The NDN Covid-19 Response Project Click here

Tatewin Means · October 22, 2018

Thunder Valley CDC: Radically Transforming an Indigenous Community from the Ground Up

It is common practice at Thunder Valley CDC to vet all decisions through a triple bottom line -- people, planet, and prosperity.

With Lakota culture, spirituality and language at it’s core, Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation (CDC) is a grassroots community organization leading a movement of systemic change and transformation on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.  This vision of change is actualizing as a result of innovative solutions and an unprecedented holistic approach to fostering individual and community well-being. 

It is through the intergenerational foresight and wisdom of Lakota leaders that the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires), the original Lakota/Dakota/Nakota nation, has persisted and persevered for centuries in direct defiance of the many attempts of genocide, assimilation, relocation and colonization. It is with this same strength and conviction that Thunder Valley CDC will continue to make lasting change on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and beyond. In similar tradition to their ancestors, Thunder Valley CDC makes decisions with future generations in mind. As such, sustainability is a priority. It is common practice at Thunder Valley CDC to vet all decisions through a triple bottom line — people, planet, and prosperity. How their decisions and solutions will impact people, the planet and the overall prosperity of the Lakota nation, always guides Thunder Valley CDC in the right direction.

Thunder Valley CDC truly believes in the power of the people and the collective wisdom in their communities. The most effective and sustainable solutions to some of the most difficult issues facing Lakota people have been, and will continue to be, found in the communities they serve and always through Lakota perspective.

Thunder Valley CDC makes decisions with future generations in mind. 

Thunder Valley CDC’s work is effectuated through a comprehensive ecosystem of opportunity comprised of various initiatives all working harmoniously toward the organization’s mission to empower Lakota youth and families to improve the health, culture, and environment of their communities through the healing and strengthening of cultural identity.

From food sovereignty, to youth leadership and Lakota language revitalization, social enterprise, workforce development, regional equity, arts and culture and housing and homeownership, Thunder Valley CDC is very intentional in it’s holistic approach to healing and empowerment. Each initiative complements and supports the work of the others. Thunder Valley CDC’s most visually evident contribution to systemic change is their Regenerative Community Development. Located on 34 acres in the heart of the Pine Ridge Reservation, this community is currently constructing 21 single family homes, a 12 unit apartment building and a community center as a component of an overall multi-phase community development plan. Future development includes additional single family homes, retail and office space and cultural and community spaces. The community was designed from the vision of community members and with great deference to Lakota culture.

To learn more about Thunder Valley CDC and it’s radical approach to community transformation, click here.


Tatewin Means
Tatewin Means

Tatewin Means (Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota/Oglala Lakota) is the Executive Director of Thunder Valley CDC. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental engineering from Stanford University, a law degree from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Arts degree in Lakota Leadership and Management from the Oglala Lakota College. Means is also a mother, and formerly served as the attorney general for the Oglala Sioux Tribe from 2012-2017.

June 2020 Edition

Stay Informed. Take Action.
Subscribe to the NDN allies newsletter

Sign up to get our newsletter. Delivered once per month.

We care about the protection of your data and would never sell your email or share it with anyone without your permission.

Recently published on NDN

Posted 8 months ago Alcatraz Canoe Journey: Honoring 50 Years of Indigenous Resistance and Persistence

Jade Begay

"If we work to reframe Alcatraz as a symbol for Indigenous sovereignty and reposition it in people’s psyche that way, it could be a very powerful thing, especially for people who are so often forgotten overlooked and marginalized like Natives in America."
Posted 4 days ago NDN Collective Announces Black Hills Bail and Legal Defense Fund Following Mt. Rushmore Arrests
Following arrests of Indigenous Treaty Defenders blocking the road to Mount Rushmore on Friday, July 3, NDN Collective announces a bail and legal defense fund.
Posted 5 days ago NDN Collective Calls for Closure of Mount Rushmore and for the Black Hills to be Returned to the Lakota
In the lead up to President Donald Trump's visit to Lakota lands, NDN Collective calls for the closure of Mount Rushmore as a national monument.
Posted 2 weeks ago NDN Collective Announces the Radical Imagination Grant for Six Indigenous Artists
The NDN Collective Radical Imagination Grant will provide six Indigenous artists in the United States or U.S. Territories with $50k to radically imagine a new future, a better normal, and a more just world for all people and the planet.
Posted 3 weeks ago NDN Collective on Honoring Juneteenth: a Time for Action and Collective Liberation
In honor of Juneteenth, NDN Collective calls upon relatives and allies to take action and make personal commitments to unlearning the untruths of American history while learning the real truths of our past and present.
Posted 1 month ago Joint Statement: NDN Collective, IllumiNative, and Native Organizers Alliance call for justice for George Floyd
Indigenous organizations NDN Collective, IllumiNative, and Native Organizers Alliance call for justice for #GeorgeFloyd and an end to systemic racism
Posted 2 months ago Biden to stop KXL pipeline if elected- VOTE! and hold him to his word
NDN Collective calls for mass mobilization with voting in response to Joe Biden's announcement that he would stop the KXL pipeline if elected.
Posted 2 months ago SD Tribal Nations are exercising sovereignty and protecting citizens with checkpoints-- Noem should take note
NDN Collective's statement of solidarity with SD Tribal Nations exercising sovereignty and protecting citizens with checkpoints during COVID-19.
Posted 2 months ago NDN COVID-19 Response Project Awards $2.5 Million to Indigenous Communities in April
NDN has made awards to 95 Tribal Nations and Indigenous-led organizations totaling over $2,500,000 in grant awards. Selected grantees represent Indigenous communities from 23 states and Mexico.
Posted 2 months ago "We will continue leaning in": Nick Tilsen on COVID-19 Response

Nick Tilsen

NDN Collective President and CEO Nick Tilsen recaps the past month of mobilization in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Posted 2 months ago In Case You Missed It: Native Americans & COVID-19 Town Hall

Sarah Sunshine Manning

This town hall was part of IllumiNative's #WarriorUp campaign which works to shine a light on the impacts and needs resulting from COVID-19 in Indian Country.
NDN Collective
317 Main St #1
Rapid City, SD 57701
P: +1 (605) 791-3999
E: info@ndncollective.org
© 2020 NDN Collective. All rights reserved.