With warm months of spring long gone, and the hot summer months here today, our contractor on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is able to work steadily now through fall connecting families lacking running water – many for years — to the main water service line which runs through the reservation.
In sum, this is “prime time” for our Mni Wiconi (Water is Life) program and we are taking advantage of the weather to complete as many projects as possible right now, before the long cold days of winter arrive on the Great Plains of South Dakota freezing the ground solid.
Jordan and his family of four, which includes a teenager and a 1-year-old, had attempted to get running water to his mobile home, was able – thanks to the supporters of Running Strong for American Indian Youth® — to have about 200 feet of water line pipe run from his home and connected to the Oglala Sioux Rural Water Supply System main service line and an outdoor hydrant installed in his yard in June.
Prior to hearing about our Mni Wiconi program he had been searching for a way to get water, only to learn that on the reservation only the Indian Health Service (which has a waiting list of years) and Running Strong for American Indian Youth® are authorized to legally hook up homes to the main water line.
Also last month, Angel, whose home is only 80 feet from the main line, was another Pine Ridge resident who now has all the water she needs for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing.
Angel and her husband both are essential workers which is why it was especially critical that we be able to connect their home to the main line as soon as possible. Angel, who was born and raised on the reservation, explained that they lost their previous housing in the town of Pine Ridge and “I’ve bought this trailer for us to live in while living on relatives’ land.”
In addition, as we do as we can, since her mobile home has indoor plumbing, we were also able to install a septic system which includes a 1,000-gallon septic tank, creating a drainfield, and running 70-feet of sewer pipe so that now, not only do they have running water, they can use their indoor plumbing to wash dishes, take showers, flush toilets, and simply turn on a tap to get a glass of water.
Prior to the move, the couple had running water at their previous home but after moving to their new home she said she turned to Running Strong because “this is the first resource I know to go to due to seeing others get water in a reasonable amount of time.”