Henry Red Cloud brought his campaign for Public Utilities Commission to Aberdeen this afternoon. The Democrat from Pine Ridge dined with us and offered the following remarks at the Brown County Democrats’ picnic:
I sat with Red Cloud and his family—wife Gloria and sons Scott and Alejandro. Gloria told me about equipment they have to make compressed earth blocks. Combine dirt and a cup of Portland cement, and you get building blocks that will last far longer than wood. Combine thick, insulating blocks made from the soil under our feet with energy made from the wind and sunshine all around us, and you have a recipe for local self-sufficiency in housing and heating.
Gloria said that she and her husband are planning to conduct workshops on sustainable building and energy production at the water protectors’ camp at the Cannonball–Missouri confluence this week. They’ll demonstrate straw bale construction and provide other useful information to the tribes who have gathered there to fight the Dakota Access pipeline.
We can mobilize to fight the predations of big fossil fuel projects on our water and our sovereignty (don’t forget: eminent domain!). We can chain ourselves to bulldozers, risk dog bites and pepper spray, and create spontaneous protest towns with thousands of vocal residents. But when the Cannonball–Missouri camp dissolves, if the tribes and other allies take the technology and mindset Henry and Gloria Red Cloud teach back to their communities, if they put the principles of self-sufficiency and coexisting with the Earth into practice, they may not have to go to war with big energy projects, because we won’t need them.
And electing a man like Henry Red Cloud would bring those principles into the conversations and the regulatory decisions of the Public Utilities Commission… which would be good for all of South Dakota.