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Thunder Valley CDC builds economic prosperity and community vitality within the Oglala Lakota Nation
Lakota Elders and Executive Director Nick Tilsen (pictured third from left) at the Regenerative Community Groundbreaking.In 1889, the United States government forced the Oglala Lakota Nation onto a military guarded patch of land established as the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Over 125 years later, the reservation is still home to the Oglala Lakota Nation, yet many areas still do not have necessary infrastructure. A critical lack of housing push economic activity off the reservation, creating long commutes that perpetuate cycles of poverty and burden families with immense transportation costs.
Infrastructure issues on the reservation have been exacerbated by a long history of failed state and federal policy, convoluted land rights issues, and a pervasive neglect and misunderstanding of the issues facing the Oglala Lakota people and Native communities across the United States.
“Our people deserve better than this,” says Nick Tilsen, Executive Director of Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation (TVCDC). “And, although we are up against some very real struggles, we are 100% committed to the work ahead.”
A pragmatic “roll up your sleeves” attitude combined with a deep commitment to community engagement is what guides the work of TVCDC. Since its founding in 2007, the organization has sparked a revolution within the Oglala Lakota Nation, building economic prosperity, and strengthening community vitality through a truly comprehensive, grassroots approach.
Click the buttons below to read more about TVCDC's development model and its mission in action.
Over the years, TVCDC has taken on a wide range of projects aimed at tackling the largest issues on the reservation...All this is accomplished through a systems-based development approach with a "triple bottom line": people, planet, and prosperity...[continue reading]
Historically, housing and other development initiatives on the reservation have been undertaken by outside agencies, with a lack of community investment, and funded with limited resources, which often make projects difficult to sustain. From the outset, TVCDC knew its work needed to be done differently...[continue reading]
Get connected with TVCDC via their website, newsletters, and social media accounts. Listen to audio selections from TVCDC's SoundCloud account and watch the organization's short documentary. [continue reading]
MHP began working with Thunder Valley CDC in 2012 through the HUD Sustainable Communities Initiative. In 2013, MHP was awarded a HUD Rural Capacity Building grant to continue providing assistance to TVCDC on activities related to its Regenerative Community Development project.
MHP has provided assistance to develop a sustainable business model with programs that ensure a strong financial future for the organization; assisted in board and staff development; helped secure funding for infrastructure and housing construction; advised on single family housing development for first time homebuyers; and advised on infrastructure development.
About the Impact Spotlight
The Impact Spotlight celebrates the people and partnerships behind outstanding work in the fields of affordable housing and community development in Minnesota and across the nation. Through our work in capacity building and policy, MHP is proud to support the people and organizations you see featured here.