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Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project

The Soul of Nations Foundation is excited to further expand the art engagement facet of our mission through the Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project (GAP). Indigenous International is the umbrella program created through the Soul of Nations Foundation’s Indigenous Arts Expansion Initiative which is aimed to help connect Indigenous youth with boundary-pushing cultural and artistic experiences around the world. 
Traditional forms of Indigenous art and architecture have often been misrepresented in mainstream media and academia. The majority of Indigenous communities reside in rural areas where they oftentimes build and live in structures constructed with materials that have been obtained locally and are considered “green.” These structures are created through the use of architectural techniques that have been utilized for generations. Unfortunately, a myth exists that Indigenous vernacular architecture is substandard, temporary, and for the impoverished. Indigenous communities from the Americas and Africa are continuously striving for environmental stability. However, these communities are often met with natural and governmental challenges that have threatened the traditional value of vernacular and cultural practices for residential styles of architecture.
When thinking broadly of architecture, the masterpieces of the past inevitably come to mind; buildings constructed to withstand the passage of time, that have found an ally in age, cementing themselves in the history of humanity. 

Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project 

The overarching objectives of the Green Architecture Project include: (1) empowering marginalized youth and communities via creative and artistic expression, (2) furthering the understanding of Indigenous cultural heritage; (3) creating an environment conducive to effective collaboration; (4) engaging in dialogue to gain a clearer understanding on what freedom and environmental stability look like while examining current setbacks; (5) utilizing culture as a vehicle to expand discourse; (6) strengthening an artistic and academic network among the participants; (7) examining historic challenges through a contemporary frame; and (8) encouraging personal growth and social awareness on a global scale.
Themes: environmental stability and indigenous futurism
Nanibah Chacon is the selected artist mentor and artist-activist from the United States that will be traveling to Rwanda to invest time, energy, and skills into the participants. Nanibah is a Diné and Chicana painter, muralist, art educator, architect, and political activist. She has had art installed at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, the ISEA International Arts and Technology Symposium, Old Town Lansing, and in the “Que Chola” Exhibition at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, among other venues.
Green Architecture Project Team  gap@soulofnations.org

Although the Soul of Nations Foundation staff remains optimistic for the success of all international programming, the health and safety of our program participants and team are top priorities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be necessary to postpone projected activities for the Green Architecture Project. 

Current & Upcoming

The Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project in Kenya will present the opportunity for young Kenyan women artists and architects to connect with Indigenous American women artists and architects living in the United States through a nine-month cultural virtual exchange that will result in three collaborative online exhibitions.
The Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project in Nigeria presents the opportunity for Indigenous American and BIPOC women artists/architects from the Pueblo region of New Mexico to connect with ten young Nigerian women artists/architects living in Lagos. According to aesthetic and practical architectural standards of urban society, traditional housing structures of Indigenous American nations, in the southwestern region of the United States of America, utilize similar construction techniques of Nigerians when analyzing wigwam or Pueblo-style of architectural manifestation alongside the Hausa-style and  Yoruba-style.
The Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project in Bolivia presents the opportunity for young Indigenous American and BIPOC women artists/architects from the southwestern region of the United States to connect with up to young Bolivian women artists/architects living in La Paz. 

Previous Projects

The 2019-2021 Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project in Rwanda presented the opportunity for young Indigenous women artists/architects from the Americas to connect with 10 young Rwandan female artists/architects living in Kigali through a 18-month cultural exchange that had virtual and in-person components  that resulted in two collaborative online exhibitions.


Layers of Agency explores various prisms of Indigenous reality and ecological consciousness from the past, present, and future from a cohort of Rwandan Women Artists and Designers. One can easily imagine how gender, socioeconomics, environmentalism, and cultural presentational agency can be stifled and appropriated in western society. However, what does it mean to experience an identical plight in one’s own homelands and by one’s own peoples? Examining mechanisms that embody the continuous and historical outcry for agency can be conceptually visualized through the “Radiant Thought” that out of the garbage grew a tree. The tree is known as SHE, and SHE is the woman body, the bearer of life before conception, and the ruler of intersectional destiny.



Fragma 2 is a visual manifesto, through video and architectural design, which serves as the personification of the woman. Through her body, she re-appropriates public space and “the street,” all the while reclaiming and informing her physical entity. The street then becomes a dwelling that she chooses to occupy instead of just being a passenger. She inhabits this public terrain through strong visual statements. Thus, her physical and spiritual being to create a home where she can dream. She has access to all the components, which makes for a safe environment for her and her sisters. A home that will be, among other things, green because she cares for life.


Soul of Nations Foundation, Inc.

Email: info@soulofnations.org              

Phone: +1 202.643.2164

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