American Roundtable: The Lakota Nation and the Legacy of American Colonization, Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota

Editors Annie Coombs and Zoë Malliaros, and report contributors Tatewin Means, Lakota Vogel, and Sharon Vogel present the report The Lakota Nation and the Legacy of American Colonization and discuss key themes and findings.

March 24, 2021
12:00 p.m.

"Today we identified herbs in our backyard of hinhan wakpa' for harvesting." Credit: Dawnee LeBeau

American Roundtable is an Architectural League initiative bringing together on-the-ground perspectives on the condition of American communities and what they need to thrive going forward.

The Cheyenne River Reservation is the sovereign territory of the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation and a legacy of American colonization, a process that included state-sponsored genocide and land theft. How has this shameful history shaped this community and its built environment? How did the Lakota traditionally understand space and community, and how are they looking to reconnect to and reestablish their culture’s understanding of the land and settlement? Can contemporary approaches to housing, infrastructure, health, economic opportunity, transportation, and education be shaped to respectfully serve the needs of the Lakota people, and the exigencies of extremely low-density rural communities such as those of the Cheyenne River Reservation and neighboring Pine Ridge? What legal, bureaucratic, and governance structures need to be rethought for Indigenous communities – on or off reservations – to flourish?

Join editors Annie Coombs and Zoë Malliaros and report contributors Tatewin Means, Lakota Vogel, and Sharon Vogel, as they share findings and highlights from their American Roundtable report on the Cheyenne River Reservation. Their informal presentation will be followed by discussion on some of the report’s key ideas and provocations with American Roundtable Project Director Nicholas Anderson and League Executive Director Rosalie Genevro. Read the full The Lakota Nation and the Legacy of American Colonization report on the Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota, beginning March 16.

Learn more about the American Roundtable Initiative.

Annie Coombs and Zoë Malliaros are New York City-based architects. They have been traveling to the Cheyenne River Reservation for over 20 years, first as volunteers with the Sioux YMCA, and later for personal, academic, and professional visits. They both currently serve on the Board of Trustees for the Sioux YMCA. Annie Coombs is a principal of Siris Coombs Architecture, which works on residential, cultural, and social impact projects. Zoë Malliaros has worked professionally in both residential architectural design and non-profit consulting as an owner’s representative for New York City non-profit youth-focused organizations. 

Tatewin Means is the executive director of Thunder Valley CDC. She is an Indigenous woman from the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota, Oglala Lakota, and Inhanktonwan nations in South Dakota. In 2015, Means was sworn in as the Deputy States Attorney for Oglala Lakota County, a state county within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation boundaries.

Lakota Vogel was born in the community of Promise on the Cheyenne River Reservation. She worked at Four Bands Community Fund as assistant director for several years before taking over as executive director in 2015.

Sharon Vogel is the executive director of the Cheyenne River Housing Authority (CRHA). She was born at the Old Cheyenne Agency and grew up in Eagle Butte on the Cheyenne River Reservation.

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