New West: Water woes at Northern Cheyenne Reservation
Posted: Wednesday, April 20, 2011
"Since moving to her home more than 20 years ago, Laveta Killsnight has never drunk her tap water.
“My water’s plum orange,” she says.
Killsnight, a diabetes technician with long, graying hair and a wide grin, lives in Muddy Cluster, a small town on the Northern Cheyenne Indian reservation in southeastern Montana. The reservation, home to about 4,800 people, is dotted with small housing clusters separated by dozens of miles of rolling plains and curving two-lane highway.
Hard water is a problem in much of this territory, but it’s a particular problem on the reservation, which often lacks the equipment and funding to put in better water systems. The tribe’s administration operates on less than $2 million a year, and the money is spread thinly among housing, health and education services.
The Northern Cheyenne tribe is known nationally for its environmentalism and pristine landscape. But for a tribe that fought for and succeeding in getting Class 1 air status—the same air quality standards as a national park—what they don’t always have is good water. "
Get the Story:
Kate Whittle: On the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, Be Advised: Don’t Drink the Water
(The New West 4/19)
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