Basic Information

Our Solution

Standing Rock Net Zero Initiative

Our tagline:

Make Standing Rock Green Again!

Our pitch:

As decedents of the Oceti Sakowin, we are people who were never dependent upon others to live healthy and free. The problem we are focused on, is the dependence on fossil fuels in our daily lives. This harmful, expensive and outdated practice has only contributed to the environmental destruction we see today on a global scale.

When the NoDapl movement happened, it was founded on our cultural values which is tied to land and water as not resources, but as relatives to be protected and preserved for our future generations. These teachings resonated globally, the world looked to our cultural values for guidance. We plan to be an example of a path forward to a future that respects and protects Mother Earth.

The initial project that we are proposing is creating a Net-Zero facility which will serve the community as a Lakota/Dakota Immersion School as well as a community hub for cultural teachings and activities. We plan to retrofit a structure to be a zero waste and green energy facility where programs such as food sovereignty can be activated. We envision this project will serve as an example of how our cultural teachings and today’s green energy technologies can co-exist.  Our ultimate goal is to duplicate this practice throughout our communities and someday eliminate Standing Rock’s carbon footprint. This project will serve as an example to our future generations of the work that can be done to protect our culture and preserve our land and water for those not yet born. 

Where our project is located:

Fort Yates, ND, USA

The topic our project addresses:

  • Solar
  • Infrastructure
  • Food
About Your Solution

What makes our project innovative:

For this project, we plan on utilizing existing best practices and technologies to address fossil fuel dependence in our Nation. The technologies we plan to utilize in this facility are Solar, Net Zero and Organic Indoor/Outdoor Garden systems. The most innovating factor in our plan is that we will be creating an educational and cultural environment for our youth that teaches self determination, freedom and independence from western society control, which they will learn through our language and cultural teachings. 

How we use technology in our project:

We will utilize Net-Zero technology to retrofit the structure to eliminate wasted energy. We will also install solar technologies to support the facilities energy needs. We will establish indoor and outdoor gardening best practices to serve as a nutritional support and teaching tool of self-sustenance. 

Our project goals over the next 12 months:

Priority goals are to begin the retrofitting process of the structure to achieve Net-Zero goals and establish solar technologies as the power source. We also plan to begin transitioning the Lakota Immersion School to the facility by summer of 2019. We also plan to utilize the space for community planning, language/culture classes and summer youth activities in next 12 months. 

Our vision over the next three to five years to grow and scale our project to affect the lives of more people:

We envision that in 5-years we will have a fully functioning k-6 Lakota Immersion School along with a community space that will be utilized for additional community projects. We also envision of having a Net Zero and Green fully functioning facility. We envision that the program will have a stable structure in which it can build. We envision that the school will have accomplished food sovereignty in the nutritional needs of the children. 

Highlights from our project:

This project will not only positively affect our own community of Standing Rock, it will also serve as an example of Oceti Sakowin cultural values that the world can take as an example. 

We begun the process acquiring the building in December 2016 in the midst of the Dakota Access Pipeline Fight. Our biggest accomplishment is securing the funding to purchase the structure. We are now in the final stages of the purchase agreement. We have also gained key partnerships government programs, education professionals and private citizens who share our vision. 


Our promotional video:

The cities where we operate or plan to operate in the next 12 months. First city:

Sioux County, ND, USA

Second city:

Corson County, ND, USA

Third city:


Fourth city:


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How our project will be accessible and affordable to our community:

One of the school’s challenges of the enrollment in our Lakota Immersion School is the cost of tuition, we plan to establish a parenting leadership program which will help with tuition costs to be able to expand the enrollment to serve a wider age range of children. The facility will be accessible with no charge to any community organization seeking space to conduct activities, events and educational classes that promote culture and healthy living. 

How many people we are currently serving with our project:

There are currently 80-members that we are working for in establishing this project, they are the families who are committed to language regeneration. We are serving them by purchasing the facility and including the language program into our planning processes. The nest, which is currently in its fifth year, adds a grade each year and has outgrown its current location at the Sitting Bull College. The SRCDC will offer space that respects the specialized nature of their educational work.  

How many people we will be serving with our project in the 12 months and the next 3 years:

The facility is going to be open to all of our members and community organizations to conduct activities, events and training's. The SRCDC would like to offer space and find ways to partner with the several youth-led initiatives which have sprung up throughout the Nation in the wake of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Lastly, the SRCDC will work collaboratively with the Tribe and tribal programs to continue the ongoing use by the Tribe of the Fort Yates space.

About Your Team

How our project team is organized:


Explaining our organization:


How many people work on our project team:


How many years we have been working on our project:

1-2 years

Our revenue model:

SRCDC's role as a nonprofit in this project is to support and expand community driven initiatives through partnerships in community coalitions efforts. The revenue generating model will be a recurring revenue model. This project will be facilitated in partnership by the Lakota school administration through securing grant funding, available rental space and tuition fees. The longevity of generating revenue through this project will be to replicate the project through out Standing Rock. Which in turn, will create jobs and opportunities that support our cultural values. 

Partnership Potential

Why we are applying to Solve:

We feel that Solve has a mission that supports our own and hope to establish a long-term relationship with the organization in addressing not only this project but the many problems we are facing here on Standing Rock. We believe that access to the Solve network will expedite projects in addressing both threats and opportunities to our community. 

The key barriers for our project:

The key barriers to the project are securing funding for best technologies and upgrades to the facility and also providing affordable housing opportunities to support school staff and teachers. We believe Solve can help with these efforts in connecting the project with potential partners with the expertise to accomplish a feasible and efficient plan. 

The types of connections and partnerships we would be most interested in if we became Fellows:

  • Technology Mentorship
  • Connections to the MIT campus
  • Impact Measurement Validation and Support
  • Media Visibility and Exposure
  • Grant Funding

Other types of connections and partnerships we would be interested in:

Capacity building partners

Solution Team

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