In November, we pay tribute to and uplift Native American communities as part of Native American Heritage Month in an effort to raise awareness about the ongoing housing discrimination they experience.
Five centuries of colonial oppression have been met with courageous resistance from Native peoples, yet the effects of this oppression live on. In the early 19th century, the Indian Removal Act of 1830, led by President Andrew Jackson, leveraged the military to forcibly displace Native Americans from their settlements, resulting in the tragic ‘Trail of Tears’ where thousands lost their lives due to exposure and disease. In 1851, the Indian Appropriations Act further oppressed Native Americans, coercing them onto reservations and restricting their ability to hunt, fish, and sustain themselves. These historical injustices cast long shadows, and Native Americans continue to face housing discrimination today. A 2017 Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) study revealed that 1 in 4 Native Americans have experienced housing discrimination, with only four official complaints being filed from 2007 – 2017. Another article released earlier this year by WXPR public radio describes how Native Americans face housing discrimination when trying to move off of reservation land as well.
We stand in solidarity with the Native American community, honoring their resilience in the face of historical and contemporary struggles. We will continue to reflect on the struggles of communities before us, and fight to ensure that everyone has a right to safe and equitable housing in Louisiana.
You can support Louisiana’s Native communities by contributing to local tribes such as the Jean Charles Choctaw Nation and the United Houma Nation. For a complete list of state and federally recognized tribes in Louisiana, visit gov.louisiana.gov/page/indian-affairs.