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indians at Rosebud Reservation
Last year, the Northeast where I live had two major storms, Hurricane Irene in August and a surprise nor'easter in October. Each time, we lost power for 8 days. Nothing makes you appreciate the grid and infrastructure like losing power and heat in a storm.

This year, it was Sandy, though many were far more hard-hit than we were (we only lost power for half a week as the worst of the storm kindly curved around us to the west and north.

But what if this happened every winter? What if the elements were not so kind and hit you head on? What if running out of heat where it's really cold (not just Connecticut cold) threatened you with freezing to death?

The need on the Great Plains this winter is real and the folks I'm talking about are just as real. You can help with the donation of the gift of heat. This is something I've been participating in for several years now (yes, I put my money where my mouth is), and I do it for several reasons.

One is human need. One is remembering the Lakota, who were among WWII's Code talkers that helped win the war my father fought in. And not least is to honor my friends Meteor Blades, navajo, and all the Native Americans and First Nation posters that are part of the Daily Kos community.

Read on to learn more, and to see how you can help (yes, you can).

Since winter 2009-2010, thanks to the efforts of navajo, Native American Netroots and other Kossacks, low-income Indians at the Rosebud Reservation and Pine Ridge Reservation have received propane and heaters to deal with the often-brutal winters of South Dakota. This is our fourth season of fund raising for this project, which literally saves lives because it catches people who fall through the cracks. Some have asked why we don't run this project through a regular charity. The reason is that our contacts on the reservations say they don't see the money when there is a middleman involved. That is why this is a unique project. You can learn more about the situation at the Rosebud Reservation, read some personal stories and see photos in Aji's post here.

Here is how you can help buy propane: The fastest way to help is to pick up the phone and call with your credit-card information. A family will get propane delivered either the same day or the next day.

FOR ROSEBUD RESERVATION:

Telephone St. Francis Energy Co. at:
605-747-2542
11 AM-6 PM MST EVERY DAY
Ask for Sherry or her mom Patsy, but others can help you also. Normally a minimum order is $150, but they have an account to accumulate small donations until they get enough for an full delivery. Credit cards welcome, and they are the only Indian-owned fuel company on the Rosebud, which is next to Pine Ridge and in the same economically depressed condition. If you'd like to mail a check, make it payable to:

St. Francis Energy Co.
Attn: Sherry or Patsy
St. Francis Energy Co./Valandra's II
P.O. Box 140
St. Francis, South Dakota 57572

PLEASE NOTE:  NOT A 501c3, PLEASE CONSULT YOUR TAX PREPARER.

Of course, all the propane in the world won't do you any good without a heater. Many families don't even have working heaters—or ones that work safely. Every year, there are house fires as a result of malfunctioning heaters that people can't afford to repair. So if you're flush or you have a few friends who can put your dollars together, a heater would be really welcome this Thanksgiving season.
You can order a heater and the necessary accessories from Northern Tool HERE and have it shipped to:
Propane Heater for Rosebud reservation

Sherry Cornelius
St. Francis Energy Co.
102 N. Main Street
Saint Francis, SD 57572

Here's what you'll be sending:
• Mr. Heater Big Buddy™ Indoor/Outdoor Propane Heater—18,000 BTU, Model# MH18B
You also need to include these accessories:
• Mr. Heater AC Power Adapter for Big Buddy Heaters—6 Volt, Model# F276127
• Mr. Heater 12-Ft. Hose with Regulator for Item# 173635
• Mr. Heater Fuel Filter for Buddy™ Heaters, Model# F273699
Order Total of $235.85 (includes shipping)

FOR PINE RIDGE RESERVATION:
Telephone the Lakota Plains Propane Company
605-867-5199
Monday-Friday only; 8-4:30pm MST.
Ask for Crystal. $120 minimum delivery. This company serves Pine Ridge Reservation.
PLEASE NOTE:  NOT A 501c3, PLEASE CONSULT YOUR TAX PREPARER.

WE DO NOT HAVE ARRANGEMENTS FOR HEATER DELIVERY WITH LAKOTA PLAINS.

INTERNATIONAL DONORS:

If you live out of the country, please use our PayPal link at Native American Netroots. The donation button is in the middle right of the page. This process takes about two weeks for the funds to hit the reservations, so telephoning the propane companies directly is definitely the fastest way to help.

Photos show Rosebud Reservation residents thanking Daily Kos donors for propane and heaters last winter.
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