Rosebud tribal officials say at least six people have died as a result of two winter storms that partially buried homes across the reservation, and some people remain trapped at home more than two weeks after the first snow fell. This was reported before the snow that started this past Sunday night and continues to accumulate. The deaths occurred both before and after a National Guard deployment ordered by Gov. Kristi Noem, which came six days after Rosebud Sioux Tribe President Scott Herman declared a state of emergency on the reservation in south-central South Dakota. The storm’s sheer breadth of coverage across the U.S. impeded the tribe’s ability to secure assistance from the nearby neighbors it typically relies upon when disasters strike. The tribe reached out to contractors from Valentine, Nebraska, but they were busy dealing with the storm in their area.  They then reached as far out as Minneapolis, St. Louis and Kansas City to seek backup. Wayne Boyd explained the circumstances behind six fatalities known to the tribe as of last week:
An older man, stuck in a rural home with his daughter and granddaughter, had a heart attack during the first week of the storm. It took two and a half days to plow through to the home.
The 12-year-old boy was running low on medicine and couldn’t get out of his house. He lived 3-4 miles from the city of Rosebud, Boyd said, and it took hours to get to him. He died in the hospital.
A man in Antelope also died at a hospital from blood loss after a long wait for an ambulance ride.
The family of an older man in White River called to report that he’d been passing out and had pneumonia symptoms. He refused to ride in the helicopter and waited for an ambulance. He died at the hospital, Boyd
said. A homeless man’s body was found in a ditch, Boyd said. An older man who lived near Spring Creek froze to death with his coveralls on, Boyd said. The man’s family had been checking on him early on in the
storm but lost contact for a day and a half.