Native American Indian Solar Education Project
Native American Indian Solar Education Project
Fort Defiance, Arizona
Client

Joint Strategic and Action Committee &
Indian Ministry Task Force

Project Info

PROJECT DATE:
1979

Project Cost

The Native American Indian Solar Education Project was an Ecumenical Project, sponsored by the JSAC (Joint Strategy and Action Committee, Inc.) and the Indian Ministry Task Force to train Native American leaders from many tribes and denominations at the Good Shepard Mission in Fort Defiance, Arizona. The training would include both solar energy technology and practical hands-on solar technology practice, as the trainees would actually build solar heaters for hogans and solar food dehydrators. The facilities of the Good Shepard Mission of the Episcopal Church would provide room, board and workshop space.

The materials for the solar heater for a “hogan” (traditional southwest Plain Indians dwelling) cost about $900 and comprised good grade plywood, sheetrock and fiberglass insulation. Native American tribal members can obtain logs free, upon approval by the tribal council. With the assistance of the students, the project was able to complete a second solar heater for a hogan, consisting of logs and adobe, for a total cost of about $150.

Louis A. DiGeronimo A.I.A, as principal technical trainer, taught ten Native Americans. The Native Americans were Navajo. Navajo settlements consist of individual “farms” spread across the reservation. Navajo men and women are staunchly independent. It is a harsh life living independently in the high desert. Winters are severe, snow and wind seems relentless. Fuel is scarce, but the sun is plentiful. Technical training in solar technology would beifit the Navajo Nation.

The project could not have taken place without a grant from Riverside Church, New York City. The project was approved by the Indian Ministry Task Force. Any tribe or local Indian church group may apply to the Indian Ministry Task Force to have a JSAC training project.