Solution Overview

Solution Name:

Indigenous Wisdom Center

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One-line solution summary:

The IWC is a demonstration earthship-style building enabling year-round sustainability skills training to build capacity and capital.

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Pitch your solution.

OLCERI is proposing a holistic approach in-line with the tribally sanctioned Lakota Plan. Our current efforts are engaged in building modified earthship-style homes and regenerative food systems.  Recently, OLCERI partnered with Engineers Without Borders for the design of the Indigenous Wisdom Center, a demonstration earthship—style building that features rammed earth, recycled tires, water collection, an integrated greenhouse which recycles water 2x over, and can be built for an estimated $40/sq ft. The Center will elevate our capabilities to offer training/workshops in permaculture, natural building, regenerative food production, appropriate technologies, and Lakota culture. Construction of the Center will be completed through on-the-job training apprenticeships for Lakota members, whereby we create capital and capacity through hands-on training. Apprentices can then carry their skills forward to build affordable homes on the reservation. Our earthship-style design is open source, and can be readily replicated across other reservations and poor rural communities. 

 

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What specific problem are you solving?

OLCERI is based on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where several thousand HUD homes need to be replaced due to failing structures which are often barely adequate to keep out the elements, overcapacity, black mold, or a combination of these. In addition, studies have found that food insecurity is a daily reality for 25 - 40% of all households, and fresh, healthy food is often either very expensive or not available. Approximately 95% of all food is imported. OLCERI, working with Engineers Without Borders, has created a low-cost earthship-style building design, straightforward enough to be constructed entirely by tribal members who complete a construction apprenticeship. The building design features an integrated greenhouse space using recycled water, allowing for continual fresh food production.  Completion of the Center will not only create a place where members can receive year-round training on gardening, food preservation, food sovereignty, and perennial food forest installation, it will also enable tribal members to complete their building apprenticeships. These members can then use their skills to begin building earthship-style homes for their communities.

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What is your solution?

OLCERI has been developing, testing, and implementing holistic solutions informed by permaculture and rooted in Lakota culture. Our solutions are based on affordable appropriate technologies designed and integrated to meet the needs of the Lakota community and environment of the Badlands. Completing the Center, our flagship training facility, will magnify our ability to provide training/workshops at our demonstration site. OLCERI will train Lakota tribal members in modified earthship-style building construction through completing the Center. This modified method, developed by Bryan Deans, allows us to build earthship-style homes that cost approximately $40/ft2. With the proper equipment and a trained team OLCERI can build a 900 ft2 home in a fraction of the time and cost required by the current housing initiatives. Further, this type of construction maximizes passive heating and cooling potentially could repurpose tons of waste materials. Concurrently, we are working with tribal partners to install holistic food systems (gardens, high tunnels, walipini greenhouses, and root cellars) and create a food hub network across the reservation.  Our food sovereignty initiatives are a vital component of the overall picture. Homesteads can be designed to not only house but to also supplement families and communities with fresh healthy foods.

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Strong preference will be given to Native-led solutions that directly benefit and are located within the Indigenous communities. Which community(s) does your solution benefit?

This solution directly benefits the Oglala Sioux of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. OLCERI’s design of the Center, and the related construction apprenticeship program, are aligned with the Oyate Omniciyé (Lakota Plan). The Lakota Plan is a comprehensive and collaboratively created by the Lakota community on Pine Ridge. This plan was developed after years of work including visioning sessions with local youth and other residents and work done by steering committees composed of local Lakota. Key components of the Lakota Plan include the need to create meaningful economic and job opportunities, promote and enhance public health, and provide and enhance housing and infrastructure on the reservation.

OLCERI’s approach is centered around our 7 Core Tenets – 7 Generations – 300 years paradigm. Traditional Lakota beliefs teach that the five basic essentials of life are: food, fire, water, shelter, and earth. These basic needs must be met before individuals are capable of connecting with Self and then Spirit, the final two of our seven core tenets. People who possess these 7 tenets are able to live in harmony and dignity in their communities. We seek to instill these 7 teachings down through the next 7 generations, over the next 300 years. Our systems are designed to be long-term and permanent, enabling local residents to break the cycle of government dependence and unhealthy lifestyles and to return to restorative land-based local sufficiency. 

Bryan Deans, Founder and President of OLCERI, is a Lakota tribal member who lives on Pine Ridge reservation. He will be directing the completion of the Center and also directing the training apprenticeship program. Bryan co-created the design by partnering with Engineers Without Borders and has run several training programs for the Lakota tribe.

The construction of the Center will benefit the Lakota Pine Ridge community by:

1) Providing a center where year-round training on regenerative agriculture,  food preservation, food sovereignty, perennial food forest installation, natural building, permaculture design, water harvesting, greywater systems, and appropriate technologies.

2) Providing construction training apprenticeships for ~50 tribal members, who will complete the Center. Apprentices will receive both classroom and on-the-job training on earthship-style in a novel industrialized  method. They will learn building construction, using rammed earth and abandoned tires (an abundant resource on the reservation), natural heating and cooling designs, and recycled materials and locally sourced sustainably harvested lumber (when available). Construction costs ~$40/sq ft. 

3) Apprentices can then use the skills learned to increase chances of gainful employment, including the opportunity to participate in construction of earthship-style homes across the reservation. Other important and marketable skills that will be gained by our apprentices include making and applying earthen and lime plasters, framing, greywater and black water management, water harvesting, alternative energy solutions, and permaculture design. 

4) With completion of the Center, year-round training will enable tribal members to apply their new skills towards increasing food sovereignty and develop cottage-industry businesses.

5) These earthship-style homes will increase the safety, mental and physical well being of tribal members, and reduce the financial burden experienced every winter when families need to heat their homes. The earthship-style homes are not only more affordable than other homes being built in the area, but they are very energy-efficient, can be maintained to last several generations, include water harvesting, greywater and black water systems, food production, and are designed to withstand the severe weather that frequently impacts South Dakota. 

6) These homes can be built to stand alone and not tax existing infrastructure. Further, these homes are designed to be easily modified to adjust to the needs of the inhabitants. They are handicap accessible and include features such as adjustable counters that can be moved to whatever height is appropriate for elderly or handicaped residents.

7) The earthship-style construction can also be easily applied to the construction of effective and inexpensive root cellars and walipini greenhouses. Root cellars double as a food storage space to keep food stuffs fresh through the hot summers and frigid winters and act as another safe shelter from tornados and other extreme weather. Walipini greenhouses are built into the earth to leverage the more constant temperatures below the frost line. When properly oriented these greenhouses can extend the growing season nearly year-round as the inside will never reach freezing temperatures. The walipini greenhouse currently operating at OLCERI also incorporates an aquaculture system utilizing a large used culvert that has been converted into a deep pool to raise tilapia. The water is circulated through a hydroponic system and plants are watered and fertilized while cleaning the fish water, while the fish become an extra source of protein.   

8) The regenerative food systems are designed to account for the regional variability and the weather extremes on the reservation. That is why we emphasize both indoor and outdoor growing spaces. These include traditional outdoor gardens and high tunnel and walipini greenhouses to extend the growing season to a year-round basis. This guarantees a certain level of food production, providing a secure yearly food supply. Outdoor growing will include resilient systems that emphasize the production of traditional foods (ie. chokecherries, plums, currants, etc), perennial plants, and food forests that include fruit and nut trees.  

8) OLCERI’s mission and current efforts include the creation of a food hub network spread geographically across the reservation to add resiliency to the overall network. Central hubs supported by a network of associated homesteads could produce enough food to feed themselves and their neighbors. Redundancies are built into the system to support the whole if one hub is impacted by extreme weather events and pestilence.  

9) OLCERI wants to foster the resurgence of tribal based knowledge and resource sharing. We believe once people's physical needs are met in a meaningful way (five of the seven basic essentials of life) we can begin the work of healing and building on the final two essentials (self and spirit). Then the healing of historical traumas and a regeneration of the Lakota culture can be taken on in earnest. 

10) The overall plan is intended to improve the lives of all the Oyates (the nations of two-legged, the four-legged, the swimmers, and the winged) and Tiyospaye (extended families)  of the reservation. We look to free the Lakota people from the modern Western capitalist system and regenerate the traditional Lakota lifeways and culture.

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Which dimension of the Fellowship does your solution most closely address?

Increase access to jobs, financial capital, and skill development opportunities
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Explain how the problem, your solution, and your solution’s target population relate to the Fellowship and your selected dimension.

The Center will provide Lakota tribal members with a place and opportunities to learn hands-on skills in natural building, appropriate technologies, regenerative agriculture, gardening and permaculture design. Our trainees will develop financially viable skills, thus increasing their employment options. Further, our apprentices can then begin to build hundreds of earthship-style homes (based upon the design and construction of the Center), which include food production and water recycling systems, every year with sufficient funding. The  holistic housing and food production systems we have co-designed can create meaningful work, food security, sustainable low-use energy, and safe water. 

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In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Pine Ridge, South Dakota, USA
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What is your solution’s stage of development?

Pilot: An organization deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community
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Who is the primary delegate for your solution?

Bryan Deans, OLCERI Founder and President

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Please indicate the tribal affiliation of your primary delegate.

Oglala Sioux Tribe

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Is your primary delegate a member of the community in which your project is based?

Yes, Mr. Deans is a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe.

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More About Your Solution

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new application of an existing technology
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Describe what makes your solution innovative.

OLCERI’s solution relies on low-tech appropriate technologies, is inexpensive, easily replicable, utilizes locally available resources (i.e. repurposed “waste materials”, locally sustainably harvested timber, sand, gravel, and clay) , and is energy efficient. This solution provides shelter and food, financially viable training, improves the environment, and while considering significant financial constraints. Our solution is more cost-effective, efficient, and replicable than other regional housing and food security solutions. 

    • Industrialization of Earthship Biotecture:

      • Reduce the labor capital necessary 

      • Use 5-7 people vs 60-90 people with quicker completion

      • Inexpensive at approximately ~$40/ft2

    • Novel use of arrow-head anchors used stabilize bond beams from roof to the walls

      • No concrete required

      • Significantly reduces costs without sacrificing structural integrity

    • Compression wrapped external buttresses

      • Saves covered space internally creating a more modular internal design and speeds construction

    • Interior design allows residents to age in place

      • Owners can grow with their home: handicap accessible and counters that can change heights

    • Passively heated and cooled structures 

    • Easily incorporates alternative energy installation

    • Reduces water usage 

      • Incorporates water harvesting 

      • Recycled greywater with plant cell for indoor growing

      • Black water systems protect groundwater

    • Gross goal is to build houses that are net zero carbon emissions 

    • Fortified home can withstand severe weather and climate change

  • Regenerative food systems 

    • Utilizes novel rammed earth tire method to build root cellars and walipini greenhouses (subsurface greenhouse)

    • Homesteads can be independent or contribute to local food hub

    • Near year round food production 

    • Integrated animal husbandry and aquaculture 

    • Incorporating food processing knowledge and food storage

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Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

OLCERI’s solution is a holistic approach that applies open-source low-tech appropriate technologies. Our approach applies holistic ecological systems design (permaculture) that incorporates Lakota culture. These systems and appropriate technologies are easily mastered, implemented affordably, and are scalable. Earthship technology is a passive solar earth shelter that is made of both natural and upcycled materials. They use available natural resources, including energy from the sun and rain water. They maximize thermal mass and natural cross-ventilation to regulate indoor temperature. Designs are uncomplicated and can be built by people with little previous construction experience. Further, OLCERI has developed a building methodology that industrializes the construction process. 

  • Earthship technology 

    • Primary structure is built with rammed earth in used tires

    • Other recycled building materials: cans, plastic and glass bottles, urbanite

    • Natural materials: sand, gravel, clay, straw

    • Passive heating a cooling significantly reduces energy needs

    • Ecological design that uses less water and protects the watershed by incorporating water harvesting and greywater recycling for growing food

    • Integrated low-tech food systems that can produce food nearly year-round

  • OLCERI’s Holistic Design:

    • Holistic methodology based in Lakota wisdom and applying permaculture principles

    • Creating regenerative systems 

    • Organization is based around traditional Lakota servant leadership (leaders serve the people), rather than the top-down structure we see today globally

    • Our solutions are designed to address present needs, but take into account the needs of the next seven generations, and our impacts over the next 300 years

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Provide evidence that this technology works.

OLCERI employs open-source and low-tech appropriate technologies. Research has shown that application of appropriate technologies can quickly improve quality of life in economically disadvantaged communities. One of these technologies is the Earthships created by renowned bio-architect Michael Reynolds. Research shows that Earthship homes are economical and extremely energy efficient. Bryan Deans has developed through trial and error a quicker and more efficient method of constructing earthship-style buildings. These types of homes are just one part of our integrated systems that are designed to maximize food production, produce healthy food nearly year-round, improve the environment, harvest clean water, and reduce the need for energy to heat and cool homes. These designs employ permaculture principles through a Lakota cultural lens. 

Akubue, Anthony. "Appropriate technology for socioeconomic development in third world countries." (2000).

Freney, Martin Howard Priestman. "Earthship architecture: post occupancy evaluation, thermal performance and life cycle assessment." PhD diss., 2014.

Fuller, Robert, and Alex Zahnd. "Solar greenhouse technology for food security: a case study from Humla District, NW Nepal." Mountain Research and Development 32, no. 4 (2012): 411-419.

Kruis, Nathanael J., and Matthew K. Heun. "Analysis of the performance of earthship housing in various global climates." In Energy Sustainability, vol. 47977, pp. 431-440. 2007.

Pearce, Joshua M. "The case for open source appropriate technology." Environment, Development and Sustainability 14, no. 3 (2012): 425-431.

Prinz, Rachel Preston. Hacking the Earthship: In Search of an Earth-Shelter that works for Everybody. Archinia Press, 2015.

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Ancestral Technology & Practices
  • Manufacturing Technology
  • Materials Science
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What is your theory of change?

Our theory of change is based on the conclusions of the Oyate Omniciyé (Lakota Plan). OLCERI aims to overcome the historical trauma and current despair on the reservation with a sound holistic approach that addresses the most pressing needs of the Lakota people by engaging locals in the process of regeneration. 

OLCERI Theory of Change
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Select the key characteristics of your target population.

  • Women & Girls
  • Pregnant Women
  • LGBTQ+
  • Infants
  • Children & Adolescents
  • Elderly
  • Rural
  • Peri-Urban
  • Poor
  • Low-Income
  • Middle-Income
  • Refugees & Internally Displaced Persons
  • Minorities & Previously Excluded Populations
  • Persons with Disabilities
  • U.S. Veterans
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Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 1. No Poverty
  • 2. Zero Hunger
  • 3. Good Health and Well-Being
  • 4. Quality Education
  • 5. Gender Equality
  • 6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  • 7. Affordable and Clean Energy
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • 10. Reduced Inequalities
  • 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  • 13. Climate Action
  • 15. Life on Land
  • 16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
  • 17. Partnerships for the Goals
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In which state(s) do you currently operate?

  • South Dakota
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In which state(s) will you be operating within the next year?

  • South Dakota
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How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?

Our solution currently serves approximately 300 people. We have directly impacted 120 people this year from the gardens we installed, 150 people through hands-on training and education at our summer convergence, and 120 families have been impacted through our free winter firewood program. Because of COVID-19 pandemic we will be unable to continue with our annual Indigenous Wisdom and Permaculture Skills Convergence which brings in approximately 400 people a year. However, we plan to create an online event to continue our educational outreach. We are also partnering with Earth Guardians to develop youth education and train 35 youth. 

Within the next year, we are expanding our food distribution program, our firewood program, and our educational offerings impacting 1,000 people in total. 

In the next five years, we intend to directly impact every member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe living on Pine Ridge Reservation -  19,650 people, through: 

  • Sustainable housing development projects - the reservation needs several thousand new healthy homes 

  • An organic food distribution network, with the goal to have a hub in every community across the reservation for coordinated organic produce distribution 

  • Online and in-person education opportunities in permaculture, gardening, natural building 

  • Firewood and other heating programs throughout the winter months

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What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?

  1. To conduct  multiple weekly trainings on a year-round basis, allowing Lakota tribal members to learn (from other Lakota tribal members whenever possible) skills that will greatly increase the self-sufficiency of their families and their communities, including practical skills in gardening, perennial agriculture, permaculture, sustainable living, and low-cost housing construction, thus allowing them to create healthy, regenerative lives. 

  2. To use the build of the Indigenous Wisdom Center as a training tool to enable apprentices to build eco-houses, using the same earthship-style design, for their own families and communities. To find (from the Oglala Lakota tribe as well as other, outside sources) sufficient funding for those trained tribal members to then train other members and, working together, to begin replacing the thousands of homes which currently need replacing on the Pine Ridge reservation.  

  3. To continue to teach, inspire, and distribute necessary skills and materials to lead and support tribal members in installing and nurturing gardens, permaculture projects, and perennial agriculture across the reservation.

  4. To become a flagship site demonstrating cultural and community regeneration in an area long-decimated by colonialism, cruelty and corruption. To develop the templates - building, training, communication - which can then be used by other impoverished and struggling communities to begin or add to their own regenerative journey.


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What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?

  1. Consistent funding has been (and continues to be) our largest barrier. OLCERI has accomplished an amazing amount of things with volunteer work and ad hoc personal donors and small grants, but to move forward with our larger vision, we need to provide a salary for our President and Founder, Bryan Deans, as well as at least one other staff member, a Project Director/Leader. We would then have the ability to do more long-term strategic planning and outreach, including building a more robust and focused local volunteer program, applying for more grants, marketing, and identifying and courting potential large money donors. . 

  2. A hundred years of trauma and oppression have created a deep seeded mistrust of government and its institutions. The scars of the past have created a paucity of hope and initiative. It can be difficult to identify talent on the reservation and when identified it can be difficult to foster that talent for many reasons including poverty, mental health, familial trauma, and access. 

  3. COVID-19 will continue to represent a significant hurdle until such time as herd immunity/a vaccine is established. The virus limits volunteers, trainings, and gatherings, especially on Pine Ridge, where many members are already health-compromised. Online training is difficult to achieve given the lack of resources and WiFi in areas.

  4. A general lack of resources, skills,and technical capabilities of the people on Pine Ridge due to significant financial hardships. 

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How do you plan to overcome these barriers?

  1. We have developed relationships with several individuals and organizations who have committed to providing several years of foundational funding once we have established our 501(c)3 status (currently in process). Initial funds will provide a salary for Bryan Deans, allowing him to devote himself full-time to OLCERI. We will also fund the construction apprenticeship program for the Center. Completing the Center is a foundational step for OLCERI, as it will provide staff and volunteer workspace, and a training place for tribal members.  

  2. While there are no easy answers to these issues, we have found that demonstrated visible success is critical to sowing seeds of hope. This is why we are so focused on completing the Center and the associated apprenticeship program, as both will provide a tangible, positive outcome that will pave a way forward for motivated tribal members to improve the lives of their families and communities.

  3. We’ve hosted the Indigenous Wisdom and Permaculture Convergence for the previous three years. This fall, we will  host an online conference featuring the Indigenous speakers from previous Convergences. 

  4. Our ultimate end-goal is to provide the training that will allow tribal members to build skills and capabilities and then to raise the funds to purchase materials necessary for members to begin building their own earthship-style homes across the reservation.

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About Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Nonprofit
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If you selected Other, please explain here.

501(c)(3) paperwork has been filed.

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How many people work on your solution team?

  • One full-time employee
  • Six board members
  • 10 Advisory board members
  • Part-time help varies during the year from 1-3 
  • Yearly Volunteers range from 200-400 individuals
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How many years have you worked on your solution?

15+ years

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Why are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

OLCERI has been in continuous operation since its founding in 2002 by Lakota tribal member Bryan Deans. Always conducted with a dental-floss budget and relying heavily on dedicated local and external volunteers, OLCERI has racked up an impressive list of numerous accomplishments, from operating and establishing garden/food hubs that serve the entire lower half of Pine Ridge reservation to training hundreds of tribal members on gardening and permaculture to installing dozens of home and community gardens. 

Bryan is a tribal land owner, a US Army veteran and engineer, a skilled permaculture designer and the guiding visionary of OLCERI. He is backed by a Board of Directors, who each bring skills in business development, marketing, finance, technology and/or permaculture. The Board of Directors is guided by a Lakota Advisory Board, which communicates related tribal needs and concerns to OLCERI. We have found that combining the guidance of the local tribal community with the outside skills and dedication of the Board has increased what OLCERI has been able to accomplish. OLCERI has built on these relationships by hosting the annual Indigenous Wisdom and Permaculture Skills Convergence (paused for 2020 due to the coronavirus), www.iwpsconvergence.com, where hundreds of tribal members and volunteers gather together to build community, learn skills, and complete permaculture and gardening projects. 

Our collaborative work style, our deep roots in the tribal community, and our long history of successful projects particularly qualify us to extend our services to year-round training and regenerative building.  

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What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?

Engineers Without Borders, Colorado State University Chapter. 

  • Co-created the Indigenous Wisdom Center design

  • Ensuring our building design meets all state codes and regulations  

Tiyospaye Winyan Maka

  • Lakota non-profit promoting alternative housing and energy, nutritional and educational sovereignty for indigenous women and their families

  • Our partnership has stretched over 10 years

Coordinating Committee of International Voluntary Service (CCIVS) 

  • CCIVS is a global network engaged in the field of International Voluntary Services

  • Provided volunteers for over six years

Grow Permaculture 

  • 10+ year partnership with Founder Koreen Brennan

  • Helped design our demonstration site and provided expertise for training locals

Re-Member 

  • Nonprofit organization that improves the quality of reservation life through relationships, shared resources, and volunteer services

  • A host of one of the primary food hubs where OLCERI designed and implemented a large-scale production garden.

Come to Life 

  • News network of the Regenerative movement 

  • Documented our annual convergences and published articles and videos about OLCERI

Earth Guardians

  • A global movement providing a platform for hundreds of youth crews in over 60 countries 

  • Working with OLCERI to develop educational and media content for Pine Ridge and other reservation youth

Seed Bed (www.seedbed.io)

  • International organization working with OLCERI to develop a community currency for Pine Ridge 

Wakpamni District, Pine Ridge Reservation

  • Spring 2020: working to install 70+ home and community gardens to support Lakota tribal members who are seeking to increase their self-sufficiency



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Your Business Model & Partnerships

What is your path to financial sustainability?

The Board of Directors is pursuing a multi-stemmed funding approach that will enable us to build the capacity of OLCERI: 

  • Developed a network of  larger scale donors who have already committed to funding once we have established our 501(c)3. We incorporated in June, 2020 and will file with the IRS this month.

  • Given OLCERI’s long and successful track record, we have been fairly successful with obtaining additional funding  for specific programs/projects. We will continue to target and apply for grants as appropriate to underwrite specific states.

  • OLCERI has minimized expenses by relying on volunteers, both local and off-site. Our Indigenous Wisdom and Permaculture Convergence brings together hundreds of tribal and outside volunteers, who have collectively accomplished many large-scale projects, including building the base of the Center, completing the build of a Walipini , cordwood tiny house, and cob bench/rocket stove among others.

  • We average $20,000 - $30,000 per year in individual contributions; this giving has remained fairly steady for several years and forms a base for daily operations and small projects.  

  • The earthship-style design co-created with Engineers Without Borders can be easily adapted to a scalable home design. One of our Board members has significant experience in creating partnerships with large-scale  corporate philanthropy efforts. Once the Center is built, we will begin the process of seeking major partner(s) for rolling out home building.

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What are your estimated expenses for 2020?

Program Expenses: $40,211 General/Overhead: $19,610 Total: $59,821

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Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, or to other organizations?

Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)
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Why are you applying to Solve?

We are applying to Solve for the funding, but we recognize the visibility and support offered by winning the Solve grant are the much more valuable prizes. As an organization we have worked to identify our needs and create an organizational structure that will set us up for success. However, we would welcome an outside assessment of our organization and would welcome any feedback on how we can improve. Moreover, we are interested in any potential partnerships or resources the Solve team can identify. Our primary barriers are those of establishing stable and sufficient funding and identifying and training local Lakota to join our team. Being selected to present our solution at MIT and the 2020 Regional Summit are excellent opportunities to network with other like-minded organizations, academics, experts, and potential funders. Further, we hope that the Solve team can help us find support and expertise in the following areas:

  • Marketing

  • Improve our technology capabilities to have a greater presence on the web

  • Identifying and developing local Lakota talent and leadership

  • Develop and implement instruments to successful monitor and evaluate our programs 

  • Identify relevant grants and potential partners

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In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Solution technology
  • Product/service distribution
  • Funding and revenue model
  • Talent recruitment
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Marketing, media, and exposure
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Please explain in more detail here.

Solution technology

  • Help improving efficiency in natural building methods

  • Sourcing equipment

Product Service/Distribution

  • Developing instruments to assess tribal member needs

Funding and Revenue Model

  • Creating deliverables for potential donors and philanthropic organizations

  • Identifying our donor market and capacity

Talent Recruitment

  • Develop tools to identify and train local Lakota for leadership positions

Monitoring and Evaluation

  • Develop instruments and tools to monitor and evaluate OLCERIs programs

Marketing, Media and Exposure

  • Develop marketing documents

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What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?

The Bush Foundation (BF) has a history of working with Indigenous peoples and groups to work toward self-determination. Our mission is centered around returning self-determination and regenerating the Lakota cultural and lifeways. Our shortcomings as an organization could be improved and bolstered by a partnership with the BF. Our primary barrier is that of developing a model for sustained funding. With their network and expertise the BF can help us move beyond this barrier. Furthermore, their strategic initiatives philosophy emphasizes inspiring people to change, equipping people to change, and developing and creating networks that sustain local and regional innovation. 

  • Inspire change - As an organization we need support in identifying, developing, and funding talented youth on the reservation. 

  • Equip people to change - OLCERI is building the facilities and has access to local knowledge and expertise and the Bush Foundation could help us improve our capabilities.

  • Create change at scale and sustain networks - OLCERI’s solution hinges on the continued growth of a reservation wide housing initiative and food hub network. Creating new partnerships is essential for success. 

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The Experian Prize to advance your solution?

The Center will provide Lakota tribal members with a place and opportunities to learn hands-on skills in natural building, appropriate technologies, regenerative agriculture, gardening and permaculture design. Our trainees will develop financially viable skills, thus increasing their employment options. Further, our apprentices can then begin to build hundreds of earthship-style homes (based upon the design and construction of the Center), which include food production and water recycling systems, every year with sufficient funding.
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Solution Team

  • Bryan Deans Executive Director, The Oglala Lakota Cultural and Economic Revitalization Initiative
 
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