The NDN Covid-19 Response Project Click here

Tatewin Means · October 22, 2018

Thunder Valley CDC: Radically Transforming an Indigenous Community from the Ground Up

It is common practice at Thunder Valley CDC to vet all decisions through a triple bottom line -- people, planet, and prosperity.

With Lakota culture, spirituality and language at it’s core, Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation (CDC) is a grassroots community organization leading a movement of systemic change and transformation on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.  This vision of change is actualizing as a result of innovative solutions and an unprecedented holistic approach to fostering individual and community well-being. 

It is through the intergenerational foresight and wisdom of Lakota leaders that the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires), the original Lakota/Dakota/Nakota nation, has persisted and persevered for centuries in direct defiance of the many attempts of genocide, assimilation, relocation and colonization. It is with this same strength and conviction that Thunder Valley CDC will continue to make lasting change on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and beyond. In similar tradition to their ancestors, Thunder Valley CDC makes decisions with future generations in mind. As such, sustainability is a priority. It is common practice at Thunder Valley CDC to vet all decisions through a triple bottom line — people, planet, and prosperity. How their decisions and solutions will impact people, the planet and the overall prosperity of the Lakota nation, always guides Thunder Valley CDC in the right direction.

Thunder Valley CDC truly believes in the power of the people and the collective wisdom in their communities. The most effective and sustainable solutions to some of the most difficult issues facing Lakota people have been, and will continue to be, found in the communities they serve and always through Lakota perspective.

Thunder Valley CDC makes decisions with future generations in mind. 

Thunder Valley CDC’s work is effectuated through a comprehensive ecosystem of opportunity comprised of various initiatives all working harmoniously toward the organization’s mission to empower Lakota youth and families to improve the health, culture, and environment of their communities through the healing and strengthening of cultural identity.

From food sovereignty, to youth leadership and Lakota language revitalization, social enterprise, workforce development, regional equity, arts and culture and housing and homeownership, Thunder Valley CDC is very intentional in it’s holistic approach to healing and empowerment. Each initiative complements and supports the work of the others. Thunder Valley CDC’s most visually evident contribution to systemic change is their Regenerative Community Development. Located on 34 acres in the heart of the Pine Ridge Reservation, this community is currently constructing 21 single family homes, a 12 unit apartment building and a community center as a component of an overall multi-phase community development plan. Future development includes additional single family homes, retail and office space and cultural and community spaces. The community was designed from the vision of community members and with great deference to Lakota culture.

To learn more about Thunder Valley CDC and it’s radical approach to community transformation, click here.


Tatewin Means
Tatewin Means

Tatewin Means (Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota/Oglala Lakota) is the Executive Director of Thunder Valley CDC. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental engineering from Stanford University, a law degree from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Arts degree in Lakota Leadership and Management from the Oglala Lakota College. Means is also a mother, and formerly served as the attorney general for the Oglala Sioux Tribe from 2012-2017.

April 2020 Edition

Stay Informed. Take Action.
Subscribe to the NDN allies newsletter

Sign up to get our newsletter. Delivered once per month.

We care about the protection of your data and would never sell your email or share it with anyone without your permission.

Recently published on NDN

Posted 8 months ago Alcatraz Canoe Journey: Honoring 50 Years of Indigenous Resistance and Persistence

Jade Begay

"If we work to reframe Alcatraz as a symbol for Indigenous sovereignty and reposition it in people’s psyche that way, it could be a very powerful thing, especially for people who are so often forgotten overlooked and marginalized like Natives in America."
Posted 2 months ago In Case You Missed It: Native Americans & COVID-19 Town Hall
This town hall was part of IllumiNative's #WarriorUp campaign which works to shine a light on the impacts and needs resulting from COVID-19 in Indian Country.
Posted 2 months ago NDN Collective Announces RFI for Indigenous Contractors to Provide Support to Indigenous Communities Dealing w/ COVID-19
The RFI is designed to complement COVID-19 Response grants and loans that are offered by NDN Collective
Posted 2 months ago NDN Collective Announces Grants up to $5k for Indigenous Artists & Entrepreneurs Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The NDN Artist and Entrepreneur Fund will provide grants of up to $5,000 to ease these current hardships in this time of economic uncertainty.
Posted 2 months ago Earth Day 2020: We can no longer take baby steps. Honor the Earth as your own mother.

Andrew Catt-Iron shell

While fifty years have come and gone from the first Earth Day, we do not have another fifty years to get this right.
Posted 3 months ago NDN Changemaker Fellowship Now Open for Indigenous Applicants Throughout Turtle Island
The NDN Changemaker Fellowship is a 12-month opportunity for Indigenous leaders to articulate their vision for social change, to identify the support they will need to get there and to invest in their own development, health, healing and wellbeing.
Posted 3 months ago NDN Collective Announces $10 Million COVID-19 Response Project for Indigenous People
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NDN COVID-19 Response Project provides grants, communication and strategic support to Indigenous people.
Posted 4 months ago NDN Collective on COVID-19: A Time for Spiritual Fortitude
We encourage all of our relatives throughout Turtle Island and beyond to take every precaution to protect yourselves, your loved ones, families, and entire communities.
Posted 4 months ago Decolonizing Community Care in Response to COVID-19

Jade Begay

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic responsibly, Indigenously
Posted 4 months ago Becoming Adzaan: The Gift of Diné Womanhood

Jaclyn Roessel

An International Women's Day reflection on the power of Adzaanhood.
Posted 4 months ago In Praise of NDN Women: An International Women's Day Tribute
In order to build holistic solutions, wisdom and values carried by women and matriarchs must be front and center. NDN Collective is proud to have a staff and board that consist primarily of women.
NDN Collective
317 Main St #1
Rapid City, SD 57701
P: +1 (605) 791-3999
E: info@ndncollective.org
© 2020 NDN Collective. All rights reserved.