Opinion: Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe still needs help
"Try to imagine how you would live if a disaster wiped out the electricity and water systems serving your home — no showers, no lights, no water to drink and minimal access to heat and food supplies. Sitting in my warm living room in Chicago, I find it hard to imagine — yet people I care about are living in this state of emergency right now. Not in Haiti, but here in the U.S., in South Dakota.

You might not know it from the disappointing lack of media attention to this disaster in our own country, but the Cheyenne River Reservation in north central South Dakota declared a state of emergency in late January after a series of brutal snow and ice storms felled thousands of power lines. The reservation is larger than Connecticut and Rhode Island combined, and as many as 9,000 members of the Lakota Sioux tribe as well as their non-American-Indian neighbors on the sprawling land may still be in need of water or power for weeks to come as local leaders scramble to find heat and food supplies.

Each year, Loyola sends a group of student volunteers to the reservation to build much-needed, affordable housing for the local branch of Habitat for Humanity, known as Okiciyapi Tipi. Last May, I was one of those students. And when I got an e-mail last week from the organization’s director, my heart broke.

“For people who already are considered the poorest of the poor this has become that straw that broke the camel’s back,” Okiciyapi Tipi Executive Director Jerry Farlee wrote. “It has never been this severe in our oldest residents’ memory.”"

Get the Story:
LeeAnn Maton: Help. Please, please help. (The Loyola Phoenix 2/10)

Also Today:
La Plant Recovering, Water Struggles Continue (KELO-TV 2/9)
Reservation water found safe (The Rapid City Journal 2/9)
Record Snowfalls Batter Indian Country (New America Media 2/10)
Ho-Chunk Nation sends aid to nation in need (The Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune 2/10)

Related Stories:
SCIA 'negligent' for South Dakota tribes hit by storms (2/9)
San Manuel Band creates fund for tribes hit by storms (02/03)
Ho-Chunk Nation helps out Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (02/03)
Power returning to Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation (2/1)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe struggles after big storm (1/28)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe out of water after storm (1/27)
Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation battered by storm (1/26)