At Porcupine, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation a Total Immersion School is being created.The Reservation is located in Shannon County, the poorest county in the United States.
The concept of Culture Total Immersion Education has now spread worldwide. Indigenous Peoples in Hawaii and Canada are creating their own Immersion Schools. The T.R.E.A.T.Y. Total Immersion School is the first for American Indians in the United States.
T.R.E.A.T.Y. Total Immersion Educational Endowment Fund, a 501[c]3 tax exempt foundation, has purchased an 85 acre ranch with a 1917 structure built for the first Indian Agent at Pine Ridge.
Renovations to this historic structure, including energy-saving windows, have been completed and the building will serve as the ranch/administration offices. Russell Means and his brothers have donated an additional 160 acres to the project.
In June 2010, the first preschool class will begin with 5-12 students in a prefab tipi (teepee), invented by Russell Means and architect Randal Jay Ehm. Another project, the Lakota Youth Center for Healing Addictions, will also restore healthy self-esteem as proven by the Maori People.
The TREATY Total Immersion School will offer an expanded program to include environmental design, culinary arts, aquaculture and organic agronomy. Private endowment, educational and corporate grants are currently being solicited for funding.
A new dimension to Total Immersion will be developed – a self-sustaining community directed through the reinstitution of the Lakota matriarchal way of life. The community will utilize wind and renewable energy to engender a self-reliant village. In October, 2009, the first solar panels will be fabricated at the T.R.E.A.T.Y. School by members of the local community and volunteers. This will serve as the foundation for beginning a widespread solar and wind initiative to empower local residents to harness the power of the sun and wind for their own electricity.
The beginning of a horse breeding ranch has begun with one studhorse and two pinto mares with foals. The horses will be a source of economic self-sufficiency and help reintroduce the traditions of the Lakota Horse Culture to the children.
The logistics of creating and sustaining such ambitious projects will require cooperation and partnership with many like minded individuals and organizations.
Documentation of the process and startup will create a transferable model suitable for other American Indian Nations. Sustaining sponsorships, educational grants and seed money are currently being sought.
Below is the timeline from our 10 Year Strategic Framework. Copies are of the full document are available to the public via email request to firstname.lastname@example.org: