Shannon Freed wrote -
Walter and Allison were homeless for about 8 years before finally securing a lease for their own homesite in the Wakpamni District on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. They were able to then purchase a camping trailer and after a year of requests and petitions were gifted 1/2 of a duplex by the tribe. They spent the past year and some dismantling and moving their half of the duplex piece by piece onto their new homesite and were making an attempt to use the pieces to build themselves a home. Over the winter, most of their efforts were blown over in a storm. Earth Tipi, a grassroots organization based in Wounded Knee (earthtipi.org) decided to partner with the family this past March when it became clear that they had the motivation and work ethic to help themselves but needed some support in building a solid home. They have invited 20 year building veteran David Reed of Texas Natural Builders (texasnaturalbuilders.info) to come lead a class that will both teach people to build a home out of pallets as well as actually construct a solid highly efficient home for Walter and Allison.
This is the second natural home building project for Earth Tipi who successfully completed construction of a cob/strawbale house in August of 2010 for another family living in the Manderson Community on the same Reservation.
Though using pallets is a relatively new method of home building, it is extremely economical and sturdy. The home will be insulated with a light straw clay mixture which will provide thermal mass to help keep the home warm during the cold winter months. For more info on constructing homes out of pallets: http://www.sustainabledakota.com/?p=230
The construction process will be taught as a class that any local Lakota may attend free of charge. We hope not only to build a house for this family but to also educate and empower other families to build homes for themselves using materials that are relatively easy to acquire free or cheaply.
Of course the pallets are free. We have also secured donations of doors, windows and other house hold items. We are seeking funds to finance the materials for the roof, plumbing and electrical. We also need finances to transport and cover fuel costs of some of the natural materials that are also free.