Lakota community recognized for efforts in sustainable, healthy living


PORCUPINE, S.D. — Thunder Valley, a community on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, is getting national recognition for its efforts to create a sustainable and healthy living community.

Thunder ValleyThunder Valley encompasses 34 acres in Porcupine. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is gifting $25,000 to the community to continue its way of life.

Thunder Valley consists of single and multi-family homes and apartments, all aimed at being affordable with the collective shaped around Lakota culture.

“But we even go a step beyond that to a culture of health and healing,” said Tatewin Means, Executive Director of Thunder Valley. “Healing is our first step in building this community. Like I mentioned, we take a whole community approach to solving many of these longstanding issues that we have faced, not only in our community but across Indian Country.”

The Thunder Valley Community offers financial literacy classes to residents, sustainable food programs, and youth initiatives.

The homes themselves feature sustainable practices like solar panels and efficient materials.

“These are issues that are no small feat. They take a lot of energy, they take a lot of investment, and that’s where we really have to rely on partners to invest in our whole communities,” said Means. “Invest in the healing and know these ideas that we have on finding the best solutions for our people.”

The Thunder Valley community is one of two Indigenous communities to be recognized by this award. Chickaloon Native Village in Alaska was also recognized.


Categories: Local News, South Dakota News