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Residents on South Dakota’s Indian reservations are still without power tonight following last week’s snow storm

11/11/2008

Powerless In Parmelee


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Residents on South Dakota’s Indian reservations are still without power tonight following last week’s snow storm.├é┬á It could be another week before electricity is restored to some towns.├é┬á But to make matters even worse, up until Tuesday├é┬áhelp that is available from outside organizations, like the Red Cross, has not been reaching some reservations.

It only took a few snapped poles to cut power to entire communities on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation.  Parmelee is just one example of the several towns still waiting for electricity to be restored.

“They’re all without power, they’re running out of water and they’re running out of food,” Sandra Kallenberg says.

Sandra Kallenberg and a few others tried to ease those worries by cooking their own food for residents at the school and making deliveries in town, but power went out for the only building that still had an active line running to it, leaving around 2,000 people in the immediate area to wonder when their next warm meal would be.  Kallenberg says without approval from tribal leaders, no outside help from organizations like the Red Cross or Salvation Army can be accepted.

“We’ve talked to the tribal staff, we have yet to hear from them, I know they’re working on something but everything here is a little laid back but this is a need that’s been going on for days,” Kallenberg says.

Wednesday├é┬ámarks a week without power for people in Parmelee, and it could be another week before it’s restored to all the residents, so until then, people have been coming to churches that are outfitted with generators and doing whatever they can to stay warm.

“People are burning mattresses, people are burning clothes and tires to try to keep fires going in their houses, a├é┬ánumber of people have left town, some of the churches are providing food,” Kallenberg says.

But Kallenberg says there’s only so much a few people can do to help the struggling community.

“We do what we can, but we need help,” Kallenberg says.

The Black Hills Chapter of the American Red Cross has set up a dining hall/temporary shelter at the St. Agnes Church in Parmelee.

If you’d like to help the residents in Parmelee, a group of teachers has set up a website for donations.
Click here.