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Snowed in

A front-end loader serving as a plow digs into a snowbank in Browning recently. 

One of the best things about Montana is that we always step up and help each other when our communities are in need. We roll up our sleeves, set aside our differences and help one another. The creator always humbles us and reminds us that one of our greatest assets is each other.

Last summer, people from across the state stepped up to help our agricultural communities when some farmers and ranchers suffered crop and livestock losses due to fire and drought. It reminded us that we are a big state with a big heart.

That is why we are calling upon Montanans to step up and help those in need and suffering from extreme weather on the Blackfeet, Fort Belknap and Northern Cheyenne reservations, along with Pondera County, Glacier County and Golden Valley Counties. Mass amounts of people have been snowed in and many still unable to access food, water and medical resources. As of this week, our governor has called a state of emergency for these very places.

Many have exhausted their food sources due to being snowed in. Others are unable to get to medical supplies for health care needs. Dialysis patients have been stranded. Babies are running out of milk. Families are collecting tree branches for firewood. A 93-year-old woman has been stuck at home for almost two weeks. Roofs on homes have collapsed. Ranchers are unable to get feed to livestock. Entire communities such as Babb, Heart Butte, Browning and others have been snowed in for days on end. Our Montana youth have not been able to attend school for weeks or days, and many families are unable to provide their children with warm meals, a warm home and warm clothes.

If you have snow plows, a snow shovel, non-perishable food items, bottled water, a snowblower, warm clothes or funds to help assist — we ask that you help our friends and families in need. What makes Montana great is being able to count on our neighbors in a time of need. Thank you. If you'd like to help, you can contact one of the following:

Blackfeet Incident Command Post: (406) 338-3513

Fort Belknap: (406) 353-8450

Northern Cheyenne: (406) 477-4848

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Submitted by the Montana American Indian Caucus:Rep. Shane Morigeau, Sen. Lea Whitford, Rep. George Kipp III, Rep. Susan Webber, Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy, Rep. Sharon Stewart-Peregoy, Sen. Frank Smith, Sen. Jason Small, Rep. Rae Peppers, and Rep. Bridget Smith

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