VIDEO: Island Indians’ last stand against forces of nature and commerce

Isle de Jean Charles, 2010 (

Quick plug for a Kickstarter project trying to raise funds for a doc about a small, beleaguered Indigenous community on Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana.

According to filmmakers Evan Abramson and Carmen Elsa Lopez, the area’s

coastal marshland is eroding at the equivalent of one football field every 30 minutes … Only a half-mile of Isle de Jean Charles is left — and it’s slowly sinking into the Gulf of Mexico. … In the old days, barrier islands protected the twenty four square mile isle from hurricane damage. But since oil and gas companies began carving canals in the 1930s, saltwater has soaked into the marshlands, attacking and eroding everything in its path. With its barrier islands gone, Isle Jean Charles is left unprotected to the fury of hurricanes. Five hurricanes in the last decade alone.

Key to the film is the conflict between “man of the sea” Edison Dardar and Chief Albert Naquin; the former fiercely protective of his people’s right to stay on the island, the latter resignedly promoting re-location in the face of seemingly overwhelming forces of nature and commerce. Based on what I’ve seen so far in the following ‘trailer,’ I imagine some viewers could come away with some degree of sympathy for both men’s perspectives, as each advocates what they personally believe is in the best interests of their community. That said, it appears the film will focus mostly on Dardar’s side of things, as you’ll see here:

So where would your Kickstarter contributions go?

Your money will go towards travel, car rental, hiring a second editor, post-production (sound mixing, color correction, festival submissions, DVD printing) as well as a donation to the Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaws for future hurricane relief. … [W]e’re confident we can bring awareness to the issue of coastal erosion due to industry negligence. We hope the tribe will get Federal recognition and a greater chance to be included in the Morganza-to-the-Gulf Hurricane Protection Project. The island was excluded because it’s too costly to include within the levee walls.

According to its KS page, this project “will only be funded if at least $10,000 is pledged by Saturday Apr 9, 5:16pm EDT.” As of Saturday Mar 19, 3:30 EDT, they’ve received $3,736 with 21 days to go.

[ Image via Stacy Kranitz; See more of her work at ]

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