Tomorrow is the 5-year mark of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster. I would encourage all of us to reflect not only on the event, but what we have learned from it and where we are today as the FIRST people living along the coast of southeast Louisiana. As the then Principal Chief elect, I vividly remember hearing the news announcements and recognizing immediately that it would be a significant event for our people. Five years later that expectation has come true and we still remain uncertain of the long-term effects and likely will not for many years to come unfortunately.
My first thoughts and concerns are for the family of the men who lost their lives during the explosion. As so many of our own family members work in the oil and gas industry, any one of those men could have been one of our own people. Please pray for the wives who lost their husbands, the children who lost their fathers and the parents who lost a child 5-years ago.
Immediately this disaster brought to light the connection between the oil and gas industry and commercial fishing. Historically as one industry went down, then our people could easily transition to the other for the financial support of their families. Following the Deepwater Horizon disaster many of our people lost that opportunity with both industries significantly impaired. Although both industries have resumed neither has recovered to pre-spill levels.
Five years ago I would have expected and was confident that we would know more by this time and have a more certain outlook for the future. Our team has worked hard to ensure the decision makers never forget that we are at the front line of the effects of the spills and it is our communities that will realize the most damage. Thank you to our partners that we have worked side by side in this effort.
There have been many studies and many more to come; many of the results we will never see as they are suppressed and tied up in the courtroom battles.
So my message for our citizens for the future is that I continue to be dedicated to you. I pray for those of you who continue to work in the industries affected and ask that you all be safe. Please remember that we all need to continue to make our voices heard otherwise the decision makers will think our needs have been met. I would like to thank the continued efforts of our partners, such as the Gulf South Rising Initiative who believe and embrace the belief that "the tide is rising and so are we".
Thomas Dardar, Jr., Principal Chief