A group of people who seem to have been forgotten during the COVID-19 pandemic are the Native
Americans. The tribes were to have received $8 billion in COVID-19 relief from the $2 trillion bill that was passed on March 27. The Treasury Department has been failing in its dealings with the 574 federally recognized tribal governments, because of a pending lawsuit with the Alaskan Native Cooperation. A letter has been sent by legislators directing them to dispense the funds immediately, but still no action has taken place.
The Native American Concerns Committee of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies PW has been in direct contact with Native American PW members. Here are some of the concerns expressed by those individuals from their respective reservations.
The Oglala Sioux Tribal elders on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota instituted shelter-in-place orders on March 27. LaVonne Looking Elk has not been able to go to the reservation because she lives in Rapid City. The last worship service at Porcupine Church was on Jan. 26. One person, who had traveled to California and returned, was found to have COVID-19. She left the reservation and is in Rapid City.
The shelter-in-place order caused the closing of the Pine Ridge Reconciliation Center. This led to the furloughing of the community members of the Lutheran/Lakota Job Corps. They are an integral part of the Pine Ridge Reconciliation Center. They care for many of their immediate and extended families and do not qualify for unemployment benefits. The center prays that they will be able to provide a stipend to lessen their financial burden with hopes of calling them back to work when the COVID-19 crisis has passed.
If you are able to contribute funds to support the staff and take care of the recurring expenses of the Center you may mail a check to: Pine Ridge Reconciliation Center, P.O. Box 862, Pine Ridge, SD 57770.
To contribute online go to: Choose Pine Ridge Reconciliation Center from the drop down menu and indicate Lutheran/Lakota Job Corps on the memo line.
Masks are needed on the Pine Ridge Reservation. They can be sent to: LaVonne Looking Elk at: 3729 West Chicago Rapid City, SD 57702 or Sonia Weston at: PO Box 254, Pine Ridge, SD 57770.
Susie Amos a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate said there have been five cases and three deaths related to COVID-19. People are asking for masks and they need at least 100. You may send them to: Susie Amos, PO Box 104, New Effington, SD 57255.
Ida Brown at the Yankton Sioux Reservation also needs face masks. You may send them to: Ida Brown 38630 SD Hwy, 46, Lake Andes, SD 57356.