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Announcing a Hemp Building Project at Kiza Park Starting May 11th

Submitted by dguard on
Kiza Park is located 3 miles north of Manderson SD, on BIA 33, near Wounded Knee, on the Pine Ridge Reservation. A hempcrete building project/workshop will be conducted at this site from May 11th through June 15th, supervised by American Limetec. We’re calling this project Maka Akan Wicoti (Community Upon The Earth), or Eco-Wicoti. For a variety of reasons, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota is one of the poorest locales in North America. The population grows while employment opportunities are nearly non-existent. Federal assistance under the Bureau of Indian Affairs is substandard. The supply of adequate housing diminishes each year. A crisis, (and now an opportunity) presented itself on December 20, 2007. The family homestead of Alex and Debra White Plume burned to the ground as the result of an electrical fire. The house was home to Alex and Debra, daughter Rosebud and her children, and grandchildren Tyson and Denise. The home served as the hub around which the White Plume clan turned. Many irreplaceable artifacts, ceremonial items, and records from their lifetime of work in human and indigenous rights are now gone. Alex has been Oglala Sioux Tribal President and Vice President. The White Plumes oversee a political action group called Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way) that is stopping uranium mining on the reservation and the Black Hills. Owe Aku is also active in protecting water, sacred sites, and economic development through renewable energy as well. In 2002, the White Plumes became the only farmers within the boundaries of the USA to have raised and delivered a crop of hemp since 1968. The United States quickly made it impossible to do so again. The Lakota Hemp Project is still fighting what they see as legal and political stupidity. Now, the perfect moment in time for the global hemp movement to take action has arrived. Building a home and community that demonstrates the potential of hemp to the world is now underway. Hempcrete is a building material that is formed by combining air-lime based binders with the chopped core of the hemp plant stem. It can be pored into a form almost identical to pouring concrete, or spray applied. Hempcrete homes are lightweight, fire, water, earthquake, and rodent resistant, have excellent thermal mass and insulation characteristics that allows the homes to breath, which saves money on heating and cooling costs, has high sound insulation, and good flexibility. This building technique also sequesters a lot of carbon, reversing the damaging effects of greenhouse gases, providing one the best value materials for low impact, sustainable and commercially viable construction. The Roman aqueducts were most likely built this way, as were still active bridges in France dating to the sixth century. Homes such as these are being built in Europe today, and a new Chicago company called American Lime Technology is ready to use this technique here in the U.S. The White Plume’s community center will be the first building of its kind in America. With help from friends, relatives, and the global hemp community, rebuilding efforts are now in progress. A surviving portion of the foundation of the burned home has been re-used to build a simple building to get the family under a roof. The community center, located above Kiza Park, will be the site for this hempcrete building project. The community center is intended for neighbors to use for wakes and meetings, while serving as the hub around which a sustainable community will be built. The community center needs to be rebuilt, because much of the building materials in it have been used to rebuild Alex and Debra’s new house. The community center already has a floor, a foundation, and a timber frame, which are the requirements for a hempcrete building. Underneath the siding is a plywood wall that will be used to facilitate the spraying of the Hempcrete. The roof on the center needs to be replaced. A green tin will be used, which lasts much longer than asphalt. Then a solar powered water heater will be installed over the tin. The center already has electric power, and an original homestead well is nearby where a solar well pump will be installed. The inside of the building needs funding and labor to finish the interior rooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and utility. Every possible conservation and sustainability technique will be incorporated into all aspects of the design, including water consumption, composting toilets, heating and cooling, and renewable energy. A green pool where plants instead of chemicals clean gray water for gardening is in the planning, as well as a greenhouse system. The entire lot will be fenced off to keep horses out of the gardens, which will have row covers to keep the grasshoppers out. Housing/rental bungalows built out of straw bale and cob will then be strung along the ridge beside the road all the way down to the Kiza Park. A natural amphitheater in front of Wounded Knee creek, and a bridge into the campground will then be built, linking the community center with Kiza Park. The idea is to create a thriving eco-community that provides workshops and information for others on Pine Ridge and around the region, teaching them how to live sustainable by providing a sustainable model. Then an eco-hemp store will be opened in Kiza Park to bring economic development and further knowledge to the area, which will be passed on to others, providing a location where tourists, hemp enthusiasts, and visitors can come and stay in a green cottage, ride horses and mountain bikes, take classes, and eat buffalo and other organically grown local foods, all in a comfortable and educational environment. The 8th Annual Hemp Hoe Down (May 8-10, 2008) at the Elkview Campground near Sturgis, South Dakota, will be held as a benefit for the White Plume building project. This year's event proceeds will be applied to help build the green home. The Hemp Hoe Down regularly features workshops regarding sustainability, and will be expanded this year to allow attendees the option to travel to Pine Ridge after the event and help participate in the construction of the home. Donations will be contributed to the construction of the house, and volunteers and workers are needed. Engineers, contractors, and others involved in construction are encouraged to attend to learn this amazing building technique. Hemp will have to be imported from Europe for the Hempcrete portion of the house, which will be expensive. However, American Limetec has graciously offered to do the construction and workshop without a fee. Join us! Learn sustainable building techniques. Email Jeremy Briggs at [email protected]. Please send donations to Alex White Plume, PO Box 71, Manderson, SD, 57756. For more information visit:;;; and
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