Band-Aid for the Lakotas: But a directly applied one

Lakota people

Cross-posted at Daily Kos

I’d like to give you small update on our recent request for propane help.

This past Friday I posted a familiar diary to many of you asking you to call the propane companies directly and help pay for propane for Lakota families on Rosebud and Pine Ridge reservations.

You made more than $3000 in donations over a 24 hr. period. This is excellent because we have bypassed the middlemen, the 501c3s, the red-taped strangled Tribal Councils and the pathetic Federal LIHEAP program.

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. No one should freeze to death in the richest country in the world.

Details below on how you can help:

Every time I post one of these diaries I get emails with the same suggestions. I get them in the comments also. Because thinking people don’t want to keep patching up holes in the dam with money. I don’t either.

They want a permanent solution, so do I. They want to be proactive, so do I.  Yes, I agree, there will be winter every year. The Lakota have been freezing every winter since the U.S. ordered their extermination in the 1800’s. When the U.S. couldn’t kill them all they put them into POW camps now called reservations where they had been promised compensation but never received it and at the same time starved and their culture nearly destroyed by the U.S. government.

What these suggesters don’t know is how difficult it is to fix a century’s old problem.

But it is what it is… a complicated situation.

I’ll outline the obstacles below  


Many reservations are considered sovereign governments and are treated differently by the Federal government; i.e. assistance is tied up with additional red tape and help is delayed further with the addition of the Tribal government’s red tape. This should be a whole diary.

The sub-standard housing needs to be fixed. Again, this is a political issue. Many folk have been trying to champion this cause for decades. It’s not happening quickly. Eight years of republican rule have devastated our reservations and seriously delayed any improvement. The crappy government housing structures built so long ago are infested with black mold. Housing services remedies this with a spray on solution called Killz that is toxic to humans also but the mold grows back a few weeks later. The solution is to tear down the structure and start over. The government housing that was built way back when was inadequate to say the least. This inadequate housing as it deteriorates cannot hold in the heat. This is NOT a small issue and the percentage of homes is estimated to be one third by Rosebud resident and long time Indian leader and organizer Carter Camp.

State and Federal government policies need to be changed. People have and are working on this but they are swimming upstream. They’ve been swimming upstream for decades. Our tribes have been left behind for decades. Eight years of republican rule have devastated our reservations further. The unemployment rate in Pine Ridge and Rosebud have hung around 80% for decades, that’s not an easy thing to fix. The chronic problem on our reservations is a result of broken treaties and government neglect of our tribes.

Number 1: Honor the Treaties, that’s the first step.


There is a reason we are calling the propane companies directly, it is to save lives. Because many oppressed Lakota can’t get help from the Federal or Tribal governments and risk freezing to death. They are being strangled by red tape.

The link above explains the discrepancies between the payments to tribal members vs. non-members who get much more money from the state-run LIHEAP program.

This is why we do this. We cut out the middle men 501c3s that use our money for overhead and I think give false reports about their help to the tribes. We cut out the Tribal councils.

Help buy propane for Lakota families in South Dakota:


Sherry Cornelius of St. Francis Energy Co.

at  6 0 5 – 7 4 7 – 2 5 4 2

11 AM – 6 PM MST

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:

Attn: Sherry Cornelius

St. Francis Energy Co. / Valandra’s II

P.O. Box 140

St. Francis, South Dakota 57572

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

NOT tax deductible


You can also call Sherry’s cell phone: 605.208.8888

Sherry said she will start delivery just as soon as conditions allow her to drive around.


The Lakota Plains Propane Company

at  6 0 5 – 8 6 7 – 5 1 9 9

Monday- Friday 8-5pm MST

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

NOT tax deductible

Sherry Cornelius reports that the main roads were plowed on Sunday but the drive ways have not. She still risks getting stuck until the drive ways are cleared. I hope she is out delivering today.

Sherry also told me that her company, St. Francis Energy has not processed a NAHA heating voucher since 2008. NAHA continues to collect heating assistance funds on behalf of South Dakota tribes today.

This is why we are asking you to give directly to the propane companies.

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