Skip to main content

Photos show Rosebud Reservation residents thanking Daily Kos donors for propane and heaters last winter.
For many low-income members of the Lakota people of South Dakota, among them the Brulé on the Rosebud Indian Reservation and the Oglala on the Pine Ridge Reservation, the region's often brutal winters mean more than just a little discomfort. Unable to afford to keep their propane tanks full and often with no alternative other than inadequate, sometimes unsafe portable heaters, everyone suffers, but as usual children and the elderly get the worst of it in temperatures that can plunge to 20° below zero or worse.

Since ice storms devastated South Dakota in the winter of 2009-2010, Kossacks spurred into action by navajo and the Native American Netroots have raised thousands of dollars to supply those who need it most on the reservations with propane and small, high-output heaters. That first year, Keith Olbermann, then still at MSNBC's Countdown and himself a Kossack, saw one of the diaries and took the issue to his audience. He also chastised the Senate Indian Affairs committee for ignoring the situation, naming it to the top slot one night of his "Worst Persons in the World" feature. Ultimately that year, because of Olbermann's mention, nearly half-a-million dollars was raised for overall South Dakota relief. Some $250,000 of that made it to the Cheyenne River Reservation, once home to Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake, Sitting Bull.

American Indian Heritage Month Banner
The current situation isn't anywhere near as bad as in January-February of 2010. But then autumn still has nearly five weeks to run. Even so, night-time temperatures have dropped below freezing several times already. That's why we launched our fourth season of fund-raising for the propane project earlier than usual (at the beginning of American Indian Heritage Month) before winter really sinks its claws into the region.

The ongoing problem on the reservations of South Dakota is political, tied to poverty across all ethnicities in America but with its own unique attributes. South Dakota government's often malicious indifference to the tribes, the federal government's underfunded Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), tribal governments' favoritism and ineffectiveness—part of a long-standing conflict that put a few hundred of us at Wounded Knee in '73—and the invisibility of Indians to many mainstream charities all contribute to a situation that puts some Lakota at risk of freezing to death. Winter aside, the socio-economic statistics of the reservations are all too well known, an unemployment rate that is 10 times worse than the nation's. Grim health and education figures. Soul-crushing, as Aji has so aptly termed it. This could be turned around if the will to provide jobs and decent housing and a sustainable economy could be generated. But until the day the political obstacles are removed for that to happen, this annual fund-raiser is essential to—literally—save lives, to extend some warmth to people who would otherwise spend a cold, cold winter outdoors and in.

Sherry Cornelius on the job
On the Rosebud, we are fortunate to have Sherry Cornelius of St. Francis Energy on the side of those we seek to help. The company is the only Indian-owned propane company in the area. That's Sherry in the photo on a delivery run last winter. Being part of the community, she knows who needs assistance most and gets it there quickly except in the worst storms. She not only delivers the propane and heaters on the reservation, she also processes our donations, both small and large, and makes sure the people who need help most get it first. She took the photos that make up navajo's collages you see here.

Some people have in the past asked why we don't run this project through a regular charity, which would mean donors could deduct their contributions from their taxes. The reason is that our contacts say they frequently don't see money meant for the reservations when there is a middleman involved. That makes this a unique project. You can learn more about the situation at the Rosebud Reservation and read some personal stories and see photos in Aji's post here.

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.

FOR ROSEBUD RESERVATION:

Telephone St. Francis Energy Co. at:
605-747-2542
11 AM-6 PM MST EVERY DAY
Ask for Sherry or her mom Patsy, but others can help you also. 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

PLEASE NOTE:  NOT A 501c3, PLEASE CONSULT YOUR TAX PREPARER.

Of course, all the propane in the world won't do you any good without a heater. Many families don't even have working heaters—or ones that work safely. Every year, there are house fires as a result of malfunctioning heaters that people can't afford to repair. So if you're flush or you have a few friends who can put your dollars together, a heater would be really welcome this Thanksgiving season.
You can order a heater and the necessary accessories from Northern Tool HERE and have it shipped to:
Propane Heater for Rosebud reservation

Sherry Cornelius
St. Francis Energy Co.
102 N. Main Street
Saint Francis, SD 57572

Here's what you'll be sending:
• 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 $235.85 (includes shipping)

FOR PINE RIDGE RESERVATION:
Telephone the Lakota Plains Propane Company
605-867-5199
Monday-Friday only; 8-4:30pm MST.
Ask for Crystal. $120 minimum delivery. This company serves Pine Ridge Reservation.
PLEASE NOTE:  NOT A 501c3, PLEASE CONSULT YOUR TAX PREPARER.

WE DO NOT HAVE ARRANGEMENTS FOR HEATER DELIVERY WITH LAKOTA PLAINS.

INTERNATIONAL DONORS:

If you live out of the country, please use our PayPal link at Native American Netroots. The donation button is in the middle 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.

indians at Rosebud Reservation

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 01:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Pink Clubhouse, Invisible People, Community Fundraisers, and South Dakota Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

David Nir, a gilas girl, Bob Johnson, Pat K California, Greg Dworkin, JekyllnHyde, paradox, Hunter, Alma, northsylvania, Laura Clawson, Bill in Portland Maine, Common Sense Mainer, Odysseus, jotter, teacherken, 4democracy, Joan McCarter, Rolfyboy6, mimi, Susan Gardner, surfbird007, tommurphy, Shockwave, worried sick, grapeshot, histopresto, mslat27, blksista, SallyCat, RubDMC, scribe, missLotus, highacidity, boadicea, chuckvw, shanikka, CodeTalker, Mber, mollyd, navajo, Cedwyn, wader, NMRed, Oke, Barbara Morrill, emmasnacker, TexDem, figbash, Eyesbright, Lawrence, TiaRachel, kj in missouri, potatohead, texasmom, Steven Payne, betson08, miss love, Timbuk3, Diana in NoVa, nswalls, JayBat, side pocket, Kitsap River, lonespark, Marianne Benz, jcrit, Albanius, lyvwyr101, Pam LaPier, bablhous, Sybil Liberty, Gowrie Gal, marina, 3goldens, Ckntfld, UncleCharlie, yuriwho, JanetT in MD, Independent Musings, Roadbed Guy, liberalcheesehead, juliesie, Brooke In Seattle, YucatanMan, Laurence Lewis, owlbear1, cfk, Pam from Calif, where4art, Burned, lotlizard, blue jersey mom, FindingMyVoice, pdknz, sillia, Land of Enchantment, martini, third Party please, occams hatchet, BalanceSeeker, Debbie in ME, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, HoundDog, rl en france, koNko, KenBee, kck, Lefty Coaster, birdbrain64, SadieSue, sceptical observer, middleagedhousewife, justiceputnam, Persiflage, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, blueoregon, nannyboz, ms badger, ZenTrainer, Aaa T Tudeattack, Reel Woman, Thinking Fella, One Pissed Off Liberal, glescagal, Mary Mike, DWG, bnasley, US Blues, jnhobbs, uciguy30, cacamp, TomP, MKinTN, also mom of 5, JaxDem, Marko the Werelynx, zerone, bythesea, grumpelstillchen, lineatus, tofumagoo, TokenLiberal, catly, envwq, priceman, JamieG from Md, Quilldriver, sagansong, DavidW, maggiejean, hafnium, divineorder, dharmasyd, zephyr108, scarletraven, earicicle, UnaSpenser, bfitzinAR, Munchkn, stevenwag, sfarkash, DaNang65, mahakali overdrive, Randtntx, citisven, Larsstephens, Words In Action, Just Bob, Vacationland, jakedog42, renzo capetti, paradise50, kalika, Betty Pinson, ericlewis0, soaglow, cany, translatorpro, no way lack of brain, Maximilien Robespierre, meralda, spooks51, bgblcklab1, BlueJessamine, FarWestGirl, BirdMom, Nicci August, lillyspad, NormAl1792, KelleyRN2, Ebby, Jed Lewison, Lorikeet, MRA NY, enhydra lutris, peregrine kate, cailloux, jolux, SoCalSal, Catlady62, Mentatmark, AmazingBlaise, I C Mainer, YaNevaNo, Pinto Pony, MNGlasnant, Pixietrixter, anodnhajo, Aji, IndieGuy, Jakkalbessie, a2nite, swampyankee, 2thanks, CA ridebalanced, Lorinda Pike, cherie clark, Tyler R, jan4insight, belinda ridgewood, radical simplicity, burnt out, parakeet, OllieGarkey, Margd, Glen The Plumber, ShoshannaD, nomandates, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, glorificus, Daniel Sheehan, broths, weck, silentlurker, knitwithpurpose, helpImdrowning, Kay Observer2, jplanner, MBishop1, Lakota Peoples Law Project, Madonna Thunder Hawk, Havoth, shinobi9, Munynn

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site