US: Indigenous Lakota women face harsh winter wrath under climate change « Women News Network
Pine Ridge, South Dakota: U.S. Oglala Sioux Lakota Elder women and families suffering from severe poverty are bracing themselves to face a harsh winter season spurred on by climate change this year, according to NOAA – the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Numerous Lakota Oglala Sioux women Elders, now facing extreme poverty on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. They also face real danger with threats of hypothermia during the winter season. “An average of 689 (reported) deaths per year in the United States results from excessive environmental cold exposure,” says educational resource group, the (U.S.) College of American Pathologists.
While deaths from cold temperatures are hard to track accurately, each year hypothermia deaths are reported on the Reservation. “Each winter, reservation Elders are found dead from hypothermia,” says Brenda Alpin, founder of Laktoa Aid, in a 2004 report for UNPO – Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization.
Although many hypothermia deaths are related to alcohol abuse, conditions leading to hypothermia in Elder Lakota women often occur due to poor health, poverty and lack of resources.
“Climate change hits poor people hardest – especially poor women,” says Oxfam’s current 2010, ‘Sisters on the Planet’ initiative campaign.