Santee Sioux Nation Newsletter

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Updates from Tribal Leadership

A Long Journey to Clean & Safe Water

As you know, over the past 8 months, I would periodically give updates on our current water supply here. The water coming from our faucets is not clean or drinkable. In 2019, high levels of radon and manganese were found in our water supply. Consuming the water can be harmful to people, especially infants.

I had learned the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) had a fund for tribes for potable water, or drinking water. There was an application process to receive this water, and I had filled that our ordering about 80 pallets of water and sent it in to the BIA office in Winnebago, NE. After asking about that status of bottled water a few times we were able to get the first shipment of bottled water this past July.

The most current news on our water situation:

In August, I attended a Region 7 Tribal Leader Summit with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Kansas City, MO. This was a 3-day conference with nine other tribes in Region 7 with FEMA and 9 other Federal agencies. The purpose of the summit was to discuss emergency planning, hazard mitigation planning, and learn how to create an emergency plan with a mitigation plan. It was a very informative and interesting meeting. The second day of the meeting we had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with all these agencies. I met with EPA, HUD, USDA, HHS, FEMA grants management, logistics, and mitigation teams, Dept of Energy, etc. I explained our water situation especially to the EPA, HHS and FEMA.

With FEMA I asked this question: we do not have clean drinking water, in fact we are not supposed to drink water from the water supply we have. IHS hads drilled everywhere using infraraed and ground penetrating radar to locat water but have no found quanitity or quality water. At this point, we either pay to connect to a rural water distri t, or build a water treatment facitliy each of which would cot money that we don’t have. You all, FEMA, have the power to recommend to the President of the United States that an emergency be declared for the Santee Sioux Nation to fix our water so we can have clean drinking water. Can FEMA do this?

Representative from FEMA explained it is possible, and the Flint Michigan water crisis may have set a precedent for us to get our water problem solved. An emergency declaration from the President was declared for Flint Michigan water in 2016, and it seems we may have an opportunity to have the same happen here fro the Santee Sioux Nation water. I was told FEMA would need to look into it and research our water here to get more information, but at this point much of the information is already documented. I have already sent a lot of documents and waters statistics to FEMA Tribal Liaison and other FEMA representative. Of course these discussions are al l preliminary and no promises were made, but I feel we could have an opportunity here. I will continue to keep you all updates on water and this news from FEMA.

Crofton Community School Mascot

Surrounding Schools Mascots of Concern

A few months back, in May, I had sent letters out to 3 area schools who have a Native American mascot. One of the three schools did reply, the Crofton Public School Superintendent and School Board.

We were invited and I did attend their school board meeting to address everyone in attendance. I requested the school board to change their mascot which depicts a Native American warrior with feathers. Our people are not your mascot, I said. We want to have positive relationships with our neighbors, and for the most part we do. Members of Crofton drive here to work, and we drive through Crofton everyday and some of us have worked there too. But with Crofton public schools having their current mascot on their school buildings, signs and apparel, we all continue to have a feeling of animosity in the back of our minds. Crofton needs to do the right thing and retire that mascot.

Their response was, thank you for coming and well said, but I have no heard from them since May of this year. To their credit, I suppose, they were the only school board to response to our letter.

Tribal Enrollment Survey

In July we began an enrollment survey asking tribal members to complete the survey on Facebook and the new tribal website. Thank you to all of you who participated!Pending the results of the survey we will then have meetings with the Tribal membership discussing what changes should be made to enrollment requirements in the constitution. These meetings will be announced in the future.

Our goal is to have a secretarial election with hopes of changing the current enrollment requirements making it easier for people to enroll with the Santee Sioux Nation. Preliminary results from the survey show a vat majority of tribal members would like to see some kind of changes to enrollment requirements making it easier for people to enroll with our tribe. Our Tribes population has not grown in the past 40 - 50 years and in fact has decreased. This must be changed, and it will take time, but we will get there.

Click to view the Tribal Enrollment Survey Results