Photo of the Week: Honduran Clean Cookstove Factory Goes Solar

solar electricity Honduras
TWP's clean cookstove factory in Honduras, managed by our partner organization AHDESA, had a 2 kW solar electric system installed this week. As part of our work with the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA), we are working to improve access to clean energy in Latin America. This is just the beginning...stay tuned!

 

“Native Rhythms for Native Energy” to Support Renewables on Tribal Lands

You are invited!

Please join us for a night of cultural exchange and education to support Trees, Water & People’s Tribal Renewable Energy Program.

When: Thursday, September 15th

Where: Global Village Museum
200 W. Mountain Ave.
Fort Collins, CO

Cost: $10 suggested donation

Yellow Hair Family to Receive Solar Air Heater and New Pallet Home

Solar Air Heater
TWP’s Solar Air Heaters, like the one pictured here at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, reduce a family’s monthly utility bill by 20-30% for up to 25 years.

Thanks to TWP’s supporters on Causes.com, we far surpassed our $2,800 fundraising goal to provide solar air heaters to Native American families. To date, we have raised nearly $7,000 from 322 donors!  With these funds we will provide three different Native American families with solar air heating systems, giving them free, clean heat for years and years to come.

Walter and Alison Yellow Hair
Walter and Alison Yellow Hair watch the construction of their new house on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

The Yellow Hairs are one of these families.  Right now, our partner organization, Earth Tipi, in partnership with Texas Natural Builders, is constructing Walter and Alison Yellow Hair a new pallet home from reclaimed materials.  This new, sustainable house will provide much better protection from, and insulation against, the harsh South Dakota winters than their current mobile home, which was originally headed for the dump when they inherited it.  With huge holes in its walls, such a poor structure can be deadly in the extreme weather of the Great Plains.  We believe that every family is deserving of dignified and comfortable housing that is properly heated and we are so lucky to have supporters who feel the same way.

Now, Walter and Alison will enjoy a new home and a new source of clean, free heat with a TWP solar air heater.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the fundraiser and helped make a significant improvement in Walter and Alison’s lives!  Your contributions mean so much to the Native American families who are struggling each day to survive. Stay tuned to learn more about the other families who will receive solar heaters.

Interested in contributing to the building of Walter and Alison’s new home? Please click here to learn more about how you can help!

Click here to join the Solar Energy for Lakota Families cause on Facebook and help us spread the word about solar energy for Native American families living on tribal lands.

Notes from the Field: The Gift of Heat, The Preservation of Culture

Lacey GaechterBy Lacey Gaechter, Assistant National Director

Pine Ridge, South Dakota

“The heater works great,” says Leonard Littlefinger of the solar heater that Trees, Water & People supporters donated to his Lakota language school. Our partner, Henry Red Cloud, installed the heater in the school’s meeting room, which Leonard said came in handy this winter as he consulted with tribal elders who are helping him establish his curriculum’s vocabulary and grammar. In Leonard’s words, the heater “did the trick.” “It just quietly did its job,” he added, “you know, when you get to be our age, you need a good heater.”

Leonard is the founder of the Sacred Hoop (Cangle’ska Waka’n: “chan-GLAY-shka wah-KAHN”) School, which is a part of the efforts on the Pine Ridge Reservation to preserve traditional Lakota culture. Part of learning a language, says Leonard, is understanding the way a society’s culture is integrated into its words. For instance, the Lakota word for hoop carries with it undertones of “the circle of life”. It is for this reason that Leonard chose the word hoop instead of circle for his school’s name.

The Sacred Hoop School’s first group of students is scheduled to arrive this June. Currently, Leonard is finalizing his curriculum with, as he puts it, “the combined knowledge of over 500 years of Lakota language and culture” between himself and the other elders. At this inaugural two-week immersion program, Lakota students, parents, and siblings will be invited to bring traditional language back into their home.

Leonard is truly a leader in his community and has been selected for an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from the College of Mount Saint Joseph in Ohio, where he is delivering this May’s commencement address. We hope all Trees, Water & People supporters take the same pride that we do in playing a small role in the amazing endeavor of preserving the Lakota language.

To learn more about TWP’s Tribal Lands Renewable Energy Program please visit http://treeswaterpeople.org/tribal/tribal_intro.htm .

Help Raise Funds for Straw Bale Homes on the Pine Ridge Reservation

The Pine Ridge Reservation, home to the Oglala Lakota, has a major housing crisis. It is common place to have Lakota families living in conditions of extreme overcrowding, with 3 to 4 families inhabiting one three-bedroom home. Many of the families have no electricity, telephone, running water, or sewage systems; and many use wood stoves to heat their homes, depleting limited wood resources. The Lakota people are living in third world conditions, right in our own backyard!

Straw bale Home + Solar Heat = Sustainability

In partnership with Henry Red Cloud, Pine Ridge resident and owner of Lakota Solar Enterprises, we are working to bring sustainable housing solutions to reservation communities and we need your help!  We will begin by constructing a straw bale demonstration site at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC), complete with solar heating and lighting. This demonstration site will be a place to conduct workshops, share knowledge, and pass on green building skills throughout Indian Country.  This will be the beginning of a long-term project to bring 600 straw bale houses to the Pine Ridge Reservation, providing families with dignified living conditions that every human being deserves.  Please join us in this effort and consider a donation to this important fundraiser.

How can you help? Make a donation, share this with a friend, donate your birthday (click here to learn how), join us for a FREE straw bale home workshop on Pine Ridge.

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Notes from the Field: A New Class of Solar Warriors

By Lacey Gaechter, Assistant National Director

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of the National Wildlife Federation’s Tribal Lands Program, a record 16 trainees from the Northern Cheyenne Tribe completed a ten day solar air heater installation training with our partner Henry Red Cloud. Henry traveled to Lame Deer, Montana to instruct the students in assembly and installation of solar heater kits. In addition, each trainee received a solar air heater for their family home. One of the new “Solar Warriors,” Landon Means, has been interested in renewable energy for years after growing up with his father employed by the Pea Body Coal Mine.  Landon says of the mine, “It looks like an energy intensive way to get energy. I think there’s a better way. There has to be a better way.” Landon and his cousin Kale are among the renewable energy enthusiasts now working with Trees, Water & People to develop their own sustainable livelihoods on their reservations. They both plan to attend Henry’s upcoming straw bale demonstration and hopefully his radiant heating demonstration this fall.

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Trees, Water & People could not provide these life-altering trainings without the support of our sponsors and donors. Thank you for your support, and a special thanks to the National Wildlife Federation!

For more information about TWP’s Tribal Lands Renewable Energy Program please visit http://treeswaterpeople.org/tribal/tribal_intro.htm

Proud Solar Warriors (Photo Courtesy of the National Wildlife Federation)

Great report from the National Wildlife Federation: “The New Energy Future in Indian Country”

This report highlights many of the great renewable energy opportunities available to tribes around the United States. Thank you to the National Wildlife Federation for producing such a great report!