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2017-04-20 / Front Page

Fulfilling Paul Iron Cloud’s Vision Will Take A Collaborative Effort

BY TOM CRASH
LCT CORRESPONDENT


Paul Iron Cloud, recently deceased director of OSLH, had a vision, he wanted to do whatever it took to build safe communities, to deal with the overwhelming drug and alcohol abuse that was tearing our families and communities apart. Paul Iron Cloud, recently deceased director of OSLH, had a vision, he wanted to do whatever it took to build safe communities, to deal with the overwhelming drug and alcohol abuse that was tearing our families and communities apart. PINE RIDGE - Two weeks ago, teams from Oglala Sioux Lakota Housing, OST Department of Public Safety and OST Child Protection Services visited homes in Evergreen and Kyle housing, out of 20 homes evaluated, seven were found to be impacted by methamphetamine or incidences of child abuse. Additional housing areas were targeted in following weeks, houses in Allen, Wanblee and Manderson.

“Paul Iron Cloud, recently deceased director of OSLH, had a vision, he wanted to do whatever it took to build safe communities, to deal with the overwhelming drug and alcohol abuse that was tearing our families and communities apart,” stated OSLH officials, “integral to the Vision is a treatment center on Pine Ridge, we’ve had to deal with incredible alcoholism for years, today its opioids addictions and even more damaging is meth.”

“We have a lot of children under our care, we not only have a right but a responsibility to check on them, make sure they are safe, make sure their needs are being met,” said Lisa Dillon, head of OST Child Protection Services, “we are partnering with Housing who are the landlords and Pub-lic Safety who are so shorthanded but this is really an Oglala Lakota Nation issue, all of us and the tribe need to be responsible, to partner up, to prioritize the needs of the children and the elders.”

OST president Scott Weston wants to put together a task force, issue a proclamation and get people working together.

“We need communities to take back their communities, this needs to be community driven, we have to get back to our traditions, our morals, our values, not depend on someone else to do it, today people are not making good decisions,”added Weston.

Last weekend, Scott Weston, Housing officials and tribal council representatives traveled to Denver to attend the 32nd annual All West basketball tournament. While there they participates in the United Native American Housing Authority meetings and tour a meth treatment center funded by non-profit organizations.

“There is no way we’ll be able to build a treatment center on Pine Ridge through NAHASDA funds, we’ll have to think out of the box and use the OST nursing home as an example, that we set the treatment center up as a goal and work hard on it, overcome roadblocks, work through however many administrations it takes, but persevere until it becomes a reality,” stated housing officials.

During the All West tournament, a new award was presented for the first time, to be presented annually. The Paul Iron Cloud Hall of Fame award. Tiny DeCory and Mark Ulmer(posthumously) earned the first year awards. After attending the UNAHA meeting where Iron Cloud’s memory and life’s work were honored, Weston and council reps Rich Greenwald, Jaqui Siers, Sonia Little Hawk Weston and Steph Leasure toured the 180 bed treatment center that had been established in an old motel with funding provided by church groups and nonprofits, we need to bring the right people to the table, to brainstorm, research and be creative in finding resources to fund and operate a treatment facility on Pine Ridge, stressed those who took the tour.

“Yes, saturation patrols will continue, the goal of safe communities will bring together tribal programs and agencies, a task force will make the cooperative effort more efficient, plans for a treatment center will come together because we need these things to build safe communities, to build a nation and to make Paul’s vision a reality, no matter how long it takes,”emphasized OSLH officials.

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