By Shannon Freed, Director of Earth Tipi
Spring has sprung and Earth Tipi has been making plans for the coming season all winter! First some exciting updates on current news. In November Earth Tipi hosted a Lakota language immersion experience for children at the Lakota Dakota Nakota Language Summit in Rapid City. Children experienced the Lakota language through story telling, computer interactive games and a video corner that featured the Lakota Bears (Berenstein Bears in the Lakota language). In January I teamed up with Arlo Iron Cloud of KILI Radio in Porcupine to do an early morning radio show about foods that heal. Each week a different food is featured and its medical properties are discussed. Information shared includes meal preparation uses and cooking recipes. Also new to Earth Tipi programming are school presentations. I have been making regular visits to the Lakota Waldorf School where the children learn about different food ingredients, where they come from and then they create something from the ingredients. Playdough and Granola were both big hits with these kindergarteners. This month we featured Vermiculturist John Victor Anderson “The Colorado Worm Man” of Fort Collins. John visited both the Little Wound High School, Lakota Waldorf and did a community presentation in Wounded Knee. At Little Wound, Automotive and Carpentry students learned how to transform an old refrigerator into a worm bin. Two bins were made using non functioning refrigerators that would have otherwise gone to the dump. The following day John presented to 9th and 10th graders in Biology and Physical Science classes. These classes will be responsible for raising the worms using food collected from cafeteria waste. In April, students from the Art class will decorate the bins.
This summer we will turn our existing fruit tree orchard into a food forest. We plan to expand our gardens and are in the process of implementing new permaculture techniques including a “hugelkultur” which will help store water so that we can work to eliminate the need for irrigation in our garden. We will also be repeating our collaboration with the William Penn House of Washington D.C. to take three youth from our reservation to Washington D.C. for one week following a visit from D.C. area high school students. One intern position will be offered to a local youth and it is hoped that funds can be raised to pay a small stipend for this position.
We will be very busy this summer as we work to complete the gazebo project we started last summer as well as construct an outdoor kitchen which will feature a cob oven, solar oven and bengali pit stove. If funds are raised we will also construct a greenhouse, root cellar and a home office for Earth Tipi made from light straw clay. We are currently in the process for raising funds for all of these projects and will need to raise $150,000 by August. If you are interested in supporting Earth Tipi in these endeavors please visit http://earthtipi.org/support to make an online contribution. Pilamaya, Shannon Freed, Director Earth Tipi