4 Directions ~ Indigenous Hurricane Relief
The Four Directions Relief Project was started in early October in recognition that the Native American communities of storm ravaged southern Louisiana remained under-served and in urgent need of relief efforts. Despite the immense pride and independence of these communities, Katrina and Rita created an intense burden on the people, and storm assistance was requested. Four Directions was organized to help gain both short and long term storm relief, working in solidarity and respect for the pride of local communities, and the preservation of their cultures. Working in solidarity with tribal leaders, Four Directions was formed by community organizer/spiritual activist Naomi Archer and medic Dave Pike who had been working on the ground in southern Louisiana building the innovative mutual-aid relief work of Common Ground in Algiers. Between October 2005 and January 2006, Four Directions, in collaboration with our tribal partners, NGO partners, and a very limited number of volunteers facilitated: * 27 tons of food and material aid collected and distributed * 1600+ volunteer hours in the community* 8 home repair projects including 2 emergency housing projects for homeless families* 30 classroom teaching kits to the most damaged elementary schools * 26 large and small appliances bought and distributed * 2 tons + of trash collected * 1200+ holiday meals distributed * Stories, interviews or links in 20+ native, commercial, and independent media outlets
I spent a great deal of time doun de bayou in Chauvin the last couple of months in Louisiana. Much love & respect to the Courteaux's for allowing me to hang around , mostly working on other projects from the Wonder Pod Satelite internet hook up, camping at the Volunteer Center. It was magical ... as long as you had bug spray. The locals have systematically developed their natural defense to the mosquitos by feeding children increasing doses of a local berry... Unprepared volunteers however, often ran, flapping & screaming across the yard. During the first weeks after Hurricane Katrina I followed my friend Naomi's blog and wished I could be there, she kept me interested in coming to New Orleans.. even though I was sure I'd missed it all. How ridiculus to think it was all over in November. 6 months later and New Orleans is truely a thing of the past, most of the coastal communities are STILL completely wiped out and some have just begun to return ... it's STILL long from "over".