Kul Wicasa Wópasi (Lower Brule Research) Projects

Posted on: August 24, 2021   |   Categories: Announcements, News & Updates

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.

The students are responsible for keeping each area moving forward and applying for grants to keep funding their projects — food sovereignty, hydroponics, gardening, and robotics.

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.

McKenzie Laverdure and Madeline Ryan explain the garden project within the Lower Brule summer research program.


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.

Wide View of the inside of the greenhouse
Inside the greenhouse, students grow vegetables, such as tomatoes, peppers, and beans, using a technique called hydroponics.


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.

Tokala Estes points out a piece of robotics equipment while Isaah Quilt and Reese Ziegler collaborate on their robot.
Robotics group, Tokala Estes, Isaah Quilt, and Reese Ziegler (left to right), build their projects before heading to the boys and Girls Club to teach kids about robotics.