2009-02-19 / The Holy Road

Cell phone problems on the rez

Rez Ramblings & Reasonings
LeOn MAtthews OgLALA LAKOtA

There are many people walking around today that cannot conceive a life without the cell phone.

I remember a time when a car phone was a big deal. You would see people driving around in their Lincoln Continentals talking on their phones, and it would seem a bit surreal. Now we have young children talking on phones around the reservations. There are still questions lingering around the idea of having the cell phones in our ears. It is too early to tell if we are going to have medical issues as a result of having the use of these phones.

To be honest, I do not even remember when I got my phone. It has travelled many miles with me, and I try to always answer when my wife calls.

So where are we today with our phones? They are of one of the greatest economic factors on our reservations. We have the ability to get business deals done, because we can communicate.

Of course, if you live in Pine Ridge or some of the other places you cannot get a good signal. I get frustrated because of the dropped calls. I was told by the carrier that if I bought a smart phone to access my email, it would be just a few months before we would get a cell tower in Pine Ridge Village. That has been at least three years ago.

I have asked people in charge of this project and no one seems to know what is happening with the cell tower development.

If you were going to build commerce or business in your town, it would be a good idea to establish lines of communication with technology, which will bring industry to the economy.

In my opinion, Kyle and Pine Ridge should have been the first place to receive cell towers, because they have the largest populations and need them to start and keep commerce in their communities. I have been in Denver doing business on my phone and the person on the other end did not know that I was in Colorado. I have been in Rapid City doing business over the years, and the cell signals are great.

We need to be calling our elected officials and people in charge of the cell tower project. If we are going to get things done in Pine Ridge and Kyle, we need to have the best possible communications for our people.

It is imperative for our people to be able to talk on their cell phones for emergencies and for business. I know that we can get some of the calls, but we need to be able have conversations the other party can hear.

These may seem like small steps, but I know if the Two Bulls administration would take this on as a project, something could get done.

If they allowed other phone carriers onto the reservation, they could make the money back in a hurry, because we have many people coming to the Pine Ridge Reservation who cannot use their phones.

I believe it is a monopoly, and yet no one seems to mind that the cows have better cell signals than the people of Pine Ridge and Kyle.

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