TIYOSPAYE WINYAN MAKA
Extended family of Women of the Earth
to promote alternative housing and energy and support nutritional and educational sovereignty for indigenous women and their families
A VISION TO
LEAD THE WAY…
Elissa Tivona (left) with Tiyospaye Winyan Maka Director, Christinia Eala
We continuously strive to create support networks, to encourage self-help, to promote healing, and a sustainable lifestyle for indigenous women, youth, and families, whether living off or on the reservation. All of our programs embody our commitment to the Lakota value of wicosani, which means to walk in balance with the four aspects of self: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. By combining traditional values with educational training in sustainable building practices, we strengthen the capacity and confidence of indigenous people to lead the was as engaged and effective stewards of the Earth's resources.
PROJECT WINTER WARMTH
The majority of families living on the Pine Ridge reservation live below the poverty level, with annual incomes between $6-8,000. A full tank of propane costing about $500 is sufficient to meet all household needs in the warm seasons. However in the "freezing times” (2-3 months a year), the costs of home heating soars. TWM’s emergency wood, propane and electricity programs help to get low income families through the blizzards and the coldest temperatures.
SUBSIDIES FOR HEATING ON LAKOTA LANDS
Our indigenous team identifies families in need, with insufficient resources to cover heating bills during plummeting temperatures. We have assisted with electric bills, averaging around $180. Occasionally we’ve covered reconnect fees when electricity has been shut off before a family could reach out for help. Only on rare occasions are we asked to help a family more than once in a season; These requests are typically for elders, and we are happy to step in.
At any given point, neighbors may gather together in one household just to stay warm, and sometimes 6-10 people will actually live together. In one case we learned that an elder couple with three grandchildren were burning clothes in a wood-burning stove to stay warm. They became a top priority that day. In 2018 we were able to help 18 households stay warm at around the cost of $3,000, raised mainly through a GoFundMe account.
By NokoBunva - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https:// commons.wikimedia.org/w/ index.php?curid=51540750
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT FOR ALTERNATIVE HEAT SOURCES
In 2019 a generous gift from an anonymous donor put TWM on track to provide emergency assistance to even more families. However, with our donor’s blessings, we have committed to move beyond crisis intervention. We ha ve prioritized a research and development effort into alternative heating sources. To this end, we are collaborating with Bryan Deans from OLCERI who has a design for a solar supported rocket stove. We are moving forward with a prototype of his design; a member of the R&D team is developing a project description and budget as these plans progress. The forthcoming CAD drawing of the design wil l present us with a comprehensive picture of this the OL CERI design. The first few stoves that are produced will be strategically installed in homes that are varied in room dimension, height, number of occupants, how many levels would be involved AND willing to keep minimal records on room temperatures and other data.