Monday, February 1, 2010

State of Emergency: Ice Storms Knock Out Indigenous Infrastructure in South Dakota

Published on Twin Cities Indymedia Movement Media for Minneapolis-St. Paul (

State of Emergency: Ice Storms Knock Out Indigenous Infrastructure in South Dakota

It has been a devastating winter for weather-related disasters. While there has been a lot of information about (and vital response to) the situation in Haiti, there's another emergency closer to home, one which calls for solidarity with the indigenous people of South Dakota and surrounding areas.

The past weekend's ice storms brought down 2,000 to 3,000 utility poles on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota, knocking out an already shaky resource infrastructure. Crews are working feverishly, but electricity may be out for up to 30 days in some areas. With no electricity, no heat, no running water, and a wind chill below zero the situation is growing more difficult. The bulk of those most affected by the storm are located on reservations in Pine Ridge, Standing Rock, Eagle Butte and others. This is an urgent state of emergency.

See below for donation information

The Tribal government is setting up shelters and working hard to provide for the community’s needs. The State, the Red Cross, and other Tribes are helping, but options and resources have been drained with the two most recent blizzards.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation is one of the most impoverished communities in the United States. It is about the size of Connecticut: yet there are only a handful of generators on the Reservation, the water pump station is down so there is no running water, the gas stations hasn’t been able to pump gas, and the Tribal grocery store has lost all its perishables.

Action: LaCreek Electric

A State of Emergency has been declared on the Pine Ridge Lakota "Sioux" Indian Reservation. People have died. Many more people are at risk of freezing to death. Another cold front is coming through, yet where is the national media coverage? Does the 'Lacreek Electric Company' - a non-Indian utility often thought to be prejudiced - care that people are suffering, since they are pulling meters every day (which is illegal throughout the rest of the U.S. during the winter months)?

Help put this message out for help. The children and families of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation need our help now. It is urgent that all 40,000 residents of the Oglala Nation have electricity and propane.

Call LaCreek toll free at 800-655-9324 or 605-685-6581 to see how you can help pay into a customer's account, example $5 into ten customers would require a $50 donation by you. Tell LaCreek to make sure tanks are full for ALL area residents between the months of November to March - and to collect any delinquent payments between April and October.

Also, check out this non-profit to see if it is appropriate for you:
Arlene Catches The Enemy 605-867-5771 Ext 13.
Tax Deductable, Non-Profit (501-c-3).
She can take credit cards over the
phone: Pine Ridge Emergency Fund, C/O Economic Development Administration
PO Box 669, Pine Ridge, SD 57770-0669

And call Lakota Plains Propane at 605-867-5199 and find out what homes have elderly or children and if they need money put down on their account to be able to have a warm home tonight.

Action: Other Donations of Funds or Supplies

If you are able to donate funds or supplies--anything will help with short term needs.

1) ITEMS: Warm clothing, batteries, toiletries, bedding are all especially welcome.

a. If you're hooked into paypal the easiest way to donate is through Pathway to Spirit. 95% of donations go directly to services. You can direct your donations or just click on "most urgent need." The website also includes more details about the crisis.

b. Woodlands Bank is also taking donations (1113 East Franklin Suite 108, Minneapolis). Please donate in the name of the Tiospaye Fund.

c. You can send donations by check directly to the tribe
> Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
> Attention Tribal Treasurer
> P.O. Box 590
> Eagle Butte, SD 57625


Please donate if you can, and pass on to others and companies that might be able to provide donations or assistance.

MEDICAL NEEDS: Dialysis Patients/Glucose Strips/Financial Support for Hotels

* The Cheyenne dialysis patients have all been evacuated three hours away to Rapid City, SD. They are staying in hotels for at least a week and half, probably longer. The Tribe is looking into reimbursement sources from CMS and IHS, but in the interim financial contributions are needed to help the families pay for their hotel expenses and food. An account has been set up at Wells Fargo to help with these expenses. You can contribute at any Wells Fargo or send to the Rapid City branch.

Wells Fargo
Cheyenne Dialysis Patients (c/o Dew Bad Warrior)
Acct. #: 5815904338
1615 N 7th St.
Rapid City, SD 55701

* Medical Items Needed on the Reservation itself (shipping address below):

* Glucose Strips
* First Aid Kits
* Children’s Tylenol
* Children’s Cough Syrup

A big thank you to Wal-Mart for sending some initial food and supplies!! Additional items are needed, especially for the communities whose electricity is expected to be down for up to 30 days. Please forward to any companies that manufacture these items that may be of assistance.

* CONTRIBUTIONS: Can be made directly to the Tribe’s emergency fund listed below.
* IN KIND: Or if you prefer to make in-kind donations:

* Non-perishable food
* Cots
* Heat sources (heaters & fuel)
* Camp stoves & fuel
* Light sources:

* Lithium 1, 2 and 3 batteries for law enforcement
* Lamps/Batteries/Lamp Oil

* Toiletries
* Toilet paper
* Paper products for the shelters
* Pampers/formula
* Hand/baby wipes/Hand sanitizer

The Tribe has depleted its emergency budget with the two blizzards that already hit the reservation since December. It needs funds to help buy food and supplies for the community and volunteers, to pay for gas and overtime for the workers, to replace the motor at the water pump station that was destroyed, etc. Any financial donations are much appreciated. The Tribe is also trying to set up on-line donations but that may take some time.

Cheyenne River Sioux 2010 Disaster Account
Direct to: United Bkrs Bloomington ABA # 091 001 322
Beneficiary Bank: Account Number 250 3373
State Bank of Eagle Butte
Eagle Butte, SD 57625
Final Credit: Account Holder @ UBB Customers Bank
Account Holder: CRST 2010 Disaster, Account Number 103173

TO: Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe/2010 Disaster Account
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman’s Office
Attn: Ice Storm Emergency Fund
PO Box 590
2001 Main Street (Tribal Offices)
Eagle Butte, SD 57625

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman’s Office
Attn: Ice Storm Emergency Supplies
PO Box 590
2001 Main Street (Tribal Offices)
Eagle Butte, SD 57625

Robin Le Beau, Chairman’s Assistant (610) 568-2101
Joe Brings Plenty, Tribal Chairman (605) 365-6548
CRST Emergency Coordination Center (605) 964-7711

Thank you for any help you can provide or action you can take at this time for the people of South Dakota.

UPDATE: The Bush Foundation has announced that they will match donations to help the Cheyenne River Sioux. Go to for more details.

No comments:

Post a Comment