Tribal College Communities Battle Flooding

Jun 9, 2011 | Blog, Inside the College Fund

The Flooding reaches the top of street signs.

Flooding in Bismarck, N.D. Photo by Dennis Neumann of United Tribes Technical College.

Thanks to your assistance to the American Indian College Fund’s Flood Emergency Fund, our tribal college communities impacted by rising waters along the Missouri River and its tributaries can cope better. Sioux City, Nebraska, home to Nebraska Indian College, is the latest tribal college community to deal with the devastation caused by flood waters.

In the meantime, FEMA continues to monitor the river in Bismarck and the surrounds in eastern North Dakota, home to United Tribes Technical College, Turtle Mountain Community College, Sitting Bull College, and Cankdeska Cikana Community College (where rising waters from Spirit Lake have surrounded the road, making travel trecherous and causing many reservation residents to incur additional travel costs by doubling and tripling their commute costs to college to avoid the rising lake water).

Reports from FEMA show areas along the river banks are eroding with the encroaching waters and the levees are being tested.

The flooding situation in North Dakota is expected to last six weeks, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as the waters from the filling dams are released gradually through the spillways. Flooding causes people to be displaced from their homes, taints drinking water from sewage and runoff contamination, and places a strain on already stretched communities. Our tribal colleges are on the front lines, helping their communities to deal with the devastation, while also attempting to maintain their mission of educating the mind and spirit of their impacted students.

Students are struggling to finish out their semesters and access food and other supplies, while incurring huge transportation costs to circumvent the floodwaters to get to campus. It’s hard enough juggling work, school, families, and struggling with poverty while attending college, but adding a natural disaster to the mix increases the incredible financial and emotional strain our students are under.

Your support means so much. Thank you for supporting our students and our tribal college communities during this difficult time.

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