Note from Spiritual Counselor, Dawn Moneyhan:

It is no secret to those who have been following us here at The KICC for these past months, that I am in a hurry to move so we can begin building our camp.  My personal housing situation is in dire straits and I really don’t want to be here anymore… I want to be out on the land, connecting with Mother Earth and the animals, teaching the people who come to us.  The elders who help to guide me along my mission and my closest friends & family have all encouraged me to slow down a bit these past months but I have been headstrong and pushed their advice to the side too many times.  I needed to learn to listen.  

I am listening now and I thank all of those who have stood by us and supported every effort to bring these important teachings and skills to the world.  I never claim perfection.  I am human too.  That is the beauty in it all, as our humanity is also our teacher.  

With all of that said, I bring to you now, our downsized version of The KICC Spring/Summer Project for 2022.  I have resigned that if we must stay here then we must be able to function here.  We need a classroom, a learning space where anyone can come to learn our Native American culture directly from traditional Native American enrolled tribal members and the teachers we work hard to secure for our special project needs.  I give to you… The Cob Classroom Project.

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What is cob?

Cob is one of the oldest and strongest building materials Mother Earth has to offer.  Currently there are cob structures in existence all around the world that date back thousands of years, and they are still standing strong.  Cob is a mixture of clay, sand, straw, and water.  Cob is 100% biodegradable, hypoallergenic, bug & rodent resistant, and fireproof.  Cob is strong, heavy, and an insulator while still allowing for optimal air flow and air quality.  It retains heat during cold weather and blocks heat and humidity during warm weather.  Cob is the favored construction material of our most ancient ancestors from every culture.

Cob VS Adobe

Adobe may be a term you are more familiar with.  The history of the Pueblo and other Southwestern Native American tribes have made steady use of adobe for tens of thousands of years and continue today.  Soil, sand, straw, and water make adobe.

 

Some are now sitting here wondering what the difference is between cob and adobe.  The ingredients for adobe are identical.  Adobe is formed into bricks and dried in the sun or baked (fired) and then used for building.  Cob is the raw, wet form of adobe, before it is formed into shapes and dried.  This wet form of adobe allows for full creative expression and removes the restrictions of straight lines and sharp corners in our construction process.  Cob structures often possess a creative flair that sends our imaginations down the rabbit hole of fantasy, which is further encouraged by movies such as “The Hobbit”, “Lord of The Rings”, and “The Chronicles of Narnia”.  

 

While adobe structures work with already dried materials, bonded together with the wet slip they are created from, cob takes much longer to dry all the way through.  When building large structures the 2 - 3 ft thick walls can take months to fully dry.  While building with adobe allows us the geometric forms we are accustomed to with modern day building materials, cob removes those restrictions and allows us freedom to incorporate other materials into our creations.  Glass bottles are a popular material for those who build with cob. 

Strategically placed glass bottles in many colors can be used to create the appearance of stained glass, allowing light to penetrate and turn a plain wall into a spectacular light show each day as the sun’s rays penetrate the colorful patterns.  Stones, rocks, tiles, and many other materials can be used to enhance cob structures while retaining all of the advantages of the cob.

We are a hand's on teaching organization without a property to work from, so we are making due with what we have available here at our home base.  We invite everyone to come learn with us, either in person for a hand's on experience or by watching the project page for video, photo, and text descriptions of what is happening along the way.

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Why are we talking about cob and adobe?      

Our mission here at The KICC is to teach the world our Native American ancestral cultures in hopes of saving our planet from extinction.  Our Cob Classroom Project for 2022 is our highlight project, as we introduce the world to the planet friendly building methods & materials of our Native American ancestors.  

 

What if we told you our cities and towns could have sidewalks without concrete?  What if we told you these eco friendly, 100% biodegradable sidewalks would help prevent global warming instead of contribute to it?  What if we told you it would be 100 times cheaper to maintain because the materials are all natural and cracks can be repaired easily with the same material, as often as needed?  What if we told you there were inexpensive natural ways to protect it and seal it from the elements so it lasted for thousands of years? What if we told you it is stronger than concrete?  What if all of our sidewalks were hypoallergenic?  Would you still want concrete sidewalks everywhere? 

Now let’s apply this logic to everything we know that is currently made of concrete.  Imagine for a moment the difference that would make in our infrastructure, our taxes, and our daily lives?  Imagine the impact it would make for the global warming crisis we are now trying to survive?

 

It is every day now that we turn on our tv’s and login to our social media accounts and read articles, see video footage & photos of the natural disasters that are increasing in frequency and intensity.  Science tells us these things will continue to get worse while we struggle to inspire the world to recognize it and help to rein it in the best we can.  We are watching as entire cities and villages are being destroyed, leaving many without shelter for long periods of time.  

What if we could change just a few things so that the homeless have inexpensive natural shelter and the rebuilding could sustain what our planet still has yet to unleash on us going forward?

 

The KICC’s 2022 Cob Classroom Project is going to teach all of this and so much more!  

All of these things are very possible.  While we cannot teach the construction of the wigwam just yet, due to our location, we CAN teach you to work with another material to help you invest in your own lifestyle, your children’s and grandchildren’s futures, and the safety of the world we live in.  We can offer you a choice that is under-recognized, underutilized, and is yet so simple, so obvious that even our ancient ancestors understood its value.  This is a material that the entire family can work with, an activity that all ages can work together to create beautiful structures and lifelong bonds with the people around them.  

 

We have become a society of live-to-work.  That is backwards.  Our ancestors understood that.  The goal is to work-to-live so that we are able to enjoy our journey while we have our time on this planet.  The goal is to nurture the planet that cares for us so that nobody has to go without, nobody has to suffer from lack of the basic necessities.  The beauty in our Native American cultures is that the cultural lifestyle itself teaches us to appreciate these simpler things, to understand the difference between want and need, and to apply those teachings and lessons to our daily lives.  Eco-friendly living is cheaper, easier, and allows us more time to enjoy our lives and loved ones around us while teaching us to appreciate and focus on what we DO have instead of what we don’t.  

What does this mean for The KICC in 2022? 

The KICC is currently lacking the funding to purchase the property needed to build our incredible and much needed cultural learning camp.  While we work toward that goal we must also keep working, so that means applying our culture to help us provide for our own needs.  

We are in dire need of a classroom because for obvious reasons, we can’t just bring the public into a private home.  This gives us .37 acres worth of property to work with to meet all of this year’s most vital needs.  Since we don’t know how long we will need to stay here, we must allow for a situation that will last for as long as we need it.  

 

We began this year’s project plans with 3 separate projects.  These have all now been combined as we have applied the beauty and efficiency of cob to each of these project plans.  We will be creating raised garden beds, a full outdoor kitchen, and classroom learning area entirely out of cob and trees.  We will be sealing it with limestone plaster & linseed oil to protect it from the elements.  

 

The current design plans are in the works and will be modified as needed along this journey.  What we have decided on so far goes something like this:

Our classroom area was inspired in part by “Menard’s” and their beautiful pillar entrances.  We are currently seeking the 4 trees we will use for our pillar supports to frame the classroom area.  These trees will be stripped of their bark and treated with linseed oil to protect them while keeping them in their natural form and then they will each be set in place onto a piece of rebar, for added support.  Around the lower portion of each tree will be a cob design that represents our Anishinaabe culture.  Our classroom canopy will be woven into a circular pattern, as the great circle of our medicine wheel.  The KICC will be inviting 7 Native American artists to create a cob design on this canopy, each representing 1 of the 7 directions we follow in our traditional Native American lifestyle, and the artist’s interpretation of that direction.  

 

Our classroom area will include high backed cob benches with waist high planter boxes along their backs, a large thunderbird themed fireplace utilizing the Rumford fireplace method for maximum heating efficiency of this open space, and will allow for mosquito netting to protect our human students from the need for chemical bug sprays and other unhealthy methods to protect ourselves from those warm weather pests.  In the fall those screens will be replaced with a more energy efficient method to retain heat in even the coldest winter weather.  Our intent is to make this a year round usable space that offers comfort while learning and minimal maintenance and expense for its upkeep.  

 

Attached to and extending from this classroom space is a full outdoor kitchen to meet all of our possible needs as we move from summer to fall harvest and hunting season.  We will be building 2 cob ovens, using 2 different designs.  One of these will be a 2 chamber oven, with a firebox below.  Along with the cob ovens will be a cook stove, grill, rotisserie, and functional sink that hooks to a garden hose, with a space for a catch bucket below.  

We will be growing this year’s gardens in a new cob bed that will kick off our project on Memorial Day weekend, and a series of DIY totes set up into a series of raised beds, to be transplanted when their new cob homes are ready for them (or easily moved if we have such an opportunity before the end of this growing season).

In this kitchen space will be more high backed seating with planter boxes wherever there is enough sunlight to allow for plant growth and plenty of counter space, under the shelter & shade of a large 120+ yr old black walnut tree.  All of this will be built on an adobe floor.  We hope to offer this project as an example & inspiration to our community that there is no need for concrete, no need to contribute in such a way to the global warming crisis.

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What this means for you

The KICC is pleased to announce that this project is FREE TO THE PUBLIC and everyone is invited to lend a hand and learn along the way.  Bring your questions and “get-dirty” clothes and learn how to make your own life more self-sufficient while saving money and living in a healthier way.  Feel inspired to gather friends & family and set out on a cob journey of your own.  All ages are welcome but minors MUST be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times.  

 

Due to Covid we must limit participation numbers to no more than 10 at a given time, so we will require registration and appointments to participate please.  You can register for The 2022 Cob Classroom Project HERE.

 

This is a season long project and while scheduled to start Memorial Day weekend, it will finish when it is complete, however long that takes.   

 

Every participant will be required to sign a waiver upon arrival.  Schedule time to learn and help around your life’s busy schedule instead of trying to clear your schedule for a preset date and time.  Come help once or come repeatedly from start through finish.  Bring your family and friends to learn with you.  We welcome all.

 

We are currently waiting to hear back from the local building inspector about permits and will update this page as that changes.

The KICC is in need of donations and funding to continue to bring these learning experiences to you.

We thank you for your help.

Please donate HERE

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