After I wrote to you last week with news that the McLaughlin City Council had shut off the power to my son’s home, you came through in a big way. You flooded the council with nearly 10,000 emails demanding that they stop this harmful practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you, and good work! However, though my son’s power is back on, the council still hasn’t stopped shut-offs citywide.
If you have not yet done so, please join the chorus telling Standing Rock Nation’s second-largest town to stop freezing families out of their homes as the pandemic hits South Dakota in a big way.
If you have already sent your message to the city council, please share our action on social media using the buttons below. Ask your friends and family to join our call for Standing Rock safety now.
My son, his wife, and my grandchildren.
I am happy to tell you that a conscientious reporter from the Rapid City Journal also followed up on a press release we sent and wrote an article, later picked up by the Bismarck Tribune. We hope that the continued pressure from you and the media will pay off in policy change soon. The council will meet again on Apr. 21. Let’s make sure they know we won’t accept their failure to provide public safety for the people of Bear Soldier District (our Lakota name for McLaughlin).
Because South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem stubbornly refuses to call for even the most basic precautions to slow the viral spread, the pandemic has now exploded in my state. (We will share more with you about this very soon.) Sioux Falls is home to the single worst hot spot in the nation, and there are also multiple cases in Bear Soldier. This just makes it all the more important that local officials — like those on the McLaughlin City Council — behave responsibly.
Our goal in this campaign is not to increase racial division or get free electricity for anyone. Rather, we’re hoping to encourage compassion and concern for public health on the part of our elected officials — and reconciliation between Native and non-Native residents of Standing Rock. But our goal of unity can only be furthered if justice is secured.
Wopila — I thank you on behalf of all the families of Bear Soldier!
Robert White Mountain
via the Lakota People’s Law Project
P.S. COVID-19 has arrived at Standing Rock. Please continue helping our families stay safe.
Lakota People’s Law Project
547 South 7th Street #149
Bismarck, ND 58504-5859
The Lakota People’s Law Project is part of the Romero Institute, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) law and policy center. All donations are tax-deductible.