Oil spill threatens Native American land

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The marshes here have long been a refuge for the Native Americans living in Louisiana's bayou.

The tribe is made up of about 700 members whose ancestors were forced from their lands and resettled to Louisiana more than 100 years ago.

That refuge, already strained from coastal erosion, is facing a new menace: the oil spill spreading uncontrollably across the Gulf of Mexico.

Since the tribe is still fighting for federal recognition, it is not empowered to appeal to Washington. That recognition, tribe members said, would give them special protections and expanded powers to push for the help they say they need.

They are uncertain of how to negotiate with BP, which has set up an office on the second floor of the church to hire people to place protective booms off the coast.

People complain they feel cut off and alone.

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