Wayne Weston in Native Condition. Discussion »
I am submitting this commentary to express my deepest gratitude and appreciation for the many individuals and agencies that had collaborated and cooperated in the time of need when the Oglala Sioux Tribe faced several hardships this past summer. The Tribe was faced with a Hantavirus situation that took a life, straight-line wind that devastated families, a drought condition that is becoming historical, fire that burned nearly 30,000 acres and another hail/wind storm that damaged many homes.
Wayne Weston - Oglala Sioux
As a newly appointed Emergency Manager, I felt extremely vulnerable and uncertain with what little resources that Oglala Sioux Tribe had and if we as a tribe could address all these challenges. It was many tribal leaders and professionals who sat down together putting aside any personalities and agendas and put their minds together to see what they could do to solve these challenges that affected human lives.
With each disaster, I wondered how much more could we handle with the fact we are considered one of the poorest locations in the United States. The needs mounted with each disaster such as housing, materials for repairs, household items, food, temporary shelter, water and feed for livestock, pesticide control, clean-up, transportation costs for trailers, adequate early warning systems and the list went on.
During the various hardships, President John Yellow Bird-Steele declared several states of emergencies during this time and opened his office as the Incident Command Center and directed all agencies to come together and put their resources and minds together to address these disasters. I was extremely impressed how these individuals and agencies responded with vigor and fervor with the understanding that human lives depended on their collaboration.
If there was a time when the Tribe needed to maximize its limited resources this was that time. With the support of the Tribal Executive Board, Tribal Council, Bureau of Indian Affairs, State Office of Emergency Management, Tribal Chartered Organizations and other federal agencies this would have been nearly impossible. To see these entities work together during this time was totally awesome to see and be a part of.
I dare not attempt to mention all the individuals and agencies involved during this time because I know I would probably forget to mention an agency or individual because there were so many who stepped up during this time including many who came to volunteer their service and time. I have read and heard many negative comments and commentaries about how terrible our Tribe is but I want to share a gleaming light that exists in the spirit of our people, there are many people in our Tribe who still carry the spirit of Wolakota (Love for their people) and I for one have witnessed this.
Thank you all for your strength and compassion and letting your people know that regardless of circumstances you will be there in times of need.
Hecetu Yelo - That is all
Wayne Weston is currently the Oglala Sioux Tribes Emergency Manager. He has worked in the Domestic Violence field and has been executive director for the Tribes Public Safety Department. Mr. Weston operates his own private consultant business called "Weston Consultant" and does program development, personal & community development, cultural competency, internalized oppression and combining Eastern & Traditional healing practices. He is a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and has lineage with the Insanti & Mbewakanton Tribes.
posted October 4, 2012 7:57 am edt