Promoting Alternative Housing, Education, Energy, and Food Sovereignty For Indigenous Families


Update: March 2017

Posted by winyanmaka07 on March 1, 2017 at 3:30 PM

March, 2017

Standing Rock “Water Protectors” have all been forcibly removed from the camps. Many of us continue to decompress from the various traumas we personally suffered, or were witness to. I know that I will continue to process the three and a half months that I spent there. There are so many wonderful Spiritual Human Beings that I met while there…I will never forget the love, warmth and camaraderie that I saw all around me. More than a few times I found myself walking to the “camp pantry” for a small cup of coffee at 3 in the morning, and still, there were many people walking around and greeting one another with love and hugs…even though we had just met. This experience and so many more will linger in my memory for years to come, and I’m happy that I was able to bear witness to so much love and Spiritual Energy.

While many were happy to return to their respective homes, there were those who had a very difficult time with leaving, and I believe that they like myself were leaving so much of their Spirit behind after weeks and months of fighting for the Water, the Earth, the Ancestors resting places. But additionally, my mind can’t help but wander to those we left behind, who still struggle to “get by”. There are still many that we stood side-by-side with who go home to houses that are dilapidated with poor electrical wiring and plumbing with no extra money for repair. You can see this on just about any Indian Reservation that you visit…but in Lakota Territory every one of them live far below the poverty level.

I think about the beautiful Lakota youth who initiated the “Stand With Standing Rock” move. I’ve listened to them speak about how it’s difficult survive on the rez’ with outrageous utility bills, food and vegetables that look to be gleaned from the fields of states far away, and housing is scarce or very overcrowded, up to 17 or more in a single house. These youth are heroes. On the Pine Ridge Reservation, almost 65% of the population are 25 and under and of those, approx. 20% are homeless and couch surfing.

Tiyospaye Winyan Maka, (Lakota for Extended Family of Women of the Earth, and herein referred to as TWM), a small, grassroots non-profit in Colorado, has had a mission since it’s inception - “to promote energy, housing, education, and nutritional sovereignty for indigenous women and families”.

Every year fundraising has been a very difficult undertaking as we are a very small grassroots agency with no paid positions let alone a position for a professional fundraiser. We work with whatever can be raised through speaking engagements about the homestead projects themselves, how they came to be, etc. We have also held various small fundraisers with support from the Fort Collins art community, various restaurants, we were even awarded two grants from Microbreweries for the Environment..still we need to start upping our fundraising plan. About four years ago I had a fundraiser at Avogadro’s number here in Fort Collins. We asked a local group to play for us to attract folks to the patio, and we had a silent auction. We raised $500 and to my shock, the group wanted $500 for performing. It was at this point I decided to research and find out how to create an annual music fest to raise dollars for the project.

I met so many folks at Standing Rock that turned out to be musicians and are familiar with putting this kind of thing together and offered to help if and when they could. I pray they still have an interest and reach out to me.

I find myself wondering if there is enough time to put something together for this late spring/early summer, or should this wait until next year?? Or could we do it later this year and have funding for equipment and other things that TWM needs to replenish. Bryan would like to have the first one on the Pine Ridge Reservation…either at the Buffalo Ranch belonging to Bamm Brewer...and he also has an event center at the same location. If these are not available…Bryan suggested the Pine Ridge Village pow-wow grounds. I can look into both of those venues, but I really want to see who out there has an interest before I do that. I would also like to know what kind of a budget I need to have in place, so please someone help me with this if you can.

Also, I have mentioned to a few of you that I want one here in Colorado, (Fort Collins, Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Nederland, Carbondale) any of those places, or ALL of those places through the next few years. Also, I would like to see this music fest/concert performed in different states. Oregon, Washington, California, North/South Carolina, even New York state. I have heard many times on my Journey, if you are dreaming…dream BIG. So…I would love to be able to bring MILCK…”I Can’t Keep Quiet”,and of course I would love to see if the incredible Holly Near would be available to join us for one of these events in order to honor the grandmothers who stood against DAPL for months on end. She wrote and sang “1000 Grandmothers”. You can hear both of these incredible tunes on youtube.com

At a meeting on Thursday, March 2nd, Engineers Without Borders/CSU stated they would be going to the project site in Slim Buttes on the Pine Ridge Reservation in August. TWM will head up in late June or early July to set up a camp site for volunteers. I’m working on recruiting volunteers to help with the project. Also will work to restore some of the infrastructure, ie.

1. adding a tin roof to the outdoor kitchen; reinforcing where and as needed.

2. shoring up the outdoor commodes (will research to see if they are/or can be converted to composting.

3. checking on the integrity of the outdoor showers.

4. assist with setting up the kitchen appliances…stove, refrigerator, etc.

5. Get the campgrounds ready for campers…mow grass or whatever needs to be done.

Also from what I understand, there will be a Permaculture Convergence starting in July during this project…in the same location.

I’m checking on those dates now…so there will be an awful lot going on. If anyone out there is seriously interested in helping with the music fest/concert feel free to contact me here, or at my e-mail - [email protected] or give a call at (970) 290-0353. Thank you for taking the time to read this to the very end…(You did…didn’t you? lol) Be well each and everyone of you, stay strong on the Journey we’re on and Wicosani to you and those you love.

Categories: Updates