When Hope Comes to Indian Country

By Joseph Kunkel, Executive Director and Nathaniel Corum, Design Director,
Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative

Brave, capable, and above all, hopeful. These are the defining characteristics of those working alongside tribal members and community groups to bring capacity and resilience to the Sioux Native communities at Pine Ridge and Crow Creek, South Dakota.

The Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative (SNCC) team appreciates how difficult it is to move the needle in tribal communities that are reeling in post-storm disaster areas. Among the poorest counties in America, the region faces a range of issues from substance abuse, to substandard housing stock, to low levels of economic opportunity.

However, Pine Ridge and Crow Creek are also home to dynamic and talented Sioux tribal members who are working to change the future for this generation of Lakota youth. SNCC is making significant progress toward this goal with several local Pine Ridge community groups, in large part due to the support and leadership Nancy Beers has provided us as a grantee of CDP’s Midwest Early Recovery Fund.

Nancy has been instrumental in forming teams, convening meetings, leveraging new support locally and nationally, and aligning resources to create crucially needed capacity while initiating impactful community partnerships and programs. As a direct result of the CDP Midwest Early Recovery Fund, SNCC has been able to:

  • Connect with Midwestern funders interested in culturally-responsive efficient housing for the Crow Creek Sioux community, resulting in the anticipated 2017 construction of a community-informed prototype home.
  • Work with the Director and staff of Crow Creek Tribal Housing (CCTH) to apply for various technical assistance funds to help CCTH realize the master planning and phasing goals of a 50-60 unit housing development featuring green building design, community facilities, and architecture consistent with community needs and traditions.
  • Build collaborative relationships with the Oglala Sioux Lakota Housing staff who have requested several proposals from SNCC to address issues ranging from future home designs to planning community resilience nodes, to discussions about a range of potential economic development projects touching housing, apprenticeship, artisan live/work space, and more.
  • Collaborate with another outside funder to explore building a children’s and elder’s center on recently donated land on Pine Ridge.

We’re both appreciative and impressed by the mission of CDP’s Midwest Early Recovery Fund and impact as well as Nancy’s strength, heart, and clarity as we work together in these crucial and challenging directions.

For more information on the Midwest Early Recovery Fund, please contact:
Nancy Beers
Director, Midwest Early Recovery Fund
(507) 990-5307

(Photo source: SNCC)