Manage episode 361758394 series 2432853
On this week’s hemp podcast, we focus on the Lower Sioux Indian Community in Morton, Minnesota.
The Lower Sioux are part of the larger Dakota tribe, which once thrived in the Upper Midwest, following the bison herds across the Great Plains.
The Lower Sioux Indian Community sits along the southern bank of the Minnesota River in southwestern Minnesota.
The tribal land was greatly reduced after the Dakota War of 1862.
Earl Pendleton, vice president of the tribal council, is the first guest on the podcast this week.
Pendleton describes life on the reservation and how things have changed over the course of his life.
“There's a lot of history in this area for the relations between the U.S. government, the state government and the Dakota people,” he said.
“The U.S./Dakota conflict of 1862, which is 160 years ago, is still kind of fresh out here. And there's still a lot of tension between who we are and what we deserve.”
“The reason for that conflict was people seeing their families starve and seeing their food sources being eliminated around them and the encroachment of settlers and things like that,” Pendleton said.
The conflict led to some of the most brutal episodes in American history, including the public hanging of 38 Dakota warriors the day after Christmas 1862, the largest mass execution in U.S. history.
“Obviously, I don't blame anybody here today for that. But I think there's just a story that should be told. I think our our kids need to hear our real history and feel proud of who they are,’ he said.
One of the bright spots for Pendleton and the Lower Sioux Community is industrial hemp. 2023 is their fourth season of growing the crop.
“We're at a pretty small scale,” Pendleton said. “We started at 40 acres, we moved up to 80 and 100, and I think we're doing 100 again this year. So we have a a stockpile of of hemp bales that are ready for processing.”
The Sioux grow a dual-purpose variety called X59, which produces grain and fiber. The tribe sells the grain and processes the fiber on site with a 1-ton-per-hour decorticator.
The vision is to use the hemp fiber to build houses for the community. Many homes are government housing, Pendleton said, and were not built with the best materials or with longevity in mind. And there is a shortage of housing too.
“We have a lot of families living together, overcrowding, some homelessness,” he said. “So when I looked at hemp and seen that is a potential for construction, it seemed like the perfect fit for our community.”
Working with HempStone, a hempcrete construction company from Massachusetts, the tribe is learning how to turn their hemp hurds into hemp housing.
Last year the group completed a small shed as proof of concept. And this summer the tribe is building its first full-size home. The tribe is also building a home made from conventional materials to do a side-by-side comparison of energy efficiency.
Danny Desjarlais is the project manager for the tribe’s hemp-building endeavors, and also a guest on this week’s podcast. A traditional builder by trade, he is a convert to building with hemp.
“I don't want to use any traditional buildings anymore. You know, after discovering the hemp and the hempcrete and all of its benefits has just been very eye-opening for me as a builder,” he said.
Desjarlais sees great potential in hemp for existing houses in the community.
“We have 165 houses on our reservation right now; 160 of them probably need retrofitting or could be fixed up in some way,” he said.
Desjarlais said the people of his community are very excited by the prospect of industrial hemp and the hope it brings.
“Our people used to follow the buffalo, and we used every part of the buffalo, he said. “And so I look at hemp as like the green buffalo — we can use every part of the plant. And so we're only barely just scraping the surface right now with with growing and building houses out of it.”
Lower Sioux Indian Community https://lowersioux.com/ HempStone https://hempstone.net/ Tell Your Senator You Support the 2023 Industrial Hemp Act If you think grain and fiber hemp farmers should be able to grow grain and fiber like they can grow corn and soy, then contact our senator and tell them to support the Industrial Hemp Act of 2023. https://www.hempexemption.com/contactcongress Thanks to our sponsors: Mpactful Ventures An investment and incubation company focused on sustainability and supporting startups and other initiatives that play a vital role in mitigating the adverse effects of climate change. At Mpactful ventures, they strive to amplify enterprises that bring innovative, green opportunities to the forefront and empower those making a significant impact for a sustainable future. https://www.mpactfulventures.org/ IND HEMP https://indhemp.com/