This Year, It’s About Saving Lives

On this day last year, I asked for one thing:  GOTV funds for Democratic Indian candidates.

This year, I want something more fundamental.

I want you to help me save some lives.

That is no exaggeration.  Every year, we lose a few more people – mostly elders – because they freeze to death.  The last few winters in South Dakota have been lethal, and this year’s – perhaps as little as a couple of weeks away now – promises to be no exception.  

Last week, navajo kicked off our now-annual fundraiser to provide propane and heaters for people on South Dakota’s Rosebud and Pine Ridge reservations.  I’ve learned of another heater option that’s both safe and less expensive, and is – for the moment – on sale.  Let’s take advantage of it.

First, a disclaimer:  We have no stock in Northern Tool.  I know nothing about the company’s politics.  I only know that we’ve bought household, outdoor, and farm and ranch items from them for years, and their prices have always been more reasonable than most other places.  They were certainly the least expensive place I could find last year as a source for the propane heater we’ve been recommending since that time (that heater and order info are near the end of the diary).  We also just bought the heater I’m about to recommend, so I can attest that it’s sturdy and works well.  Here’s a photo:

Little Buddy Heater

It’s much smaller than the other heater; it has an O2 sensor with automatic shutoff auto-shutoff if it gets knocked over, no tubes, auto-ignition with simple “on” and “off” buttons, and various other safety features.  It’s also advertised as able to heat a 100-square-foot space, which is about five times the size of Wings’s studio.  And the little propane canisters are much cheaper, obviously than filling a tank.  Yes, I realize that it’s undoubtedly more expensive over the long term, but when you’re in a bind and have only a few bucks, being able to buy a canister when you can’t afford to fill a tank could mean the difference between surviving and freezing to death.

This particular model normally sells for $59.99 from this source.  Most other places we looked – even Cabela’s – it was $79.99.  At least through next Tuesday, apparently, there’s an additional $5 off; we got ours for $54.99 plus shipping, which came to $63 and change.  The canisters we already had, but I’m guessing no more than $10 a pop, and St. Francis Energy probably sells them, too.

Order this heater here.  

Additional info needed for shipping is below.

Now, on to your regularly scheduled programming, courtesy of navajo:


PLEASE Share with family and friends and ask them to share.

My navajo’s earlier diaries explain in more detail why and how we are helping:

Here we go again: Blizzard hits Dakotas

Band-Aid for the Lakotas

Pine Ridge: American Prisoner of War Camp #334

Revealing Pine Ridge Rez Demographic Information

Employment Information

  • Recent reports vary but many point out that the median income on the Pine Ridge Reservation is approximately $2,600 to $3,500 per year.
  • The unemployment rate on Pine Ridge is said to be approximately 83-85% and can be higher during the winter months when travel is difficult or often impossible.

    Note that South Dakota boasts of a 4.5% unemployment rate and ranks #2 in the Nation.

  • According to 2006 resources, about 97% of the population lives below Federal poverty levels.
  • There is little industry, technology, or commercial infrastructure on the Reservation to provide employment.
  • Rapid City, South Dakota is the nearest town of size (population approximately 57,700) for those who can travel to find work.  It is located 120 miles from the Reservation.  The nearest large city to Pine Ridge is Denver, Colorado located some 350 miles away.

We have bypassed the middlemen; the 501c3s, the red-taped strangled Tribal Councils and the pathetic Federal LIHEAP program which runs out three weeks into winter.

We’ve set up relationships with the propane companies that service Rosebud and Pine Ridge reservation. The kind operators/owners know who needs help and can’t get it from their Tribal, State or Federal government.

Help buy propane for Lakota families in South Dakota:

The *fastest* way to help is to pick up the phone and call with your credit card information. A family will get propane delivered either the same day or the next day.


Sherry Cornelius of St. Francis Energy Co.

at  6 0 5 – 7 4 7 – 2 5 4 2


Ask for Sherry or her mom Patsy. Normally a minimum order is $150, but they have an account to accumulate small donations to a minimum order. Credit Cards welcome and they are the only Native owned fuel company on Rosebud.  Rosebud is next to Pine Ridge Reservation and in the same economically depressed condition.

If you’d like to mail a check:

[make check payable to: St. Francis Energy Co.]

Attn: Sherry or Patsy

St. Francis Energy Co. / Valandra’s II

P.O. Box 140

St. Francis, South Dakota 57572

NOT tax deductible

You can also call Sherry’s cell phone: 605.208.8888 if the above line is busy.


Good idea from  Aji in the comments :

…for $230 plus shipping, Kossacks can get them an LPG safety space heater.  We’ve used this model; very effective; stable and low for safety and energy efficiency; multiple heat settings so you don’t waste gas; and a built-in O2 sensor auto-shutoff.

You can order a heater  here  and have it shipped to:

Sherry Cornelius

St. Francis Energy Co.

102 N Main Street


Mr. Heater Big Buddy™ Indoor/Outdoor Propane Heater – 18,000 BTU, Model# MH18B

You also need to include these accessories:

Mr. Heater AC Power Adapter for Big Buddy Heaters – 6 Volt, Model# F276127

Mr. Heater 12-Ft. Hose with Regulator for Item# 173635

Mr. Heater Fuel Filter for Buddy™ Heaters, Model# F273699

Order Total   $225.85 (includes shipping)


The Lakota Plains Propane Company

at  6 0 5 – 8 6 7 – 5 1 9 9

Monday- Friday only 8-4:30pm MST

Ask for Crystal to contribute to someone from Autumn’s list. $120 minimum delivery. This company serves Pine Ridge Reservation.

NOT tax deductible

If you live out of the country please use our PayPal link at Native American Netroots, the donate button is in the upper right of the page. This process takes about two weeks for the funds to hit the reservations so telephoning the propane companies directly is the fastest way to help.

Native American Netroots Web Badge

 An ongoing series sponsored by the Native American Netroots team focusing on the current issues faced by American Indian Tribes and current solutions to those issues.


1 Comment

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    Mr Heater MH18B Portable “Big Buddy” Heater

    by Mr. Heater

    4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews) | Like (26)

    List Price: $214.88

    Price: $119.99

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