Robert Young, a former clothing manufacturer, had never built a house, but it didn't stop him from his plan to help Katherine Red Feather. He spent two years recruiting friends and raising money, then partnered with the University of Washington to learn how to build homes using materials local to South Dakota—like straw, an excellent source of insulation.
"What we're trying to do is [learn and] teach this process, teach that they can use their own resources." — Robert Young
Katherine's children and grandchildren worked twenty-hour days side by side with volunteers learning how to build their own home.
"We really wanted to involve the local community. We believed if they didn't feel ownership and weren't empowered to get involved, then it really didn't make sense for us to be there." — Robert Young
The Dream Expanded
Robert's dream of just building one house for Katherine Red Feather has grown into an organization named in her honor.
Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard got involved in the building of Katherine's new home. "It was the idea: to build houses for [the elderly] who were living in abject poverty. It sounded like a smart plan. I was ready for that," says Stone.
Over the past six years, people from all over the country as well as high-profile volunteers like Stone Gossard, have completed 35 building projects on reservations in Washington, Montana and South Dakota.
How you can help.