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

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown October 24th, 2017 Last Updated on: October 24th, 2017

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 http://www.sanmanuel-nsn.gov.

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

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 PowWows.com 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  
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Running Doe

where are the powwow dancers, for cannot find, I don’t have facebook, wado Running Doe

shirley spratley

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 .

Paul G
Michele Bee

Shirl, please send me a friend request on Facebook, do a search for Michele Bee Pahrump and you should be able to find me. My profile picture is a chicken that has the overlay “we will not let hate win.” I live in southern Nevada and am also retired, an outdoors person, free to travel.


To the folks who want to see more dancers, we all do, for sure! But there’s so little news from Indian Country since Indian Country (the online news site) shut down that I’m not inclined to complain about advertising, especially during a time of year when people are ready to open their wallets. It takes resources to bring the powwow coverage, but you know that, so speaking for myself only, I’m feeling grateful that the ads will let the site continue and optimistic that the ad revenue will help bring back the dancers we love.

As for Jamie O’Brien, maybe the greatest thing we can all do to support Native people is to support Native businesses. Click straight from this site or from your emails from this site to find some really excellent products. A nice tradition in a lot of families is to give a new infant some moccasins or a blanket. A lot of what you’ll find on Native web sites (and like any business, it pays to check into it a little so as not to be contributing to non-Natives looking to take advantage of your good impulses) is hand-made and therefore costs rather dearly. People should be paid for their time, of course, and factored into their time is the time they spent learning the traditional ways to create objects and then (in many cases) putting their original ideas into them. Please consider supporting Native businesses. There’s really no big pool of cash for Natives to dip into that you could reasonably support. But there are certainly scholarship programs for Native youth and ways to support Native businesses in ways besides just purchasing from them. Native people want what we all want: Ways to support their families (which in many tribal nations are extended and large because of the way the culture is constructed around family) and so please click on any of these links and see what you might do.

And no, I am not affiliated in any way with this website. It just seemed, Mr. O’Brien, like you may appreciate these ideas. Thank you!

Jackie Lizee

I haven’t been to Pine Ridge in about 17 years. I miss seeing my friends.
I’m so thankful and so happy that there will be a real firehouse on the Rez! I have some friends that would be happy to be able to learn firefighting and the other skills needed to run a fire department, including staff for the “bookkeeping” end of it. In fact, I know someone who would probably be good at the job. I’ll have to get in touch with her to find out how much she knows about this great donation!
Thank you so much, San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians!!!!

Jamie O’Brien

I’m not a Native American, and live in Norfolk England. I enjoy your site, and I too miss the dancers, but glad to see news about native Americans which sadly does not reach the UK.
I liked the real stories about how you live today in a world that, to my mind you are still fighting the US government for basic human rights. I would like to help in some way if possible buy sending money, but don’t know who or where to send it to.

Yours sincerely, Jamie O’Brien


Mr. O’Brien, I have included my own response in a comment below. I hope it helps!

Anna Sue Kramer

I agree with Bonnie. Would be very happy to see more pow wow and traditional dancing. But, I also understand the ads help pay for you to bring to us.


What has happened to seeing the pow wow dancers…your web site has become more and more advertising…hard to follow still thru tons of advertising…we follow for the dancers native Americans…dancers…I am really sad over the site…I wanted to recommend it to a friend but haven’t please give us back the dancers and a look at a true pow wow

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