OST President Bear Runner creates petition for FEMA aid

Pine Ridge Reservation has been in a state of emergency for three weeks

OGLALA LAKOTA COUNTY S.D. – As the state of emergency on the Pine Ridge Reservation continues on, Tribal leadership is circulating a petition requesting federal aid.

Before the winter storm hit the area, leaders say they were still recovering from the hail storm last summer. Now, President Julian Bear Runner is sending a message to the federal government asking for relief. Last week, the President posted a video on Facebook describing the conditions and what the Tribe is up against.

“I know that if we come together and work together, we support one another, that we can also overcome this additional hardship that has been put before us,” President Bear Runner says in the video.

On Friday, South Dakota Senator John Thune was in Rapid City for a celebration of the B-21 Bomber Program. He told reporters that the State and FEMA officials are in the process of assessing the damage. Once they conclude what the damages are, Governor Kristi Noem will submit a request for a declaration.

“There will be a number of different ways in which assistance is delivered but we’ll push it all along in Washington DC,” Thune said. “We’ve already been in touch with the USDA and making sure they are following the intent of the Livestock Indemnity Program, and when it comes to FEMA Assistance, that’s something we’ll be engaged with too.”

President Bear Runner’s petition says 1,500 people are still displaced from their homes from the flooding. It also says nearly all of the tribe’s heavy machinery has been damaged or destroyed in the storm.

Tribal leadership says nearly 100 buildings have been damaged from the flooding, and hundreds remain without drinking water.

With rain expected later this week, Oglala Sioux Tribe Emergency Officials are preparing for more muddy conditions.

For more information about President Bear Runner’s petition to FEMA, click here.

(Image Courtesy of OST President Julian Bear Runner)

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