The Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative: Bringing Social Impact Architecture to Indian Country


Man smiling and leaning against a wall

Joseph Kunkel, executive director of the Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative. Photo courtesy of Joseph Kunkel

Joseph-Kunkel-NEA-Arts-Final 1118.mp3

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The Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative (SNCC) has been working in Indian Country since 2009, developing affordable, environmentally sustainable, and culturally responsive housing. A National Endowment for the Arts grantee, SNCC works holistically with the community in a collaborative process, believing that community members must be the architects of their own vision. What SNCC brings to the table is an architectural process—a process that responds to culture, place, and community. The bigger mission is to enable tribes to build their own sovereignty, and to strengthen their own communities.

SNCC Executive Director Joseph Kunkel grew up between Native-American and white communities, which gave him a unique combination of education and experience that led him to social impact architecture. As head of SNCC, he has developed a visionary’s understanding of its practice and sees holistic collaboration at its core. 

Music credit: “NY” composed and performed by Kosta T. from the album Soul Sand, used courtesy of the Free Music Archive.     

Schematic for a housing development design

Housing designs for the Akwesasne Tribe, New York. Image courtesy of the Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative