Disaster declaration sought for Oglala and Rosebud tribes

South Dakota tribes are still trying to recover from December storms
Feeding South Dakota delivers emergency food supplies to Rosebud following a December storm.
Feeding South Dakota delivers emergency food supplies to Rosebud following a December storm.(Feeding South Dakota)
Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 11:13 AM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - South Dakota’s congressional delegation is soliciting President Joe Biden to approve major disaster declaration requests of tribes.

Letters from Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds; and Representative Dusty Johnson are in support of the Oglala Sioux and Rosebud Sioux tribes. Presidential disaster declarations quicken the pace of recovery from the effects of storms that pounded South Dakota Dec. 12-26.

“As you are aware, the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 allows federally recognized Native American tribes to directly request an emergency declaration from the President through a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Regional Administrator,” wrote the delegation.

“As the disaster declaration request indicates, tribal officials responded to the storms using resources immediately available to them,” the delegation continued. “The emergency operations conducted by the tribe reduced the storms’ impact and accelerated the recovery of tribal communities. Despite these efforts, a number of tribal members remained trapped in their homes and were unable to access necessary supplies.”

Some areas of the reservations recorded up to three feet of show with drifts up to 20 feet high, according to the delegation. Families quickly ran short on critical supplies such as medications and firewood to heat their homes.