Standing Rock Death Under Investigation - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Standing Rock Death Under Investigation

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An autopsy is being conducted on a woman who died on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation Tuesday.

As investigators look into what caused the death of a woman on Standing Rock, the tribal chairman says there's still a need for more heating assistance.

Tribal chairman Dave Archambault will only say that the death is still an open investigation being conducted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Sioux County Sheriff's department.

He says the autopsy results will be released on Friday, and they will not speculate further upon consideration of the victim's family.

This tragedy comes around a week after the chairman declared a state of emergency for more heating assistance.

The tribe did receive more funding, but the tribal chairman says it's still coming up short.

Extreme cold and costly propane has driven the tribal chairman to call for a state of emergency.

"The whole Midwest region was feeling this..."

After receiving assistance, the Standing Rock tribal chairman says they're currently maintaining, but still coming up short.

"When the price is so high, they're only able to put enough in to get by for two, three weeks with the assistance." says Dave Archambault, Tribal Chairman.

Archambault says tribal families need more assistance and they are feeling an impact from government cuts.

"About a million dollars were cut from 2 years ago..." says Archambault.

The Tribal Chairman says they are looking internally to fill the gap while asking federal and state governments for more assistance.

In the meantime, they are asking the people to help.

"We're asking communities to step up and make sure there's no elders or handicap without propane." says Archambault.

They have emergency shelters in each district on the reservation, as needed.

"If there's a family in the community that calls and says we have no heat, we have nowhere to go, the district and community steps up and they say we have cots, we have meals, we can help you..." says Archambault.

16 people had to use this shelter in Ft. Yates last week, there's still one family staying here, grateful for the warmth but afraid for where they'll have to go in the coming days.

Jessica says her family is homeless.

They are staying here as long as they can, and while she is happy to have a warm place for her, and her kids, she is worried about the future.

"This is supposed to be for the propane shortage, but where is the shelters for the families, sometimes there's fallings out, like what we had, and I don't think we should be overlooked, just because we're not in propane crisis, we're still struggling as well as everyone else." says Jessica P.

"When you have more and more homeless people come forward, that's an area we have to start to look at..." says Archambault.

Tribal leaders say there are improvements to be made on the reservation, but for now they are just trying to make sure that no one gets left out in the cold.

Jessica and her family recently moved to Ft. Yates from Eagle Butte.

She says she is applying for jobs and trying to save money to build a house on her land.

16 people stayed in a Ft. Yates shelter last week, and nine people stayed in a shelter in Wakpala.

Tribal leaders are also asking residents to try and conserve heat as much as they can.

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