Photo of the Week

Flooding on Pine Ridge has caused significant damage to the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC) and surrounding facilities.

To donate to the RCREC Flood Relief Fund please visit

https://www.givedirect.org/give/givefrm.asp?CID=11875.

Thank You to the Global Harmony Community Chorus!

We would like to thank our friends at the Global Harmony Community Chorus for raising over $18,000 this month for our Tribal Lands Renewable Energy Program!  Also, many thanks to everyone who attended and generously contributed.  Donations from the event will help us to continue putting the power of nature — the warmth of the sun, the power of the wind, the shelter of trees — to work for Native Americans.

A solar heater beneficiary stands proud (Photo by Dan Bihn, 2010).

The “Songs of the Earth” concert weekend, held February 12th and 13th in Roseville, MN, featured special guests Brent Michael Davids (composer, flute) and Henry Red Cloud (5th generation descendant of Chief Red Cloud).

 

About Global Harmony Chorus

Global Harmony is an inter-faith, non-auditioned community chorus open to all who wish to sing to make a difference.  To date, Global Harmony Community Chorus has raised over $102,000 for global relief efforts.  To learn more please visit http://globalharmonychorus.org/.

*Emergency Flood Relief Fund Created for Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center*

 

RCREC Flood Relief FundOver the past week, the Calico housing area on the Pine Ridge Reservation has experienced severe flooding.  Snow melt, ice jams and clogged culverts and bridges caused Calico Creek north of Pine Ridge village to overflow its banks in low-lying areas.  The Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC) and Lakota Solar Enterprise’s (LSE) offices and shop  are now under water.

Henry Red Cloud's grandchildren being evacuated from the property.

Now, with a cold front moving back into the area, the situation has become even more dangerous.  Henry Red Cloud, owner of LSE, says this is the worst flooding he has ever seen on Pine Ridge.

As of now, it is too early to know the full extent of the damage due to slowly receding waters, but we will continue to post updates as we learn more about the damages.  The Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center and LSE provide important jobs to Native Americans living on the reservation, making this recovery effort even more imperative.

We have set-up an emergency relief fund for RCREC and appreciate any help you can provide!

Click here to view a video of the flooding.  Thank you to RE-MEMBER for putting this video together!  Please stay tuned for updates on the situation.

Update from KELOLAND Television (Feb. 17, 2011): http://www.keloland.com/videoarchive/index.cfm?VideoFile=021711pineridge12

The Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center inundated with freezing cold flood waters.
The straw bale house on Henry Red Cloud's property has completely flooded.

Henry Red Cloud on Democracy Now

Henry Red Cloud, owner of Lakota Solar Enterprises, was interviewed Thursday, Sept. 30, by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now.  Congrats to Henry for his Nuclear-Free Future Award!  We hope you enjoy the interview.

Henry Red Cloud Honored by Nuclear-Free Future Award

Henry Red Cloud stands next to a small wind turbine outside the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center in Pine Ridge, SD. (Photo by Dan Bihn, 2010)

Henry Red Cloud, member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe and proprietor of Lakota Solar Enterprises (LSE), is being honored by the Nuclear-Free Future Award (NFFA) for his efforts to bring clean, renewable energy to tribal lands. On September 30th, Henry will receive his special recognition award at a public event held at New York City’s historic Cooper Union.

As the great-great grandson of Chief Red Cloud, Henry is a 21st century Lakota warrior, providing sustainable, economically beneficial, environmentally sound, and culturally appropriate energy solutions to Native Americans living on reservations. He has spent over a decade experimenting with sustainable energy and housing alternatives, searching for affordable solutions that preserve resources and complement the values and traditions of tribal communities. In 2006, Henry created Lakota Solar Enterprises, one of the first and only Native-owned and operated renewable energy businesses. In 2008, he partnered with Colorado-based nonprofit Trees, Water & People (TWP) to establish the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC), a one-of-a-kind educational facility where tribal members from around the nation can receive hands-on training from fellow Native American instructors. As Henry says, renewable energy is “a new way to honor the old ways.”

Since 1998, the Nuclear-Free Future Award has honored and helped facilitate the ongoing work of individuals, like Henry Red Cloud, and initiatives struggling to bring an end to the “Nuclear Age.” Based in Germany, NFFA provides vital recognition and financial and moral support for individuals, organizations and communities around the world working valiantly to achieve a peaceful, safe future free of nuclear energy, nuclear weapons and uranium mining. An independent, nonprofit group, the NFFA works closely with The Alternative Nobel Prize among others, and has been called by Berlin newspaper Taz, “the most important anti-nuke award in the world.”

To learn more about Henry Red Cloud and Lakota Solar Enterprises, visit www.lakotasolarenterprises.com. To learn more about the Nuclear-Free Future Award, visit www.nuclear-free.com. To learn more about Trees, Water & People, visit www.treeswaterpeople.org.

TWP Makes Progress at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

This last week was an important one as our good friends from the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) came to visit us on the Pine Ridge Reservation. RREAL is working to break down financial and informational barriers to the widespread use of solar energy out in Minnesota. They feel that like the digital divide which separates communities based on access to information, there is also a renewable energy divide and that specifically lower income communities are in danger of being left behind as our society shifts towards a renewable economyrreal-solar-heater-at-childrens-village.

These are our types of folks and a natural friendship has evolved that is slowly becoming a successful partnership as we share ideas, equipment and a vision to extend solar heating systems and other renewable energy applications to those who need it most.

This week, Jason Edens Tim Ollhoff and Steve Benson arrived at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC) on Pine Ridge with three of their solar heating systems. The first one they installed with Henry and Avery Red Cloud of Lakota Solar Enterprises at the Lakota Children’s Village, which serves as the home for Lakota children in need of shelter.

It was a most wonderful installation that will provide heat for pennies a day for Lakota children in great need for many years to come!

Their second solar heating system was installed as a solar demonstration and education unit at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center. The Center is being developed as a place for tribal members from across the Great Plains and beyond to be trained in facility and family sized renewable energy applications and installations.

The third unit will be installed by Lakota Solar Enterprises for another family at Pine Ridge in the weeks ahead.

We also planted windbreaks and shade trees for two families at the Fraggle Rock community in Pine Ridge. The north wind there blows hard and cold for much of the winter causing entire rooms in homes to be abandoned during winter because they are so cold. So we plant trees as family windbreaks which will immediately start to shield the homes from the bitter chill and will grow over the years into a solid wall of protec

tion. We also planted two shade trees at each house to provide shade during the extremely hot summers.

Children's Village in Pine Ridge

While we were in the neighborhood, we also installed one of LSE’s solar heating systems. Together, we will use these three homes to demonstrate natural ways to lower heating costs and we will now begin to raise funds for additional tree planting in the neighborhood in the spring of 2009.

A special thanks to TWP’s Tribal Lands Program Coordinator, Liz Sunderland, who coordinated the RREAL visit and handled many of the logistical details of getting these five installations done.

That’s the true spirit of Trees, Water & People....getting difficult things done…. and done well!

Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center Gets a Loft Built!

Greetings from Richard Fox, TWP’s National Director.  I just got back from another trip to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. For the last five years I have worked with Henry Red Cloud who owns Lakota Solar Enterprises.  Henry is a direct descendant of Chief Red Cloud, the last war chief of the Lakota.

Slowly, we have been building the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center as a place where Native Americans can come and learn about renewable energy and get hands-on training in various family and facility sized renewable energy applications.

This last week, Henry and the LSE crew, working in conjunction with our friends and many voluneers from the Re-Member organization, built a loft in our quonset hut that will become two bedrooms, a kitchen and bathroom for members of other tribes who come to the Center for renewable energy training.  The main platform and walls are in but there is a lot to do. 

A lot has already been done there too to make this into a place for Native Americans to learn about sustainable living and renewable energy.  We have already installed more than 200 solar air heating systems at Pine Ridge and 9 other reservations.  The quonset hut acts as our solar manufacturing and development facility. 

We have several of our solar heaters there as well as a wind break and shade trees we planted.  There is also a small straw bale office there as well as a greenhouse, sweat lodge, a small camping area and some of the Red Cloud buffalo herd.  Come spring time we expect to install either a solar electric array or a wind turbine as we slowly develop this center as a major training facility.

Recently, Henry was awarded the maintenance contract for the wind turbine at the Kili Radio Station.  This turbine will supply about half of the radio stations electricity needs and is a big step forward for energy independence.

We are currently beginning to consider opening up a spot or two for interns who are willing to live and work at Pine Ridge.  There is currently no funding for salary, and living conditions would be primitive, but it would be an incredible opportunity to learn about renewable energy while making a major contribution to a people that have suffered much over the years.  If interested, email me at richard@treeswaterpeople.org.  If you are interested in learning more about what we are doing or want to contribute to the project, check us out at www.treeswaterpeople.org and look at out Tribal Land Program area.

Be well…

Richard

“Lakota Past and Present” Adventure

Over the last five years, TWP has been bringing family-sized renewable energy applications to tribal communities. During most of that time, we have worked with Henry Red Cloud on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. Henry is the owner of Lakota Solar Enterprises and has led most of our renewable energy workshops and installations. Recently, we have expanded our partnership with Henry to develop the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, a facility that will train Native Americans about renewable energy applications for many years to come.

While our primary focus has been on providing Lakota families with more than 200 solar air heating systems, we have also been involved in solar electric and wind turbine installations as well as planting trees as windbreaks for more than 130 additional Lakota families.

Most of our work has been on the Pine Ridge reservation, but we have also installed demonstration solar heaters for families on nine other reservations ranging from Skull Valley in Utah to White Earth in Minnesota.  Four of these installations were done in partnership with Winona LaDuke and the Honor the Earth organization.

Over the years, we have had many people ask to come with us and learn about the Lakota people, conditions at Pine Ridge, and our efforts to build renewable energy capacity in tribes across the Great Plains. We have brought some of these folks to Pine Ridge in the spring to help us during our last 6 years of tree planting there.

This fall, we will begin to gently expand our efforts to engage more people in working with Lakota people to build a more sustainable energy program and reduce outrageously high utility bills. We believe that with energy prices continuing to rise, and potentially doubling over last winter’s costs, that we need to do everything we can to get more solar heating systems in place and protect more tribal families, especially the elderly and children.

These supplemental solar heaters will reduce heating costs by 20-30% for 20 to up to 30 years for pennies a day and should be a part of every tribes new energy policy. Check out our website for more information.

Please take a moment to read the flyer about the Lakota Past and Present Adventure. I hope you will consider attending and that you will pass it on to your friends and associates for their consideration.

Richard

Tribal Lands program in National Geographic

Trees, Water & People and Henry Red Cloud are featured in an article about the Lakota that appeared in the July 2008 edition of National Geographic France, written by Sylvie Brieu with photographs by Asim Rafiqui. Following is a translated excerpt from the article:

National Geographic France

Wounded Knee remains an open wound . . . . The struggle for independence and self-determination continues, if less violent than in the past centuries. Today’s community leaders are waging other kinds of battles. I’m meeting with one of them at Big Bat’s, one of the few meeting spots on the reservation. The dynamic Henry Red Cloud, 48 years old, 5th generation descendant of a great chief of the Sioux, defines himself as a 21st century warrior. “Here, we are in a survival operating mode on a daily basis.” Henry says with a nod. “So, we’ve got to fight. I help families reclaim and then utilize the lands that the BIA confiscated – under the pretext that the people were incompetent – in order to lease them at a below market price. I promote organic gardens, self-sufficiency and renewable energies.”

Henry heads a small company, Lakota Solar Enterprises, supported by Trees Water & People. Over the last three years, he has equipped more than 200 households with solar heaters. “In this region winters are harsh. Temperatures can drop below – 40° F. More than 60% of the population lives below the poverty level and can’t afford to heat their homes with either propane or electricity.”

“The sun is part of our way of life and we honor the sun through our Sun Dance. To incorporate solar and wind energy technologies into our everyday life is a way to continue living in harmony with the Earth.”

Henry smiles, looking towards the future: “Our generation is the one that must do the healing. By reclaiming our land and bringing back the buffalo, the members of our community will be able to go forward and resolve their problems.”