Sign petition urging congress to address housing crisis throughout Indian Country.

Join the National American Indian Housing Council in their efforts to get Congress to address the housing crisis across Indian Country. On November 1st, the House and Senate will resume negotiations to approve a final FY 2012 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) funding bill. According to the NAIHC, “Substantial differences remain between both the House and Senate versions and the National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC) strongly urges its membership to contact their Congressional leaders and voice support for the Senate THUD funding bill. The Senate version allocates higher funding amounts and does not include a provision that would require IHBG recipients to expend their FY2012 dollars within three years, or face losing the unspent funding.”

Sign the NAIHC petition below and we will add your name to the letter being sent to Congress.  The deadline to be added to the list is October 31st. Please help us get the word out! After you sign the petition, you will be given the opportunity to share it on Facebook and Twitter. 

[emailpetition id=”1″]

Earth Tipi Supports Sustainability on Pine Ridge Reservation

Shannon Freed was first invited to the Pine Ridge Reservation in the spring of 2006. That summer she witnessed abject poverty, but also saw opportunity and hope for change.

When Freed looked around, she was inspired by the many natural and potentially recyclable resources around her. She wanted to show people that a solid home could be made from these materials. She hoped that this might inspire others to see things around them in a new light. Freed “…wanted for people to look at  things around them that had been waste and start to see them as assets” she said.

Many projects for natural buildings had been tried and failed, but in 2008 she got her chance. She called Coenraad Rogmans of House Alive. He agreed to come build a house in the summer of 2010 if she first organized the building of the home’s foundation in 2009. At the time, it was just a family project. Gerald Weasel, Freed’s father in law, her husband Adam and brother in law Luke did most of the labor while she did the organizing. Freed found materials and had them brought to the site.

Their first success was in finding a pile of concrete from an old building that had long since been demolished. It was sourced just 2.5 miles from the build site and was delivered by a local construction crew free of charge. Freed used funds that had been donated to purchase three sledge hammers. The majority of the summer was spent crushing 25-year-old concrete by hand. By the end of the summer the foundation was complete. That fall she was invited by Bryan Deans of Oglala Lakota Cultural and Economic Revitalization Initiative to join their permaculture certification course. With her new found skill she was inspired to turn a family project into a grassroots organization. The group is now known as Earth Tipi, and is a Village Earth affiliate project.

The original home site is now being developed as a sustainable homestead model. Two large gardens, which highlight permaculture techniques, and will soon incorporate Lakota spiritual gardening practices, fed this summers volunteers as well as at least six local families. They have incorporated a beehive and hope to harvest honey next year. They were also able to build a home for another family this summer using shipping pallets through a collaboration with Texas Natural Builders. The home is still under construction due to some unanticipated set backs, however, it is well on its way to completion. Currently, just finish work remains, and it is scheduled to be completed by the end of October.

Earth Tipi is excited to announce their upcoming projects which include a hosting a Children’s Room in November at the Lakota Nakota Dakota Language Summit hosted by Tusweca Tiyospaye and a garden to table program for children made possible by a fellowship which was recently awarded through Together Green. The program will entail taking youth into the field to collect garden and wild foods then into the kitchen to learn how to prepare them into tasty meals. The project will also include a documentation aspect where the children will be given cameras to document the process and make cook books that can be shared digitally or printed to take home. There are currently discussions with GLOBIO to collaborate on the documentation aspect so that the children of Pine Ridge might provide and add content to their already extensive database of information for kids around the world. It is the goal of Earth Tipi to create profitable businesses that will support their projects so that they will be self-sustaining in every sense of the term, both growing their own food and using local resources to build houses, as well as generating a revenue stream to support all not-for-profit projects. Earth Tipi is seeking interns to help with project planning and implementation, if interested please contact Shannon Freed at You can also read more about this project and make donations here.

Help Build a Pallet House on Pine Ridge

Cob/Strawbale house built by Sustainable Homestead Designs in 2010 workshop. Click here to see more photos at SHD's website.

Village Earth’s newest grassroots affiliate on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Sustainable Homestead Designs, in collaboration with New Jura Natural Building is hosting a Pallet House Building Workshop on the Pine Ridge Reservation July 23, 2011 – August 31, 2011.

Pallet homes are inexpensive, relatively simple to build and are highly energy-efficient. Learn the specifics and intricacies of building a house start to finish using pallets! Foundation preparation/building, laying electrical, plumbing , installing windows as well as building custom doors and cabinetry will all be covered.

Walter  Yellow Hair and his wife having been living in a camping trailer on their land for the past 2 years (incl through where temps drop as far as -50). With few resources and no help, Walter has been attempting to build his own home. However, during the harsh winter his efforts were blown over by strong winds. We are excited to be building this house for such a motivated and deserving family!

The cost of the workshop is $1500.00 (includes: food, camping and instruction)

For more information about participating in or supporting this project please contact Shannon Freed at:

Home – 605-867-2259
Cell – 605-454-0315

Click Here to support this project with a financial contribution.

About Sustainable Homestead Designs:

Sustainable Homestead Designs is to create sustainable and accessible housing and food sovereignty on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in an effort to build resilience to climate change as well as improve the general standard of living in the community. Our first goal is to complete a sustainable homestead as a working model. This will serve as an example for the community in regards to what is possible. Phase two began this March and will focus on food production as well as construction of a house made from pallets.

About New Jura Natural Building:

David Reed has been a conventional building contractor for 24 years. He has spent the last six years focusing on natural building techniques and creating an intentional community in Texas. The philosophy at New Jura is simple, “Let go of all the things in life that bust your wallet!”. Everyone wants a spot where they can feel more relaxed and free and that’s what we have. Reduce, the new stuff you buy. Reuse, the stuff you already have. Recycle, the stuff that’s left.

The Tipi House Project

The Tipi House Project is an alternative housing project in the Wounded Knee District on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Developed by Chris Cuny, lifetime resident of the Pine Ridge Reservation, the Tipi House Project is intended to be a low-cost alternative housing option for residents of the Pine Ridge Reservation or for anyone in the world looking for an alternative to square, stick-built housing. Currently, the Pine Ridge Reservation is experiencing a shortage of several thousand houses and Village Earth seeks to support local solutions to solving this dilemma. The Tipi House is one such effort!
If you would like to support this project, please contact Chris Cuny, P.O. Box 268, Manderson, SD. 57756. Ph. 605-441-3876. Email.