Sunday, November 9, 2008

NDN News: Blizzard in South Dakota

Hello everyone,
On Wednesday afternoon, areas of Western South Dakota were slammed with a major blizzard that lasted thru Thursday. The storm left thousands of people stranded and without power and heating. Winds were clocked at 105 miles per hour in some areas and remained at 60-80 mph throughout the 24 hour period. Areas of the Black Hills had snow drifts of over 20 feet in some areas. Record amounts of snowfall for one day, fell in the Hills. Temperatures with the wind chill were just above zero. Many of the rez's were also hit hard including Pine Ridge, Rosebud, Cheyenne River and no word about Standing Rock, or others further east as of yet. There are still hundreds of people on the rez's without power and heating and many roads still un-plowed. The frustrating part is, the media gave us no warnings in the days prior, about this blizzard. They kept referring to 2-3 inches of snow on Thursday, nothing about a blizzard until it was already upon us and to late. This left people completely unprepared for what was to come. With the proper warning, folks could have gotten out of the countryside and into town until it was over. My power was out for almost three days, my house was 45 degrees. Luckily enough in my case, power was restored this morning. However, there are elders and folks with small children on the rez's that endured this cold and still are. Some elderly that are on oxygen and/or dialysis, were having to go without because of no power and no way to travel. During the three days of being stranded, I sat and listened to the radio and was disgusted about the lack of coverage on what was happening in the countryside. Everything seemed to focus on Rapid City, it was like we didn't exist. The lack of coverage prior to the storm and lack of coverage afterwards was unacceptable. The Rapid City Journal posted a article about the blizzard warring, after it had already started to hit us. I have spoken to many locals in the area that are just appalled by the lack of info provided, prior to the storm. I called one of the radio stations and expressed my I was told, they felt they covered it as thoroughly as they could, they were not meteorologists, to predict the weather. My response was, if a major blizzard was headed right at us, they should have been covering it at every break, to warn folks. They took my suggestions and said they would pass it along to all their sister stations. They didn't seem to concerned, honestly. Great mentality for who we rely on to get this critical info out to the public! So, it's not going to end here, I am going to write a op-ed and submit it to the media and see what their response is. Over the past few days, I have been communicating with my dear friend Stephanie Schwartz from Link Center Foundation, about what was transpiring here, or not transpiring I should say! She has been working non stop getting help for the rez's, contacting every agency possible for assistance. I am including her update below about what is currently being done at the moment. Governor Rounds declared South Dakota a state of emergency, so things are finally moving forward with assistance. There is going to be a urgent need for heating assistance on the rez's this year! This is just the beginning of what is ahead for this winter, its still technically fall and we have just been hit with one of the worst storms in years.
If you are able to assist in anyway no matter how small, please consider making a donation to Link Center Foundation for their heating assistance program. Their website is .
There is also a section on my website for our Helping the ReZ program, two years ago I initiated a ink cartridge recycling program, which the proceeds all go directly to LCF for heating assistance.
Please take a look at that page on my website, for further details on how to participate in that project. It does not cost you a dime, just your time to collect the ink cartridges. It is a great and easy opportunity to be able to assist. It sounds like this storm is headed east, so heads up out there folks! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact myself or Steph.
Thank you in advance, for your help! In peace & solidarity,
Tamra PROTECT BEAR BUTTE! "Providing news and information about Native American Issues & Causes"
"Helping to make a difference for our people in Indian Country, one day at a time. What will you do today to help make a difference?"

"Our sacred lands are all that remain keeping us connected to our place on Mother Earth, to our spirituality, our heritage and our lands; what's left of them. If they take it all away, what will remain except a vague memory of a past so forgotten?"

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Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008:
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