NORTH DAKOTA, N.D. (KXNET) — Poor road conditions can result in serious crashes, and right now, tribal representatives say the lack of resources on Standing Rock Sioux Nation is leading to the problem.
Harold Frazier, Tribal Transportation Director of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, states that it’s hard to get grants from the federal government for road construction due to the lack of documentation with their tribal police.
“Our law enforcement here with the Bureau of Indian Affairs doesn’t keep very good records on crash data and accidents,” he explained, “and it’s really hard to obtain them. But they are really needed if we’re going to go after grants and go after other resources, so that’s a big challenge as well.”
When asked about the specifics of road conditions, Frazier states that the rugged and damaged pathways can be extremely dangerous, especially if they aren’t fixed quickly and effectively.
“There are unsafe roads with potholes not being able to be filled,” he said, “or washboards on gravel that we can’t get out there and blade them in time. It’s very hard for a lot of people on Standing Rock.”
He also notes that the native community has been complaining constantly.
“Every day,” he recalled. “It’s been about every day. You know they understand it’s the lack of resources and not only funding but manpower too.”
More funding and money can help fix the roads and also pay people good salaries to stay and work in Standing Rock. However, there is an essential factor that could cause these grants to become a hit-or-miss situation.
“You got to have them be what they declare in Washington to be quote ‘shovel ready’,” explained Frazier. “You’ve got to have all of your preliminary prospects, your plans, your environmental plans squared away, and that costs money.”