SANTA FE, New Mexico | Greetings! In light of the events that have received such impassioned attention over the past few weeks, namely the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline and the presidential election, we feel more compelled than ever to share the work we have been doing in Indian Country and the global conversations we’ve been engaged in. At a time of great uncertainty in our nation, it is critical that we continue to work to bring resources and capacity to our native communities. Below, we share our ongoing work, which we hope will inspire and bring energy to the conversation.
UN HABITAT III, Quito, Ecuador | This October, SNCC Executive Director, Joseph Kunkel and board member Jamie Blosser had the honor of traveling to Quito, Ecuador to participate in the United Nation’s HABITAT III Conference. The event brought together over 40,000 people from all over the world, to learn and share how we as a people are growing and working with communities to be part of the development process. While at Habitat III, Joseph presented at the Next Cities’ World Stage with Chelina Odbert, Executive Director of the Kounkuey Design Initiative and Michael Kimmelman, Architecture Critic, New York Times on topics that focused on re-imagining a more equitable world through the arts, culture and design.
The U.N. Habitat III convening focused on how we will develop as a civilization and provide equatable opportunities to our most marginalized populations. In a piece written for the American Institute of Architects, entitled From UN Habitat III: Reimagining a More Equitable World, Jamie makes an argument for “why architects and planners have a responsibility to expect more from projects, including elevating voices, celebrating culture, and providing jobs and training.” We at the SNCC see this as an essential focus of our work with indigenous populations, from the debate around climate change and cultural landscapes to understanding affordable housing as an essential human right. We are honored to have participated in critical dialogues during Habitat III, and look forward to approaching our work from this global perspective as we work to address challenges facing indigenous communities worldwide.
SPOKANE INDIAN HOUSING AUTHORITY, Wellpinit, Washington | The SNCC team has recently started working with the Spokane Indian Housing Authority (SIHA) in several design and technical assistance capacities. Thanks to support from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Joseph and SNCC Design Director Nathaniel Corum have facilitated a series of workshops with SIHA staff ranging from site and facility design, to project management strategies, to construction documentation. We’re delighted to be working with SIHA on the design of a new office and workshop facility. This ‘building for building other buildings’ will add to SIHA’s ability to make more and better housing.
In parallel, we’re working with the SIHA staff to address disaster resilience, circulation, and stormwater challenges across the campus. Many SIHA and Spokane tribal members live adjacent to the site in the nearby Spokane Tribe of Indians Longhouse and the Tribal Elder Center. They will directly benefit from the new gathering, teaching, and gardening spaces we are designing.
With SIHA we’re working to understand and provide culturally-responsive design and project management to the Spokane community while developing strategies to prepare for future projects and challenges. We admire the SIHA teams’ work and role, beyond housing provision, as a disaster resiliency hub—a role that was tested recently during power outages last Spring and a forest fire in August. With a strong track record in quality construction and creating jobs and skills within their community, SIHA is a solid and growing example of what Tribally Designated Housing Entities can become. We look forward to the work ahead with SIHA and anticipate attending their Strategic Planning Retreat later this month to continue planning ambitious future projects to house both urban and rural tribal members across the Spokane Nation.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS, Santa Fe, NM | We are delighted to announce the establishment of our Board of Directors. The board will serve to advise the SNCC in key decision making as we scale up our impact on a national level. Each Board member was selected because of their experience and crucial involvement with our organization in the past. Together they hold a diverse wealth of knowledge across the spectrum of education, policy, research, design, planning, advocacy, and community organizing. We are honored to have such well qualified board focused on making change in Indian Country. We look forward to their leadership as SNCC expands to meet the challenges facing tribal and indigenous communities worldwide.
Jamie Blosser, AIA, LEED AP, is the Executive Director of the Santa Fe Art Institute and the founding director of the Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative (SNCC). Blosser recently completed a Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, focusing on equity, resilience, and effects of global urbanization on rural communities. After her Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship with the Ohkay Owingeh Housing Authority in New Mexico, Blosser practiced as an associate in the Santa Fe office of Atkin Olshin Schade Architects for ten years. She has lectured widely on the importance of cultural and environmental sustainability.
Tomasita Duran has been the Executive Director of the Ohkay Owingeh Housing Authority for 19 years and is an enrolled tribal member of Ohkay Owingeh Tribe. She has overseen the rehabilitation of over 300 dwellings on the Ohkay Owingeh reservation and manages a housing stock of 75 units. She works directly with the officials of theOhkay Owingeh Tribal Council, as well as funding institutions and private, state and federal agencies to develop housing and preserve the cultural legacy of her Pueblo.
Ed Rosenthal directed Enterprise Community Partners rural housing development activities nationwide from 2006 until 2014. As Vice President and Director of the Enterprise Community Partners National Rural and Native American Initiative, Ed focused on Native American and farmworker housing and rural housing preservation. Previously, Ed served as director of Enterprise’s New Mexico office from 1999 to 2006 where he provided a variety of financial and technical assistance tools to community development and local government organizations. Ed is a member of the Bar of the District of Columbia and has an expertise in residential development law in native communities.
Rodger Boyd has worked in economic and community development, affordable housing and governmental relations for decades, emphasizing the establishment of sustainable reservation economies and communities. From 2002 through 2015 he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Native American Programs (ONAP), Department of Housing and Urban Development where he directed federal programs to foster safe, decent and affordable housing. Roger holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of New Mexico and a Master of City and Regional Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation.
CROW CREEK RESERVATION, South Dakota | At a community design meeting in late August, Joseph and Nathaniel presented home designs and site plans to Hunkpati Oyate Sioux tribal members. The proposed 60-unit development would provide much needed culturally-responsive affordable housing and community space for the tribe. In the most recent meeting, each participant selected their three favorite home designs from the eight options that we designed.
The ‘Prairie House’ shown above, was one of the most-voted-for designs. It features several green, efficient and cultural features including an east-facing entry, a large open-plan living-dining-gathering space, a super-insulated building envelope, non-toxic materials, daylighting and passive solar design, and a root cellar that doubles as a storm shelter. We anticipate the construction of the Prairie House next year, a first step towards the Housing Authority’s planned development on a site that will link existing housing to downtown Fort Thompson, South Dakota.
Current Art News | SNCC is celebrating several art happenings this fall: a major art grant, a feature article and exhibits at two arts venues.
We’re happy to announce the start of three years of generous support through a SEED Grant from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. SEED Grants provide value added support to early stage, groundbreaking projects and will bring guidance, networking and support that that will amplify our work with communities in Northern New Mexico.
A short film produced by SNCC and Adventure Pictures is now screening in “By the People: Designing a Better America,” at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. The exhibition presents 60 socially-responsible design projects from across the U.S. including the decade-long adobe Pueblo rehabilitation collaboration between the Ohkay Owingeh community and Atkin Olshin Schade Architects. The film features Fetzer Institute supported Design Corps footage and portions of our PBS Natural Heroessegment ‘Native American Green.’
The built work created during the most recent Summer Design Workshop is currently installed on the eastern corner of the Santa Fe Art Institute. SNCC team members Joseph Kunkel, Mayrah Udvardi and Nathaniel Corum worked with the 2016 workshop team, the Santa Fe University of Art and Design and Extraordinary Structures to design and build a trail-side shade structure for the Kewa Pueblo community as they work towards completion of their ArtPlace America funded Santo Domingo Heritage Trail Arts Project.
We’re also delighted to see Joseph Kunkel featured in the Fall issue of TREND Magazine(pp. 43-47). The article, by Zane Fisher, starts by acknowledging the impacts of the built environment on health and identity and profiles SNCC’s work with tribal members to achieve dynamic and creative solutions to community design challenges.
Thank you for reading our fall newsletter and for your interest in SNCC and culturally and environmentally responsive design!