PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Department of Public Safety (DPS) is providing storm assistance to South Dakota Tribes following last week’s winter storms, according to a release sent out Tuesday.

“Our entire department, especially the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), worked closely with the tribes to discuss needs and resource requests that resulted from this storm,” said DPS Cabinet Secretary Craig Price. “The partnerships that we have with other agencies helped us act quickly and deploy resources to assist the tribes and their residents.”

The release listed a series of services that DPS says they’ve provided to the Tribes, such as:

  • Providing situational awareness and regular contact with tribal emergency managers from OEM starting last week before the storm hit;
  • Communicating regularly between the tribes and OEM with the Governor’s Office, SD Department of Tribal Relations (DTR), and FEMA;
  • Coordinating with the Oglala Sioux Tribe and Black Hills LifeFlight to transport a dialysis patient in critical condition to Rapid City;
  • Coordinating with the US Department of Health and Human Services, SD Department of Health, SD Health Care Coalition, and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe to ensure more than 40 dialysis patients could receive treatment;
  • Coordinating stranded motorist rescue among the Fusion Center, OEM, the Highway Patrol, and the Department of Transportation;
  • Working with the South Dakota Association of General Contractors to determine what contractors could work with local and tribal jurisdictions for snow removal;
  • Providing for SD Department of Transportation v-plow to get to critical patients on the Pine Ridge reservation;
  • Working with the SD Department of Transportation to clear roads on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations;
  • Sending OEM field coordinators to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe on Sunday, Dec. 18, to meet with tribal leadership to further discuss needs and resource requests; and, 
  • Sending two loaders/blowers to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and coordinating with SD Department of Transportation to deliver propane, firewood, and food to communities.

RST Emergency Manager Robert Oliver told KELOLAND News Monday that they had been in contact with Secretary of Tribal Relations David Flute, but that the process has been slow.

Flute is also quoted in the DPS release:

“The state has taken great efforts to assist the tribes throughout this winter storm, along with the rest of the state that was impacted by this extreme weather,” said Flute. “I have been in contact with President Herman over the course of this storm, listening to his concerns and relaying information from him.”

The Governor’s Office has not issued an independent statement, and no word has been made public regarding the request for a disaster declaration sent to the state by Rosebud Sioux Tribe (RST) President Scott Herman.