.”

Thousands of miles away in the Northwest Arctic village of Kivalina, tribal administrator Millie Hawley tells a similar story about her home.

“Our little home is diminishing and losing ground every year,” Hawley said.

Hawley says that the village has had to adapt to changes, including less access to marine mammals for subsistence.

“A lot of food I grew up eating, we don’t harvest anymore,” Hawley


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