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Introduction to Beauty

Beauty is often described by looking at the physical appearance of a person or thing. To judge a community by its appearance can be misleading when not using the lens of Indigenous people.  The human eye sees a reflection of light, the Indigenous heart sees the soul of the creator.   These two Island communities are chewed up by water, tattered versions of themselves but their beauty lies far within.                                           

Nigiitchiak (Rainbow)

This photo is awesome because you’ve got the rainbow, but you’ve got all the racks with meat (ugruk, bearded seal). It’s not a pot of gold, but it’s a pot of food. That’s the way I was looking at it, you’re not getting gold, but you’re getting food for the winter. It’s food for the future; and I’d rather have food than gold. The picture is exactly the way it was – it was perfect because you can see it’s dark on one side and light on one side. Taste the rainbow, literally.


If people didn’t have their meat racks they wouldn’t be eating in the wintertime. That’s a big source of our winter food: the seal oil, the dry meat. Not only food, but some people sell it and it’s a way to make some money too. Without the racks, you’re taking our whole identity away, our way of life.


“Island of Paradise”

Photo courtesy © Pete Mueller

The lush green trees inside the levee provide a beautiful view of the Isle de Jean Charles. The marsh and lakes provide life and sustainability for our Tribe and culture.


This is the first picture I took with my first drone. It blew my mind how different you can see the island. You can look at the island flat, from the ground, or you can go above and look down and it totally changes the perspective of what you’re looking at. I stuck it online and it just went berserk. It reached 100,000 people or something like that – something stupid. Then I just noticed that a lot of people were watching what I was doing. The attention kind of made me nervous, but it’s for a good reason. It’s so that people know exactly what’s going on out here because if not, they don’t know what’s going on.

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“Waiting on Supper”

Photo Courtesy © Chantel Comardelle

The wildlife of the area is diverse and unique. During the winter hundreds of species of birds and waterfowl migrate to the bayou region. The Brown Pelicans, the Louisiana state bird, are on this fishing pier waiting for fish from the cast nets. The  fish, shrimp, and other seafood round out the abundance of wildlife creating the natural paradise we love in coastal Louisiana.

Mainstreet & First Real Snow

It was that time of the year, you know? October 15 – the first real snow fall. The start of winter. Does this give you the thought of almost like India, or someplace like that. It looks kind of cluttered. Mainstreet should be the caption; that’s the main road in Shishmaref.

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Photo Courtesy © Chantel Comardelle

As the sun sets on the Island and these broken pieces of wood, their beauty calls out. These pieces can be molded and reset to create a new beautiful dock over the water. The promise of repair is always hope for the remnant. As long as we have a remnant of Isle de Jean Charles Tribal Heritage and knowledge we have hope for the future.

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