I am a 63 year old grandmother of 11, mother of 5. Life is good in this chapter of my life. Whereas formerly, I never lived in the same house, trailer, or apartment for more than 3 years (if indeed, I stayed that long), I have been in the same home now for almost 6 years. This is due to my living arrangements. I live with my daughter and her husband, so my share of rent and utilities, which comes out of my social security check, leaves enough left over to pay my cell phone bill, maintain my car and have enough money left for gas to travel to Lakota Territory in South Dakota. You see, my mother was Sicangu Lakota and my father was Ilocano Filipino. I like to think of myself as an Indigenous woman to the bone. I learned some of the traditional Filipino dances, learned to cook adobo baboy and manook, and always grow wistful when I hear Filipino music...heavy on the mandolin. However, most folks I meet today believe me to be full blood Lakota. Perhaps because the Lakota are who I grew up with and around most of my life; most definitely the last 25 years.
I am blessed with far reaching recall of my childhood. I remember leaving the Reservation when my mother accepted relocation money to move to Indiana for a time while my father went to trade school. After that...I lived in Nebraska, Wyoming, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, and Colorado again, where I finally completed high school. I finished at 17, left my father's house and started my own life journey.
Without any awareness that a pattern had been deeply etched in my Spirit, I stayed true to that pattern and never stayed in the same place longer than 3-4 years. Now, for the first time in my life, I have become aware of the peacefulness and serenity that can be born of living in the same house for this length of time. I recall various moments in time wondering what it would be like to have the kind of stability that creates a feeling of belonging. Feeling at times envy, hurt, lonliness, insecurity, anger; frequently were balanced with a sense of excitement and curiosity of what was around the next corner, and if that was the location for a real nest building.
And then one day my husband and I were visiting his cousin/sister on the Pine Ridge in Lakota Territory. She and I were sitting at her kitchen table make jewelry while Michael was out selling the items that we had completed. I was talking and telling her about my life dreams, and she very softly said "I have dreams too." I was surprised because she is generally so private and quiet that I said "What? What did you say?" She said again, "I have dreams too." I asked her tell me what they were. She said she dreamed of having some kind of nice, healthy, well built home here on her land, where she could finish raising her five children in the old ways, keeping them away from drug and alcohol abuses. She said she would love to start a tree farm, as so many trees were used for the myriad Sundances that were popping up all over the rez, and that would be her cottage industry to support her and her small family. As I closed my mouth, which was still hanging open from the joy of her sharing with me, I managed to utter, if there is a way I can help you, I would love to.
Thus began my research of the last 15 years, searching for that building modality that would be both economically feasible as well as envirnomentally friendly to Lakota Territory. I found both of these housing necessities when I found Cal-Earth. Please go to calearth.org to see the "Eco-domes" or "Moon cocoons" that I have been struggling to bring to the women and children of Lakota Territory and also see a video on "You Tube" titled "Pine Ridge Work Camp" to get an idea of what it is I am doing. One of my daughters created a website: winyan07.webs.com. And I want to post us to theritafund.org as soon as I become more technologically adept.
My energy is waning now, so I will post in this journal another day. I am anxious to tell you my version of the story of Nader Khalili, the "Mystic Architect" and designer of the eco-dome, which he called "an old technology made new".
My children, naturally lived that pattern with me when they were small. Going ever deeper in to my love of the Lakota Spiritual Path, the Good Red Road; being of service when and where I can, educating various segments of society about Indigenous Peoples, customs and cultures. Need to learn more about fundraising, grantwriting, and delegating Visioning; stick-to-it-tiveness.
My Vision for the Future
For the near future, I see five eco-villages; 3 on Pine Ridge, and 1 each on Cheyenne River and Roasebud; all in Lakota Territory. In the long term, I see them in many villages, in many different Indigenous Nations.