Santa Cruz, California and Wounded Knee, South Dakota.
We are building natural earth (cob) houses.
A house that is warm in winter and cool in summer
A house made with many hands and ready resources
A house where children can grow well
This is about the children!
What happened already:
1. 2004... summer camp, building site, outdoor kitchen/living, bulding muscles, building fires at night and walls by day ... building friendships, sharing pictures and stories and lives, making cob 'bricks
2. Freda Yellow Hair traveled back to Santa Cruz with Johanna Parry Cougar and into the WomenRise circle. Freda received the gift of pounamu (New Zealand greenstone/Jade) carried by Paxe from Aotearoa
3. Grandmother to Grandmother was born and a second summer building camp was followed in 2005 with the specific intention to begin building a cob house for one family (as a prototype).
2006... the third year building camp is underway and YOU are invited!!!!
"The dirt's been here all along!"
Johanna Parry CougarHIGH FIVE: Help feed the hungry builders!
Your dollars go most often for gas and bulk food for the camp. Little bills oil the wheels - click here now - no amount too small, every little bit helps.
Every meal a blessing on our building together. For the grandmothers, the grandfathers, the strong ones, the weak ones, the children and the children yet to be born...
DVD of Wounded Knee 2005 now available!,
"Happy New Era" -Wounded Knee 2005
capturing the spirit of sustainable home building with Lakota
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota
A group of five women and one wheelchair travel to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation as volunteer labour to build a 'cob' house from the ground. Over the din of the ever-present wind the camera captures the flavour of a building site like no other.
Characters and stories come and go between rock runs for the foundation of a house. Wild storms and flapping tarps are weathered with good-natured banter.
Rare footage of Little Big Horn day shows Lakota keeping alive their warrior skills, such as dragging the injured off the battlefield with horse and rope.
The shadow of the past is etched in stone in the grounds of the notorious Christian church at Wounded Knee.
Running time; 24 mins. Widescreen DV NTSC Created by Yinka Selley
Final thesis for MA in film studies at University of Bath, England
Camera: Maggi Moon and Elmer Bear Eagle, Editing assistant: Tony Mills
With special thanks to Leola One Feather, Freda Yellow Hair, and the Wounded Knee community. And to WomenRise for Global Peace, especially Johanna Parry Cougar, the Santa Cruz 'cob Lady.'
Click on PayPal and make a donation: covers shipping and extra goes to anything from gas to pulses to greens to marshmallows (toasting on an open campfire EVERY evening they are available at the Wounded Knee building site thanks to the kids...!)
Remember your children are your elders in Universe time - Buckminster Fuller
"It is time for the broken hoop to be mended."Pine Ridge Agency greeting Barry Brailsford on his "Journey of the Stone" to the (12) Nations in 1992.
"The smallest spark gives life to the fire." We come to the fire. We warm the threads of our connecting. The building happens on many levels. We build trust and relationship. Now as I prepare to set foot in Lakota country again we are celebrating building those casas que cantan… 'houses that sing'.
We trace one vibrant connection back to the New Zealand Waitaha and Wallace Black Elk. Barry Brailsford (Song of the Waitaha, Song of the Stone) was guided to bring the pounamu (NZ nephrite, jade, greenstone) to the Pine Ridge Lakota, as one of the twelve Nations on the North American continent. At Pine Ridge he delivered pounamu into the hands of grandmother, Emma Kills Enemy. It was 1992 and she was 85 years old, driving 100 miles every week to be a part of the Foster Grandparent's Programme, a gathering of grandmothers mentoring young Lakota parents.
After this first stone ceremony, Barry was taken up to Wounded Knee by Tim Thunderhorse where another elder, Zack Bearshield, waited to receive him. Barry remembers; "the sun shone brightly and gave lustre to the greenstone I gave into his hands.."
A decade down the road, and Freda Yellow Hair is with us here in Santa Cruz. Paxe arrives from New Zealand. She is chairperson of Tui now, the oldest intentional community in New Zealand, near Golden Bay, Nelson. Maggi Moon had been their maintenance person for a period of time and Paxe and Maggi grew dear to one another. Hence Paxe is here at my door. She carried with her the pounamu greenstone; she thinks, for me. But as soon as she lays eyes on Freda she knows that it is to this Lakota woman she must give the stone.
And as for our Sister 'City' aspirations… 60 Years ago, in the aftermath of a war that tore at the fabric of humanity, a United States president initiated the 'Sister City Program', a structure to enable communities to share and bring out the best in one another. The City of Santa Cruz has taken the first steps to name this relationship with Pine Ridge Lakota. The initiative, unprecedented in the history of the United States and the Indian Nations, has been approved by Sister Cities International and now is in our hands to form the words, in Lakota & English alike, that speak to what it is we are birthing in our inter-weaving.
All this is lit up in me as I prepare for the 3rd year to go to Pine Ridge. Despite the distance, despite our history, we have somehow found our way to one another and something new has begun. Steering steady on a journey that is as yet untitled, we step unerring towards a destination fashioned elsewhere, designed to nurture life in all of us.
Santa Cruz, CA, July 2006
UNTITLED JOURNEYWinged Bird
Steal my pierced heart
Fly with it high and higher
Till man and his earth
Are blurred and lost
Blind my eyes and deafen my ears
To lances that pierce
Voices that soothe
Hands that hold
Carry my heart to a peaceful land
Of untouched beauty
Where Soul and Mind
Disturbing no other
Lie in blissful Love
Let their child
The mother of a new creation
Untainted by memories
Of a world past
Or flaws of destruction
Let the child live
In the fruits
In the wisdom
Of a peaceful land
Child of beauty
Are you ready?
Return my healed heart to earth
Bring with you seeds
Of a new generation
Only when it is safe
And plant wisely
I will guard these seeds
With my life
Goweitduweetza (Veronica Riley)
from the Continuum Center booklet on the Edward S. Curtis Photographic Exhibit
of the North American Indian.
It's about the children!
In the words of The Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children:
Tatanka Iyotaka Sitting Bull
Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux Chief