NCAI Coordinating Hurricane Relief Fund for Tribes in Gulf Region
Adam McMullin September 1st 2005
CONTACT: Adam McMullin, email@example.com or 202-721-1386 WASHINGTON-September 1, 2005-As our brothers and sisters in southern Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama deal with the aftermath of one of the worst natural disasters to ever strike the U.S., NCAI offers it prayers of support to the tribes and people of the region. “Out thoughts and prayers are with the people of the Indian Nations located in the region effected by Hurricane Katrina,” said NCAI President Tex G. Hall. “It is times like this when it is important for Native people to come together to help one another out.” NCAI has attempted to contact tribes that were in or near the path of Hurricane Katrina and has had success with some yet unable to reach others. The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana sustained some wind and rain damage but the tribe’s members that live in Slidell, La. felt the brunt of the storm, according to the tribal chairman’s office. Tribal members living in that area lost everything-homes were completely destroyed, but fortunately there has been no loss of life reported among tribal members as most of them appear to have made it into shelters. The tribe has become a refuge for some trying to escape the aftermath of the storm as its Mari Center, which houses the tribe’s Paragon Casino, has become a Red Cross shelter which now houses nearly 600 refugees. Reached via phone, the Poarch Creek Indians of southern Alabama say they only sustained minor wind damage with no major damage on the reservation and the community does have power. The storm’s effect on tribal membership in other areas is the main concern, according to Poarch Creek Management Director April Sells. “No United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) were directly hit by Katrina but tribal members living elsewhere were hit hard,” said Sell. “We are currently loading up clothing, food, water and food for those with diabetes to take to the Chitamacha Band of Poarch Creek Indians in Louisiana where a shelter has been set up.” According to Sells, a future concern is the number of tribal members who are expected to return to the reservation as refugees. “We’re setting up a shelter for our members who are coming back to the reservation because they now have no home and no place to go,” she said. “We’ve recently purchased a church that will become a temporary shelter and we will need food, shower systems and portable toilets.” The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians are still unreachable by phone, however news reports indicate power outages on the reservation with evacuees seeking shelter at the tribe’s hotels and reports. NCAI encourages tribes who wish aid the tribes affected by Hurricane Katrina to send donations to:
Please put Hurricane Relief in subject line of check. All donations will go directly to tribes in the affected region of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. NCAI is gathering information on the areas of greatest need which will benefit the tribes who are dealing with refugee and disaster relief for both their members and others and will soon have an answer as to exactly where we will be sending the funds. We are also coordinating our efforts with the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) and will send out further information.