indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Native American Bank - Native people investing in Native communities
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Yes! Magazine: Cheyenne River Sioux family touts water project

Filed Under: Environment | Opinion
More on: cheyenne river sioux, south dakota, water
   


A view of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. Photo from Facebook

A family from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota has an ambitious water conservation plan it wants to spread throughout Indian Country:
This is the Cheyenne River Reservation, home to the Lakota tribe of the same name, about half of whose members live here. It’s also home to Ziebach County, one of the poorest in the United States. I had come to Cheyenne River to meet the organizers of a small grassroots group called Mni, which means “water” in Lakota. They were in the middle of two weeks of ambitious water conservation work, constructing a series of small dams with help from two dozen or so volunteers from around the county. I had been told to look for a campsite, but I wasn’t sure where it was or what to expect.

I decided to head back to the highway to find cellphone service and began the bumpy ride that would take me there. It was then that I encountered an incongruous sight: a van parked by the side of the road, and a small film crew with a camera pointed at a petite woman in her sixties with long gray hair and cutoff jeans. I recognized her as Candace Ducheneaux, one of Mni’s leaders and an organizer of the water project. I pulled over and watched as she spoke to the camera.

The green of the hills was deceptive, she said. The appearance of lushness was only on the surface. People here had begun to notice the changing climate; after a drought that had persisted in the region on and off for 15 years, this summer’s heavy rains had inundated the South Dakota plains. But the dry ground, she said, was unable to absorb the large quantities of rain, which ran off into flooded creeks down the Missouri River, without ever replenishing the aquifer.

Mni’s goal, she explained to the camera, is to bring Cheyenne River’s water table back into balance. It’s an ambitious one: By constructing thousands of small dams in creeks and gulleys all over the reservation—essentially beaver dams built by humans—organizers hope to slow storm runoff long enough to enable the absorption of water back into the ground.

True to its Lakota roots, Mni is rooted in the tiospaye—the Lakota word for extended family—and comprises Candace, her daughters Karen Ducheneaux and Kyanne Dillabaugh, her son Luke, his wife Linda, and nearly all of their children. Standing on a hill with Candace, looking out over the hills that seemed to go on forever, I couldn’t imagine how they’d do it. But Mni is starting small, with a pilot project on a small parcel of family-owned land. If it’s successful, the Ducheneaux's plan is to build similar dams all over Cheyenne River and train workers from the other reservations in South Dakota, creating a model of water restoration that can be replicated anywhere.

“We have a million acres of tribal land here,” Candace says. “If we could convince the indigenous nations to begin water restoration—to unite in it—not only could we have a huge impact on the hydrologic cycle, but we could also set an example for the rest of the world.”

Get the Story:
Kristin Moe: Guardians of the Plains: One Lakota Family's Plan to Fend off South Dakota's Epic Drought (Yes! Magazine 8/5)


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Tribal college geologist tackles uranium mine (1/30)
James Giago Davies: Let's hurry up and hate the Muslim people (1/30)
Luis Alejo: Apologize to the Chumash Tribe for 'hurtful' remarks (1/30)
Mark Anthony Rolo: Declaration of war against Keystone Pipeline (1/30)
Senate passes bill to approve controversial Keystone XL Pipeline (1/30)
Key lawmakers remain opposed to Yucca Mountain nuclear dump (1/30)
Kootenai Tribe: The truth about the regulation of Indian gaming (1/30)
Mike Hoeft: Bingo games brought Oneida Nation together again (1/30)
Menominee Nation won't give up on off-reservation gaming plan (1/30)
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community approves casino market study (1/30)
Seminole Tribe wins preliminary approval for New Jersey gaming (1/30)
Native Sun News: Alcohol a common factor in Rapid City murders (1/29)
Ivan Star: Ignoring alcoholism leads to destruction of the Lakota (1/29)
John Barrasso: Empowering Indian Country in the GOP Congress (1/29)
Criminal charges possible over mistreatment of Indian students (1/29)
Seneca Nation doesn't foresee taking action on legal marijuana (1/29)
Elderly member of Colville Tribes seriously injured in hit and run (1/29)
Fifteen charged over theft of Yakama Nation scholarship money (1/29)
Judge orders self-proclaimed 'shaman' back to custody in Texas (1/29)
Nevada City Rancheria objects to leasing of land to another tribe (1/29)
Mississippi Choctaws to hold grand opening for new $55M hospital (1/29)
Opinion: Celebrate the Native origin of the Seattle Seahawks logo (1/29)
First Nations Experience to grow with $6M from San Manuel Band (1/29)
Governor won't rethink Menominee Nation off-reservation casino (1/29)
Cayuga Nation back in court to defend Class II gaming operation (1/29)
Mohegan Tribe reports increase in revenue at gaming enterprise (1/29)
Gaming machines at non-Indian tracks stir controversy in Idaho (1/29)
Native Sun News: Tribes ask Obama to deny Keystone XL permit (1/28)
Native Sun News: Native youth take stand against Keystone bid (1/28)
Tara Houska: Respect treaties and reject Keystone XL Pipeline (1/28)
Mark Trahant: Obama administration steps up for environment (1/28)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee holds first meeting & hearing (1/28)
House committee won't restore Indian and Alaska Native panel (1/28)
Opinion: Affordable Care Act offers behavorial health services (1/28)
Sami Jo Difuntorum: Support needed for Indian housing update (1/28)
Albert Bender: Stop glorification of Indian killer Andrew Jackson (1/28)
Amanda Blackhorse: Navajo leader defends racist NFL mascot (1/28)
Megan Red Shirt-Shaw: Our kids should be able to go anywhere (1/28)
Police probe racist treatment of Oglala youth at hockey game (1/28)
College basketball player proud to serve as Native role model (1/28)
Auburn Community buys stake in rock music festival company (1/28)
Former Pueblo leader ready to change plea in $3.6M theft case (1/28)
Young member of Meskwaki Tribe pleads guilty in murder case (1/28)
Mississippi Choctaws to debut casino after $70M in renovations (1/28)
Catawba Nation waits for BIA decision on off-reservation casino (1/28)
Member of Chehalis Tribe working on $40M expansion of casino (1/28)
Opinion: Decision on Menominee Nation casino makes no sense (1/28)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.