California Tribe Donates $1 Million to Establish South Dakota Indian Fire Department

California Tribe Donates $1 Million to Establish South Dakota Indian Fire Department

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown October 24th, 2017 Blog

Wow! Amazing news from the NCAI conference being held in Wisconsin this week. Much needed funds are donated to the Oglala Nation to help with public safety. Please read more from the press release below!

Milwaukee, WI (October 17, 2017) – The 32,000 member Oglala Sioux Tribe moved closer to establishing its first fire department following the donation by California-based San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

The $1 million grant announced today at the National Congress of American Indians general session in Milwaukee funds fire fighting capacity and training on the 3,500-square-mile Pine Ride Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Previous efforts to establish public safety and fire firefighting programs have been slowed by a lack of tribal government resources that not only delayed the creation of a fire department but also the tribe’s ability to pursue grants from federal and state agencies.

“The Oglala Sioux people are very grateful to san Manuel for this assistance,” said President Scott Weston of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. “Our people have suffered directly and lost far too many homes and other structures to fires over the years because we did not have the capabilities to respond to these emergencies.”

Grant funding will be used to:
• Hire a fire chief and essential staff and personnel
• Recruit and train volunteer firefighters
• Develop fire prevention building codes and code-enforcement capacity
• Begin a fire prevention public education program
• Hire grant writers to pursue FEMA grants and funds from other agencies

“When we heard from the Oglala tribal leaders about their need for fire fighting services on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, we had to act,” said San Manuel Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena. “The people of San Manuel are proud to stand with the Oglala Sioux Tribe as they work to enhance their government capabilities to serve their people.”

About The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
The San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians is a federally recognized American Indian tribe located near the city of Highland, Calif. The Serrano Indians are the indigenous people of the San Bernardino highlands, passes, valleys and mountains who share a common language and culture. The San Manuel reservation was established in 1891 and recognized as a sovereign nation with the right of self-government. As an indigenous community the origins and history of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians stem from our relationship with the land and to all who share it. Since ancient times we have expressed ourselves through a culture of giving. Today, San Manuel is able to answer the call of Yawa' (Serrano word meaning “to act on one's beliefs”) through partnerships with charitable organizations. We have drawn upon our history, knowledge, expertise and cultural values to direct our philanthropic giving in our local region, as well as to Native American causes nationwide. For more information, visit

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About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

TAGGED:    Oglala Sioux    Pine Ridge    San Manuel  


10 thoughts on “California Tribe Donates $1 Million to Establish South Dakota Indian Fire Department

  1. shirley spratley says:

    hi i am visiting utah and arizona next year, may 1st till 9th, is there any way i can stay with a family see some of your culture help out? i have ridden horses all my life and used to farm animals. i love nature and have done treks where i sleep in the desert under the stars. i am a retired english lady, living in cyprus i have my own horse i have taught to jump and compete in local shows. i would love to attend a pow wow, or similar, is there anything at the time i am there? hope you have something for me. shirl .

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