The Center for Indigenous Wisdom

$60 of $17,000 goal

Raised by 2 people in 7 months
*This fundraiser is carried over from our YouCaring Campaign, since GoFundMe bought YouCaring and that account was deleted. Up to date we have already raised $5,000+ towards our $22,000 goal.

We are on site building now and will be issuing project and fundraising updates soon! Thank you for your continued support! 

Pine Ridge Reservation:
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is home to the Oglala Lakota, designated as part of the Great Sioux Reservation. This land and its people have endured many tragedies at the hands of the United States government. Over 500 treaties negotiated in good faith with the U.S. government have been broken, changed or nullified to suit expansionist interests. Despite centuries of oppression, the Lakota people remain resilient, faithful, and strong. In the spirit of resilience

Tiyospaye Winyan Maka and The Oglala Lakota Cultural and Economic Revitalization Initiative (OLCERI) have joined forces with their partners to create The Indigenous Wisdom Center: a Lakota language school and permaculture center serving Pine Ridge residents and indigenous scholars.

The Lakotas on the reservation face enormous challenges in the areas of food and shelter.

FOOD SCARCITY: Pine Ridge is an extreme food desert, meaning that healthy food, or for that matter any food, is not available within walking or public transport distance for most people. The closest organic produce is found 100 miles away for many and Pine Ridge has only one grocery store for it's over 30,000 residents. Diet related heart disease and diabetes are at epidemic rates (60% diabetes for adults), while the average life expectancy for a male Lakota is 48 and for women, 52.

HOUSING is also a huge problem, with sometimes 20 people living in one household. Some families live in dilapidated trailers, and there has been black mold discovered in the walls of 60% of federally provided housing, which makes people sick. Every year, people freeze to death in their own home because of lack of insulation, and inadequate heating. The building has been designed with the native environment in mind and will use a rammed earth foundation using upcycled tires, recycled roof trusses, off-grid energy, and a greenhouse. Our vision is rooted in and informed by the Lakota Medicine Wheel, a traditional symbol of the interconnected nature of our world, and encompasses seven aspects vital to sustaining human life: food, fire, water, shelter, people (earth), spirit (sky), and inner self.  The programs that will be housed at the IWC are designed around one or more of the seven aspects of the medicine wheel.

The long-term vision: 7-7-300:  This vision, conceived by Bryan Deans, founder of OLCERI, is rooted in the Lakota wisdom which guides one to make every decision with the well-being of future generations in mind. The first seven represents the seven aspects of the Lakota Medicine Wheel: north, east, south, west, sky, earth, and inner self. The medicine wheel represents not only these seven physical directions but also the unity of the different races among humans with the spiritual and physical realms, Earth's basic elements, as well as the basic human needs. The human needs represented by the medicine wheel are food, fire, water, shelter, the spiritual and the physical world. The second seven represents the next seven generations of our human lineage, and the 300 represents the number of years that will pass between now and the coming of that seventh generation. It is in this Spirit of this vision, for our ancestors and for future generations, that we break ground on this building.

Construction: The building will be built with the surrounding environment in mind. A rammed earth foundation using upcycled tires, recycled roof trusses, off-grid energy, and a greenhouse. These features keep the environmental impact low, offer passive heating and cooling, and protection from weather events like tornadoes. Other ecological projects include a grey-water recycling system and rainwater collection system.  There will be three rooms for housing, a large open classroom, bathrooms, shower facilities, and an office. The building has been approved to be an official project by the Community Engineering Corps (CEC), a consortium comprised of Engineers Without Borders, USA (EWB) and student chapters at the University level, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and the American Water Works Association (AWWA). The construction will be completed in three phases, projected to take between three to four years. Our initial goal for this campaign is to cover the costs of Phase 1, to be concluded by the Fall of 2018.

We are requesting funding for the materials needed to begin Phase one of our construction.

Phase 1 - Our 2018 campaign goal

Excavation, exterior tire walls, water piping system, and rainwater catchment system.
Expected completion date: October 2018
Estimated Budget: $21,882

Tiyospaye Winyan Maka (TWM) is a non-profit agency located in Fort Collins, Colorado. Under the direction of Executive Director, Christinia Eala, TWM works to promote alternative housing, energy, nutritional, and educational sovereignty for indigenous women and their families. Their strategic vision is to address the multitude of issues facing the Lakota and other indigenous people by merging traditional wisdom and values with contemporary regenerative practices, particularly in the building trade. Tiyospaye has been involved in a number of natural building projects over the years working both independently as well as in tandem with EWB, the AWWA, The ASCE, and Buckville Energy Consulting LLC.

The Oglala Lakota Cultural & Economic Revitalization Initiative (OLCERI): Located on the cattle ranch and horse rescue operation of Director, Bryan Deans, OLCERI is designed to restore resilience, self-sufficiency, economic independence, and cultural revival among the Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Bryan is an aerospace engineer, welder, and veteran who taught at West Point Military Academy before returning to his birthplace on the reservation,  Bryan and OLCERI are advancing efforts in local food security, natural building, wild horse rescue, local biofuel production, water harvesting, and alternative energy across the reservation. Currently, OLCERI is working on installing 30 high tunnel greenhouses and 3 walipini greenhouses across the reservation to help address the food shortage and health issues.

Community Engineering Corps, the Colorado State University student chapter of Engineers Without Borders: CEC brings under-served communities and volunteer engineers together to advance local infrastructure solutions in the United States. Students have designed a sustainable earthship building that will serve as a community center and will be visiting the site with a team of volunteers to help with construction in May 2018.

'There is a phrase often used by the Lakotas, 'Mitakuye Oyasin' which roughly translates to "We are all related"'. It is in that spirit of all of us belonging to one family, that we are coming together under the guidance of Lakota elders and wisdom to begin to solve the problems on Pine Ridge that go back generations.  We are co-creating a model for eco-friendly and sustainable development in the epicenter of the American Indigenous Rights Movement, Pine Ridge Reservation, home of some of the poorest communities of the United States and we need your help! Please donate whatever you can, no amount is too small! If you cannot donate, check out some other ways to support below:

We are seeking volunteers, both teams and individuals, to come to the

OLCERI ranch to help with construction and other projects. If you or your organization are interested in volunteering your time, please complete this survey

PLEASE SHARE our campaign with your networks via social media, newsletters, emails, groups, or fan pages.
Sign up for email updates on the OLCERI website.

****Can Wigmunke is collecting these funds as a fiduciary to OLCERI for the Center for Indigenous Wisdom, along with OLCERI's other projects.
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$60 of $17,000 goal

Raised by 2 people in 7 months
Funds raised will benefit:
Can Wigmunke
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Martin, SD
EIN: 205841872
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