The Eden Model

Our home site in Slim Buttes is currently under construction and is designed as a fully off-grid Eco-Ranch designed to represent a “Garden of Eden” model to provide access to affordable, simple, and often fun solutions to the 5 basic needs for the community on Pine Ridge Reservation.

site drawing map .jpg

Why this model?

We have based our analysis and solutions off of the revolutionary new evidence on addiction, starting with the study by Canadian Psychologist Bruce K. Alexander named ‘Rat Park’.

  • The dominant belief about addiction is that, if you’re exposed to chemical hooks of drugs then you will become an addict

  • This idea comes from experiments form the early 20th century where you cage a rat and give it two water bottles: one with water, one with water laced with either heroin or cocaine. When you do this, the rat will almost always choose the water with the drugs and overdose quite quickly

  • Professor Alexander noticed that the rat was being put in an empty cage, and therefore has nothing to do except use the drugs. He then built a cage he called “Rat Park” - with a lot of cheese, colored balls, tunnels, they have a lot of other rats (friends), and they have the two water bottles - the drug-laced water and the clean water.

  • Here’s what happened: the rats didn’t like the drug water, they almost never used it, and no rats overdosed.

  • Went from close to 100% overdose when they were isolated, to 0% overdose when they lived happy and connected lives.

This is what we are building:

  • Year-round education, skill-training, and incubator for local community

  • Housing and kitchen for volunteer hospitality

  • Language Center & recording studio to preserve and record Lakota language for the next seven generations