CDP Week of Gratitude: Pine Ridge Long-Term Disaster Recovery Group

This week, as people across the United States look forward to a day of giving thanks, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) is highlighting a small number of stories of impact and expressing our gratitude to a small subset of our partners and donors who have made the work we do possible.

Impact Partner: Pine Ridge Long-Term Disaster Recovery Group (LTRG)

The Pine Ridge Reservation has been hit with disasters year after year. In mid-March 2019, a bomb cyclone (essentially a winter hurricane) hit the Pine Ridge region with up to two feet of heavy snow. Sudden warming temperatures melted the snow rapidly, causing widespread flooding across the reservation.

T he weather event displaced an estimated 1,500 tribal members from their homes and 2,300 families registered for assistance. Following the spring flooding, the Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe (OST) received their first-ever FEMA declaration, separate from the state.

This March 2019 photo provided by Henry Red Cloud, shows flooding on Cloud’s property on the Pine Ridge Reservation in southern South Dakota.

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) is thankful to partner with the Pine Ridge Long Term Recovery Group (LTRG), who worked tirelessly with the Pine Ridge Office of Emergency Management to provide life-saving response and then disaster recovery following the 2019 bomb cyclone. This effort was led by OST tribal member Maretta Champagne, who has extensive disaster recovery experience in a variety of roles. Since 2015, Maretta has taken the lead on several grants from the CDP Midwest Early Recovery Fund, most recently as Disaster Recovery Coordinator for their LTRG.

Maretta was honored with the Spirit Award by National Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) in May 2019 for her tireless efforts to assist members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. She was the first Native American to be honored by NVOAD.

Without the Pine Ridge Long Term Recovery Group, most affected families would not recover from these weather disasters. The LTRG has built dozens of homes, repaired hundreds of homes, educated and trained, raised funds and persevered to keep doing this vital work.

Champagne explains, “We have a lack of housing with about 2,000 homeless families and 60% of the homes are severely substandard, without water, electricity, adequate insulation and sewage systems. These factors and lack of resources create a delay or no disaster recovery for some of the most vulnerable people. Natural disasters are devastating. For many survivors, their lives are changed forever. Recovery takes years, and assistance is critical to that recovery.”

Thank you, Pine Ridge Long Term Recovery Group, for the relentless work to help Pine Ridge’s Native communities recover from devastating disasters. You have made a significant impact.

CDP Staff

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