Finding our Voice in our Indigenous Homeland
In 1998 I was living and working in Boston, Massachusetts, 2,200 miles from Crow Country in Montana, where I was born and raised. I had been away from my home and my family’s reservation for 12 years. By this time, I had worked with diverse urban and rural communities across the country including Latino, African American, Asian and Euro-American people on primarily affordable housing and architectural research, as well as teaching at the University of Washington, the Boston Architectural Center, and the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi. Then, in 1998, my father suggested that I come home and apply what I had been learning with our own Crow people in Montana. This paper will exam this idea and where it can lead: the value and the benefit of returning to our homes and our roots to find our voice as architects. It was through the return to my family’s home town of Crow Agency, Montana, to design the Little Big Horn College campus and buildings, and the reconnection to my tribe that I began my independent career as an Indigenous architect working with tribal communities across the Western United States over the past 20 years. I will explore this through a discussion of my work and the processes that I employ in the design of culturally and environmentally responsive architecture for Indigenous communities.
Daniel J. Glenn, AIA, AICAE, is the Principal Architect of 7 Directions Architects/Planners, a Native American-owned firm based in Seattle, Washington, specializing in culturally and environmentally responsive architecture and planning. Daniel, a graduate of the MIT School of Architecture and Planning, has more than 30 years of experience in architectural practice and education. He has been featured in the 2005 film, Indigenous Architecture / Living Architecture and the book, Design Re-Imagined: New Architecture on Indigenous Lands and the PBS Natural Heroes episode “Native American Green” in 2016. He is part of a team of Indigenous architects representing Turtle Island in the 2018 Venice Biennale.