Trees Water & People

Trees, Water & People is committed to improving people's lives by helping communities to protect, conserve and manage the natural resources upon which their long-term well-being depends. We believe that natural resources are best protected when local people play an active role in their care and management.
Jun 30, 2016

Making a House a Home for a Lakota Family

The open house was a wonderful celebration!
The open house was a wonderful celebration!

The following is written by Adelle McDaniel, the Trees, Water & People National Intern, after traveling to the Pine Ridge Reservation. The reason for her trip was to help prepare the finishing touches on the Compressed Earth Block home before giving it to the Shields Family.

Traveling up to Pine Ridge Reservation for the very first time, I had a lot of questions. Statistics about poverty, living conditions, and health tumbled around my head; I could (and did) rattle them off to anyone who asked where I was going for the weekend. But at that point, I didn’t really know where I was going for the weekend. I didn’t even really know what I was doing when I got there.

When Richard, Trees,Water & People’s Executive Director, pulled up next to a newly built, sustainable Compressed Earth Block (CEB)  house on the reservation and I hopped out, the latter question was quickly answered. I would be helping to clean, organize, and prepare the building for the open house the following day. More importantly, I would be part of giving the gift of a home. The three bedroom earthen block home features solar-heated floors and forced air, a PV system on the roof, and one happy family inside. Very little is more rewarding than making others happy. Knowing that you created a safe, beautiful place for a family to spend their years, though, far surpasses that. 

It was more than a privilege to be included in the occasion. I couldn’t begin to choose my favorite moment from the weekend. Would it be shaking hands with the new owners, seeing tears in their eyes? Sharing laughs and meals and work with the other volunteers and gaining a new perspective without even noticing? Maybe just taking in the scenery, the soul of a place I had ever been.

The question of where I was going was perhaps both more and less easily answered than what I was doing. I was going to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I came back from a place filled with devastation and hope, injustice and integrity, deeply embedded history and courageous new beginnings.

Thank you all so much for your support while constructing this home. The Shields Family has settled in and they thank you for your generosity as well. You have changed their lives. 

Jun 9, 2016

The Home Stretch!

The inside of the family
The inside of the family's new home

We are almost done building the house for Paul and his family! Some final touches are required such as painting the walls, putting the flooring into the house, a few more pipes to hook up. Our Assistant National Director, John Motley, and a few of our Board Members will be driving up to Pine Ridge from Colorado this weekend to finish some of the bigger tasks, including the floors. Once the floors are in place, all of the household appliances will then be installed. One final coat of stucco is required for the outside of the house, and then it’s on to the roof!

 

From June 20th-23rd, Trees, Water & People will be hosting a solar panel installation demonstration for Native Americans. The house will be fitted with solar panels that have been donated to with the help of Jonny of Solar Energy International. The panels, the racking for the house, and the inverter were all donated. So far we have five people signed up, but we are expecting 20 people to come for the installation.

 

On June 24th, we will be throwing an open house so friends, family, neighbors, and supporters can take a look at this CEB building. The open house will also be a house-warming party for the family; this is when we will hand over the keys and help them move into their new home. We are very excited for the family to move in, and we could not have done it without your help! Thank you for all of your incredible support!

Jun 6, 2016

Green Business Development Final Report

We at Trees, Water & People (TWP) have been so fortunate to have your wonderful support over these past months. TWP's business development training for Native Americans has had a huge impact over the past year, in large part due to friends and donors like you. In 2015, we hosted enough workshops and demonstrations to train 783 local people! We could not have had such success without you.

This summer, we will be ending the Green Business Development program. This break will allow us to improve the program and forge relationships with other Tribes for possible business development programs in the future. We will continue our regular solar workshops and demonstrations, however.

The Green Business Development program has been a great success. We helped Tyler with his company, Cloud Nine Recycling, which is now an LLC. He is currently in the process of buying a box truck so he can have the freedom to decide when and where he will take his recycling inventory, rather than paying high rental prices for a truck. He is an inspiration to others who want to wade into entrepreneurship and make a difference in their communities to be clean and green! He also is a “Green Business in Indian Country Start-Up Award” winner!

 Cloud Nine Recycling

Besides helping Tyler with his company Cloud Nine Recycling, TWP has continued to develop the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center as a national facility for introducing tribal members to renewable energy and alternative building technologies. We also had the honor of welcoming the documentary film crew from This Changes Everything  to the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center in March of 2013 where they documented one of our solar energy workshops for Native Americans. It was hosted in partnership with Lakota Solar Enterprises, Solar Energy International, and the National Wildlife Federation’s Tribal Lands Conservation Program.

 

Native Business Development Graduates!

Your support has been invaluable and you have helped changed the lives of so many! Thank you!

 
   

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