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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
I just got back to Colorado from another trip to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Henry and Avery Red Cloud and a TWP friend and donor, Al Byrnes, and I were installing another of our solar heating systems. We’ve previously done about 200 solar heating systems for families on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations. This one, though, was very special.
It was for and at the KILI Radio station, the Voice of the Lakota Nation. Our workshop installation was in conjunction with a major celebration honoring KILI Radio’s 25th anniversary of being on the air, as well as a celebration for the installation of a very amazing pretty darn big wind turbine that will produce about 1/2 the electricity the station needs to operate. It is indeed another big step forward for Energy Independence across the seven Lakota reservations.
Honor the Earth was a big sponsor of the wind turbine project and was there for the celebration, as was the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy (ICOUP). Bands, speakers, the solar heater workshop and installation, a feast, and an amazing giveaway … made this installation all very powerful and good.
We then returned to the mini-campground at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center there at Pine Ridge. Henry and Avery live there at this developing sustainable living center.
A major core is the renewable energy training center where Native Americans are trained in family and facility scale renewable energy applications. We are currently building a loft in our main building with two bedrooms, a bathroom and small kitchen so visitors from other tribes have a place to stay as they learn about solar heating, windbreaks, wind turbines, shade trees and the making of solar electricity.
On the Sustainable Living side, there is also a small straw bale office, a greenhouse and garden area, a sweat lodge and a some of the bison from the Red Cloud herd.
For more info on what we are doing, check out our Tribal Program on our website – www.treeswaterpeople.org. Your friendship, your help, prayers and financial support are all greatly needed and appreciated for us to raise the funds and finish manifesting this amazing project.
After a night of stories around the campfire and some fire dancing and fun, we went to sleep … me … in a Red Cloud tipi in the middle of the Sioux Nation … each of us dreaming about our own version of peace and reconciliation.
Trees Water & People