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Gulf South Indigenous Led Mutual Aid for Hurricane Harvey: How You Can Help

By Anonymous Contributor - It's Going Down, August 31, 2017

We want to bring special attention to Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, Louisiana Flood Relief, Another Gulf, and Bayou Action Street Health for work in compiling this list and providing aid on the ground. 

We are the moving floating water protector camp L’eau Est La Vie located in the basin on Houma and Chittimacha land where Energy Transfer Partners is attempting to put down Bayou Bridge Pipeline, the tail end of DAPL. We believe there are no natural disasters, only sociopolitical ones. “Disasters” happen when colonization interferes with nature. Hurricane Harvey and disasters we’ve done mutual aid for in the past (Louisiana Flood of 2016, Katrina, Sandy…) are crises caused by capitalism, colonization, and climate change. not nature.

Aid in these times is constantly developing as situations evolve. The process of us organizing and carrying out aid for ourselves during crisis is incredibly complicated. There are many internal politics and nuances that will never be articulate unless you are there, and even then there’s so much most of us don’t understand. We are all we got when our situations don’t benefit capitalism. But unity doesn’t look like not calling out problematic behavior, it looks like unlearning that behavior. Emergencies currently mean sometimes being near organizations that are not trustworthy or are affiliated with the government. But there is no such thing as revolutionary work that also involves racism or oppression of any kind. Clyde Cain who represents Louisiana Cajun Navy (NOT Cajun Navy 2016 the more trusted group) said racist things about looting and shooting during his “aid,” managing to be a white savior, white victim, and white superior in his time working in disaster situations.

Us organizers need to work on dismantling racist tenancies in disaster situations and we need to do it in between emergencies. At a time when Texas is keeping ICE checkpoints running during evacuation and the political climate is less safe than ever for “undocumented” indigenous people, organizers must assist in their safety not erase their struggle! At a time when black people and people of color are being criminalized for salvaging goods to survive, we must assist their survival, not call them looters. At a time when trans people are turned away from shelters, organizers must make space for them.

We are literally knee deep in the issue right now, and the groups with these problems have a lot of resources. we believe we can use these resources without working with them. For example, using their rescue maps to organize our own rescues while communicating with them to let them know. and you can DEFINITELY avoid aiding them in any way. If you’re trying to do a donation drive and not come down, we recommend monetary donations. Giving stakeholders the power to help themselves and purchase what they need is a crucial way to give them agency when so much is being taken from them. They know what they need. People don’t need to be saved, they need knowledge of their power and means to access it.



These are things we have found helpful during Harvey relief and consistently in past mutual aid. Please feel free to distribute it in the future for other crises.


  • Basic toiletries – toothbrushes, toothpaste, period products (diva cups, pads, tampons etc), hair care, soap, lotion, talcum powder
  • Sleeping bags, pillows, blankets
  • Baby formula and baby food (MREs do not meet nutritional needs of infants), breast pumps, bottles, bottled water, diapers (cloth or disposable), carriers, strollers, car seats
  • Children’s toys, games, puzzles, cards, books
  • Water
  • Nonperishable, high nutrient density food
  • New, seasonally appropriate clothes of all sizes (for humid, hot weather) we often get loads and loats of innaprorpiate clothes during crises like this. This is not a chance to clean out your closet. this is a chance to help someone. Remember that with each item.
  • Wheelchairs, walkers, canes, catheters, alcohol wipes, and “diapers” for adults/larger kids with disabilities.


  • Storage – plastic tubs, contractor bags, boxes, buckets, tarps, duct tape.
  • Work tools – especially for demolition: hammers, axes, shovels, crowbars, tarps, screwdrivers, drills, box cutters and extra blades, crowbars, screwdrivers, drills, wheelbarrows, wire cutters, ladders.
  • Cleaning supplies – heavy duty respirator masks (n95 or better), knee high rubber/rain boots, rubber gloves and thick work gloves, bleach, mops, brooms, rakes, garbage bags (especially large contractor bags), sponges, towels, heavy duty paper towels.
  • Mold remediation supplies – borax, tea tree oil or vinegar are herbal products that eliminate black mold, as well as commercial “mold control”/other concrobium/ specifically mold-remediation products which tend to go quickly in affected sites.


  • Dehumidifiers, fans, flashlights, lanterns – especially solar powered
  • Solar power chargers, long-lasting/heavy duty/water-resistant power sticks, batteries of all kinds
  • Health/wellness supplies – herbal medicines/tinctures, vitamins, mosquito repellent, bandages (especially the waterproof kinds, NexCare is a good brand), gauze, medical tape (plastic and paper), medical gloves, antiseptic cleaners, pain relief, sanitizer, tweezers, muscle pain relief balms/ointments, ice packs
  • Contentious one: Cigarettes, Snus pouches, dip, energy drink, things that are often vices but help people cope. People go 40-60 hours no sleep, in areas where nothing is available. This stuff sustains them.
  • Dog food and emergency pet supplies like leashes, flea medicine
  • Large coolers, large cooler bags
  • Relevant gift cards: Home Depot, Lowes, Target, IKEA, Walgreen’s, H.E.B.


Other Sources for Information:

More info check out: L’eau Est La Vie Camp

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

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