Case Studies of Green Building and Sustainable Design in Indian Country

“Indian country” generally refers to land within an Indian reservation or land in federal trust (land technically owned by the federal government but held in trust for a tribe or tribal member). Several examples of commercial and residential facilities that have incorporated green building and sustainable design can be found in Indian Country and this area has much potential for growth. There are approximately 400 existing hotels, motels, and resorts, as well as 200 casinos and bingo halls located on tribal lands in the U.S. (U.S. EPA, 2000). Nationwide, more than 200 Tribes are reaping revenue of more than $10 billion and are reinvesting huge sums in building their communities. A recent survey reported that 54 California Tribes have building projects valued at more than $250,000 planned or underway. Of these, 46 were commercial buildings, 43 were tribal buildings, and 34 were residential and prefabricated buildings (Center for Indian Community Development, et al., 2004). This paper presents case studies of existing commercial and residential projects on tribal lands that have incorporated elements of green building and sustainable design.

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