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Brad Said:

Where is HELP for my disabled father(74) brain damaged brother(51)? Victims of FIRE, NO Elect. power, water...

We Answered:

To be able to help you, I wouldneed you to add to your question (so I could find it again). You would ned to list the City and State in which they reside. THat would be a great start. One question I would like answered, is this on the Indian Reservation?

Did he or they apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)? Maybe not, if they were disable prior.

Anyway, be more specific. Indian reservation or not? It matters if you want good answers.

Indians there suffer, however Indians here in the Great Northwest get checks every month becasue of their fortune. Below is a story of just how bad these Indians have it.
Jun 30, 2002

Wildfire Leaves Apaches With Misery--and Pain

By TOM GORMAN and STEVE BERRY , LA Times Staff Writers

WHITERIVER, Ariz. -- Even in good times, this Apache Indian reservation community struggles from paycheck to paycheck. The 60- year-old homes need paint and screens, fences miss slats, hulks of old cars sit abandoned in backyards.

For hundreds of Apaches, Wednesday's paychecks will be the last for months because their forest has burned. Fire robbed the town of its main livelihood: ponderosa pines to be milled at the tribe's Fort Apache Timber Co.

"We will go broke by the end of the month," said Cindy Bennett as her husband picked up his last paycheck Wednesday at the mill.

About 70% of the 330 employees at the tribal company's two mills were laid off Monday as the Rodeo-Chediski fire, the nation's largest, raged through the White Mountains of northeastern Arizona. The remaining employees will be out of work in two weeks.

The fire's devastation is being felt throughout Navajo County at least 339 homes destroyed, 410,000 acres of forest charred.

But perhaps nowhere is the economic fallout of the fire felt more immediately than by the White Mountain Apache Tribe.

In coming days, hundreds of Apaches will run out of money to buy food and medicine. The tribe already has lost millions of dollars in revenue that goes toward a variety of social services and the cost of running its government. There are no trees to cut for the mills, no elk to attract hunters, no tourists to gamble in its casino or fill its motels and restaurants all revenue that feeds the tribe's general coffers.

The pain is felt in other ways too: Apaches are frequently targeted with icy stares when they shop off the reservation, blamed for the fire because it started on their reservation. There is resentment, too, that the Apaches' suffering is going unnoticed, with so much attention being paid to the plight of the other mountain residents.

"It was all Show Low this and Show Low that," said Sandra DeClay, referring to the city north of here that was besieged by the blaze.

"We are suffering," said Dallas Massey Sr., chairman of the tribe, which has 12,000 adult members. "Even before this, we had so many unmet needs, in infrastructure, in housing."

Indeed, this tribe was already in a world of hurt. Before this week's layoffs, unemployment stood at a staggering 60%. Household income for a full half of the families is below poverty level.

The reservation's beauty belies the economic hardships of those living here; most of its 1.6 million acres are carpeted in ponderosa pines; streams and lakes attract anglers, elk attract the hunters.

But in Whiteriver, where tribal government is headquartered in two, one-story brick buildings, there are only a handful of businesses a band, a gas station, a restaurant and small motel among others.

For the last seven years, Nelson Bennett Jr., 37, made a living sorting and stacking freshly cut lumber. He earned about $800 a month; most of it went for groceries and the $235 car payment for his '93 Chevrolet, chronically in need of repair.

And then there's the utilities, and medicine, and the occasional toys and clothes for the children. Payday is normally a fun shopping day for the kids maybe new shirts, new toys but that is ending.

Bennett's words Wednesday were pointed. "I'm angry," he said. "This is the first time I've been laid off."

He's hoping for $300 a month in unemployment, and food assistance from the tribe.

But the tribe is in little position to help.

It lost $4 million in pending wood sales and $237 million in future revenue because the fire destroyed more than 700 million board feet of timber. U.S. Forest Service officials say it will be more than 100 years before that part of the tribe's forest recovers.

In coming months, mill workers will lose a total of $500,000 in wages with the end of milling and logging operations.

The tribe's hotel, convention and casino in nearby Hon Dah also have closed, costing the Apaches $3.3 million in expected revenue over the next three months.

And one of the tribe's outdoor recreation business has evaporated too, including $20,000 elk hunts and income from daily fishing and camping fees.

Altogether, tribal businesses are braced to lose $8.4 million over the next three months, and untold millions in the future, money to fund housing and other unmet needs.

All because a small fire began on the reservation June 18, north of Cibecue. The fire burned for about 24 hours on the reservation and firefighters from the tribe and the Bureau of Indian Affairs thought they had it almost contained when it exploded beyond their reach, said Robert Lacapa, the BIA's local forest manager.

At that point, outside help was requested. After devouring tribal woodlands, the fire stretched north into the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.

The blaze and a companion fire, which started June 20 when a lost hiker shot off a flare, merged on Sunday, threatening the evacuated city of Show Low, population 7,700. By Wednesday, the fire's perimeter stretched 400 miles and was only 5% contained. The fire glanced along Show Low's western edge.

Tribal members say they've felt the anger of the neighboring communities.

As residents fleeing their homes drove through the reservation, signs were taped to car windows: "Thank you Apaches for burning our houses."

Sympathy was extended by President Bush, who met with Massey and Gov. Jane Dee Hull on Tuesday after freeing up federal money to help fire victims, the tribal chairman said.

But the misery grows.

Rudell Baha, 41, was depressed that unemployment benefits will fall short in paying mounting bills. Even after working the mill's saws for 22 years, he said he and his wife have less than $200 at the end of the month to meet the needs of their seven children. And that was before this week's layoffs.

His brother-in-law may be able to help, Baha said, but now he has another mouth to feed his father's, because he was laid off too.

Sandra DeClay figured she had enough savings to last about a month. A mill office worker and single mother of three, she figured she has enough savings to last about a month.

"I just pray," she said, "we all can go back to work soon."

Massey said the tribe hunters and gatherers before learning the cattle business was proud of its economic development over the last 20 years. The tribe launched commercial lumbering as its first venture.

As the tribe sorts out its financial future, Massey said he's embracing the Indian's long view of dealing with adversity.

"Apaches take care of the land, and it takes care of us," he said. "The land will recover and become stronger, and provide even more nuts and trees.

"We as a tribe will suffer for now. We may have to tap other resources, explore other economic development," he said. "This fire will open the door for new diversity and growth."
Interseting quote:" If you want to destroy a people, subsidize them" I think that is by Alan Fry
This may interset you:
Add to Cart

AVAILABLE
1-55017-106-2 · $16.95 · Paperback
6 x 9 · 208 pp · 1994

* Excerpt - Chapter 5
* Excerpt from Introduction
* Afterword (Essay by Alan Fry): Who Are These People We Call Indians?


How a People Die...a good book

by Alan Fry

The controversial novel of death and despair on a BC Indian Reserve. ". . .one of the most sensitive and incisive statements on human alienation I have ever seen."
-N. Scott Momaday, New York Times Book Review

It's Saturday morning on the Kwasi Reserve. The citizens are red-eyed and bleary, their shabby houses littered with empty bottles. But this Saturday is different. Last night while her parents partied, a baby girl died in her crib, her body crusted with filth and sores.

RCMP Corporal Thompson stirs up a hornet's nest when he charges the infant's parents with criminal neglest. But who, or what, really killed Annette Joseph? "Tell us how a people die," one character says, "and we can tell you how a people live."

When How a People Die appeared in 1970, its chilling picture of a culture mired in squalor caused an international sensation. Now, as a plague of substance abuse and suicide sweeps Canadian reserves, it is more timely than ever. In a new introduction, author Alan Fry offers alternatives to the bleak future he envisioned in How a People Die.

". . .required reading for anyone who is seriously concerned about the [present] social turmoil."
-Vine Deloria, author of Custer Died For Your Sins and God is Red

"Come on Indians, dammit yes, read this book and get angry." -David Monture, Indian News

Let us face it, this place they lived in was no palace before. And remember that many people are in this condition. Some get there by their own poor choices, some have other resons.

Good luck.

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