''This is clearly a matter of where things need to move. We're going to push hard,'' said Ellie Wicks of Sen. Tim Johnson's state office. Benjamin Ready of Sen. John Thune's state office agreed, saying, ''I think all three congressional offices will be pushing to move up the priority list.''
Roger Campbell, South Dakota's commissioner of Tribal Government Relations, said the message from Gov. Mike Rounds is ''put a package together and see where we fit in.''
The fire highlights a problem the reservation has been dealing with for decades. Big Eagle said he has been trying since 1978 to secure federal funds to improve the reservation's crumbling school buildings.
''We have janitors that walk down the hall with brooms and sweep up the mortar that's fallen out of the cracks in the walls,'' Big Eagle said.