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Weather ravaged communities receive support

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HIGHLAND, Calif. – The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians donated $220,000 to assist the American Red Cross and nine Native American communities affected by the severe winter weather that has blanketed the Midwest.

San Manuel has established the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Tribal Nations Assistance Fund in partnership with the Black Hills and Sioux Empire Region Chapters of the American Red Cross. This is a restricted fund, which will provide funds to enable the two chapters to provide immediate disaster relief and training, education, supplies and continued assistance for tribal communities throughout South Dakota.

Direct assistance is also being provided to three tribal nations that put out calls for help due to the winter weather. These are the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, and the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska.

“We are part of a family of Indian nations in this country and will be there in times of need,” said Chairman James Ramos.”When San Manuel hears calls from tribal nations for help, it hits close to home, and as Indian people we are moved to respond.”

The tribe is part of a communications network among Native nations and continually monitors unfolding situations which adversely impact its brother and sister tribes to determine the best possible response.

San Manuel has a long history of supporting relief and economic recovery efforts of Indian tribes following natural disasters in its home state of California, along the Gulf Coast and on Indian reservations across the United States. The tribe assisted Southern California tribes swept by wildfires in 2003 and 2007. In 2008, San Manuel provided a $1 million donation to fund an economic recovery plan for the Havasupai Tribe inundated by flood waters in the bottom of the Grand Canyon in Arizona and assisted the South Dakota region when severe winter blizzards affected tribal communities.

San Manuel trusts in partnerships with non-governmental and tribal associations to assess, coordinate and deliver necessary aid.

“Everyday, the American Red Cross responds to disasters in South Dakota to ensure people in our communities across the state have what they need when disaster strikes. The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is committed to improving the quality of life in the community. The grants San Manuel has provided to the American Red Cross in South Dakota will help to provide all nine Native American Reservations, American Red Cross disaster services, disaster training, and resources to be prepared for disasters. Each of the nine reservations will have more resources to improve their disaster preparedness and response through San Manuel and the American Red Cross. We thank San Manuel greatly from all of South Dakota,” said Richard Smith, Black Hills Area Red Cross Chapter executive director and Nancy Hanneman, Sioux Empire Red Cross Chapter executive director, in a joint statement.