Many treaties included provisions to provide food and housing to Native people in a forced exchange for all their land. The poor quality food and the substandard housing provided has led to an epidemic of food related diseases like diabetes and the creation of poorly built housing clusters that separate families, break down historical and cultural living patterns, and create crippling utility bills due to the poor insulation on these homes.
Many Native people want to return to their ancestral land, but cannot afford to build a traditional home there.
At the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, we have been looking at alternative building approaches that are considerably less expensive to build and are much more culturally appropriate. The Center has two straw bale round houses, a compressed earth block (CEB) office, and a three bedroom CEB home for Paul Shields, the son of Leonard Peltier. These CEB buildings use local earth and clay, local Lakota youth make the blocks and scores of Native Americans have learned about this exciting new construction.
Later this year, we will be building a foam crete prototype home at the Center as we continue to expand the use of our low-cost building options.