Georgia Runsabove writes in the Reznet about the Northern Cheyenne Imelda and Robert Barney extended family of eight who lived in a tepee for nearly a month after a fire destroyed their three-bedroom mobile home. When the weather turned too cold they were forced to move into an uninhabitable tribal-donated trailer with no heat.
Runsabout wrote: “The trailer has no bedrooms or kitchen. There is one bathroom. The trailer lacks electricity. Exposed electrical wiring hangs from the walls and ceiling, which shows water damage from leaks in several areas. The carpet is soiled.”
According to Northern Cheyenne Tribal Housing Authority Director “Lafe Haugen, policy has tied the agency’s hands, preventing it from offering any emergency housing. ‘We’re bound by federal dollars not to help her,’ Haugen said,” wrote Runsabove.
“We used to be a tribe that took care of each other,” Imelda Barney said. “Now they don’t know how to go about helping because they have no heart.”
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Photo: Imelda and Robert Barney stand outside their tepee with their grandson, 4-year-old Jayrell. Courtesy Georgia Runsabove/Reznet.