In mid-July, a severe storm swept through the community of Oglala, South Dakota and other areas of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Dozens of houses endured heavy damage to their siding, windows were broken, car windows and windshields were broken. By the time I visited the Rez a couple of weeks later, the devastation was still pretty bad. I took a number of pictures from Oglala in the hopes that when a good means of fundraising got underway, they’d help illustrate our need.
Despite the tribe calling for a state of emergency, Red Cross and FEMA have been limited in response from what I have seen and have been told by residents. During the pow wow in Boulder, Colorado, on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, an announcer said that FEMA had determined the damage to not be severe enough to warrant further assistance. The only houses that have been repaired are those that residents themselves could afford to do.
Many homes still have boards covering broken windows. Siding is still shredded and roofs are still in need of repair. Many of our elders still live alone and winter is fast approaching. Winters in the north can be very harsh and boards over open window spaces aren’t sufficient to keep the cold out.
The Tipi Raisers have a two part fundraising and repair effort underway. Visit the website for more details. There is a work exchange program for volunteers to stay a select number of days to help with the labor of repair among other tasks, as well as a crowdfunding effort to support overall efforts.
Oglala is my community and where I consider home. Please take some time to check the website and Facebook Page for more details. Share the information throughout social media as you can. Any and all help would be welcome!
The Tipi Raisers