Archive for the ‘Cheynne River Reservation’ Category

This is one of those stories where the allegations are just jaw-dropping. The Associated Press has the story. The ACLU‘s news release about it contains a quote from a woman who says, “They treat us just like guinea pigs when it comes to Indian Health Services.”

(healthfocus.biz image)

(healthfocus.biz image)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union said Monday that it filed a federal lawsuit against the Indian Health Service to obtain information about whether pregnant women on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation are being pressured to have labor induced against their wishes.

Robert Doody, executive director of the ACLU of South Dakota, said there is no obstetric care available on the reservation and many women are being told they must have their labor induced on a particular day without being given information about the risks and benefits of induction.

For nearly a decade, women on the Cheyenne River reservation have had to travel at least 90 miles to St. Mary’s Healthcare Center in Pierre to have their babies, he said.

“There is no opportunity to give natural birth on the Cheyenne River reservation,” Doody said Monday. “They have to go to St. Mary’s and be induced, or they have to face the possibility of severe complications.”

National IHS spokesman Thomas Sweeney said Monday that he could not comment on a pending lawsuit.

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Every Saturday, Buffalo Post features stories from Native Sun News, published in Rapid City, S.D.

By Randall Howell
Native Sun News Correspondent

nativesunRAPID CITY – Sometimes, political candidates do everything right and still lose the general election.

That’s the situation that the only American Indian on this year’s South Dakota statewide ballot has found himself in more than once during his political career.

However, Ron Volesky, an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, doesn’t see himself as a loser at all. If anything, he’s a self-confident “this year” candidate.

“I intend to win the state attorney general’s race on Nov. 2,” Volesky, a Huron-based attorney, told Native Sun News.

“It’s shaping up to be a tough race,” said Volesky, who faces the state’s incumbent attorney general, Marty Jackley, a Republican running in a state that has been dominated by GOP officeholders at the statewide level for decades.

“We’ve got to get the vote out, particularly in places such as the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Rosebud, Cheyenne River, Standing Rock – all nine reservations across the state,” said Volesky, who is the Democratic Party’s candidate for the office of the state’s attorney general.

“I’ve got the experience to meet the challenges in that office,” said Volesky, a Harvard graduate. “But I need help from the Indian vote. I ask South Dakota’s Native Americans to empower themselves so that we get a good vote on Nov. 2.”

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Arthur Jewett’s family has waited a long time to properly bury the Cheyenne River Sioux soldier who was killed during the Korean War, but whose remains were only recently returned. (See previous post, here.) Today, the Associated Press has this update. Here’s the story in its entirety:

Arthur Jewett

Arthur Jewett

WHITE HORSE, S.D. (AP) — Memorial Day will be different this year for family members of Arthur Jewett who finally will have a grave site to decorate.

Jewett, an Army sergeant from White Horse, was killed during the Korean War in 1950 but was listed as missing in action until his remains were recovered in 2002 from a mass grave in North Korea. The remains were returned to South Dakota last September and buried.

“It’s great when everything turned out real nice. I mean, (we) brought him home, buried him right alongside his brother, twin brother,” said Louie Jewett, another brother.

Jewett said that in past years when family members gathered around Memorial Day to decorate graves, Arthur’s decoration always went around a memorial plaque beneath a flag pole.

He said when it comes time to decorate the stone that now sits above his brother’s grave, he expects there to be some mixed emotions.

“I’m glad that everything turned out the way it did and my family is glad,” he said. “Yet at the same time, it’s going to be sad, but that’s the way it goes.”

Bison graze near Jackson, Wyo., on the ancestral grounds of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe.  (AP/JohnHelprin)

Bison graze near Jackson, Wyo., on the ancestral grounds of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe. (AP/JohnHelprin)


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Here’s the entire story from the Associated Press:

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) – Members of the Idaho-based Shoshone-Bannock Tribes harvested four bison during a ceremonial hunt on the National Elk Refuge in Wyoming.

About 60 tribal members participated in the ceremonial bison hunt last month.

The tribes, headquartered on the Fort Hall Reservation in Idaho, have conducted the limited hunt for three years. The National Elk Refuge is located within the tribes’ aboriginal lands, and historically tribal members lived and hunted in the Yellowstone region.

The tribes are allowed to harvest up to five bison during the year as part of a traditional ceremonial activity that is closely coordinated with National Elk Refuge staff.

The tribes will use the robes from the harvested bison bulls for ceremonial use.

“The hair on the bison is in its prime right now,” refuge manager Steve Kallin said, “since thick winter coats are one way bison adapt to the long, cold season.”

Claudeo M. Broncho, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service policy representative for the tribes, said, “It was a good day to be here and take these buffalo. We take them in a good way and with good feelings. I know the Shoshone and Bannock people will use all what we harvested for ceremonial and subsistence needs.”

The tribal hunt was approved in the 2007 Final Bison and Elk Management Plan because it was determined to be compatible and an appropriate use on the National Elk Refuge. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service policy encourages reasonable access to its public lands for Native American ceremonial activities.

However, the National Elk Refuge does prohibit the ceremonial activity from taking place during the supplemental feeding season. If the tribes express an interest in harvesting a fifth bison later this season, the limited hunt will be delayed until spring, when the feeding program has concluded for the winter.

In this photo taken on Feb. 2, 2010, Daryl Scott, left, and Ted Rousseau dig out cars at Rousseau's father's auto service center in Ridgeview, S.D., a community on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, while Rousseau's son Kaden, 5, looks on. The cars were buried by an ice storm and blizzard that swept through the region nearly two weeks earlier. (AP/Steve McEnroe)

In this photo taken on Feb. 2, 2010, Daryl Scott, left, and Ted Rousseau dig out cars at Rousseau's father's auto service center in Ridgeview, S.D., a community on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, while Rousseau's son Kaden, 5, looks on. The cars were buried by an ice storm and blizzard that swept through the region nearly two weeks earlier. (AP/Steve McEnroe)


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In this Feb. 2 photo, Scott Johnson, left, a lineman with Connexus Energy of Ramsey, Minn. prepares to reattach of power line to a new pole, bringing power back to a ranch home east of Eagle Butte, S.D. on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation while John Efinger works on the old pole lying on the ground. (AP/Steve McEnroe)

In this Feb. 2 photo, workers with Connexus Energy of Ramsey, Minn. prepare to reattach of power line to a new pole, bringing power back to a ranch home east of Eagle Butte, S.D. on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. (AP/Steve McEnroe)

So maybe it’s not on the same scale as Native American news making national television with MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann. (See previous post about his plea that netted $250,000 for the Cheyenne River Reservation, here.)

But we’re touched to read about this Saturday’s planned fundraiser at the Community Mennonite Church in Lancaster, Pa.

According to the Out of the Cold page on Facebook, the church will host a benefit concert to help people on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota, devastated by blizzards that left thousands without power and water.

For details, go to the Facebook page. Scheduled performers are include BlackHorse Butte, Mother Earth’s Daughters, Terry Strongheart (MySpace page), Nadine Bergeron (MySpace page), Kokopelli, Joseph Strider (MySpace page), Liz Mallin, and guest speaker Carol Rittenhouse. Suggested donation is $5.

You can donate online, here, and here, or send donations the old-school way to:

Benita Clark, Tribal Treasurer
“Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe CRST 2010 Disaster”
Mailing address: P.O. Box 590
Eagle Butte, SD 57625

Gwen Florio



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Out of the mouths of babes … OK, in this case, college students. Anyhow, major props to the students journalists at the University of South Dakota, who in this Volante editorial chide the delayed an inadequate response to the terrible sufferings on several western Indian reservations after this winter’s severe storms.

As the students say, “We just don’t pay attention.”

They wrote:

    A south Dakota Rural Electric Association crew tries to dig out downed lines near the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation last month. (AP)

    A south Dakota Rural Electric Association crew tries to dig out downed lines near the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation last month. (AP)

    As of Feb. 9, the reservation only received $8,000 in donations and power was still down. The disaster may have happened right after Haiti, but isn’t South Dakota generous enough to give more than $8,000 to our own neighbors? Yes we are, the problem is that we didn’t even know it was happening.

    It wasn’t until the issue was highlighted on “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” that donations started coming in. Within 48 hours, more than $250,000 had been raised. All it took to get help was one minute of airtime, more than two weeks after the disaster.

    The fact that it took a national news program to get our attention about such a dire local issue is inexcusable, both for the media and for ourselves.

We can’t say it any better than that. Thanks to the Volante for paying attention.

Gwen Florio

This photo provided by the South Dakota Rural Electric Association shows Moreau-Grand Electric Cooperative crew digging a 4-mile long trench in the snow north of South Dakota's Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe reservation to get to two broken wires on Friday following power and water outages caused by an ice storm. Hundreds of people in rural areas remained without power on Monday. (AP Photo/South Dakota Rural Electric Association, Roger Lawien)

This photo provided by the South Dakota Rural Electric Association shows Moreau-Grand Electric Cooperative crew digging a 4-mile long trench in the snow north of South Dakota's Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe reservation to get to two broken wires on Friday following power and water outages caused by an ice storm. Hundreds of people in rural areas remained without power on Monday. (AP Photo/South Dakota Rural Electric Association, Roger Lawien)

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“Tiring” – Mona Longbrake’s description of yet another day without power since Jan. 22, after snow and ice storms struck the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota – seems astoundingly tactful.

Had we been in Longbrake’s shoes, we’d have had to type a bunch of those symbols – you know, %&$#@!! – that signify far stronger language.

Longbrake is among an estimate 1,700 people on the reservation who still lack power, according to this update by Wayne Ortman of the Associated Press. Tribal Chairman Joseph Brings Plenty says it could be as much as three weeks before it’s fully restored.

The South Dakota National Guard is bringing in generators, as well as helping to distribute food and water. Meanwhile, schools remain closed.

“You get by as best you can,” says Longbrake, whose family is breaking through the ice on a nearby pond to get water to flush their toilet. “You make do.

Facebook has a site where people can help with relief efforts.

Gwen Florio

Ryan Soderlin/Journal staff Don White, the cook at the Eagle Butte's elementary school, makes a sandwich for Loren Larrabee Sr. last week at the community's elementary school, which served as a shelter for people seeking refuge from a storm that knocked out electricity and water in Eagle Butte and the surrounding area. (Ryan Soderlin/Rapid City Journal)

Don White, the cook at the Eagle Butte's elementary school, makes a sandwich for Loren Larrabee Sr. last week at the community's elementary school, which served as a shelter for people seeking refuge from a storm that knocked out electricity and water in Eagle Butte and the surrounding area. (Ryan Soderlin/Rapid City Journal)


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The members of the Facebook group, STUDENTS for the NATIVE AMERICAN TUITION WAIVER @ Fort Lewis College, have not been idle, even though proposed legislation in Colorado that would have affected the waiver has been dropped. Now the group is raising awareness for the ongoing need for disaster relief on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. The reservation was hard-hit by blizzards and ice storms in the last couple of weeks, including the complete loss of water for several days. The storms are over, but some of the problems linger. Read this report in today’s Rapid City (S.D.) Journal for an update on conditions. Meanwhile, here’s the Facebook post from the group, which suggests several useful ways to help. And, thanks to the students for posting.

Gwen Florio

Subject: CHEYENNE RIVER SIOUX DISASTER RELIEF: We need your help!

Dearest Supporters-

Please review the following post and join their efforts! Lets come together for our brother and sisters of the Cheyenne River Sioux Nation.

Last week’s ice storm in South Dakota left thousands without power and water. While many Red Cross resources are being diverted to relief efforts in Haiti, there is still the need for money and supplies in the upper Midwest, specifically for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, which has a full list of needed medical and general supplies.

Power outages forced 35 kidney dialysis patients from the tribe to temporary relocate to Rapid City, and the reservation requires glucose strips, first aid kits and even children medicine.

The local Wal-mart has sent food and supplies, but in-kind contributions are being accepted. A full list of what the Tribe requests:

•Non-perishable food
•Coats
•Heat sources (heaters & fuel)
•Camp stoves & fuel
•Lithium 1, 2 and 3 batteries for law enforcement •Lamps/Batteries/Lamp Oil •Toilet paper •Paper products for the shelters •Pampers/formula •Hand/baby wipes/Hand sanitizer

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

You can also contribute money to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe’s emergency relief fund, which has been depleted in the past months. Online donations are currently unavailable.

Mail checks 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

Katherine Eagle Staff relaxes at Medicine Wheel Village, a nursing home, on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010. Eagle Staff was transferred to the nursing home from her Eagle Butte home after a storm knocked out the town's electricity and water. (Ryan Soderlin/Rapid City Journal)

Katherine Eagle Staff relaxes at Medicine Wheel Village, a nursing home, on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010. Eagle Staff was transferred to the nursing home from her Eagle Butte home after a storm knocked out the town's electricity and water. (Ryan Soderlin/Rapid City Journal)



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As the Navajo and Hopi Nations struggle to deal with snowstorms still affecting the Southwest, conditions on South Dakota’s Cheyenne Reservation – beset last week by blizzards and ice storms – are slowly improving.

But normal, as Andrea J. Cook of the Rapid City (S.D.) Journal reports, could still be weeks away. The reservation lost both power and water for days, and water is still scarce.

The community of Faith rented eight portable showers, which showed up yesterday and immediately proved highly popular with residents – who are using water from nearby Durkee Lake to flush their toilets.

Meanwhile, although the reservation community of Eagle Butte started getting water again on Wednesday, people still have to conserve it while reserves build back up. Two emergency shelters remain open.

“We took care of the elders, made them comfortable and kept them warm,” says health worker Marian Bagola.

Katherine Eagle Staff, a diabetic with a kidney transplant, is among the people using a shelter at an Eagle Butte nursing home.

“It was really cold, and there were no lights (at home),” Eagle Staff says. “It was hard to get around with only a flashlight.”

Still, people praised the way friends and neighbors have chipped in during the emergency.

“Everybody’s kept a real positive attidude,” says Faith police Chief Arlen Frankfurth.

Gwen Florio

Here’s the story in its entirety from the Rapid City Journal. We’ll keep posting updates as they arrive:

A steady of influx of South Dakotans coming into Rapid City from the north central region of the state has prompted the Black Hills Chapter of the American Red Cross to open a shelter in Rapid City.

According to a news release from the Red Cross, the shelter will be housed in Fountain Springs Community Church on 2100 North Plaza Drive. The shelter opened at 1 p.m.today.

Last weekend, a powerful snow and ice storm ripped through the region, felling power lines and cutting off power and water to thousands of South Dakotans, many of them on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. When full power and water will be restored remains in question.

And while tribal officials have established a number of shelters throughout the reservation, scores of people have headed to Rapid City to seek shelter.

For more information, call 1-888-271-3130 or 342-4010.