The built environment of the Pine Ridge Indian reservation uses forms of isolation; separating people from their land, economic activity, and each other. Aside from the infrastructure, the home, the very building block of the community, is a place that falls short of itself on the rez.
Many of the houses that were constructed by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are falling apart. Most houses lack proper insulation, heating, electricity, and are infected with pathogens such as Black Mold. Black mold, which causes respiratory illness and death, is present in over 70% of the HUD homes. This is due to overcrowding living conditions, poorly built foundations, and lack of proper ventilation.
The government-built homes were designed and built with no consideration of occupational and maintenance costs. Requiring oil, propane and electricity to power these homes demand a regular income that most do not have on the reservation. Most importantly, the houses lack cultural relevancy. This weighs heavily on the physical and psychological health of the reservation’s residents, reinforcing the conditions of poverty on Pine Ridge.