Archives for February 2005

Brave Heart’s and Village Earth Partner to Recover 720 Acres!

This weekend Village Earth and the Brave Heart tiyospaye agreed to work together to restore the Brave Heart’s 720 acres of land located between Pine Ridge and Oglala. They will also receive a “seed” herd of buffalo from Village Earth’s “Adopt-A-Buffalo” program scheduled to be released in August of 2005.

Picture: Basil and Carla Brave Heart point-out the benchmark (below) that marks the northwest corner of their land to Henry Red Cloud (right).

The 720 acres include the orginal 160 acres that was allotted to Basil’s Father during the 1887 General Allottement Act (Dawes Act) . After being issued a “Forced Fee Patent” the land was reposessed by the bank and sold to an Austrian homesteader who used it for cattle grazing. In the 1980’s the land opened up for sale at which time the Braveheart Tiyospaye worked together to purchase it, bringing it back into their Tiyospaye and the Oglala Lakota Nation. However, without having access to the resources needed to utilize it, they have had to lease it out to a non-tribal rancher for $3.oo an acre per year. The Brave Hearts would like to restore the health of their land and raise buffalo for sale, ceremonial use, and above all for “healing.”

Eventually, the Bravehearts would like the land to return to tribal trust status, ensuring that it will be part of the Oglala Lakota Nation forever. Recovering Indian lands that were lost because of “forced fee patenting” is a high priority of Village Earth and so we are extremely excited about this partnership.

Adopt-A-Buffalo Update

This weekend Chief Alfred and Kathy Red Cloud brought students from Pine Ridge’s Wolf Creek School out to visit with the “Tatanka Oyate” that were released June 2004 on the Red Cloud’s land near Slim Buttes on the Pine Ridge Reservation as part of Village Earth’s “Adopt-A-Buffalo Program“. Despite the drought, all the buffalo are doing extremely well and are growing at an amazing rate. They should give birth to their first young by spring of 2006.

Above: Chief Alfred Red Cloud feeds one of the more “tame” buffalo by hand.

Above: Members of the Red Cloud Tiyospaye spend a warm saturday afternoon with the buffalo on their land.

Lone Buffalo Project Drills for Water!

With a herd of curious buffalo watching nearby a clean and reliable source of water has been established at the Tatanka Isnala Ranch near Slim Buttes on the Pine Ridge Reservation. With the help of our donors, the Red Cloud Tiyospaye was able to get a drilling company from Martin, SD. to come out to their land and install a well. After 7 unsuccessful tries, they finally found water at just over 100′ into the earth. Although the ranch already has a lake that has remained filled year round, this well will ensure that clean water will be available for the buffalo and for members of the tiyospaye as more of them move out to the ranch.

Wind Turbine Project Update

The Lakota Wind Turbine Project is close to completion. The goal of the project is to develop a low-cost wind turbine that can be built on the reservation, lowering the cost of accessing electricity for families wanting to live on and utilize their land in remote parts of the reservation. The picture above shows the turbine on a temporary mount to test the balance of the blades. All that is left to finish is the yaw assembly (used to protect the blades from damage in high winds).

The picture above shows the magnetic roter and output coil assembly using an automobile disc brake rotor of an old Dodge durango pickup.

Above is the load controller circuit (left) and the voltage converted (right) all designed on the reservation by Bret Tschacher from the Lone Buffalo Project. The load controller will be used to control the output of the wind turbine and the voltage converter will match two non-compatible systems for appliances which operate at lower voltages. For questions on the design please email [email protected].

Village Visioning Workshops 2005

Above: Shipibo women discussing their hopes and dreams for the future during the Village Earth facilitatedworkshops, ironically, over a broken water well.


Village Earth accepted the invitation of the Inti Wayna foundation, a local Peruvian NGO, and made an initial trip to visit with Shipibo-Conibo people from 12 villages in the region in January 2005. To get a glimpse of the Shipibo’s hopes and dreams for the future, we conducted participatory workshops in each village. Many women, men, and children of all ages participated enthusiastically and showed a genuine concern for the well-being of fellow villagers. Deeply embedded environmental values suggest bright prospects to achieve success in this region.

These are a few priorities that were expressed in the workshops:
Clean drinking water, increased educational opportunities, better access to healthcare, botanic gardens to provide natural medicine to villagers, preservation of biodiversity and forests, eco-tourism projects and spiritually-guided tours, sustainable alternative agriculture production, small-scale fish farming businesses, a river transportation company, and alternative energy sources for villages that currently have no electricity.
Overall, these initial participatory community consultations proved highly successful and have set the stage for further training sessions in self-determined sustainable community development in the region.
Below: Workshop Participants with local pottery in the foreground.

Adopt-A-Buffalo European Tour

Henry Red Cloud, David Bartecchi, and Ralf-Kracke Berndorff recently returned from their successful tour of Europe. During their month long journey they presented and showed a video promoting Village Earth’s land restoration projects on the Pine Ridge Reservation to crowds in over 10 different cities in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France. They were overwhelmed by the amount of support they received at each event and would like to thank everyone who helped to make it a success! The funds that were raised during the tour will help pay for two small buffalo herds that we hope to release this spring and for the installation of a well near Slim Buttes.

Henry Red Cloud at INCOMINDIOS in Zurich

Henry Red Cloud and Ralf Kracke-Berndorff in Munich at the Amperhof Organic Farm

Henry speaking in Paris at NitassinanComité de Solidarité avec les Indiens des Amériques.