Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is in need of several thousand houses to alleviate overcrowding and improve living conditions. The United States government has failed to provide appropriate or sufficient housing and other individuals and organizations that have attempted to build homes for the Lakota have met with widely varying results. This paper documents community-based housing activities of fifteen Pine Ridge residents who attempted to implement a variety of construction techniques. The biggest challenges were obtaining and paying for resources and finding competent, reliable labor. The interviewees used local and salvaged materials extensively and worked within the local, informal economy to meet these challenges and address their dissatisfaction with government cluster housing. Findings suggest that local, community-based construction may provide a successful and culturally sustainable strategy for residential construction because it equips builders with a means to earn a living, develops construction skills, establishes a sense of ownership, and provides appropriate housing that enriches lives and builds pride.

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