The Office of Indian Affairs seeks to enhance the individual and collective communities of indigenous people in Louisiana by serving as a resource and referral agent for Louisiana Native Americans and tribes seeking assistance navigating local, state, and national policies. The Office of Indian Affairs also serves as a pass through to provide funding to various local entities in Avoyelles Parish for infrastructure and awards scholarships to Native American students.
With assistance from the Louisiana Indian Educational Association, the Office of Indian Affairs annually provides awards to Native American students from Louisiana tribes to attend a college or higher education institution of their choice. The awards are funded through proceeds received from the renewal and sale of special prestige license plates for motor vehicles representing Native American culture in accordance with RS 47:463:78. Recipients are selected based on academic and financial need.
The Office of Indian Affairs serves as a resource for individual constituent and agency inquiries regarding a myriad of issues facing Louisiana Native Americans including sovereignty of federal tribes, establishing lineage for tribal membership, connecting state agencies, federal agencies and individuals with tribes, custody issues relating to Native American children, as well as directing Native Americans to appropriate state agencies as needed.
The Isle de Jean Charles Resettlement Grant is a $48 million dollar grant awarded from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to Louisiana through the Office of Community Development-Disaster Recovery Unit. The goal of the grant is to successfully resettle the residents of Isle de Jean Charles located on Louisiana’s coastline as well as serve as a model resettlement resiliency project for the nation. This area, Isle de Jean Charles, is projected to be completely taken over by water in the next sixty years due to land loss and climate change making the residents the first known American “Climate Refugees.”
Chaunda Allen Mitchell, PhD