Native Sun News: LastRealIndians raises heat assistance funds





The following story was written and reported by Brandon Ecoffey, Native Sun News Managing Editor. All content © Native Sun News.

Propane crisis prompts desperate measures
By Brandon Ecoffey
Native Sun News Managing Editor

BISMARCK, N.D. — The independent indigenous social media website LastRealIndians.com is embracing the term “advocate journalism” in a very real and meaningful way by doing its part to help keep people warm in the midst of a propane crisis on the northern plains.

The long winter and continued propane crisis has spawned both tribal governments and community members to look for alternative funding sources or alternative fuel sources to heat homes on the reservation. LRI and its founder Chase Iron Eyes is killing two birds with one stone by launching a campaign to raise $50,000 to convert 20 homes on the reservation to heat systems fueled by renewable energy.

“Buying more propane at ridiculous prices is the necessary Band-Aid now, but we are going to move our people forward to regenerative heating sources,” said Iron Eyes. “Our income situation is so dire it is such that we cannot afford this basic human need to keep ourselves warm in the winter.”

There has already been one death attributed to the elements as a tribal member in her early sixties was found dead and her propane tanks read 0% capacity.

As an alternative to propane, LRI plans to implement measures that will create a long term fix to the rising prices of heating fuel. Through a partnership with a local business that is providing heating units that run off of fuel that can be found locally regenerative fuel Iron Eyes thinks that there is an opportunity to decrease the reliance that tribal members have on expensive fossil fuels.

LRI raised $900,000 in a similar campaign to help contribute to the purchase of the sacred site Pe’sla in the Black Hills of South Dakota. For this venture they have created an account where donations can be accepted online at www.indiegogo.com/projects/heating-the-rez.

“We need help so that we can help ourselves,” said Iron Eyes. “The goal, the modus operandi of Lakota society is to be a good relative to be generous where you can be generous and to help where you can help. We need a little bit of help,” he added.

(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at staffwriter2@nsweekly.com)