05 September 2005

NDN Country Responds...

I know who I be sending my hurricane relief check to...


Indian Country Responds to Victims of Katrina
Friday, September 2, 2005

Tribal nations across the United States are sending their support to the victims of Hurricane Katrina as federal officials pledged to help
tribes affected by a disaster that battered the Gulf Coast.

The National Congress of American Indians has set up a relief fund to
assist tribes and their members in Alabama, Louisiana and
Mississippi. Six federally recognized tribes are located in the three states, which were hit by wind, rain and flooding.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of the Indian Nations
located in the region effected by Hurricane Katrina," said NCAI
President Tex G. Hall. "It is times like this when it is important for Native people to come together to help one another out."

NCAI staff said it has reached some, but not all, of the tribes
affected by Katrina. Reports so far have indicated that the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians suffered the most damage.

The Mississippi Choctaw Reservation was hit by Katrina as it was
downgraded to a tropical depression. Several tribal communities have
suffered "extensive" physical damage, the Bureau of Indian Affairs

Telephone service and power have been lost in some areas.

"The BIA is committed to helping these communities get back on their
feet," said associate deputy secretary Jim Cason. "We will continue
to do all we can to meet that goal."

With NCAI coordinating financial assistance and the BIA addressing
public safety, emergency access and emergency service, Indian Country is helping out in other ways. The Seminole Tribe of Florida sent emergency crews to the Mississippi Choctaw Reservation earlier this week, Indian Country Today reported.

Support is coming from as far away as Oregon. The Klamath Tribes are
sending their primary physician, Dr. Curtis Hanst, and their pharmacist, Dr. Matt Baker, to New Orleans, the city that has endured some of the
worst damage. Hanst and Baker are due to leave Klamath Falls either
today or tomorrow.

"This is a devastating and traumatic event in that region and the
Klamath Tribes are honored to be able to assist," said Allison Henrie, the administrative officer for the tribe's health and family services

New Orleans is currently in a state of chaos as tens of thousands of
refugees remain stranded in a city deluged by flood waters. After
losing their homes and property to the storm, people are now running out of flood, clothing and drinkable water. The death toll could be in the

The picture isn't as grim for tribal communities but some problems
have been reported. Members of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana who live in Slidell have lost homes although the storm didn't claim any lives, NCAI said yesterday.

The tribe, meanwhile, is housing nearly 600 refugees at its
convention center. Some are residents of New Orleans who may not be able to return home for several more months, if at all.

In Alabama, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians suffered only minor

But April Sells, the tribe's management director, said members of
Southeastern tribes who live in the region have been hit hard.
"We're setting up a shelter for our members who are coming back to
the reservation because they now have no home and no place to go," Sells said.

The Poarch Creeks are also sending clothing, food and water to the
Chitimacha Tribe in Louisiana, Sells said.

The Chitimacha Tribe has already taken in 400 tribal members who
lived in New Orleans, the BIA said. Other communities affected are the
Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana and the Jena Band of Choctaw Indians.
To donate to the NCAI Hurricane Relief Fund, send donations to:

National Congress of American Indians
1301 Connecticut Ave, NW
Suite 200
Washington, DC 20036

Put Hurricane Relief in subject line of check. All donations will go
to the tribes in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
A large contribution to the fund is expected from a California gaming
tribe. The National Indian Gaming Association is helping to


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