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Actor Brad Pitt's Make It Right organisation has partnered with the Sioux and Assiniboine American Indian tribes of Fort Peck to build sustainable, green homes on their reservation.

Designs for the first 20 homes to be built this year are LEED Platinum, solar-powered houses with three or four bedrooms and two to three bathrooms. Efficient designs using reclaimed materials are important aspects of the new homes, but so was the consultation between Make It Right’s team of designers and architects and the Fort Peck community. This was to ensure that respect for traditional characteristics – such as tribally significant colors – will be used, and that culturally important aspects, such as round homes built with doors facing the right direction, will be built.

“This is the first time in 130 years that anyone has asked us, ‘What do you want your home to look like?’” said Dr. Ryan, Fort Peck Tribes cultural expert and historian.

Over 600 people in the chronically overcrowded houses of the reservation need their own homes, but the current waiting list is for the poor quality houses that exist. Make It Right homes, to start with, will be made available to those with income levels below 60 percent of the area’s average, to seniors and to disabled veterans.

The homes are not a gift, however. A low income housing tax credit’s “rent to own” program will allow the transference of ownership to the tenants after 15 years of renting.

Even more exciting was Make It Right’s introduction to Integrated Solutions, an enormous factory and warehouse at Fort Peck. Its underutilized facilities could possibly be used for manufacturing the homes.

If that turns out to be true, the Sioux and Assiniboine tribes members could be manufacturing and building their own healthy and efficient homes, providing green jobs and addressing the desperate need for more houses on the reservation.

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