For Immediate Release: August 16, 2022
Rapid City – This week, members of the Racial Equity team at NDN Collective are visiting the BLOCK Project in Seattle to learn about the organization’s work to build homes for unhoused people in their community. During their visit, the NDN Collective team will also help with home construction.
NDN Collective helped set up Camp Mni Luzahan in 2020 in response to growing homelessness in Rapid City – an issue that primarily affects Indigenous people in the area due to continued racialized gaps in education, income, health care, food access, and overall support. Camp Mni Luzahan served 350 people over an 8-month period and provided shelter, food, and community support. Despite being successful for the people it served – with some residents even getting sober during their time spent in the camp – the local government has continuously interfered with the camp’s efforts, acting with overt and often racist contempt for unhoused people.
In Seattle, NDN Collective team members will learn from those who have found solutions for people facing homelessness, and gather specific knowledge including:
- How to make tiny-home villages affordable, sustainable, comfortable, safe, empowering, and supportive of fostering healthy community connections;
- Methods of production for tiny homes, as well as how to use construction to provide opportunities for work-force training;
- How to develop self-determination programs to aid healing from trauma and help people find purpose and home; and more.
“There are people everywhere working to support and empower their neighbors in the face of capitalism and corporate greed – and we can learn from each other,” said Sunny Red Bear, director of racial equity at NDN Collective. “We’re excited to bring the knowledge we gather with the BLOCK Project back home to our people. We remain determined to provide our unhoused relatives with safe, sustainable housing, community support, healing, and respect.”
NDN Collective is an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power. Through organizing, activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building, and narrative change, we are creating sustainable solutions on Indigenous terms.