Monday, July 4, 2022


July 4th: an opportunity to examine the state of U.S. Democracy in places like MT; disturbing bodycam video of a fatal police shooting in Ohio; ripple effects from SCOTUS environmental ruling.


The Biden administration works to ensure abortion access, Liz Cheney says Jan 6th committee could call for criminal charges against Trump, and extreme heat and a worker shortage dampens firework shows.


From flying saucers to bologna: America's summer festivals kick off, rural hospitals warn they do not have the necessities to respond in the post-Roe scramble, advocates work to counter voter suppression, and campaigns encourage midterm voting in Indian Country.

Closing Tribal Connection Gap: SD Reservations Get Internet Funds


Tuesday, May 24, 2022   

Native American communities say the pandemic severely limited their ability to communicate with the rest of the world and each other, largely because of internet access issues. But new grant money will help some areas improve service, including three South Dakota reservations.

The federal government said $77 million will be shared among tribal governments in 10 states, to be used for things like new equipment and creating affordable internet service programs.

Sherry Johnson, education director for the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribe, said many local students were not able to be fully connected with teachers when schools were shutdown.

"This really affected our children, with our academics, our test scores," Johnson reported. "We definitely can see that in our data."

She pointed out reading and math scores saw declines, but with funding, the roughly 700 homes on the Lake Traverse Reservation will get more reliable service, and schools will be equipped with devices like Chromebooks. Johnson emphasized it puts families in a better position for future distance-learning scenarios.

Johnson acknowledged some homes already have service, but the bandwidth is low. Adding to the dilemma is a large land ridge running through the reservation.

"At times, it's really a barrier for our cell boosters and stuff [that] are needed to really pick up and have a good signal there," Johnson remarked.

She added they will be able to buy more equipment to counteract signal disruptions. The community will see other connection gaps addressed, including telehealth.

The two other grantees in South Dakota are the Cheyenne River and the Flandreau Santee Sioux tribes. The Census Bureau's American Community Survey shows tribal areas trail the rest of the nation by 21 percentage points when it comes to homes with internet service.

get more stories like this via email
The United States celebrates Independence Day while Congress investigates the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. (Bob/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

This July 4th marks nearly 250 years since the United States declared its independence, setting the country on a path to establishing its democracy…

Social Issues

It's July 4th, a celebration of the United States' independence. It's also an opportunity to take a look at the state of the country's democracy…

Social Issues

July 4th celebrates the founding of the United States' democracy - and some say it's time to recommit to defending that democracy. In the wake of …

While most classrooms are empty right now, lingering concerns from the previous school year, such as the pandemic's effect on students and staff, are being dissected ahead of next year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Research is emerging about the secondary trauma school staff members face after helping students during the pandemic. As summer moves forward…

Health and Wellness

A Florida judge plans to put a hold on the state's new, 15-week abortion ban, set to take effect today. He said it is unconstitutional and will issue …

Social Issues

Three projects in Idaho have been selected to receive grants from the AARP Community Challenge. Among them is the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in …


Montanans get a sense of what soil health is like on farms and ranches across the state with Northern Plains Resource Council's soil crawls. The …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021