Government puts the lights out

Monserrath Rodriguez

“This is not a Native American issue. This is a human issue.”

The campaign “Shift the Power to the People” has a mission- “to empower people to create sustainable, lasting change in their communities and countries.”

Composed of three stages- to create awareness on issues, to create alternatives to those issues that promote dignity, justice, unity and accountability and to take action to support these alternatives, Shift the Power to the People campaign is currently rallying for an allocation of $492.5 million dollars to the South Dakota’s Lakota Sioux Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe 2010 Crisis.

The Pick-Sloan Flood Control Act of 1944 authorized the construction of dams throughout United States. These constructions flooded many tribe’s best agricultural and grazing lands relocating many Native Americans.
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe was forced to move from their original Tribal Head Quarters at the bottom of the Missouri River. Their relocation was done to make room for a dam that would create hydro power for the United States government, making quite a few dollars worth of electricity yearly. In the new location the tribal leaders built schools, hospitals, etc. with tribal dollars.

Because of the recent storm everything is now underwater.
In February, the Cheyenne Sioux Tribe has declared a state of emergency after a severe ice storm devoured 3000 power poles leaving 13000 people without power, heat and water. The storm froze and broke many pipes from the outdated water system. The federally recognized Native American tribe is now burning wood and driving in their cars to keep warm and survive the storm. The antiquated water system, weather conditions and lack of water leaves the tribe with “no room for economic expansion and preventing its housing authority from building new homes.”

The support to allocate $492.5 million dollars to build a water supply system for the people of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe lies on the people of United States. A phone call or letter to a respective state representative can tremendously help the tribe achieve the fund they need. Unlike the Haiti campaigns, not to make it any lesser than this, the campaign does not ask for money but the voice of Americans.
The allocation will give the tribe a resolution to the crisis at hand and a long term solution so they can establish their community and have an opportunity to flourish.

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