Inter-Tribal Council of California

About ‘Mutual Aid’ as a model

What is Mutual Aid?

Mutual aid is a form of community organizing where people come together to meet each other’s needs directly, without relying on traditional institutions or hierarchical structures. It’s about recognizing that everyone has strengths, resources, and skills to contribute, and that by pooling our resources and working together, we can create stronger, more resilient communities.

In recognition of traditional principles, intertribal mutual aid emphasizes the connections between our groups, and the importance of the greater mission: taking care of our lands.

Key Principles

  • Solidarity: Mutual aid is based on the principle of solidarity — the idea that we are all interconnected and that our well-being is bound up with the well-being of others. It’s about standing with each other in times of need and working together for the common good.
  • Reciprocity: Mutual aid is grounded in reciprocity — the idea that we give and receive support from each other, creating a cycle of mutual benefit. It’s about recognizing that we all have something valuable to offer and that by helping others, we also help ourselves.
  • Collective Care: Mutual aid is rooted in collective care — the idea that we have a responsibility to look out for each other and to create systems of support that meet everyone’s needs. It’s about prioritizing the well-being of the community as a whole and ensuring that no one is left behind.

How Mutual Aid Works

In a mutual aid community, people come together to identify needs and resources, organize themselves to meet those needs, and build relationships based on trust and solidarity. This could involve anything from sharing food and supplies, providing childcare or eldercare, offering emotional support, organizing mutual aid funds, or advocating for systemic change.

Our Mutual Aid Model:

T-STEP facilitates mutual aid by providing a platform for people to connect, share resources, and organize collective actions. Through community forums, online networks, and in-person gatherings, we create spaces where people can come together, build relationships, and support each other in meeting their needs. 

As a stewardship oriented program, our mutual aid model also involves components that serve to increase opportunities for both stewardship and employment through interconnection. This includes resource sharing where applicable, and connecting work crews to other tribal lands that need more hands for stewardship.

This way, we support tribal members in finding valuable workforce experience opportunities, while simultaneously supporting tribes in securing the necessary manpower for their projects.

Get Involved

Ready to join our mutual aid community? Here are some ways you can get involved:

  • Volunteer: Contribute your time, skills, and resources to support mutual aid initiatives in your community. See our map for a regularly updated collection of projects currently taking place– if your skills are relevant to a project near you, consider reaching out to T-STEP for further coordination!
  • Spread the Word: Share information about mutual aid and T-STEP with other California Natives.
  • Start a Group: Interested in starting a mutual aid group in your area? We can provide resources and support to help you get started.

Together, we can build a more just, compassionate, and resilient world through the power of mutual aid. Join us today!