Archives for April 2012

Village Earth / CSU Online Courses Move to new RamCT Blackboard Starting Summer 2012

New RamCT Blackboard goes live for summer 2012

CSU-Village Earth courses move to the new RamCT Blackboard for all online coursework at the start of the summer term, June 1, 2012.   The current RamCT system will no longer be used for teaching after this date.

We hope that this new platform will be easier for students to access and navigate from all over the world.

Click the links for more information about the Online Community-based Development Certificate Program or to register for upcoming summer courses.

Learn How To Use The New System – It’s Different! 
For previous students in our program that would like to familiarize themselves with changes to the system or for new students looking to get a head start on understanding the course platform check out the Blackboard On Demand Learning Center for Students: 


See the RamCT Help web site

Earth Tipi to host Affordable Natural Homes Workshop on Pine Ridge

Earth Tipi has teamed up with the University of Wisconsin ~ Madison and Design Coalition to offer a 5 day Affordable Natural Homes workshop!

Lou Host-Jablonski, renowned architect, has developed an innovative design that incorporates all of the benefits of natural home building (straw and clay) into an integrated plan that can easily fit into any urban/suburban setting. The concept also overcomes building codes and permitting that would certainly be an issue in a typical neighborhood. This concept is completely scalable for large projects and has been already implemented in suburban neighborhoods!

Participants will gain hands-on experience using natural materials including walls made from clay and straw, a clay floor and natural plasters. The course will be taught by renowned Lou Host-Jablonski. Important details about planning, designing and building a home will be included in the course. All who attend will leave with a full set of architectural plans that will allow them to build their own home or start a business!

Cost to attend is $850, there is a $100 discount for registering before June 1, 2012. For more information or to register at Our goal is to offer full scholarships to Lakota tribal members. If you can’t join us, please consider donating $25-$100 so that someone in need can attend!



For more information contact Shannon Freed, [email protected]

Cottonwood Seedlings Delivered to Pine Ridge Reservation

Today, 250 cottonwood seedlings were delivered to the Oglala Sioux Tribe Natural Resource Regulatory Agency. The trees will planted by children from the different schools across the reservation in the coming weeks. This project will help to ensure that the sacred trees will be available for future generations of Lakotas for Sundance ceremonies, one of the seven sacred rites for the Lakota people. The practice of the Sundance has been on the rise in recent years and is viewed as a positive sign of Lakota cultural resurgence. This is taking place despite over 100 years of religious suppression by the Federal Government and Christian mission schools that broke apart families and exacted unspeakable physical, sexual and emotional violence upon its students.

Black Elk tells why the Cottonwood is a sacred tree: “Long ago it was the cottonwood who taught us how to make our tipis, for the leaf of the tree is an exact pattern of the tipi, and this was learned when som of our old men were watching little children making play houses from the leaves. This too is a good example of how much grown men may learn from very little cihldren, for the hearts of the children are pure, and therefore the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss. Another reason why we choose the cottonwood tree to be a the center of our lodge is that the Great Spirit has shown to us that, if you cut an upper limb of this tree crosswise, there you will see in the grain a perfect five pointed star, which, to us, represents the presence of the Great Spirit. Also perhaps you have noticed that even in the very slightest breeze you can hear the voice of the cottonwood tree; this we understand is its prayer to the Great Spirit, for not only men, but all things and all beings pray to Him continually in different ways.”

The project is a collaboration between the Calvin White Butterfly of the Wounded Knee Tiyospaye Project (An affiliate of Village Earth), Dennis Yellow Thunder of the Oglala Sioux Tribe Natural Resources Regulatory Agency and Dr. Kurt Mackes, Colorado State Forester. After learning about the need for the trees, Dr. Mackes applied for a small grant from the Colorado State Forest Service to purchase the trees. Village Earth also provided a small grant to the Wounded Knee Tiyospaye project to assist with the coordination of the project among the various schools on the Reservation.