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Pictures | Wed Apr 28, 2021 | 6:45pm EDT

Indigenous tribe in Louisiana relocates as rising seas engulf their homes

A sign indicating a desire to stay sits in front of a home on Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, April 7, 2021. The American government forced ancestors of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe to flee the southeastern U.S. nearly two centuries ago and hide on the southern edges of Louisiana's bayous in present-day Terrebonne Parish.

REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

A sign indicating a desire to stay sits in front of a home on Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, April 7, 2021. The American government forced ancestors of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe to flee the southeastern U.S. nearly two centuries ago and...more

A sign indicating a desire to stay sits in front of a home on Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, April 7, 2021. The American government forced ancestors of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe to flee the southeastern U.S. nearly two centuries ago and hide on the southern edges of Louisiana's bayous in present-day Terrebonne Parish. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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Emray Naquin casts his net at the Isle de Jean Charles. Now three dozen families from the tribe are becoming federally funded climate change transplants, forced from the Isle de Jean Charles this time by rising seas and eroding lands.

REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Emray Naquin casts his net at the Isle de Jean Charles. Now three dozen families from the tribe are becoming federally funded climate change transplants, forced from the Isle de Jean Charles this time by rising seas and eroding...more

Emray Naquin casts his net at the Isle de Jean Charles. Now three dozen families from the tribe are becoming federally funded climate change transplants, forced from the Isle de Jean Charles this time by rising seas and eroding lands. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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Trees that have died due to the encroachment of salt water are scattered throughout what remains of Isle de Jean Charles. Just 2% of the island's mass remains - the rest has been swallowed up by the Gulf of Mexico.

REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Trees that have died due to the encroachment of salt water are scattered throughout what remains of Isle de Jean Charles. Just 2% of the island's mass remains - the rest has been swallowed up by the Gulf of Mexico. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Trees that have died due to the encroachment of salt water are scattered throughout what remains of Isle de Jean Charles. Just 2% of the island's mass remains - the rest has been swallowed up by the Gulf of Mexico. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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A hurricane pod sits among storm debris on Isle de Jean Charles. The challenge the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw face point to hurdles other Americans may encounter in the coming decades, as coastal areas from Alaska to Florida feel the impact of rising waters. How to escape the dangers of climate change while still retaining a sense of community and place?

REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

A hurricane pod sits among storm debris on Isle de Jean Charles. The challenge the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw face point to hurdles other Americans may encounter in the coming decades, as coastal areas from Alaska to Florida feel the impact of rising...more

A hurricane pod sits among storm debris on Isle de Jean Charles. The challenge the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw face point to hurdles other Americans may encounter in the coming decades, as coastal areas from Alaska to Florida feel the impact of rising waters. How to escape the dangers of climate change while still retaining a sense of community and place? REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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Rocks are pictured that have been added recently to the eroding Island Road, which is the only way onto Isle de Jean Charles. The two-lane blacktop road with sea shells crushed into the asphalt runs a mile and a half along the ridge of land that is just a quarter mile wide now.

REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Rocks are pictured that have been added recently to the eroding Island Road, which is the only way onto Isle de Jean Charles. The two-lane blacktop road with sea shells crushed into the asphalt runs a mile and a half along the ridge of land that is...more

Rocks are pictured that have been added recently to the eroding Island Road, which is the only way onto Isle de Jean Charles. The two-lane blacktop road with sea shells crushed into the asphalt runs a mile and a half along the ridge of land that is just a quarter mile wide now. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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Tidy wooden homes are built atop stilts, at times two stories high. A 2.5-mile long road that routinely floods out connects the island to the mainland, itself a gathering of earth that seems to be dissolving into the sea.

REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Tidy wooden homes are built atop stilts, at times two stories high. A 2.5-mile long road that routinely floods out connects the island to the mainland, itself a gathering of earth that seems to be dissolving into the sea. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Tidy wooden homes are built atop stilts, at times two stories high. A 2.5-mile long road that routinely floods out connects the island to the mainland, itself a gathering of earth that seems to be dissolving into the sea. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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A raised house is pictured on the Isle de Jean Charles. 

REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

A raised house is pictured on the Isle de Jean Charles. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

A raised house is pictured on the Isle de Jean Charles. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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A view of the Isle de Jean Charles. While most island inhabitants are taking the state up on the offer to move north, Hilton Chaisson, an 80-year-old retired oyster fisherman with a shock of white hair, is staying put. "I'm not moving - this is where I'll die," he said in front of his home, describing a childhood of hunting and trapping on land behind his house that's now been swallowed by water.

REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

A view of the Isle de Jean Charles. While most island inhabitants are taking the state up on the offer to move north, Hilton Chaisson, an 80-year-old retired oyster fisherman with a shock of white hair, is staying put. "I'm not moving - this is where...more

A view of the Isle de Jean Charles. While most island inhabitants are taking the state up on the offer to move north, Hilton Chaisson, an 80-year-old retired oyster fisherman with a shock of white hair, is staying put. "I'm not moving - this is where I'll die," he said in front of his home, describing a childhood of hunting and trapping on land behind his house that's now been swallowed by water. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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Mildred Naquin and her daughter Niki Smith embrace as they visit the land where Mildred and her husband Al, left, will soon live in their future subdivision 'The New Isle', near Shriever, Louisiana. In 2016, the Department of Housing and Urban Development distributed $48 million for the Isle de Jean Charles residents to move off the island, part of a $1 billion federal grant package to help areas impacted by climate change.

REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Mildred Naquin and her daughter Niki Smith embrace as they visit the land where Mildred and her husband Al, left, will soon live in their future subdivision 'The New Isle', near Shriever, Louisiana. In 2016, the Department of Housing and Urban...more

Mildred Naquin and her daughter Niki Smith embrace as they visit the land where Mildred and her husband Al, left, will soon live in their future subdivision 'The New Isle', near Shriever, Louisiana. In 2016, the Department of Housing and Urban Development distributed $48 million for the Isle de Jean Charles residents to move off the island, part of a $1 billion federal grant package to help areas impacted by climate change. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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Executive Director of the Louisiana Office of Community Development Pat Forbes speaks to the press about what the homes will look like at 'The New Isle'. The money was used by the Louisiana state government to buy a tract of land 40 miles to the north, develop it and build single-family homes for the approximately 80 full-time residents of Isle de Jean Charles. No homes have yet been built.

REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Executive Director of the Louisiana Office of Community Development Pat Forbes speaks to the press about what the homes will look like at 'The New Isle'. The money was used by the Louisiana state government to buy a tract of land 40 miles to the...more

Executive Director of the Louisiana Office of Community Development Pat Forbes speaks to the press about what the homes will look like at 'The New Isle'. The money was used by the Louisiana state government to buy a tract of land 40 miles to the north, develop it and build single-family homes for the approximately 80 full-time residents of Isle de Jean Charles. No homes have yet been built. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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Isle de Jean Charles residents Simon Naquin, left, and Chris Brunet, both members of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe, visit their future subdivision 'The New Isle'. Naquin, a 48-year-old truck driver who lives on the island, is glad to get the chance to leave behind having to constantly worry if a hurricane is going to destroy his home. "Moving away will be a tough and happy day at once," he said.

REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Isle de Jean Charles residents Simon Naquin, left, and Chris Brunet, both members of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe, visit their future subdivision 'The New Isle'. Naquin, a 48-year-old truck driver who lives on the island, is glad to get the...more

Isle de Jean Charles residents Simon Naquin, left, and Chris Brunet, both members of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe, visit their future subdivision 'The New Isle'. Naquin, a 48-year-old truck driver who lives on the island, is glad to get the chance to leave behind having to constantly worry if a hurricane is going to destroy his home. "Moving away will be a tough and happy day at once," he said. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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Earlier this month, members of the tribe saw what will be their new home for the first time since a 513-acre former sugar cane farm was cleared in preparation for construction. They expect to move to their new homes in the fall.

REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Earlier this month, members of the tribe saw what will be their new home for the first time since a 513-acre former sugar cane farm was cleared in preparation for construction. They expect to move to their new homes in the fall. REUTERS/Kathleen...more

Earlier this month, members of the tribe saw what will be their new home for the first time since a 513-acre former sugar cane farm was cleared in preparation for construction. They expect to move to their new homes in the fall. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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Howard Brunet pushes his uncle Chris Brunet as they visit The New Isle. Howard, 19, said he's concerned his tribe will not be able to replicate its way of life, based on fishing and crabbing, in the new settlement, and that the already tiny group will fade away when members are less isolated.

REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Howard Brunet pushes his uncle Chris Brunet as they visit The New Isle. Howard, 19, said he's concerned his tribe will not be able to replicate its way of life, based on fishing and crabbing, in the new settlement, and that the already tiny group...more

Howard Brunet pushes his uncle Chris Brunet as they visit The New Isle. Howard, 19, said he's concerned his tribe will not be able to replicate its way of life, based on fishing and crabbing, in the new settlement, and that the already tiny group will fade away when members are less isolated. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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Emray Naquin wraps up a day of fishing at the Isle de Jean Charles. "This relocation could easily destroy our tribe," 19-year-old Howard Brunet said. "This place here," he continued, motioning around him to the cleared lots, "looks like a desert to me, compared to the island."

REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Emray Naquin wraps up a day of fishing at the Isle de Jean Charles. "This relocation could easily destroy our tribe," 19-year-old Howard Brunet said. "This place here," he continued, motioning around him to the cleared lots, "looks like a desert to...more

Emray Naquin wraps up a day of fishing at the Isle de Jean Charles. "This relocation could easily destroy our tribe," 19-year-old Howard Brunet said. "This place here," he continued, motioning around him to the cleared lots, "looks like a desert to me, compared to the island." REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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Construction is underway at 'The New Isle'. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Construction is underway at 'The New Isle'. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Construction is underway at 'The New Isle'. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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An alligator sun bathes near water in 'The New Isle', the subdivision where members of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe will soon live, near Shriever, Louisiana. 

REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

An alligator sun bathes near water in 'The New Isle', the subdivision where members of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe will soon live, near Shriever, Louisiana. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

An alligator sun bathes near water in 'The New Isle', the subdivision where members of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe will soon live, near Shriever, Louisiana. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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Chris Brunet poses for a portrait on the deck of his home on the Isle de Jean Charles. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Chris Brunet poses for a portrait on the deck of his home on the Isle de Jean Charles. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Chris Brunet poses for a portrait on the deck of his home on the Isle de Jean Charles. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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A kitten sits on the property of Chris Brunet on the Isle de Jean Charles. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

A kitten sits on the property of Chris Brunet on the Isle de Jean Charles. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

A kitten sits on the property of Chris Brunet on the Isle de Jean Charles. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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Michelle Liner of Franklin Associates, right, shows a member of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe Rita Falgout, left, plans for Rita's future subdivision, The New Isle. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Michelle Liner of Franklin Associates, right, shows a member of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe Rita Falgout, left, plans for Rita's future subdivision, The New Isle. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Michelle Liner of Franklin Associates, right, shows a member of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe Rita Falgout, left, plans for Rita's future subdivision, The New Isle. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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Al Naquin visits the land where his home will be built, as members of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe visit their future subdivision, 'The New Isle'. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Al Naquin visits the land where his home will be built, as members of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe visit their future subdivision, 'The New Isle'. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Al Naquin visits the land where his home will be built, as members of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe visit their future subdivision, 'The New Isle'. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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Niki Smith, right, talks with housing analyst Anita Harrell at the plot of land where Smith's parents Mildred and Al Naquin will eventually live at 'The New Isle'. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Niki Smith, right, talks with housing analyst Anita Harrell at the plot of land where Smith's parents Mildred and Al Naquin will eventually live at 'The New Isle'. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Niki Smith, right, talks with housing analyst Anita Harrell at the plot of land where Smith's parents Mildred and Al Naquin will eventually live at 'The New Isle'. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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Al Naquin, left, looks at the layout of his future subdivision, 'The New Isle' near Shriever, Louisiana. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Al Naquin, left, looks at the layout of his future subdivision, 'The New Isle' near Shriever, Louisiana. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Al Naquin, left, looks at the layout of his future subdivision, 'The New Isle' near Shriever, Louisiana. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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A canal runs through 'The New Isle'. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

A canal runs through 'The New Isle'. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

A canal runs through 'The New Isle'. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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Construction is underway at 'The New Isle'. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Construction is underway at 'The New Isle'. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Construction is underway at 'The New Isle'. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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Th sun begins to set at Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Th sun begins to set at Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

Th sun begins to set at Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn
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