Northeast Tribal Lands Hit Hard by Hurricane Sandy

Northeastern tribes say they need both federal and non-governmental agencies to help with recovery efforts after Hurricane Sandy.

By Jorge Rivas Oct 31, 2012

The latest report from United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) tribes says tribal lands in the northeast are still assessing their damage but it’s clear they’ll need both federal and non-governmental agencies to help in response and recovery efforts.

The following update comes from the United South and Eastern Tribes : 

Narragansett Indian Tribe in Rhode Island: Tribal Police Department Chief Jonathan Montey says the Rhode Island Tribe has been hit with rain and high winds that have toppled trees. Chief Montey says the power in the area will take some time to restore. "I’ve been told that it’s going to be weeks before we get power. So our greatest need is to get generators so we can continue our government functions," Montey reports. The Narragansett health clinic has been closed because there is no power, but Narragansett officials are reporting that Indian Health Service is sending generators.

Shinnecock Indian Nation near Southampton, NY: Shinnecock Tribal Chairman Trustee Randy King reported a 100% power outage in his Tribe on Long Island. The Tribal offices have been working to coordinate emergency relief efforts without power, mobile phones, or Internet. King says the Shinnecock Emergency Management facility has been working using residential type generators and will need more power to work effectively. "Our buffer areas are going to need some attention to it. We have a Tribal building that has a portion of its roof ripped back. We have residential homes with ripped off roofs. We are still assessing the situation, but for the most part, power need is what we need. We are going to be placing orders with local food banks for food, if we need it, and water," King reported.

Connecticut Tribes: Reports from The Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation have shown minimal damage. Reports say some trees are down and roads are blocked. The Mohegan Sun casino says it will be fully operational and has had some damage to its golf course. Foxwoods Resort Casino has been closed because employees are unable to get to work. However operations are expected to resume today (Wednesday, October 31, 2012) according to the Pequot Tribe.

A FEMA representative has promised the agency’s help.

"Our Tribal liaisons are not just there to refer you (Tribes) to someone else. They are there to help you (Tribes) coordinate that information. So if you need to go to the Red Cross, we do not want the Regional Tribal Liaisons, or anybody else in the agency to say here is a number call them," said FEMA Special Advisor for National Tribal Affairs at Headquarters in Washington, D.C. "We (FEMA) will coordinate that contact until we can build that relationship."