Flooding Update – June 17, 2011

UTTC students helping the community prepare for the predicted flooding.

UTTC students helping the community prepare for the predicted flooding.

We still need your help. The flooding crisis is far from over and as the waters recede, they are leaving behind devastation to our students and staff. For others, it is wait and see if their efforts, literally, hold up the Missouri River.

The Missouri River on YouTube

Over the last month, our nation’s tribal colleges and universities in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota have been experiencing the worst flooding in recent memory.  Communities are bracing for additional flooding as record snowpack begins melting in the mountains.  As tribal members and the local residents do their best to deal with the current flooding and prepare for the rising water levels threatening their homes and communities, there is still a need for further assistance.

In the last couple of weeks we have asked you to help us defray the costs our member schools are shouldering in response to this natural disaster.  The outpouring of support to our flood relief campaign has been amazing, but the situation is far from over.  You can still help those affected by donating today.

Summer semester students are struggling to get to their schools and access to food and other supplies is getting harder by the day.  Students are incurring huge transportation costs to circumvent the floodwaters to get to campus. It’s hard enough juggling work, school, families, and struggling with poverty while attending college, but adding a natural disaster to the mix increases the incredible financial and emotional strain our students are under.

Here are our most recent updates in the affected areas.

North Dakota

Bismarck ND, home to United Tribes Technical College, is experiencing the highest water levels in the affected area.  United Tribes Technical College is currently operating an emergency shelter and continues to serve the community as needed.

The Army Corps of Engineers has worked to strengthen the dike and rock wall that protects the city of Ft. Yates, ND, while sandbagging efforts continue as a way to protect the home of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Sitting Bull College.  The Standing Rock Sioux Tribal government has issued a ban on swimming in the area’s lakes, rivers and streams due to swift currents, dangerous exposure to debris, and wildlife migration.  Precautions have been taken to protect The Causeway and Sitting Bull’s Gravesite but Sioux Village residents are urged to keep an eye on the rising water that is wrapping around their community.

Spirit Lake Nation (home of Cankdeska Cikana Community College) is experiencing a different flooding situation stemming from this year’s snow melt.  The Spirit Lake Nation is located next to a closed basin lake that rises year after year.  This spring, the only two roads providing access to the Spirit Lake reservation have washed out, leaving students and school faculty only able to travel these roads during the day with the help of a pilot car.  The rising waters are washing out interior roads and the situation isn’t expected to stabilize until mid July.

Montana

At Little Big Horn College in Crow Agency, more than 30 individuals continue to be housed in a shelter at Crow Agency on the Crow Reservation, displaced by flooding there.  To make matters worse, muddy conditions are making it hard for local residents to maneuver around town and there has been some loss of personal belongings to the encroaching water and mud.  To date, 30 homes have been declared a total loss while 20 others are in serious danger.  40 residents are being housed at the emergency center at Little Big Horn College.  Red Cross is providing food for the flood victims but there is still a great need for financial assistance to provide personal hygiene items, toiletries, canned food and water containers for those who have not had their well water cleared yet.

Stone Child College at the Rocky Boy Reservation is now operating a shelter for displaced families. Stone Child’s operation is independent of The Montana Red Cross, and the school needs financial assistance to cover the costs of cots, blankets, and food if the situation worsens.  The operations center at the school has taken it upon themselves to provide water to over 200 area residents.  Mountain roads are washed out making it hard for residents to move around town.

On the Ft. Peck Reservation in Poplar, Montana, home to Fort Peck Community College and near the Fort Peck Dam, the spillways are open and the tribe is seeking volunteer workers for emergency sandbagging efforts to protect sewage lagoons to ensure that drinking water there is not tainted by flooding.

Nebraska

South Sioux City, home to a branch of Nebraska Indian College, are carefully monitoring the flood conditions along the Missouri River.

The flooding situation along the Missouri River basin is expected to last six weeks, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as the waters from the filling dams are released gradually through the spillways. The flooding will displace people from their homes, taint the drinking water from sewage and runoff contamination, and place a strain on already stretched communities. Our tribal colleges are on the front lines, helping their communities to deal with this disaster, while also attempting to maintain their mission of educating the mind and spirit of their impacted students.

Please help today by donating to the American Indian College Fund’s flood emergency fund.  100% of this emergency fund will be used to help our affected students and tribal colleges stay afloat so that they can maintain their journey through higher education in the coming academic year.

Your support means so much. Thank you for supporting our students and our tribal college communities during this difficult time.

Click here to donate now or call 800-776-3863 for more information and to make your donation!


Thank you for your generosity and your vision.

Ocankuye Wasté Yelo (In a good way)

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