Emergency Winter Boxes
Partnership With Native Americans is raising funds to provide Emergency Winter Boxes to Elders living in the remote reservations that we serve. These boxes provide essentials like blankets, gloves, batteries and other toiletries that are challenging to come by.
In the late fall, after all the leaves have fallen, and when the bone-chilling Arctic winds begin to blow across every square mile, I can’t help but be reminded of the haunting and sorrowful words once spoken by Chief Joseph when he surrendered to General Howard on October 5, 1877.
He said: "It is cold, and we have no blankets. Some of my people have no food. The little children are freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. I am tired. My heart is sick and sad."
I remember the Chief’s words because now, 144 years later, many Native Americans are still very cold. Our world has changed quite a bit since those early days. Winter preparation is much more complicated now and sadly, many Native Americans will struggle through very cold nights. By winter’s end, they may face serious risk because their poorly insulated homes provide only paper-thin resistance to winter’s high winds and freezing nightly temperatures.
Unless you have ever experienced a bitter freezing winter, you can have absolutely no idea just how challenging the dark months can be. What can make the situation even worse is having no supplies or emergency provisions when one of the common snowstorms strikes, making remote reservation roads virtually impassable.
More than half of the homes on the Rosebud Reservation are considered substandard, and one-third of homes on the Pine Ridge Reservation have no electricity, making winter in the Northern Plains an extremely desperate and dangerous time. People sometimes find it surprising that winters can be equally harsh in the desert Southwest.
In the reservation communities of Thoreau and Bylas, winter temperatures can plummet to 15 degrees below zero and sometimes receive several inches of snow. Of course, the senior citizens in both areas are the most vulnerable as they deal with a number of health issues, often needing to use extra fuel on summer nights as well as winter days just to stay warm.
Friend, I call on you today to partner with Partnership With Native Americans and our team of devoted reservation partners who will deliver Winter Preparedness Boxes, coats, blankets, scarves and gloves to provide not only the Elders, but also men, women and children with the supplies they need to get through a winter weather emergency.