Northern Plains Reservation Aid (formerly American Indian Relief Council)
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AIRC Winter Fuel
Wind River Rez sign

The AIRC Winter Fuel service has helped many Elders stay warm on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming.

Heating costs have been on the rise everywhere, and Indian Country is no different.  In the late months of winter, many Native American Elders on fixed incomes struggle to stay warm.  This is when the AIRC Winter Fuel service steps in, offering $100 fuel vouchers to as many as 300 Elders each year.

Through the AIRC program, we typically operate the Winter Fuel service in February and March, when resources for heating assistance from tribes and other agencies have been depleted for the year.  Each Elder may choose to use the voucher to pay for wood or wood pellets, propane, or electricity.

Promoting Self-Sufficiency
Every two years, AIRC brings the Winter Fuel service to a different reservation to avoid creating dependency.  This is in keeping with the AIRC Way of promoting self-sufficiency for Native Americans.  We help show each tribe the value of outside resources and encourage them to seek alternative means of continuing the service after AIRC assists other reservations.


Rubena used a $100 AIRC voucher to buy propane for the small trailer she shares with eight relatives.

Meet Rubena and her family

Winter on the Wind River
The Wind River Reservation sits in the Wind River basin, which lives up to its name.  The altitude is about 5,400 feet and bitter winds regularly gust up to 50 mph.  Under such conditions, exposed flesh can freeze in less than a minute.  When money for fuel has run out, residents may burn trash, blankets, clothes, or furniture in desperate attempts to stay warm.  Or they may have to make the difficult choice of buying either fuel or food.

Elders shouldn't have to suffer through long winters alone, uncared for, and weakened by a lack of nourishing food or warmth.  Gifts to AIRC will help the AIRC Winter Fuel service continue to bring relief to these Native American Elders in need.

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