The Realities of Winter in the Northern Plains

With winter well underway and the start of a new year upon us, there’s no better time to revisit the importance of severe weather preparedness. For people living on remote reservations in the Northern Plains, winter storms often prevent access to necessities such as food, water and warmth, so understanding how to prepare for these conditions and access relief is crucial.

Word of disaster needs in remote tribal areas is often slow to reach the mainstream, which can result in a delayed response or no response by outside resources to tribal emergency needs. To help mitigate this issue, PWNA is a first responder for the reservations in its 9-priority-state service area, and it is involved in various partnerships and initiatives to help improve tribal relief efforts.

Unfortunately, Native American Elders on remote reservations are often the ones most hindered by severe winter and weather due to a lack of transportation and the physical challenges of navigating emergency situations. In an effort to bring emergency resources directly to Elders during harsh weather conditions, PWNA offers the Northern Plains Reservation Aid (NPRA) program to Native program partners in the Northern Plains. A donation to NPRA will help provide critical supplies to Elders who need them, including bottled water, emergency blankets, winter fuel and more.

In addition to their NPRA program, PWNA partners with the American Red Cross to strengthen emergency preparedness and response initiatives on reservations. The collaboration aims to help reservation communities prepare for extreme weather conditions and provide more immediate and localized response to emergencies during blizzards, floods, hurricanes and other conditions. This partnership is so vital that PWNA and the American Red Cross signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) to outline their aims and approaches in working together.

As part of the American Red Cross partnership, the two organizations will continue coordinating deliveries for immediate disaster response and collaborate on numerous safety initiatives, including a home fire campaign, expanded emergency preparedness programs, and caregiver and training on CPR/AED training (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation/Automated External Defibrillator) services in tribal communities. Please consider making a donation to NPRA to help support those who are suffering from the effects of severe weather this winter. To inquire about first responder support on Northern Plains and Southwest reservations in our service area, call 800-416-8102.

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