But if it happens on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, not so much. They’ve already had two blizzards, and now an massive ice storm. They are cut off from the outside world, and suffering without heat or electricity. Three thousand power poles are down. This is the forecast for the coming week. Chairman of Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has declared a State of Emergency in central South Dakota on the Indian reservation, an area approximately the size of Connecticut with nearly 15,000 Tribal members. The Tribe is still awaiting a Presidential disaster declaration.
The Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota is mounting an effort to help, but they are a fairly poor organization and are unable to really meet the need. The matter of fact way they presented the situation told me a lot about what daily life is really like on the reservation.
…St. Peter’s is the only church in the area with plumbing, he said. He said that the reservation has an estimated 70 percent unemployment rate and an average annual household income of $7,000. The average male life expectancy is 46 years of age…(emphasis mine)
“People here live at the margins and have been marginalized in every way, shape and form,” he said. “On the one hand, they’re pretty flexible and resilient. On the other hand, something like this, for a family that’s struggling, can prove to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”…
Barnhardt said that the situation feels “very bleak,” especially with another storm expected…
It has been that way on the reservations for a long time. Out of sight and essentially forgotten, the descendants of the tribal remnants the United States left alive still struggle to survive. But a snowstorm on the East Coast, now that’s news.
The more Indians we can kill this year the fewer we will need to kill the next, because the more I see of the Indians the more convinced I become that they must either all be killed or be maintained as a species of pauper. Their attempts at civilization is ridiculous.
–Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman