These human beavers heal the Earth

In these exopermaculture posts, I keep finding myself toggling back and forth between witnessing the collapse of the old world and celebrating the intensely creative and beautiful struggle for the new world, our world, emerging from the ashes. Here’s one from our birthing moment.

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

— Albert Einstein


From left, Karen Ducheneaux with her daughter Tatiye Ducheneaux, Candace Ducheneaux, Kyanne Dillabaugh. Photo by the author.

Guardian of the Plains: One Lakota Family’s Plan to Fend Off South Dakota’s Epic Drought

August 6, 2014

by Kristin Moe

yesmagazine via, via Keith


The green of the hills was deceptive, she said. The appearance of lushness was only on the surface. People here had begun to notice the changing climate; after a drought that had persisted in the region on and off for 15 years, this summer’s heavy rains had inundated the South Dakota plains. But the dry ground, she said, was unable to absorb the large quantities of rain, which ran off into flooded creeks down the Missouri River, without ever replenishing the aquifer.

Mni’s goal, she explained to the camera, is to bring Cheyenne River’s water table back into balance. It’s an ambitious one: By constructing thousands of small dams in creeks and gulleys all over the reservation—essentially beaver dams built by humans—organizers hope to slow storm runoff long enough to enable the absorption of water back into the ground.

True to its Lakota roots, Mni is rooted in the tiospaye—the Lakota word for extended family—and comprises Candace, her daughters Karen Ducheneaux and Kyanne Dillabaugh, her son Luke, his wife Linda, and nearly all of their children. Standing on a hill with Candace, looking out over the hills that seemed to go on forever, I couldn’t imagine how they’d do it. But Mni is starting small, with a pilot project on a small parcel of family-owned land. If it’s successful, the Ducheneaux’s plan is to build similar dams all over Cheyenne River and train workers from the other reservations in South Dakota, creating a model of water restoration that can be replicated anywhere.





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