Grant Supports Emergency Preparedness in Indian Country

Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA), a nonprofit, recently received a $700,000 grant to support emergency preparedness efforts in Indian Country. PWNA is committed to serving immediate needs and supporting long-term solutions for Native Americans living in reservation communities, recently announced new initiatives to help communities on the Pine Ridge, Cheyenne River and Crow Creek reservations in South Dakota be better prepared when an emergency strikes. For more information visit the PWNA website

“More than 90,000 Native Americans in the U.S. are homeless, and 40 percent of Native Americans live in substandard, overcrowded housing, especially on the economically-distressed reservations PWNA serves,” said Robbi Rice Dietrich, CEO of PWNA. “Through these efforts, local leaders will be better equipped to assist their tribal communities and displaced residents when environmental emergencies and natural disaster occur.”

The physical environment of Northern Plains and Southwest reservations can give rise to floods, forest fires, blizzards, ice storms, and more. Some communities also experience acute or chronic contaminated-water emergencies. When disaster relief is needed, PWNA responds quickly to tribes in and often beyond its 12-state service area. PWNA also assists reservation shelters for the homeless, elderly, disabled, veterans, children and others.

PWNA will advance emergency preparedness in tribal communities through training, networked collaboration and access to resources. Specific objectives include:

  • Expanding preparedness projects underway on the Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River reservations
  • Extending preparedness projects to Crow Creek Reservation in the Northern Plains
  • Developing an emergency preparedness model curriculum and resource guide based on key success factors relevant to tribal communities
  • Developing a “cultural sensitivity” curriculum for other relief organizations able to provide disaster and emergency services to tribal communities
  • Addressing training needs for Native case managers and disaster recovery teams to assist with long-term recovery efforts in tribal communities

These new initiatives are made possible through a grant from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies.

September is National Preparedness Month and has many grants listed under the key word preparedness, and additional grants listed under the categories of disaster relief and homeland security, to help communities prepare. 

For additional information:

About the Author: Rafael Tapia is vice president of programs for Partnership With Native Americans, a nonprofit committed to championing hope for a brighter future for Native Americans, affiliated with the Pascua tribe. Tapia has more than 25 years of experience in human, economic, workforce, and community development with social service and behavioral health programs.