Today, in America, we have thousands of people who have been without electricity, food, heat –or even shoes!- for two weeks, when a snowstorm hit the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, South Dakota. News from the Huffington Post states that the power outages “forced 35 kidney dialysis patients from the tribe to temporary relocate to Rapid City, and the reservation requires glucose strips, first aid kits and even children’s medicine.” Additionally, a private donor has created a matching fund to help the emergency relief there, for shoes, propane and food. They have asked for support, but the Red Cross has had its attention diverted to Haiti. The U.S. government , well, it still has not responded!
In the meanwhile, there are an estimated 7 million people unemployed in the United States today. The National Health Interview Survey, reported guesstimates that the percentage of persons in 2009 who had a usual place to go for medical care was 86.4%, decreased from 87.9% in 2003. Politicians are playing games with filibusters, keeping policy from being approved, or from routine business from being completed. And, the average citizen continues to try to move forward, with or without work, with or without health care, through the snowstorms, the mudslides, the earthquakes, the tornadoes.
We must act now. We cannot continue to sit and watch the suffering of our own people. We must respond to the needs. That is our charge: basic survival needs, and then, create and support the public policy that develops an infrastructure for its future well-being… We are responsible to use the research, knowledge and skills we have to better our society. We network, we collaborate, we push forward, with or without Congress. Just as we feed without the Red Cross when we must, we continue with our true charge: the well-being of our people and nation. We did it for Katrina. Similarly, we support the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in their fight for basic survival. Then we shall inform, educate, develop, and expect, the change necessary for the health and well-being of our people.
After all, that is what we do.
Mail checks to:
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe/2010 Disaster Account
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman’s Office
Attn: Ice Storm Emergency Fund
PO Box 590
2001 Main Street (Tribal Offices)
Eagle Butte, SD 57625