Photo of the Week: Volunteers Dig Deep at RCREC

Volunteers work hard to dig the foundation for a straw bale demonstration site at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The demo home will serve as a training site for sustainable housing design and construction.

Interested in helping? There are many ways you can get involved with bringing sustainable housing to Lakota families:

  1. DONATE to the straw bale fundraiser on OR
  2. DONATE through our online donation portal (please write “straw bale home” in the comments section)
  3. Volunteer!! Click here to learn more about the FREE straw bale workshop at Pine Ridge.


Straw Bale Construction Workshop — Aug. 8-12 — FREE

You are invited to a free training and volunteer opportunity to help build a demonstration straw bale home on our partner, Henry Red Cloud’s, property at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

What: Straw bale home construction training and volunteer trip
Where: Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, Pine Ridge, South Dakota
Arrive: Sunday evening/ afternoon, August 7 (you may wish to arrive in time for the Pine Ridge Pow Wow).
Work: Monday-Friday, Aug 8-12
Depart: Saturday, Aug 13
Why: Learn about straw bale construction and help Henry build this demonstration of efficient, affordable housing for Native Americans living on reservations.


  • All are invited to camp on Henry’s property at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center. Please bring your own camping equipment.


  • In general, you will be responsible for your own transport to/ from Henry’s.
  • For those of you traveling from Fort Collins, CO on Sunday and returning on Saturday, I will be happy to facilitate carpools.


  • Our options for food will depend on the number of volunteers who sign-up.
  • For now, you should assume that you will be responsible for your own food and preparation.
  • TWP is happy to share its kitchen equipment including a stove and shelter. If there are 40 of us, you may be happy you brought your own camp stove…
  • There is a small convenience store about 9 miles from Henry’s.

To Reserve Your Spot:
Please email Lacey Gaechter at or call us at (970) 484-3678.

  • Let Lacey know when you plan to arrive/ depart.
  • Where you’ll be coming from.
  • If you’d like a ride or to offer a ride from Fort Collins.
  • Any questions that you have.

We hope you can join us in bringing sustainable housing options to the Lakota People!

Can’t attend but still want to help? Click here to donate to our straw bale fundraiser online!

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

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

*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):

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.

Solar Women Warriors Scholarship Fully-Funded

Kayenne, a participant in the Intro to Small Wind Turbines Workshop, learns how to use remote-reading software at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center. (Photo by Dan Bihn)

Thanks to the generosity of many friends and supporters, we have fully-funded the Solar Women Warriors Scholarship!  With these funds, Trees, Water & People (TWP) will provide a $1,000 scholarship to a Native American woman interested in becoming a renewable energy leader in her community.  The scholarship will pay for a 10-day training session at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC) located on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  This intensive workshop provides tribal members with Solar Technician I certification, allowing them to return to their reservations equipped with the expertise to begin assembling and installing solar heating systems within their own communities.

Training sessions at RCREC are led by Henry Red Cloud, owner of Lakota Solar Enterprises (LSE), and his experienced staff.  Henry teaches the step-by-step process of assembling solar air heating systems and offers hands-on practice installing the systems on tribal family homes.  Funds raised will pay for lodging at the RCREC dormitory, food, training, and certification.

Thank you again for your generous donations; together we are working to change the tribal energy approach!

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.

Lakota Solar Enterprises Launches Website

Lakota Solar Enterprises (LSE), one of the first and only Native-owned and operated renewable energy businesses, is proud to announce the launch of its new website: Now, people anywhere can visit the Pine Ridge business online to purchase efficient solar air heating systems and learn about training opportunities.

Established in 2006 in partnership with Colorado nonprofit Trees, Water & People (TWP), Lakota Solar Enterprises is owned and operated by Henry Red Cloud, Oglala Lakota elder and great-great grandson of Chief Red Cloud. LSE offers home and facility-size renewable energy applications and installation training. To date, Henry and LSE have produced more than 700 innovative solar air heating systems that save tribal families 20-30% on their annual heating bills for over two decades. The efficient systems pay for themselves in just a few years. By harnessing the power of the sun to heat homes, tribes can improve their quality of life while protecting and honoring Mother Earth.

“Renewable energy is a new way to honor the old ways,” say Henry Red Cloud, Proprietor of Lakota Solar Enterprises.

LSE resides at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC) on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The unique educational facility offers intensive hands-on renewable energy training workshops from Native American instructors. More than 150 tribal members have received training and over 50 have earned their Solar Technician I or Wind Technician I certification. With their new knowledge and skills, they are ready to enter the growing workforce in renewable energy.

To learn more about Lakota Solar Enterprises, visit their new website at

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  If you are interested in learning more about what we are doing or want to contribute to the project, check us out at and look at out Tribal Land Program area.

Be well…