Butte Tribe part of Governor’s initiative to provide safe evacuations of La. tribes

Butte Tribe Council members met with Director Rudy Macklin to discuss plans for emergency preparedness and the Healthy Tribe initiative. The first phase of the plan deals with emergency preparedness. The BEAR Network of Butte Tribe is underway. From left are Darlene Thompson Hargrove, Brad Desadier, Belinda Brooks, Tammy Perot, Chief Rodger Collum, Macklin and Joshua Johnson. Joining the meeting virtually were Council members Belinda Haag, Estella Almond and Becky Trichell Dye.

By Belinda Brooks
Rudy Macklin is Director of the Governor’s Fitness Council and the Bureau of Minority Health Access. He met with Butte Tribe members to train for their latest project, Louisiana’s Emergency Preparedness and Healthy Tribe Initiative. He approached Butte Tribe Chief Rodger Collum and Vice-Chief Belinda Brooks at the beginning of 2022 with a request from the Governor’s office for the tribe to join the efforts of Edwards’ administration in providing safe evacuations of Louisiana tribes from possible natural disaster areas caused by such events as a hurricane, tornados, floods, fires, etc. 
Butte Tribe attracted the interest of the Governor’s Office as a working tribe within the State whose continuing history leaves an impressive mark as a true Louisiana Native American tribe. 

This article published in the May 26, 2022, print edition

Bear Emergency Awareness & Response (BEAR) Network has been initiated by Butte Tribe, and the first phase has begun. BEAR is an acronym that relates to Butte Tribe’s totem, the Black Bear. The goal of the BEAR Network is to mobilize and train Butte Tribe family members in underserved tribal areas to develop a preparedness plan This plan will be implemented during natural disasters, pandemics and flu outbreaks.  
Butte Tribe Vice Chief Belinda Brooks and La. Director of Emergency Preparedness and Healthy Tribe Initiative Rudy Macklin prepare documents and tribal lists to begin the BEAR Network project. On the table is the Emergency Evacuation backpack that all active members will receive. Items within the backpack will contribute to each family’s speedy exit to designated locations and trouble free registration for FEMA evacuees.

BEAR will coordinate their efforts with parish government, local law enforcement, faith-based facilities, local health units and community organizations. In conjunction with the Bureau of Minority Health Access and Native American Tribes of Louisiana, headed by Director Macklin, tribal gatherings will inform BEAR members about the program’s advantages. All lines will be open to the Louisiana State Office of Community Preparedness the ensure direct contact for Butte Tribe. This plan will develop grass-roots self-efficiency as BEAR will plan evacuation routes and rendezvous points during natural disasters.
Future articles will address more details of the BEAR network.