Kul Wicasa Wópasi (Lower Brule Research) Projects
Kul Wicasa Wópasi (Lower Brule Research) is a nonprofit organization led by indigenous students, based at Lower Brule High School. Summer 2021 saw four community-focused projects led by student interns and workers.
Check out the clickable gallery, below, to explore the student researchers’ projects.
The garden is located a few miles out of Lower Brule and remains fully managed by the students. The student leaders spend midday here watering the vegetables, checking the plants and pulling weeds.
They plan to distribute the vegetables at a farmer’s market to help establish food sovereignty and healthy food access in their area.
Hydroponics grows fresh produce without the need for regular soil and requiring less water. Their setup is containers with clay pellets that hold the plant and the solution of chemicals at the bottom. This working group spends their hours in the greenhouse refining the hydroponics system and tending to the plants.
This project centers on the goal of Kul Wicasa Wópasi to increase access to fresh vegetables in the Lower Brule community.
Alyssa Jones walks up to the hydroponics greenhouse, where the team works. The hydroponics system fully set up with plants, like tomatoes, peppers, and beans, already growing. Jesse Estes (right) and Josette Pretty Sounding Flute (left), two of the students working on the hydroponics project, explain what they’re working on and why it’s important to them. Alyssa Jones looks over as plants in this hydroponics setup are already starting to grow into healthy vegetables for the group to share with their community. The other half of the greenhouse has a regular planting box that the team says could eventually be used for a garden too. Five of the hydroponics team gather in the corner of the greenhouse next to some of their fast-growing plants.
The robotics group uses their tools — wheels, gears, and wires — to build moving, acting devices, increasing technological knowledge and interest in robotics-related careers. Additionally, the group instructs Boys and Girls Club youth about robotics. There, they build robots and play related games to pass on their passion for building robots to their peers.
This group increases enthusiasm for STEM in the community and centers on leadership and education skills.
Reese Ziegler, the robotics group leader, discusses the robotics project and their work with teaching kids. Wheels, gears, wires and other robot parts lay waiting to be incorporated into the team’s robots. Tokala Estes points out some of the parts that are important to assembling their robots. A 3D printer works seamlessly in the corner of the room where the robotics team works. Robotics group, Tokala Estes, Isaah Quilt, and Reese Ziegler (left to right), work independently on their projects.