Storm damage on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.
Published May 29, 2019
EAGLE BUTTE, S.D. — Chairman Harold C. Frazier is declaring a state of emergency on the Cheyenne River reservation. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is closing BIA route 9 and BIA route 12 effective immediately. Recent winter and summer storms have devastated the reservation causing historic flooding and infrastructure loss. Vital roads, culverts and bridges have been severely damaged or destroyed.
Bureau of Indian Affairs route 9 has experienced a major culvert washing out causing a large portion of the road to be washed away. This route connects the south and southeastern portion of the reservation with highways 63 and 212.
BIA route 12 has experienced a major slide causing the road to shift creating an unsafe driving condition. BIA route 12 is the main route connecting the village of Cherry Creek, SD to Highway 63. This route is the quickest route from the village of Cherry Creek to a paved highway and to the Agency headquarters in Eagle Butte, SD.
BIA route 8 is already closed due to the road washing out because of rushing water. This route closure splits the residence living on the southeast portion in half forcing some to drive many more miles to travel to the agency headquarters in Eagle Butte, SD.
While residents along BIA route 9 and BIA route 12 can still access routes to improved highways this road closure added to the closure on BIA route 8 effectively diverts the population as to which direction they can travel and adds additional mileage as well as drive time. This brings a total of 3 BIA routes that have been closed for an undetermined amount of time.
These road closures will disrupt summer school bus runs to the area, adding additional vehicles and cost to local schools. These road closures will also add additional time for emergency services response to the remote areas serviced by the roads. Response times and distances will increase dramatically all along the routes due to the closure.
The Blackfoot road is also experiencing a slide that should close the road but is the only route that services that community and cannot be closed. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is working diligently to assess those areas and work with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in blocking and bypassing the affected roads.
Chairman Frazier stated, “It is important that we shut these roads down before they hurt our tribal members. These roads have failed my people and I must put safety first.”