Department or Program

Environmental Studies


The Isle de Jean Charles, home to the Isle de Jean Charles band of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Tribe has lost 98% of its land since 1955, a phenomenon associated with nearby oil exploration and sea-level rise. This community has thus been seeking resettlement for nearly two decades and was granted the funds to begin this work through a resilience grant from the United States federal government in 2016. Due to the management of the project by settler government officials, the project ultimately perpetuated existing settler colonial structures and failed to support the adaptation efforts of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Tribe. Through examining the history of settler colonialism, along with the current resettlement project, I expose the ways in which settler colonialism has facilitated this climate vulnerability and the failure of this adaptation project. I argue that in order to conduct an effective climate adaptation project, the project must more directly address colonial structures that have created this vulnerability in the first place. Informed by decolonization and resurgence as the means to address these colonial structures, I then offer three recommendations for improving the government’s protocol in handling community resettlement projects: 1) Recognition and Understanding of the History and Present of the Community; 2) Emphasizing Process: Transformative Participatory Evaluation; and finally 3) Facilitating Land and Livelihood Access. These recommendations seek to inform a future of climate adaptation projects, particularly those conducted with and for Indigenous Nations, that addresses the root of climate vulnerability rather than perpetuates existing structures of settler colonialism.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Pieck, Sonja

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Open Access

Available to all.