Monday, December 15, 2008

Yes They Are Still Dying For Being Indian

Please take time to read all of this and ask yourself, if they were living anywhere besides on an Indian Reservation would this be happening. You and I both know if they lived close to any major metropolitan area there would be more help for them then what there is on their reservation in the Dakotas.

~ Special Edition of NDN News ~

South Dakota Gets Slammed with Second Blizzard

Press Release
by: Tamra Brennan
NDN News

December 14, 2008

Life threatening temperatures of -60 degrees slam South Dakota. Heating crisis a major issue on the Rez!


South Dakota has been hit with yet another blizzard last night. This severe storm has brought low temperatures of -35 degrees with the wind chill factor. Tonight's low is expected to be -60 degrees in many areas of Western South Dakota. These temperatures are expected to last through Tuesday evening, with more snow expected over the next few days. The rest of this week, evening temperatures will be around zero, or just above.

Many of you are aware of the blizzard that slammed Western South Dakota on November 5th. Over two thousand power poles were broken, leaving hundreds of people on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations without power and heat for up to two weeks. That blizzard left snow drifts of up to twenty feet in some areas, leaving roads impassible for days. See our press release Eleven Days Later, Disaster finally coming to a close for Pine Ridge Reservation and all of the posts and updates regarding the blizzard on our blog post entitled "Blizzard slams South Dakota Rez's"

Since that last blizzard, hundreds of people were left low or without propane. Now another storm blasts through, this time with even worse life-threatening temperatures. The National Weather Service states that a person could suffer from frostbite within ten minutes or less in these temperatures. At -60*F, it takes only one minute for exposed skin to become frostbitten. There are many people on the reservations that do not have adequate heating and are suffering horribly in these brutal temperatures.

Link Center Foundation (LCF), a non profit 501C3 organization, is desperately seeking funding for emergency heating assistance for the elders, the disabled, and/or the seriously ill on the Reservations. Also, there are often children found in the homes of elders. According to statistics, nearly 60% of the elders are raising their grandchildren or great-grandchildren.

Since the blizzard in November, Link Center Foundation has received a enormous amount of requests for heating assistance. LCF has successfully funded 132 families in need so far this year. However, as of today, they still have 130 approved applications still pending on a waiting list and more applications are arriving every day. Tragically, LCF has run out of funds even though winter has only just begun. Some assistance has come in from other organizations such as NAMA (the Native American Music Association). However, with the enormous number of requests pouring in, even that hasn't been able to cover the needs. Funding is the major challenge.

The first day of Winter has not officially arrived yet; it is still ten days away and we have already been faced with two blizzards and brutally extreme temperatures. South Dakota can receive snow up until May. The first snow this year was the beginning of October. Eight months of cold and snow is going to make for a horrific and very long winter this year.

How many people can withstand -60*F temperatures in sub-standard housing with inadequate or little heating? Well, this is what many elders, disabled, and folks with small children are being faced with this year.

The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is located within three counties. Shannon County is one of the poorest counties in the country. Pine Ridge is the second largest Reservation in the United States, roughly the size of the State of Connecticut. The unemployment rate is approximately 80-85% and the median income is about $3,500.00 a year. To make matters worse, heating costs have risen approximately 33% this year.

Nearly 60% of the homes on Pine Ridge are significantly sub-standard. Many are over-crowded and without proper heating, insulation, running water, sewer, or electricity.

How can you help?
Please consider making a contribution (tax deductible), to Link Center Foundation for heating assistance for the elders, the disabled, and the seriously ill. No amount is too small (or large!). If you can send $10 or $20 dollars, every dollar can help make a difference.

The Holidays are upon us, many of you will be out shopping for your loved ones soon. Here is a creative idea to help: Instead of buying yet another toaster, sweater or video game for your family members, how about making a donation to LCF on behalf of your loved ones! You can give them a card, saying that they helped provide heat to a family in need on the Reservations in South Dakota.

It's a great way to help, and you are able to provide a life-saving gift to the people. I am sure your loved one would be thrilled that they were able to help someone in this way. You can also take it one step further and make a family decision for everyone to take their gift money and make a donation on behalf of your entire family!

Please visit LCF's website for additional information at or email
Here is the link to make a donation

You can easily and securely make your donation on your credit card or bank debit card right on the Link Center Foundation website!

Or you can mail donations to the following address at:

Link Center Foundation
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 576 - Firestone, CO 80520-0576
Shipping Address: 117 Jackson Drive - Firestone, CO 80520
Local Phone: 303-833-6520
Toll-Free Phone: 888-220-1653

Thank you all for your continued help and assistance with this winter crisis on the rez.

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