Urgent Relief Needed for Native American Communities in LA
by Naomi Archer Saturday, Oct. 08, 2005 at 2:17 PM
 arche@riseup.net

October 7, 2005 - The Native American tribes of the Houma, Pointe-au-Chien, and Biloxi Chitimacha of southern Louisiana have faced a monumental struggle in channeling relief efforts to their tribal members devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. For many communities, government aid has been virtually absent and supplies are only coming in from grassroots relief efforts.

Though hope and humor persist, the challenge continues to grow. The more populous indian communities in Terrebonne Parish such as Dulac, DuLarge, Grand Caillou, Montegut, Pointe-au-Chien and Isle de Jean Charles escaped extensive damage from Hurricane Katrina but became victims to the storm surge of Hurricane Rita. Another 4000 people were forced from their homes by eight feet of flood waters and a four inch layer of mud.

The rising tides from Hurricane Rita also breeched recently repaired levees in Plaquemines, St. Bernard and lower Jefferson Parishes, re-flooding communities that were beginning to dry out from the 150 mph winds and storm surge caused by Hurricane Katrina. There is concern, that without immediate assistance in the form of elder care, cleaning, and rebuilding of damaged homes, community members may move away from the area fragmenting traditions and culture.

Despite the compassionate aid that has flowed into the these communities, STORM RELIEF IS STILL AN URGENT NEED. Supplies needed include:

1) Cleaning materials like bleach, soap, mops, squeegees, brushes, sponges, rubber gloves, and mold-rated respirators.
2) Sheets, linens, towels and other basic household items.
3) Construction materials including tools, saws, hammer/nails/screws, plywood, roofing materials, paneling, etc.
4) Toiletry items like tooth-brush/toothpaste, tampons/pads, brushes, soap, and other hygeine products.
5) Baby items such as diapers, formula, clothes, cribs/bedding, personal items.
6) Children's needs like reading and coloring books, school supplies, packpacks, bedding.
7) Campers, RVs, trailers and other forms of temporary housing, especially for elders.
8) Gas and gift cards for stores like Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart and gas stations.

In addition to supplies, VOLUNTEER WORK TEAMS ARE URGENTLY NEEDED including:

1) Household cleaning teams to help clean and scrub houses of mud and mold.
2) Construction teams to help rebuild homes, businesses and provide temporary housing.
3) Educators and child-care assistants to help with child-care needs for those who have lost their homes.

Long term FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE is also needed. Many of the those affected make thier living as commercial fishermen. Due to the damage to boats and ports, clogged waterways, pollution impacts, and a lack of processing facilities, a Fishery Resource Disaster has been declared for the Gulf of Mexico. Economic assistance may become an important need for families without reliable income or government aid.

To coordinate work teams across the region and focus undirected relief supplies, please contact Naomi Archer at (828) 230-1404 or by email to  arche@riseup.net. Naomi is a non-native organizer who has been working in solidarity with tribal leaders to provide aid to indian communities, primarily through Common Ground Relief ( http://www.commongroundrelief.org). She is organizing the Four Directions Relief Project ( http://www.intuitivepath.org/relief) to assist in gaining short and long term assistance specifically for these areas.

To send money or material donations directly to individual tribes, please use the contacts below.
Direct Relief to the United Houma Nation
Contact: Brenda Dardar Robichaux, Principal Chief
Phone: (985) 637-3826
Email:  bdr@unitedhoumanation.org
Financial Donations to: United Houma Nation, 20986 Highway 1, Golden Meadow, LA 70357
Relief Supplies Send to: Houma Relief Center, 4400 Highway 1, Raceland, LA 70394

Direct Relief to Pointe-au-Chien Tribe
Contact: Charles Verdin, Chairman
Phone: (985) 594-6250 home or (985) 856-5336 cell
Email:  pacit@thecowscorner.com
Contact2: Donald Dardar, Chairman
Phone: (985) 594-7916 home or (985) 688-8145 cell
Address: PO Box 416, Montegut, LA 70377

Direct Relief to Isle a Jean Charles Band of Biloxi Chitimacha
Contact: Albert Naquin, Chief
Phone: (985) 594-3725 or (985) 232-1286 cell
Email:  whitebuffaloa@netscape.net
Address: 100 Dennis Street, Montegut, LA 70377

Direct Relief to Grand Caillou/Dulac Band of the BiloxiChitimacha
Contact: Marlene Foret, Chairwoman
Phone: (985) 594-6593
Email:  mmforet@mobiletel.com
Address: 114 Retreat Drive,Bourg, LA 70343

Direct Relief to Bayou Lafourche Band of the Biloxi Chitimacha
Contact: Sharon LeBouef, Secretary
Phone: (985) 798-7542 (home) or (225) 235-4812 cell
Email:  bccmi@aol.com
Address: 317 East 14th Place, Cut Off, LA 70345

Thank you for your support and solidarity with these Native American communities of Louisiana.

www.intuitivepath.org/relief.html

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