Native Village
Youth and Education news
March 1, 2010     Volume 3


Keith Olbermann Helps Raise $250,000 for Storm-Ravaged Cheyenne River Reservation
By John R. Platt |
Condensed by Native Village

keith_olbermann_-_small.jpgSouth Dakota: Less than a minute of air time. That's all Keith Olbermann needed to help 14,000 Native Americans on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. There, the people were suffering one of the worst and most ignored natural disasters to hit the U.S. in years

In January, the Cheyenne River Reservation suffered dangerous ice storms and blizzards. The storms knocked out 2,500 utility poles and disrupted electricity and heat for 14,000 people. They were forced to live in sub-zero temperatures for nearly two weeks. Many homes were damaged. Food spoiled, and supplies dwindled. Pleas for help  seemed to fall on deaf ears.

Most of the media ignored this crisis, Despite calls for help from the Sioux Nation, only $8,000 in donations had been raised by  Feb. 9.

That's when Keith Olberman at MSNBC took notice. That night Olbermann talked about the tragedy and the reservation's need for immediate help. He called it a "humanitarian crisis at home."   [video below.]

The result? Within 48 hours, more than $250,000 in donations had poured in from around the country. Soon, 95% of tribal members had electricity.

However, the storms' effects will be felt for a long time. Donations will also help:

Repair homes damaged when water lines froze and broke
Fund generators,
Fund emergency command centers
Pay for blankets and pillows."

"I know there are hard economic times across the country and those who are able continue to respond with prayers, money and muscle to help our neighbors in Haiti," said tribal chairman, Joseph Brings Plenty.  "I find myself in the humble position of appealing for your support in our time of emergency. I would not ask you for assistance unless I was confident we are doing all we can. We are."

The 2,700,000 acre Cheyenne River reservation is among the nation's poorest. It's unemployment rate is nearly 85%.

Keith Olbermann's Cheyenne River Disaster Relief Fund:

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