Yesterday, Navajo posted a diary http://www.dailykos.com/... that gave our DKos community an opportunity to step up and provide some help to the poorest of the poor among us: the Native American communities of the Upper Great Plains. It was a useful coincidence that Weatherdude posted at almost the same time, a diary showing the potentially killing cold front about to hit the Upper Great Plains
And, step up, we did. It's difficult to tell from the comments exactly how much money was raised yesterday, but it appears we bought at least 10 propane tanks and provided at least one household with a new heater. As well, up to now we have donated at least $2,000 via chip-in (see more on that below). In hopes that there are more Kossacks who want to be a part of this truly life-saving project, there are lots of details below the squiggly -- look for phone numbers, mailing addresses, check payees -- it's all there, just waiting for you to act on your best instincts.
From Navajo's Diary
I was so pleased to receive an email notification of a donation a few days ago from Front Pager Greg Dworkin (aka DemFromCT) to buy propane for families on the Rosebud reservation. Thank you, Greg, for your generous gift to heat Indian homes in South Dakota this winter and for reminding me it's time to ask you all to help again.
In 2010, the first year of the project, it was mentioned in late winter by Keith Olbermann on Countdown at MSNBC. In two days, $240,000 was raised. We won't likely get that kind of boost this season, so it's up to us to make this happen. But if you have a personal connection with someone of prominence in the media who might like to do what Keith did (Rachel Maddow, perhaps?), please let me know.
Provide Propane Directly to Households that Need It
Every year, we lose a few more people — mostly elders — because they freeze to death. The past few winters in South Dakota have been lethal, and this year's promises to be no exception. A few dollars spent will, quite literally, save lives.
PLEASE Share with family and friends and ask them also to share with their friends.
..... Recent reports vary but many point out that the median income on the Pine Ridge Reservation is approximately $2,600 to $3,500 per year. The unemployment rate on Pine Ridge is said to be approximately 83%-85% and can be higher during the winter months when travel is often difficult and sometimes impossible. . . . South Dakota overall boasts of its 4.5% unemployment rate, which ranks it second-best in the nation.
According to 2006 resources, about 97% of the reservation population lives below Federal poverty levels. There is little industry, technology, or commercial infrastructure on the reservation to provide employment.
Rapid City, South Dakota, is the nearest town of any size (population about 58,000) for those who can travel to find work. It is located 120 miles from the Reservation. The nearest large city to Pine Ridge is Denver, Colorado, located some 350 miles away.
We have bypassed the middlemen; the 501c3s, the red-taped, strangled tribal councils and the pathetic federal LIHEAP program, which runs out of money three weeks into winter. We've set up relationships with the propane companies that service Rosebud and Pine Ridge reservations. The operators/owners know who needs help and can't get it from their tribal, state or federal government.
Here is how you can help buy propane:
The fastest way to help is to pick up the phone and call with your credit-card information. A family will get propane delivered either the same day or the next day.
Sherry Cornelius of St. Francis Energy Co.
at 6 0 5 - 7 4 7 - 2 5 4 2
11 AM - 6 PM MST EVERY DAY
Ask for Sherry or her mom Patsy. Normally a minimum order is $150, but they have an account to accumulate small donations until they get enough for an full delivery. Credit cards welcome, and they are the only Indian-owned fuel company on the Rosebud, which is next to Pine Ridge and in the same economically depressed condition.
If you'd like to mail a check:
[make it payable to: St. Francis Energy Co.]
Attn: Sherry or Patsy
St. Francis Energy Co. / Valandra's II
P.O. Box 140
St. Francis, South Dakota 57572
NOT tax deductible
You can order a heater here and have it shipped to:
St. Francis Energy Co.
102 N Main Street
SAINT FRANCIS, SD 57572
Mr. Heater Big Buddy™ Indoor/Outdoor Propane Heater — 18,000 BTU, Model# MH18B
You also need to include these accessories:
Mr. Heater AC Power Adapter for Big Buddy Heaters — 6 Volt, Model# F276127
Mr. Heater 12-Ft. Hose with Regulator for Item# 173635
Mr. Heater Fuel Filter for Buddy™ Heaters, Model# F273699
Order Total of $225.85 (includes shipping)
The Lakota Plains Propane Company
at 6 0 5 - 8 6 7 - 5 1 9 9
Monday- Friday only 8-4:30pm MST
Ask for Crystal to contribute to someone from Autumn's list. $120 minimum delivery. This company serves Pine Ridge Reservation.
NOT tax deductible
If you live out of the country, please use our PayPal link at Native American Netroots. The donation button is in the upper right of the page. This process takes about two weeks for the funds to hit the reservations, so telephoning the propane companies directly is definitely the fastest way to help.
Help Okiciyap Fight Reservation Hunger
There is a new organization, Okiciyap, brought to my attention by Kossack betson08, who is directly involved with it. Many of you know betson08 from her work with Pretty Bird Woman House, the native women's anti-violence organization and women's shelter on the Standing Rock Reservation, co-founded by Georgia Littleshield.
Littleshield has put her skill and determination to work once again, this time on the Cheyenne River Reservation, and once again, our betson08 is helping out. The latest project is Okiciyap (a Lakota word meaning "we help"). Okiciyap's mission includes fighting poverty, hunger and the epidemic of teen suicide on the reservation. The organization has been granted 501(c)(3) status, and has launched its first project: creating a food pantry to help Cheyenne River residents who might otherwise not survive the coming harsh winter. At this start-up point, financial contributions are critical to the group's survival — and to the survival of Cheyenne River families, children and elders.
To donate by credit card, just click on this ChipIn:
YOUR DONATION IS TAX-DEDUCTIBLE
If you would prefer to send a check:
Georgia Little Shield, Board Chair
PO Box 172
225 W. Utah St
Clothing donations can also be sent to this address.
Consider donating in someone's name in lieu of buying gifts for the holidays.