Monday, March 21, 2005

Village Earth and Wounded Knee EDA Partner to Repair Waste Treatment Facility

Village Earth and the Wounded Knee District Economic Development Association (EDA) met with the Wounded Knee Community Council to develop a plan for repairing the waste water system in their village. According to community residents the system has been overcapacity for several years and has been backing up into their homes. Another concern is that the system is polluting a nearby stream through seepage and when it overflows. Initial plans include getting the proper authorization from the Tribal government for the community to repair and maintain the system on their own, completing an assessment from a qualified engineer, developing a blueprint and budget for what needs to be done to fix the system, and accessing the necessary resources for the project. Eventually, the community plans to train a local caretaker to monitor and maintain the system. A priority of the group was to try to engage the community in the project as much as possible so they would feel a sense of ownership and would be willing to maintain the system on their own without having to depend on the tribal government, state, or outside organizations.

Above: the current waste treatment facility at Wounded Knee
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CSU Students Spend Their Spring Break at Pine Ridge

While many students around the country were spending their spring break sunning themselves at the beach, skiing, or just taking it easy, 12 students from Colorado State University's "Alternative Spring Break Program" spent their week long break helping out with community projects on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. This is the second year of the program on Pine Ridge which is jointly organized by the CSU office of Civic Leadership and Student Involvment and Village Earth.

Above: CSU students preparing breakfast burritos outside of their temporary home.

For the past two years the students have slept in Tipis on the Red Cloud's land near the village of Oglala. This year the group helped elders with projects around their homes, worked with school kids on a community-film project, and helped build a cook shed that can be used by their group next year and other groups that come to help throughout the year. Henry Red Cloud also organized a number of cultural exchange activities including a drumming and dancing with the Crazy Horse Singers, storyteling, hiking in the badlands, touring the reservation and group reflection. Overall this year's program was a huge success and was enjoyed by both the students and the residents of Pine Ridge who were involved.
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