Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 37 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website

Flash Banner

Logo Maker
JavaScript Menu
 
 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 25, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 08
Section One
ALL STORIES
  next story
More than 100 elders, parents, children uprooted after fire ravages homes on Yakama Indian Reservation

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

The Yakama Nation is seeking help and support to aid the survivors of a wildfire that destroyed 20 homes, burned parts of several more, and displaced over one hundred people from the small town of White Swan, Washington, in the heart of the Indian Reservation in central Washington state.

In a February 16 open letter, Yakama Tribal Council Chairman Harry Smiskin wrote of the need for outside assistance from the United States and other governments to help in the care for the displaced and the immediate cleanup in White Swan.

The Yakama Nation has been in a state of emergency since the fire began in the afternoon on February 12. The Yakama Nation estimates the cost of rebuilding is at least $4 million, and with other emerging environmental concerns, that sum will only increase.

'We are grateful for the miracle that everyone got out alive, including the people who ran into the street on bare feet as their homes went up in flames, and the babies, the elders, and three people with profound disabilities who all survived because the community pulled together,' Chairman Smiskin said. 'We cannot overlook that blessing as we turn to the difficult work ahe

ad of getting people securely housed for as long as it takes to clean up and rebuild a beautiful White Swan.' A chimney fire is believed to have started in one home and quickly spread by wind and 50-mph gusts that carried the fire from house to house, down a dry, wooded creek bed, and then to more distant homes. The vibrant town of White Swan is devastated by the damage to a total of 24 homes, including some multi-family residences, and destruction of other property including cars, bicycles, and all personal belongings for many. Now members of this tight-knit Yakama community are scattered across the large reservation, some staying with family and others housed in motels.

'Few of those whose houses burned could afford homeowner's insurance, and few have savings to fall back on, making recovery of families and housing in this tribe of 10,000 even more challenging,' said Chairman Smiskin in his letter.

Chairman Smiskin states a request for the following kinds of help:

o Skilled volunteers who can assist in cleanup, including certified asbestos remediation experts, heavy equipment operators, and homebuilders.

o Donations of money, clothes, food, and other household goods, including diapers and supplies for babies and children.

o Temporary housing for displaced people and assistance with rebuilding the destroyed houses.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to bring 10 or 12 trailers to the reservation, which is about half the number of the Yakama Nation's 22 displaced households. The government of Washington state, which has been dedicated to building a relationship with the Yakama Nation, now must answer their call for help in the face of this disaster.

Chairman Smiskin states, 'These are lands that the United State government holds in trust for Indian people and we hope that the Federal government in the form of the U.S. Congress and the various agencies will respond as they have to other disasters. We believe that more homes have been destroyed by this fire than on any Indian reservation in the history of this country.'

Complicating the cleanup, many of the homes were built in the era when asbestos was commonly used in insulation, drywall, and floors.

Now, Chairman Smiskin said, 'the mere potential presence of asbestos among the ashes and debris now littering White Swan presents a serious, time-consuming, and expensive environmental dilemma.'

In the immediate term, the Yakama Nation is worried about getting safe housing and collecting money, food, clothing, and other essentials for those who lost their homes or are displaced until cleanup and repair can occur. One of the most pressing needs is for diapers, formula, bottles, baby food, clothing, bedding, and other baby supplies. The Indian Health Service opened after the weekend fire to replace medicines for survivors, but it will take far more to help the displaced people for the months or years that it takes to rebuild White Swan.

While the Yakama Nation, its people, and its neighbors have responded over the past few days with open hands and hearts, the needs in the short term and the long term remain great.

In addition to the local businesses and centers that are accepting donations, the Yakama Nation has set up the following ways for people across the country to contribute to the community's recovery: The White Swan Fire Relief Fund at Bank of America, with donations accepted at branches nationwide. Donations also can be made at the Toppenish Armory, 326 S. Division St., Toppenish, WA, 98948. Donations can be mailed to Yakama Nation CFO Henry Roy, P.O. Box 151, Toppenish, WA, 98948.

Tell a friend:

SPD detective Kim Bogucki protects Seattle with pride
------------------------------
President Obama says DOMA unconstitutional
------------------------------
Transgender community 'left behind' by DADT repeal - A Transgender veteran shares her views on the future
------------------------------
Lifelong AIDS Alliance hosts Greg Louganis at breakfast benefit
------------------------------
Moneypolitics
------------------------------
UW holds LGBT bullying panel
------------------------------
Army, Marines lead the charge in DADT repeal training
------------------------------
SGN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Senator Ed Murray talks about money and marriage
------------------------------
Not a sin to be Gay, South African imam says
------------------------------
Montana House OKs anti-Gay discrimination
------------------------------
Five things to know before going to Switzerland
------------------------------
Hawaii governor signs civil unions bill - First civil unions January 1, 2012
------------------------------
GSBA holds 2011 Business & Humanitarian Awards Dinner
------------------------------
What DOMA decision means for Washington state
------------------------------
General Gayety: Scampering through the news
------------------------------
Hawaii legislature OKs civil unions
------------------------------
BREAKING NEWS
------------------------------
Maryland Senate passes same-sex marriage bill
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
MEDIA ALERT: QUEER RISING NEW YORK BLOCKS RUSH-HOUR TRAFFIC TO DEMAND MARRIAGE EQUALITY NOW!
------------------------------
The Los Angeles Times Urges the Ninth Circuit to Allow Marriage for Gay and Lesbian Couples in California to Resume
------------------------------
COURAGE CAMPAIGN CONDEMNS CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT FOR REFUSAL TO EXPEDITE PROP. 8 HEARING
------------------------------
First GLBT History Museum in the United States Draws Media Attention in 75 Countries, 36 Languages
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml
copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2011

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News