By Kent Lebsock
Debra and Alex White Plume’s friends and family, as well as the many allies they have nurtured through the tremendous work of Owe Aku, responded immediately and generously to our request for help. Following the tragic fire which destroyed their home, its contents and all of the irreplaceable documents and art in the Owe Aku office, their faith in our extended community never failed. Alex began, within hours of the fire, to clear the area and gather a team to rebuild their home. Debra never hesitated for a moment to organize, mobilize and manage the team she leads in taking on the multinational corporations threatening to expand uranium mining in and around Pine Ridge. [As of this writing, the case is being briefed by attorneys on both sides and the critical issue of treaties is being examined by the Court.] In addition, we were able to present important materials on international human rights issues at a three-day historic treaty gathering in Pine Ridge of all the treaty groups from all of the reservations. As a person living in New York City , where the cost of therapy and the delay in subway service, often seems to consume my self-absorbed days, the White Plumes and their tiyospaye continue to teach me that we, as individuals, are only as important as our dedication to the people we serve.
Previously, we had reported that they hoped to be in their new temporary shelter within a couple of weeks after the fire. Unfortunately, although tremendous progress was made by Alex’s volunteer construction team largely because the supplies could be purchased from the generous donations, the cold (it was 30 below zero last week) and the dwindling resources have slowed things dramatically. An exterior has been constructed and, according to my friend Matt in South Dakota , he has put in the electricity and other indoor stuff, so they are down to the point of putting up walls and the things that make a place habitable. For all of these weeks, the White Plumes, their daughter and five of their grandchildren have been living in three motel rooms.
So shamelessly, I am appealing to one and all once again. I know many of you have already given and we are all grateful. I know some of you wanted to give but couldn’t and a few of us pledged to give but never actually got around to doing so (me! – my self-absorbed excuse: unemployment J). But once again, I simply appeal to you that if there is anything left to give, or other sources you can think of to forward this too, or rich relatives you havent’ hit up, please do so. It is going to be a long road to get things where we want them to be, but any help anyone can give is a true blessing that is not unnoticed in many worlds.
Donations can be sent directly to :
Debra White Plume
PO Box 535
Manderson , SD 57756
Pay pal contributions can also be made at:
Thank you so much,
Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way)
International Justice & Human Rights Project