To: Sally Jewel, Secretary of the Interior

Grant Federal Recognition To The United Houma Nation

This campaign has ended.

Secretary Jewell:

Five years ago, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill devastated the marshes, fisheries and livelihood of the United Houma Nation. But when the tribe sought damages from BP, they were denied because the tribe is not officially recognized by the U.S. government.

The 17,000 member Houma tribe is one of South Louisiana’s most valuable treasures and has been in a 30+ year struggle with the U.S. government to secure federal recognition. Native to a broad region of the Gulf South, most members now inhabit the six lower parishes of South Louisiana. A lack of federal recognition limits how the Houma people can protect the delicate marsh, swamp and bayou ecosystems to sustain their food subsistence, cultural practices and economic livelihood. In addition to being on the frontlines of extreme weather fueled by a changing climate, the coastal location of the Houma’s tribal communities puts them at the center of pipeline and drilling interests in the Gulf Coast. Federal recognition allows for the Houma people to contribute to decisions around the distribution of natural resources, environmental clean-up and disaster recovery that impacts so many of its people. Severely affected by coastal erosion, sea-level rise, and the lack of corporate and government accountability around the pollution of their traditional lands and waters, the United Houma Nation is the Gulf South’s frontline community. Justice for the Gulf South begins with justice for the United Houma Nation.

Federal recognition affirms the United Houma Nation’s significance to not just Louisiana, but to the United States as a whole. As native citizens of this country who have contributed greatly to the fabric of Louisiana, the Gulf South and the United States, I offer my signature in support of the United Houma Nation being recognized as an autonomous, sovereign nation.

Why is this important?

1. Five years ago, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill devastated the marshes, fisheries and livelihood of the United Houma Nation.
2. The United Houma Nation is unable to collect damages from BP because they are not federally recognized.
3. The United Houma Nation is excluded from the decision making process that will affect future development on their lands.
4. Federal recognition will allow the United Houma Nation to realize the justice the deserve and inclusion in future decisions that affect their lands and way of life.

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