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:

HOW YOU CAN HELP

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.


Telephone:

Sherry Cornelius of St. Francis Energy Co.

at  6 0 5 – 7 4 7 – 2 5 4 2

11 AM – 6 PM MST EVERY DAY

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

http://sfec.yolasite.com/

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

UPDATE:

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

SAINT FRANCIS, SD 57572

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)

Telephone:

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.

red_black_rug_design2

Action: LONGEST WALK 3 (Reversing Diabetes)

( – promoted by navajo)

Brenda Golden made a comment in her interview on Red Town Radio with Chris Francisco (Navajo), national coordinator of the Longest Walk III, a couple months ago. “It’ll be hard to get people involved. It’s not something that makes people mad like racism (paraphrasing).” So here’s an email I got with updated links for the fundraiser. After that, I hope I don’t make anyone mad.


I’m still trying to help the LWNR. Do you think you might find time to update those sites with a link to the new Longest Walk 3 – Northern Route?

Here is the link: http://earthbornproductions.co…

We have several online fund raisers now and ALL of the funds will be used to fund the Northern Route.

Here are the links:

Facebook PayPal Fund Raiser:

http://apps.facebook.com/fundr…

Cafepress on-line store:

http://www.cafepress.com/LW3NR

ProvHerbials fund raiser:

http://provherbials.com/Lip_Ba…

Thank you! Have an awesome week!

I know what Brenda meant from my perspective; it’s harder to get involved in something we can change – ourselves.

Obama may’ve endorsed the United Declaration On The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples, but it’s the same ‘ol same ‘ol.


Summary: The U.S. endorsement of UNDRIP means “business as usual” for Native Americans

The bottom line result of the Obama Administration’s so-called “change” in position is really no change at all. At best, it is a “conditional” endorsement of UNDRIP, one which essentially allows the United States to ignore any provision of UNDRIP under any circumstance which would require a substantive change in US law or policy. Its greatest achievement does not benefit the indigenous peoples of the United States. Rather, it allows the United States to come in from the cold spotlight under which it has shivered since September 2007 as the last of the four pariah nations to have opposed UNDRIP without having to commit to changing any of its laws or policies that are detrimental to the indigenous peoples that live within its borders. At best, the Administration’s “change in position” allowing the United States to endorse UNDRIP entirely misses the point. At worst, it is a cynical move in the game of international politics that signifies nothing for the indigenous peoples of this country but “business as usual.”

As always, the burden of bringing about real change, “change you can believe in” will fall upon the native nations, tribes and bands of this country. No messianic figure, much less President Obama, is going to announce legislative and policy changes that will restore or secure the federal government’s recognition of our sovereignty and our concomitant right to freely determine our political status and freely pursue our economic, social and cultural development. If we want a brighter future for us and our children, a future filled with freedom to choose and opportunity to achieve, we shall have to seize it with our own hands. It will not be given to us. We shall have to do the hard work over the long haul.

But I had hoped otherwise.

What else isn’t new?

Now a group of scientists is adding another explanation for the most over-determined event in history: climate change. Writing in the journal Science, the experts claim that Rome’s Third Century Crisis — a period of political and economic unrest that inaugurated the empire’s slow decline — coincided with “distinct drying” recorded in tree rings, which may have rendered European agriculture less productive. Not just that — the appearance of the Plague in Western Europe correlates with a wet period, which may have provided conditions favorable for spreading the disease. So, the scientists warn, don’t underestimate the possible risks associated with contemporary climate change.

Some conservative reactions have been dismissive; Weasel Zippers called the scientists’ claims the “latest global warming scare tactic.”

But they shouldn’t be so quick.

What else isn’t new, is the energy crisis in context of most the remaining natural resources being on Indigenous Lands, the country’s overall unwillingness to go to a green economy, a new set of nuts in Congress who pat themselves on the backs for being able to read a word with five syllables, and healthier foods in any bargain supermarket besides Twinkies.

Bargain supermarkets have beef jerky and canned vegetables, but give me a Hostess Cupcake any day. I’d rather have something that lasts five minutes than something like a carton of eggs that’d last me 4 days for the same amount of money. And beans are cheap, but they give me gas. Besides, I hate cooking and God made things I like bad for me. But look.

My family needs me and sure I’d have more energy if I’d eat healthy. It’s like my drummer friend back home I played with for years said once about his marriage, “It gets to where – either I’m going to eat this bowl of ice cream or I’m going to f-k my wife.” He got divorced. Must’ve been good ice cream. But there’s one truth in all this “advocating for major changes in our eating habits, while promoting beneficial exercise programs. Our goal will be to REVERSE DIABETES AND RAISE THE CONSCIOUS OF AMERICA THAT WE MUST HALT THE WORST DIET IN THE WORLD!”

You let yourself down and it’s really beyond your control, you let your family down. We take better care of our cars, if we can afford to, than we take care of ourselves. And we wouldn’t put crap in the gas tank and expect our car to run.

So do we take care of ourselves or just kiss it all goodbye?


No messianic figure, much less President Obama, is going to announce legislative and policy changes that will restore or secure the federal government’s recognition of our sovereignty and our concomitant right to freely determine our political status and freely pursue our economic, social and cultural development. If we want a brighter future for us and our children, a future filled with freedom to choose and opportunity to achieve, we shall have to seize it with our own hands. It will not be given to us. We shall have to do the hard work over the long haul.

By the way, my drummer friend back home who said “It gets to where – either I’m going to eat this bowl of ice cream or I’m going to f-k my wife” died a few years ago. Healthy dieting would’ve helped him live longer, but who needs love when you can have ice cream.

LONGEST WALK 3 (Reversing Diabetes): Fundraiser!

( – promoted by navajo)

Dennis Banks spoke on the Tuscarora Reservation about the war on diabetes and what inspired him to fight diabetes. It was when he spoke to the Hopi, who were at least 90% in wheelchairs, that he realized diabetes must be defeated for the survival of the 7th Generation.

LW32011 (2)


Longest Walk 3 – Northern Route Fund Raisers:

Paypal:

http://bit.ly/cI3InE

Cafepress.com

CHECKOUT OUR STORE!!!!! T-shirts, Sweatshirts, kids clothing, hats, bags,doggie t-shirts, home/office, mugs, cards and calendars!!!!!!!!!ALL PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF THIS MERCHANDISE WILL BE USED DIRECTLY TO FUND THIS WALK!!!!! Please help us reach our goals and destination by purchasing an item! Blessings to you all and Walk in Beauty!

http://www.cafepress.com/LW3NR

Thank you again for all your help. :)

Dennis Banks also talked about tribal sovereignty. He said we must “turn it around.” He said that we must read the news everyday and “see what they’re up to.” Then he exclaimed, “Make them be the ones having to read the news and see what we’re up to.”

“Turn it around.”

It’s no “longer less than 6 months,” it is now less than 3.

(Printed with permission)


THE LONGEST WALK 3 (Reversing Diabetes) Feb 14 – July 8, 2011

In less than 6 months we will embark on another historic journey — an event so great and much needed for all of America!

This is a 5,000+ mile Walk Across America to bring awareness of the devastating effects of diabetes and how it can be reversed by changing our entire diet and lifestyle! This disease is at epidemic levels across America, and throughout Indian Country.

We will hold community talks along the way about reversing diabetes, and heart disease. We will be advocating for major changes in our eating habits, while promoting beneficial exercise programs. Our goal will be to REVERSE DIABETES AND RAISE THE CONSCIOUS OF AMERICA THAT WE MUST HALT THE WORST DIET IN THE WORLD! Along both routes we will be launching a CLEAN UP MOTHER EARTH campaign, picking up trash along both routes!!



Longest Walk 3 – Northern Route Fund Raisers:

Paypal:

http://bit.ly/cI3InE

Cafepress.com

CHECKOUT OUR STORE!!!!! T-shirts, Sweatshirts, kids clothing, hats, bags,doggie t-shirts, home/office, mugs, cards and calendars!!!!!!!!!ALL PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF THIS MERCHANDISE WILL BE USED DIRECTLY TO FUND THIS WALK!!!!! Please help us reach our goals and destination by purchasing an item! Blessings to you all and Walk in Beauty!

http://www.cafepress.com/LW3NR

Thank you again for all your help. :)


We will be leaving La Jolla (San Diego County), California on February 14, 2011 (Valentine’s Day – Heart Day) following a pipe ceremony, and other events, and entering Washington DC on July 8th, 2011 (Note: Facebook only allows events to be posted that are 4 months or less — this walk is actually about 5 months).

Southern Route:

California- Feb 14 – Feb 24

Arizona – Feb 24 – Mar 16

New Mexico – Mar 16 – Apr 6

Texas(panhandle) – April 6 – Apr 8

Oklahoma – Apr 8 – Apr28

Arkansas – Apr 28 – May 1

Louisiana – May 1 – May 17

Mississippi – May 17 – May 20

Alabama – May 20 – May 22

Florida – May 22 – June 12

Georgia – June 12 – June 19

South Carolina – June 19 – June 25

North Carolina – June 25 – July 2

Virginia – July 2 – July 8

The Longest Walk 3 is welcoming a NORTHERN ROUTE from Portland, Oregon to Washington DC!! Chris Fransisco will be leading this route. Please help support both routes. We Need Your Help!!

CLICK ABOVE OR LINK BELOW FOR NORTHERN ROUTE

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=…

There will be a Mid-walk break from May 11 – 17th, while we’re in Louisiana for the walkers to travel back home, or help the communities in that state.

We also welcome a Link run coming in from Rapid City, South Dakota, meeting us in Oklahoma. For more info on this, please contact Tokala Banks.

Each day the walkers will walk a total of 15 – 25 miles, and the runners will run between 50 – 100 miles. This event has a ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY on DRUGS/ALCOHOL — this will be your only warning.

We are currently in need of local event planners, volunteers, supporters, and musicians willing to play benefit concerts along the route. If you are interested in making a commitment of this type, or know of anyone, please contact us via email or phone. We will then put you in contact with one of our State Coordinators in your area.

We have only 6 months before the start of this historic event. Our route is taking us along much of the southern coastline. We have and will address any needs while the walk is in your state, with adequate notice. So please let us know as-soon-as-possible.

Goodie Cloud

National Coordinator

The Longest Walk 3/Reversing Diabetes 2011

(218) 209-0232

ndn_queen_bee@yahoo.com

Tatanka Banks

President, Dennis Banks Co.

(952) 220-9046

t.banks2010@yahoo.com

Northern Route:

Chris Francisco

(503) 515-6239

LET US BEGIN!

MIIGWETCH FOR YOUR TIME & TRUSTED SUPPORT,

NOWACUMIG

Dennis J. Banks

Ojibwa Warrior

nowacumig@gmail.com

Diabetes Information:

Native American Diabetes More Than Double the National Average:

http://www.indiancountrytoday….

American Diabetes Association Home Page:


http://www.diabetes.org/

Longest Walk Northern Route Information:


Facebook link:


http://www.facebook.com/home.p…

The birth of the Long Walk to Reverse Diabetes 2010 with Dennis Banks:


http://www.facebook.com/home.p…

The LongestWalk NorthernRoute Facebook Fundraiser:

http://apps.facebook.com/fundr…

I did an Inipi (sweat ceremony) with a tribal member who had not been able to do the Inipi for a long time due to his diabetes. He looked like a new man afterwards. I have also done ceremony with various tribal members who have to take insulin during the ceremony and have something to keep their blood sugar level up.  Ceremonies, you know those ceremonies that used to banned by the United States because of that religious bigotry that led to the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978? But some say the Inipi was to make The People stronger and the seventh most sacred rite is a vision for an entire Nation. What could be more urgent overall –


We will hold community talks along the way about reversing diabetes, and heart disease. We will be advocating for major changes in our eating habits, while promoting beneficial exercise programs.

– since before we can help others, we must take care of ourselves? Read what I say next twice. That man I first mentioned who looked like a new man after the Inipi, adopted a girl he has to help take care of.


Native American Diabetes rate More than double national average

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – More than 16 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives aged 20 and older have diagnosed diabetes, compared to a national average of seven percent.

That man I first mentioned who looked like a new man after the Inipi, adopted a girl he has to help take care of.


Longest Walk 3 – Northern Route Fund Raisers:

Paypal:

http://bit.ly/cI3InE

Cafepress.com

CHECKOUT OUR STORE!!!!! T-shirts, Sweatshirts, kids clothing, hats, bags,doggie t-shirts, home/office, mugs, cards and calendars!!!!!!!!!ALL PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF THIS MERCHANDISE WILL BE USED DIRECTLY TO FUND THIS WALK!!!!! Please help us reach our goals and destination by purchasing an item! Blessings to you all and Walk in Beauty!

http://www.cafepress.com/LW3NR

Thank you again for all your help. :)

“Turn it around.”


Longest Walk 3 – Northern Route Fund Raisers:

Paypal:

http://bit.ly/cI3InE

Cafepress.com

CHECKOUT OUR STORE!!!!! T-shirts, Sweatshirts, kids clothing, hats, bags,doggie t-shirts, home/office, mugs, cards and calendars!!!!!!!!!ALL PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF THIS MERCHANDISE WILL BE USED DIRECTLY TO FUND THIS WALK!!!!! Please help us reach our goals and destination by purchasing an item! Blessings to you all and Walk in Beauty!

http://www.cafepress.com/LW3NR

Thank you again for all your help. :)

I need to explain that my two ground efforts to do fund raising for Longest Walk 3 Northern Route have failed. I was going to do a music fundraiser I started working on last summer. The booking agent couldn’t find a willing venue. I was working on a social, and even had a drum group lined up. The person whose place it is suddenly decided his venue was “too small.” I was told twice for two months it could be used. The social had to be done before the holiday season if it was going to be done. So, using this fund raising means is the last resort. They will need food, shelter, and shoes.

Please help “Turn it around” both for the sake of Longest Walk 3 Northern Route and the future generations they will walk for. I have learned from a Tuscarora tribal member there is no word in their language for “please,” only yahweh (thank you).

(not the same words I’ve heard before, but same sentiment)


The Iroquois Thanksgiving Address

We are all thankful to our Mother, the Earth, for she gives us all that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time.

We give thanks to all the Waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength. Water is life.

As far as the eye can see, the Plants grow, working many wonders. They sustain many life forms. We give thanks and look forward to seeing Plant life for many generations to come.

Pretty Bird Woman House Update: Why Isn’t Anything Easy in Indian Country?

(crossposted on the Daily Kos and Street Prophets under betson08 and Docudharma under PiledHigherand Deeper – I guess I have an unstable identity!)

I want to update everyone who has been involved in the Pretty Bird Woman House fundraiser on the situation with the house purchase.

After you read this you might also ask: Why isn’t anything easy in Indian Country?

While we were running this fundraiser, the City Council of McLaughlin, which exists as a separate entity within the boundaries of the Standing Rock Reservation, passed an ordinance requiring that any nonprofit wishing to establish a boardinghouse or shelter in a residential area get the approval of the City Council first.

This means that  even though Pretty Bird Woman House could have closed on the house on January 4th, they had to wait for a Council meeting on January 7th.

Everyone was certain that after hearing about the shelter, the City Council would just say “of course you can” to their request.

Not so.  

Unfortunately, Georgia Little Shield, the shelter director, was attending a mandatory federal training associated with their new grant, so she was unable to go to the hearing. However, six representatives of PBWH and neighboring shelters did attend, including Jackie Brown Otter and a lawyer from the South Dakota Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Someone from the Lutheran church, the owner of the house the shelter bid on, also attended in support of the shelter.

The new ordinance that is affecting the shelter was passed in response to complaints about the men residing in a homeless shelter in another neighborhood, since they were making nuisances of themselves. While I can’t blame the residents for wanting drunken men off of their lawns, the measure does seem draconian in relation to the size of the problem it sought to address.

In general, reports from people who attended the meeting indicated that the ratio of support to opposition on the Council was about 60/40. Instead of voting on it that night, however, they decided to take the full 30 days allowed by the ordinance, and have another hearing.

The problem they are having, which has definite racial overtones, generally seems to stem from the fact that some of the members of the community could not conceptually distinguish between a homeless shelter, which houses men with emotional and drug problems, and a women’s shelter, which houses women who are escaping abuse, and want nothing more than a safe place to stay and to be as unobtrusive as possible. This is quite the opposite of a homeless shelter.

One reason for hope for a positive resolution was that Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth publicly came out in favor of the shelter in a recent Rapid City Journal articleabout the shelter. By the way, that paper also carried a very nice article about the shelter and the netroots fundraising efforts, which you can see here.

The Congresswoman seems to have become a champion of this cause, and programs to assist domestic violence victims in Indian Country in general. Kudos and applause to her!

And, without trying to dictate to the city council, Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D., nonetheless has made it clear that her heart is with the shelter as it searches for a permanent home.

“I’m not going to get involved in that (council vote),” Herseth Sandlin said earlier this week. “But I do hope that our efforts in making greater resources available to those isolated reservations will be a factor in the decision making — to know that a member of their congressional delegation is paying particular attention and wanting to be partners in their effort to have a safer community.”



Herseth Sandlin visited the Pretty Bird Woman House twice last year and supported Congressional bills with additional financial resources for law-enforcement and domestic-violence programs on reservations.

But she went further. The article notes that after visiting the burned shelter back in October:  

…Herseth Sandlin returned to McLaughlin with Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, as well as congressional staffers. They stopped by the shelter apartment, which had by then been abandoned, and met with federal and local law-enforcement officials, shelter representatives and Dumdei.

After the visit, Dicks inserted language into an omnibus appropriations bill expressing his concern that “methamphetamine use, violence against women and other serious crimes have reached epidemic levels in certain areas of Indian Country,” and directing the Bureau of Indian Affairs to increase the level of law enforcement and criminal prosecution in such areas.

That doesn’t provide more money specifically for Standing Rock but directs BIA to focus more resources on isolated areas where law officers are scarce. Herseth Sandlin said the October Congressional stop was part of the inspiration for adding that language into the spending bill. It also helped raise awareness in Congress about the issues of domestic violence and inadequate law enforcement on isolated reservations, she said.

“I think it has been very important to keep raising awareness about the epidemic of various crimes, especially domestic violence, and the inadequate staffing levels of BIA officers,” she said.

Again, thank you Congresswoman Herseth!

Additionally, the Mayor, who is in somewhat of a bind here, was quoted in the same article:

Mayor Ron Dumdei said this week that he and council members appreciate the value of the shelter but also must consider the concerns of members of the community. Some citizens worry that the shelter could again be victimized by vandals and pose other potential threats to the community in its new location.

“I understand their need for a shelter, but I also have to be sensitive to the other community folks who have concerns about it,” Dumdei said. “We’ll do what we can to make things right.”

He seems to have good intentions here, so that’s another good sign.

Another issue that arose during the meeting was what seems to have been a misconception about the local police authority to arrest Indians. Because McLaughlin has a white police department operating inside an Indian reservation, according to one opponent of the shelter, the white police officers have no jurisdiction, so it wouldn’t matter whether or not the shelter is close to a police station (was that a wtf moment for you? It was for me).

This is plainly not true. There are jurisdictional issues that make it difficult to hold people, but they can be arrested, as the Mayor’s statement to the Rapid City Journal reflected:

Jurisdiction issues between the tribe, federal agencies and state and local law enforcement officers create problems as well, Dumdei said. Non-Native officers who apprehend tribal lawbreakers may only hold them until they can be picked up by the federal officers, Dumdei said.

The jurisdictional issues make it difficult for nontribal law enforcement to be effective, he said.

“It creates some problems here. But we’re trying to work it out,” Dumdei said. “What we want to do is provide a safe community. It’s a complicated issue, but we’re going to do the best with what we’ve got.”

Unfortunately, though, the original argument was not quashed at the meeting. In any case, as Georgia told me by phone yesterday, there has not been one case in South Dakota of a batterer attacking a women’s shelter. What happened to the shelter was vandalism, and we do not know the race of the vandals. The shelter needs to be in a safe area for the safety of the women inside it, just in case they are stalked, as well as to to deter  vandals, but not because any batterers are likely to attack the shelter.

During the upcoming 30 days, the Council will hold another town meeting and give Georgia a chance to talk about the shelter. That will also give the women’s shelter advocates in the area some time to educate the residents about exactly what a shelter is and does.

One thing IS certain. WE WILL HAVE A SAFE HAVEN FOR WOMEN ON THE STANDING ROCK RESERVATION, NO MATTER WHAT. Compassion WILL win.

Georgia also told me that one other thing they will immediately do is create a Plan B for purchase of a house. Since they could not close on a house on Jan.4th, as originally planned, they are now technically out of compliance with the grant that provides for operational expenses for the house. Thank God for the fundraiser. If they have to renovate some other house farther away from town, they will now be able to. Lets hope that doesn’t happen.

Right now, we’re not asking for letters to anyone in McLaughlin, except thank yous to Congressional Reps. Herseth and Dicks for their support. I think it is entirely possible that the members of the Council who oppose the shelter will come to their senses after they have been educated about what a women’s shelter really is, especially with more press coverage of the situation. This may just be another bureaucratic delay.

While I wait, what I am going to do is research the history behind these  towns on Indian reservations in the Dakotas. Some of the social relationships that have been described to me since I have become involved with this project are so oddly 19th century that sometimes I have difficulty overcoming my disbelief at what I’m hearing. I need to educate myself on this.

And things are just as messed up at the federal level too, which reinforces these problems.  Senator Dorgan has developed a concept paper with ideas for legislation to improve law enforcement in Indian Country. We really need to change federal laws that create conditions where people are treated differently by law enforcement just because of their race. You can read that paper here

Senator Dorgan is requesting comments on this paper.

Well, there you have it. This situation still embodies what Native American women face when they try to make change in their community. I feel so great to be able to say that now they’ve got the netroots behind them.

P.S.You can still get lots more information, and until the end of the month donate too, at the PBWH blog