Seven Generations Partners With WholeTrees to Bring Green Building Materials to Native Markets

Seven Generations Architecture & Engineering—founded in 2012 by Mno-Bmadsen, the non-gaming investment arm of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians—has teamed up with WholeTrees, a national leader in the engineering of round timber.

Together, the companies will address the growing construction needs of the Native American market.

“As the name of our firm suggests, our company’s core value is sustainability for the next seven generations, which coincide with WholeTrees’ mission to build prosperous relationships with forests and communities while improving the economic viability in woodland communities for the commercial construction industry,” explains Steve VandenBussche, director of architecture for Seven Generations A+E, a tribally- owned, 8(a) and HUBZone certified architecture and engineering company.

He added: “Both firms have rigorous commitments to regenerative practices in design and construction, including usage of cutting-edge digital technologies that facilitate green architecture; using materials and consuming energy in the building process in the ecologically friendly manner possible; and to remain vigilant about minimizing how their overall engineering practices impact surrounding communities.”

Seven Generations A+E has committed to use WholeTrees’ un-milled timber in three building projects this year:

Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s New Pow Wow Arbor. WholeTrees provided structural engineering and prefabricated timbers that were sustainably sourced from Northwestern Douglas Fir stands.

Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s New Pow Wow Arbor (Courtesy Seven Generations)

Pokagon Band Health and Wellness Center. WholeTrees will supply innovative small diameter timber sway frames for a ceiling as well as corridor beams for the Family Activity Center. These materials will be made of regionally-sourced red pine, which is a culturally-significant softwood of the Potawatomi.

Pokagon Justice and Peace Center. WholeTrees will provide White Oak exterior entryways, interior corridor beams, a solar shade and a dramatic arched fire pit. All materials will be sourced from regional forests.

“We are truly honored to collaborate with Seven Generations A+E and foresee a long-term partnership whereby we delivery the greenest possible un-milled timber products to the larger tribal marketplace,” says Amelia Baxter, chief executive officer of WholeTrees. “In addition to co-marketing and mutual storytelling, we will share 3D digital models for building information modeling systems as well as the potential for data and inventory management on Potawatomi timber stands marked for sustainable harvests.”

Seven Generations A+E was founded in 2012 by Mno-Bmadsen, the non-gaming investment arm of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. As a tribally-owned firm, Seven Generations A+E has expanded its practice to include all of Indian Country. WholeTrees, as a timber products company and technology developer, has found Native American tribes value and at times require regenerative design and construction practices. Working together, both Seven Generations A+E and WholeTrees are committing to best practices to meet their own stated missions and visions of green building while meeting the needs of a growing marketplace of tribal innovators in sustainable construction.