It took Governor Kristi Noem less time to hire a new Secretary of Health than it did to notice Indians were dying and call up the National Guard to help the Rosebud Sioux weather this month’s awful snow and cold.
Yesterday Governor Noem issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency for the entire state due to “a dangerous, multi-day severe winter storm that brought snow, high winds, and severe wind chills leading to blizzard conditions in areas where snow fell and freezing temperatures.” Executive Order 2022-12 doesn’t mention the Rosebud Sioux Reservation specifically, but while emphasizing that her administration is already busting its chops to help the tribes, Noem’s accompanying press release notes that the National Guard troops she is deploying (you know, the ones not already tied down doing nothing useful at the Texas-Mexico border) are headed to Rosebud after chopping down some trees:
“My administration has been assisting county and tribal governments in the local response to the ongoing winter storms across the state,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “Under the direction of the Office of Emergency Management, we will continue to help all of South Dakota’s communities get through these storms, together.”
The South Dakota National Guard has been activated pursuant to the statewide emergency, and resources are needed to provide additional assistance to the tribes. When the tribes request help, it is evaluated to see if it is an appropriate use for our National Guard. The Guard’s immediate mission is hauling available firewood from the Black Hills Forest Service to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Other missions may be necessary as coordination between tribal and local governments and State Emergency Management continues.
The Noem Administration had already been responding to the various needs of South Dakota’s tribes throughout these storms, and those are detailed in this release by the South Dakota of Public Safety [Office of the Governor, press release, 2022.12.22].