Mni Wiconi (Water is Life) - Dedicted to ensuring that no Native Household lacks access to clean, running water

The Fight for Clean Water: Mni Wiconi and Native Communities

Ensuring Access to Clean Water: Running Strong’s Commitment to Native Communities

Running Strong has been tirelessly working for over 30 years to provide clean water to hundreds of families. Our mission for this year is to ensure that every home on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is connected to the main water line, leaving no household without this essential resource.

Making Progress: Five Water Hook-Ups Completed in Spring

During the initial weeks of construction this spring, we successfully completed five water hook-ups. Among the recipients of these connections was Arianna Red Feather, residing in Kyle. Arianna’s household comprises two adults and three young children, all below the age of 6, who had endured two years without access to running water.

Their cabin, situated approximately 450 feet away from the reservation’s main water service line, lacked indoor plumbing, a water heater, and a heating/air-conditioning system. Collaborating with our trusted Lakota contractor, we determined that the most suitable solution was to provide them with an outdoor hydrant. This would ensure easy access to water right at their home.

“I am grateful for the water hookup as it makes cooking and cleaning much easier for my family,” expressed Arianna, appreciative of the positive impact this provision has made in their lives.

Extending Assistance: Additional Projects Completed

In addition to Arianna’s case, we have successfully completed other vital projects this spring. One such project involved Paul Kills in Water, who had endured over a year without access to water and had to rely on a relative’s house located three miles away. We were able to connect Paul to the main water line, providing him with the convenience and dignity of having running water in his own home.

Furthermore, we also completed a water hook-up for Michelle Little, who had been without water for two months, and Shirley Marshall, an elder residing with five children ranging from ages 3 to 16. By extending our assistance to these individuals, we have improved their living conditions and enhanced their overall well-being.

The Journey Continues: 52 Homes Await Connection

While we celebrate the progress made, it’s important to acknowledge that there are still 52 homes awaiting connection to water and sewer services. We remain committed to addressing this pressing need, sparing no effort to ensure that every native household on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation gains access to clean, running water.

Extending Support Beyond Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

Our dedication to providing clean water extends beyond the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Currently, Running Strong is actively consulting with tribal members and leaders from the Navajo Nation (Arizona), as well as the Yerington and Pyramid Lake Reservation (Nevada), to understand their specific water needs and explore avenues where we can lend our support.

At Running Strong, we firmly believe that no Native household should be deprived of access to clean, running water. It is our unwavering commitment to continue working towards this goal, ensuring the well-being and dignity of Native communities across the nation.

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