Cultural Renovation: Rebuilding the Traditions that built Taos Pueblo – Brandon Adriano Ortiz

The modern Native American population is experiencing extreme levels of disparity within nearly every context. Born with a life expectancy that is over three years less than the national average, Native Americans are faced with a wide array of challenges stemming from a five hundred year history of settler colonialism and the resulting genocide, theft, and oppression (Measure of America 1). To deal with the issues of cultural loss, inadequate housing, high rates of unemployment and financial disparities, this project aims to identify available resources in tribal communities and employ them in a method that improves the environment for all who exist within it. Through proposed training of under-employed community members in indigenous building techniques and employing them in the construction and reparation of buildings using local resources, this project aims to catalyze positive change throughout the community. Already existent assets within the Taos Pueblo Housing Department, the Taos Pueblo Preservation Program, the Taos Pueblo Day School and the Tribal Government can be used in collaboration for increased effect. This project works to find these paths of collaboration between government entities in order to expedite the process of providing housing that reaches past baseline standards. By comparing the deeply traditional building techniques and materials of North American Indigenous people with modern industrial techniques this project will conclude in a document providing clear and accessible information on the importance of indigenous construction methods. Acting as a bridge between the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Independent Housing Authorities, and individual contractors, this document pushes for a re-evaluation of the forms being built on tribal grounds and calls for a return to culturally and environmentally responsive design.

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