Red Feathers and Red Ants

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Pamela and Marilynn, the straw bale builders

Red Ants Pants has teamed up with Red Feather Development Group, a phenomenal organization out of Bozeman, MT.  Red Feather educates and empowers American Indian nations to create sustainable and replicable solutions to the severe housing crisis within reservation communities. Red Feather organizes volunteers, and, alongside tribal members, builds needed homes using sustainable materials and techniques.

Red Ants Pants partnered with Red Feather by sponsoring their two female builders, Marilynn Cochran, from Arlee, MT, and Pamela Pauly, from Lopez Island, WA.  Both of these women have been in construction for over 20 years, many of which have been focused on more sustainable building methods including straw bale construction.

In June, Red Feather volunteers, alongside the new home owners, Albert McManus and Clara One Feather’s family, built a straw bale home on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Eastern Montana.  Sarah Calhoun of Red Ants Pants joined them for 2 days to help with the final stages of the build which included lots of interior painting.  “Meeting these inspiring women who are the leading experts in their industry is such an honor.  Learning from them, working side by side, hearing their stories…that’s what it’s all about,” said Calhoun.

When asked what she likes about straw bale construction, Cochran replied, “It brings the feminine back into building.  The curves, the plasters, it’s kind of like your pants!”

Huge thanks go out to Marilynn and Pamela for their partnership, as well as everyone at Red Feather, especially Mark Jensen for helping to coordinate this collaboration. Thank you all!

Calhoun with Marilynn Cochran and Mark Jensen
Marilynn and Pamela at the volunteer camp
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