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Pine Ridge Kinda Wet, Could Maybe Use New Dams, Funding…

Build a wall that won’t work for an emergency that doesn’t exist, or build infrastructure that would work for an emergency that does exist on Pine Ridge and might help the National Guard get there faster to save Henry Red Cloud’s dog from the flood:

Henry Red Cloud, a resident of the reservation, lives beside what was once a dry creek bed. He spoke to NPR as he oversaw the rescue of his dog, Chief, from his home’s front porch. “Currently we’re in waders and there’s a gentleman here to help me save the dog,” he said.

The 60-year-old Oglala Sioux Tribe member was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Reservation. “It’s usually dry here — we never get this kind of flooding,” he said. “It’s like a 100-year flood.”

…[F[or residents of Pine Ridge, the flooding has taken what was already a dire situation and made it “devastating,” [Rep. Peri] Pourier said. “We’re already underfunded and strapped for resources” from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, she explained. “We’re already in survival mode every day.”

Red Cloud also pointed to the situation being exacerbated by deteriorating infrastructure and a lack of support from the federal government. “If we had funding to fix our waterways, our infrastructure here; our dams have been built like 80 years ago — they’re outdated,” he explained. “If funding was set in place we wouldn’t be in the predicament that we are now.”

“Things are hard and have been hard here for generations,” Red Cloud added [Dalia Mortada, “Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota Suffers Two Weeks of Flooding,” NPR, 2019.03.25].

Governor Kristi Noem stood next to endorser/Mayor Paul TenHaken to survey flood damage in Sioux Falls on March 16. Noem went to Pine Ridge to view their snowstorm/flood damage on March 23, day 10 of the reservation’s state of emergency.

Noem deployed National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to keep out imaginary campaign-prop invaders just two days after taking office. Noem deployed National Guard troops to Pine Ridge to distribute water to real live South Dakotans eleven days after the big March 13 storm hit.


  1. Nick Nemec 2019-03-25 21:35

    I wonder if those National Guard helicopters deployed to the Mexican Border would have come in handy during the current flooding?

  2. Roger Cornelius 2019-03-25 21:51

    The irony is that those National Guard helicopters are named after the Lakota.

  3. Nick Nemec 2019-03-25 22:01

    A bitter irony.

  4. James 2019-03-25 23:24

    Ironically, it’s not her responsibility as they are a sovereign nation. Also, ironically, they want her and the state there whenever it’s convenient or they want more money.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-03-26 05:38

    James, do you also condemn Noem’s deployment of SDNG troops to Arizona, which lies even further outside her zone of responsibility?

    Do you also consider it “ironic” (I think the word is misused there; feel free to substitute “sneerworthy”) that Mayor Tenhaken want her and the state there whenever it’s convenient or they want money?

  6. Nick Nemec 2019-03-26 07:40

    The citizens of Pine Ridge are citizens of South Dakota just as much as I am or the people in Sioux Falls are. Whenever you hear a South Dakota politician use the sovereign nation excuse as the reason to ignore conditions in a reservation community you are hearing a racist making racist statements in an effort to excuse their own racist behavior.

  7. Dana P 2019-03-26 08:06

    I saw Ms Noem’s propagandizing “we can’t help until we are asked” video.

    That is straight out of the George W playbook. His administration said the same thing when they were getting hammered about their response (lack of) to Katrina.

    Her faux caring for the Native Americans is just that. Fake.

    She is, and always will be, a big ole pander bear.

  8. Roger Cornelius 2019-03-26 15:50

    That’s it, Jerry.
    The people of Pine Ridge and all South Dakota Indian reservations pay state and federal income taxes just like the people of Rapid City and Sioux Falls.
    The “arrogance” of James to believe that the state is a lord or savior of the Lakota people is hogwash. The people of Pine Ridge pay for the services the state offers just like anyone else.

  9. jerry 2019-03-26 16:46

    10 days late for assistance is Katrina style, heckuva job GNoem, but better late than never. Now, will those folks be forgotten or will we finally see some infrastructure monies go into not only Pine Ridge, but all of our much needed drainage issues. This weather is not going to change in the near future, we will be seeing more and more of this. What will be problematic for farm ground is the runoff of prime topsoil, The ground may be frozen but there is still topsoil that is not so frozen. All of this adds to the woes of us all.

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