The Architectural League of New York commissioned nine editorial teams to prepare reports on small to mid-size communities from across the United States. The reports have been commissioned as part of American Roundtable, an initiative that brings together on-the-ground perspectives on the condition of American communities and what they need to thrive going forward.
The Cheyenne River Reservation is the sovereign territory of the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation, a legacy of American colonization that included state-sponsored genocide and land theft. This report asks, how has this shameful history shaped the community and its built environment? How did the Lakota traditionally understand space and community, and how are they looking to reconnect to and reestablish their culture’s understanding of the land and settlement? Can contemporary approaches to housing, infrastructure, health, economic opportunity, transportation, and education be shaped to respectfully serve the needs of the Lakota people, and the exigencies of extremely low-density rural communities such as those of the Cheyenne River Reservation and neighboring Pine Ridge? What legal, bureaucratic, and governance structures need to be rethought for Indigenous communities – on or off reservations – to flourish?
photo credit: Dawnee Labeau