Indie Hit Designs
Building tribal autonomy and the empowerment of indigenous economies by reconnecting indigenous people with their traditional way of life and reviving inter-tribal economic trade.
Indie Hit Designs (IHD) is an Indigenous-led initiative that works within tribal communities to develop radically sustainable homes that feature traditional designs with modern amenities and comforts. Indie Hit Design’s first project, entitled the “Return of the Run,” is working within The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal Community to design and implement a traditional demonstration house that will be the inspiration for future Lower Elwha Klallam families to embrace a new type of decolonized, ecologically sustainable housing.
A council comprised of Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe (LEKT) cultural leaders and non-native activists will oversee strategic plans and major decision making for the project’s future. The goal of the Return of the Run council will be to help build a collaboration of voices that work to protect the Elwha River wild salmon runs, improving community health and revitalizing cultural heritage (through art, food and language.)
This pilot project is the development of a demonstration longhouse designed for a single Lower Elwha Klallam family. The longhouse will embody radically sustainable features such as passive solar architecture, sustainable energy harvesting technology, water conservation and filtration technology, and a hydronic underground floor heating system. We also seek to engage the community through the longhouse in four ways: 1) as a shared event space and learning center; 2) by supporting inter-generational artistry; 3) providing a space for indigenous families to practice cultural revitalization; 4) promoting responsible investing and fiscal sustainability. The project emerges from Saa Taan Eesh’s family’s wish to give back to their people, build resilience and strengthen sovereignty through implementation of precolonial homes.
IHD envisions this project to extend from the Elwha Klallam tribe on the Olympic Peninsula across other tribes in the nearby region, throughout Washington State and all tribes across Cascadia, then even further across the US. Each tribe will adopt the community model that is first established in IHD’s Elwha pilot project. Each Tribal project will have an IHD local Native elected building council for that tribe. IHDs plans to build one project for each tribe teaching their members how to build so that they can build for themselves and the rest of their community.
Indie Hit Designs Project Leader
Sa Taan Eesh Kasa'Xaan (C Ryan Qualls)
Ryan started Indie Hit Designs for all of the Indigenous communities he wants to help and bring Unity to. His Indigenous name is Saa Taan Eesh and his tribal heritage is Tlingit and Coahuiltecan. Growing up on the Lower Elwha Klallam Reservation, where the Elwha River meets the Salish Sea, Ryan learned the teachings of his Tlingit ancestors from his great-grandparents, uncle and relatives. Tlingit land is the generational home of the Charles family of the Klallam people (Strong People).
After leaving home, Ryan began to process the forced complacency of Indigenous peoples to a western way of life. He learned how the cycle of poverty on the reservation – FEMA housing, poor water quality and unhealthy food – perpetuate a lifestyle that removes Indigenous people from their traditions and health. Indie Hits Designs was created to do something about it!