ASU professor working to bring Gila River Indian Community heritage back to housing

By Joey Chenoweth | Tri-Valley Dispatch

TEMPE — Wanda Dalla Costa has traveled from indigenous community to indigenous community throughout her 20 years of working with tribes on building projects. During that time, one thing has become crystal clear: No two places are the same.

So it’s concerning to the visiting eminent scholar at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment that for many decades the federal government has treated each community the same when it comes to housing. She said the same prototypes have been used up and down North America, with little regard for unique cultural and climate concerns.

“We as Native Americans gave up control of how our environment looked,” said Dalla Costa, a member of the Saddle Lake First Nation in Canada. “We used to be planners. We used to be architects. But we gave that all up, and the government came in and started building everything.”

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