Rosebud tribal members are still digging out from winter storms.
Some are hauling wood to keep community members warm while truck drivers deliver propane to residents.
South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s Lee Strubinger has more.
Wayne and Alex Romero Frederick load firewood onto a trailer just north of Tea.
The Lakotas from Okreek travelled to Sioux Falls to gather wood and other provisions to bring back to their neighbors.
Alex says they’ve dealt with extreme wind, snow, ice and cold the last two weeks.
“A lot of the firewood that was stored we can’t get to. A lot of the creeks are snowed in so deep so that we can’t cut wood. A lot of people ran out of wood.”
Wayne sits on the Rosebud Tribal Council. He says recovery efforts could take a while, especially as the region anticipates the two coldest months of the year.
“And there’s always going to be a big snow come March. How long is it going to take us to recover? It’s going to take us a year. The broken pipes. The houses that have been lost. That’s just the material things. We’ve lost some people.”
At least six people have died. Both Rosebud and neighboring Pine Ridge were slammed with back-to-back winter storms this December. The Rosebud tribe set up an online donation portal for blizzard relief efforts.
Governor Kristi Noem activated the National Guard last week.
Efforts to haul firewood from the Black Hills to Pine Ridge and Rosebud, as well as help with snow removal, are ongoing.
Travis Eagle Deer is the general manager for Sicangu Propane. He says the company is focusing on larger communities with the most homes in need of propane.
Eagle Deer says there’s no shortage of propane, rather an issue of getting trucks through narrow paths with snow drifts on either side of the road.
“That is making it impossible to get to some people’s houses in the community. So, we’re slowly working, removing snow, just so we can get access to certain homes,” Eagle Deer said. “It’ll probably still be a bit before we can get to some of the homes around the area just due to the large amount of snow drifts and plows need to widen roads for us.”
Eagle Deer asks residents to keep paths to their propane tanks clear and to widen their driveways if possible.
A new committee led by the Interior Department recently began work to identify place names considered derogatory and to recommend potential replacements.
Hannah Bissett from our flagship station KNBA has more.
On December 7 and 8, the Advisory Committee on Reconciliation in Place Names met for the first time.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland hopes the committee would accelerate a critical process of derogatory place names.
“From the very beginning the Biden-harris administration has worked to tackle racial injustice and inequity. That’s why one year ago it was the secretary’s orders to make this advisory committee to help us ensure that America’s public land are welcoming to everyone.”
In this meeting, they discussed what the term “Derogatory” means, creating sub-committees, and detailing future plans.
On the topic of the term “Derogatory,” Federico Mosqueda, Coordinator of the Arapaho Language and Culture Program, said the following: “We as a committee, need to challenge this definition. With some of the names coming up, I think what we need to do is to take the names we consider derogatory to us and challenge the name using their definition.”
He says this is important to push the point home by using experience and emotion to express the inappropriate nature of these place names and their hurtful histories.
The proposed subcommittees were: The federal land unit names subcommittee, the geographic feature names subcommittee, and the processes and principles subcommittee.
There was discussion on bringing on people who did not make it on to the committee to be a part of these subcommittees. Some of the committee members expressed interest in joining these subcommittees.
The subcommittee’s main job would gauge community voices.
“I already have in hand… a list of all departments of interior and forest service land unit names… at least in federal lands unit names committee, there is a list almost ready to go to provide to that subcommittee.”
That was Joshua Winchell, Staff Director of the National Park System Advisory Board. Winchell says that the subcommittees will be creating broad recommendations for the committee to decide on.
Winchell says it is important to have these subcommittees because they deal with different methods.
“For instance, we renamed a state park Sue-meg Yurok name, last year, and even after the park and recreation commission acted on that it had to go to the federal government.”
The general public will be able to provide input and engage with the committee’s discussion by making written comments and attending virtual meetings.
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