Breaking news about our ongoing initiatives around the country to promote culturally, economically, and environmentally sustainable native communities.
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FALL 2017

SANTA FE, New Mexico | Happy Holidays from the entire SNCC Team! We hope this quarterly update finds you and your family in good health. As you read this, the SNCC team is in rural Washington with the Spokane Tribe facilitating a series of Climate and Cultural Resilience meetings to envision responses to community connectivity and the recent forest fire events in the region. We see this as some of the most pressing work in Indian Country, working with tribal communities to envision resilient planning and development processes leading towards communities that are more sovereign and self-sufficient. This holiday season we ask for your support. Your tax-deductible donation will contribute to our capacity-building efforts in the various communities that we work in. Please use the following link to directly support or you can send a check to PO Box 22184, Santa Fe, NM 87502.


CHICAGO, Illinois | The Obama Foundation brought together a select group of civic leaders, educators, changemakers, artists, and activists from around the world to help them envision a foundation focused on collaboration and social change. Our Executive Director, Joseph Kunkel and board of trustee member Jamie Blosser had the privilege of participating in this inaugural event. The Summit featured five main stage sessions with talks on: motivating young people, choosing a civic life path, and harnessing technology to create more equitable and inclusive communities. The Summit included breakout sessions on topics ranging from communicating across differences, to the role of art and culture in creating productive cities, to understanding race in relation to one’s civic identity. We at SNCC left the Summit inspired and energized to take on the work ahead in Indian Country, knowing that there is support from a worldwide community of leaders focused on making a difference in society.


HOGANSBURG, St. Regis Mohawk Reserve, New York | Since early Spring, the SNCC team has been working with the Akwesasne Housing Authority (AHA) to create a master plan for ‘Akwesasne Homes,’ a culturally and environmentally sustainable neighborhood anticipated on two parcels of Tribal land. This eco-village project will address the critical housing shortage faced by the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe while modeling ecologically and culturally-responsive development on Iroquois lands. This ambitious project is supported by the Rural and Native American Initiative of Enterprise Community Partners. This summer we worked to plan and facilitate intensive community design workshops with members of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe (SRMT) and the AHA staff together with allied Mohawk Tribe officials and community members. Initially, we spent time on site and in the community to hear about the range of hopes, dreams and concerns related to the future eco-village and its rural context. In November, SNCC Design Director Nathaniel Corum presented the initial site plan and architectural designs in a series of meetings attended by representatives from the SRMT Tribal Council, the AHA Housing Board, the Akwesasne Cultural Museum and the SRMT Planning, Police and Environmental Departments. We have received a lot of positive feedback from the community and are now finalizing the master planning and housing design documents for the Spring. It is an honor to be working with the Mohawk as they develop exemplary tribal housing that utilizes sustainable building technology and reflects Akwesasne culture and lifeways.


WYE RIVER, Maryland |
This fall, Joseph Kunkel had the opportunity to participate in the Aspen Institute's Executive Seminar. This seven-day seminar has typically been reserved for politicians and corporate executive leadership. However, thanks to our generous partners and the Aspen Institute Scholarship Fund, SNCC was able to attend. For more than 65 years, the Aspen Executive Seminar has convened small groups of leaders from across sectors and around the world for challenging, facilitated, text-based dialogues. The opportunity to be at the table and share conversations with accomplished participants about the equity issues we see in Indian Country was invaluable. As Joseph explained, “We need to create spaces and opportunities for leaders in the social sector to have conversations with politicians and corporate executives, because far too often it’s these social leaders, activists, artists and designers that are left out of the conversation around social change at the political and corporate level.” The SNCC team looks forward to sharing the collaborations with the Aspen Institute and The Center for Native American Youth and to expanding these critical conversations focused on social good and community impact.


Washington, D.C. |
During the 2017-2018 academic year, Joseph Kunkel will serve as the William Wilson Corcoran Visiting Professor of Community Engagement at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C.. Joseph will share the work of SNCC and develop curriculum focused on cultivating creative leadership through art and design, and examine ways in which culture, community, and place can be leveraged to re-imagine a more equitable world. During the spring semester the SNCC team will produce an exhibit entitled 'Bridging Boundaries' that charges architecture, art, and design practitioners with the task of addressing the nation’s most divisive and pressing issues through design resilience activities, project exhibits, and visionary conversations that call into question the makeup of our built environment. How can design inspire social and cultural paradigm shifts by re-imaging these spaces as geographies of peaceful discourse and reconciliation?

The exhibition will document and exhibit art made by designers working overtly or subversively across a spectrum of design tactics, ranging from policy to the development of alternative building typologies. Through engaging programming and community led storytelling, the exhibition will demonstrate how architecture and design, in the right hands, can create spaces where unification, reconciliation and negotiation can take place. 'Bridging Boundaries' offers socially engaged practitioners an opportunity to investigate the multiple facets of these timely and complex issues.


WELLPINIT, Washington |
 As you read this, the SNCC team is in rural Washington with the Spokane Tribe facilitating a series of Climate and Cultural Resilience meetings. The plan we are developing will foster community connectivity and mitigate the challenges of recent forest fires in the region. SNCC is working with the Spokane Indian Housing Authority and 7 Directions Architects to plan for future housing and community resilience on the SIHA campus and across the Spokane Nation. To do so we're connecting with culture bearers, Tribal member artists, and representatives from four key Spokane Tribe of Indians (STOI) departments: Culture and Language Preservation, Elder Services, Tribal Planning and the Department of Natural Resources. Each department brings a unique perspective to bear across the climate and culture continuum as we work with the SIHA team to pursue their goal of transitioning their campus to an increasingly robust ‘Community Resilience Hub.’ This work is supported by a HUD Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing Program through Enterprise Community Partners.

Thank you for reading our quarterly newsletter and for your interest in SNCC and culturally and environmentally responsive design!
Copyright © 2017 Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative, All rights reserved.

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Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative · 2501 W. Zia Road 10211 · Santa Fe, NM 87505 · USA

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