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Navajo Nation (St Michaels), AZ Hands-On Straw Bale Workshop taught by: Andrew Morrison

Are you excited about the idea of living in a straw bale house but unsure of how to make your dream a reality (or are flat out terrified to even get started)? Join us at our seven-day, hands-on workshop!

Our workshops are designed to meet the needs of both the novice builder and experienced contractor. Andrew’s grasp of construction technology, with over 20 years as a professional builder, comes through in his ability to explain each detail in a way that benefits all participants. Our goal is to prepare you with a truly well-rounded educational experience so when it comes time for your build, you have the confidence to handle anything that comes up from construction hiccups to personal stress management.

So, come and join us…we would love to have you with us! Our workshops are rewarding, engaging, highly informational, and an absolute blast! Truly, much, much more than just a workshop!!

In The Host's Own Words

Yá’át’ééh! Greetings to you all!

We are Kim and Makai! We are from the Diné Nation!

Your hosts Makai and Kim

We would love to have you come join us to build our dream homestead on our ancestral homelands on Dine’ Bikeyah (Navajo Nation). This straw bale workshop will be located in St. Michaels, AZ on the Navajo Nation/Reservation. This workshop will be the beginning  of a series of workshops on natural building on our ancestral homeland. We plan to build structures of straw bale, adobe, hemp and earth bags throughout the reservation.

This work is fundamentally about bringing greater health and justice to our people and the land. Our homelands have been targeted with the siting of coal plants, uranium mining, oil and gas fracking wells which have taken an enormous toll on the health of our community and the land.

Our waters are contaminated. Our air is contaminated. And our bodies are suffering from long-term exposure to pollutants. We have systemic issues with water access, food access, access to quality housing, and to health care. As we continue to fight fossil fuel extraction in our community – we also work to educate our relatives about the threats.

As citizen scientists we focus on the impacts of the fossil fuel industry on our land, water and bodies to heal and create solutions for our community. Over the past few years we have worked on health impact assessments, water catchment systems and soil remediation projects. Our goal is to create a healthy environment so that we can then plant seeds and build community infrastructure.

Aside from our work on the ground we work to build community solutions and fight for institutional changes so that we can generate alternative, sustainable economies at the tribal, state and federal level. In order to plan for our future we need to root deeply in the wisdom of our ancestors and the lands that sustain us.

We imagine thriving community centers/spaces (built naturally) where we can come together to imagine an alternative reality to the systems imposed on us. Here we can organize together to manifest our dreams at the relational scale, the community scale, the government scale, and in relation to state policies that are imposed by the United States’ colonial presence in our territories.

By creating our traditional dwellings for gathering and living and working and remediating the soil we will be returning to Diné teachings and alignment with the seasons, and it will be a way to connect the wisdom of our past teachers to future generations

This building project is part of a bigger vision that encompasses an array of regenerative activities that help support organizers, strengthen community resilience through the development of both organizing and physical infrastructure and help our ​Diné relatives connect with ancestral ways of life.

This is a pilot homestead project that will have the broader goal of strengthening communities and traditional practices. We see these pilot homesteads as future community hubs or satellites that can become decolonial learning centers to help strengthen the enormous Diné Nation by connecting nodes.

We want to decolonize housing infrastructure and make building a home an empowering process that is accessible to all. Deep in the coronavirus, we now see this as not getting “back to normal” but an opportunity to create a new normal. We don’t want Diné people to be taken away from their homes to “learn” and take on debt.

These homesteads are the classroom. People can stay in community and connect with one another in the Diné way as they learn the skills of living the same way our ancestors have. We want to make this decolonial information MORE accessible to community members and allow whoever wants to to be able to participate and reconnect. We have the opportunity now to learn outside of institutions, where people can stay included in the community, learn ceremonies, learn songs, connect with elders, and become more connected to ancestral practices. ​

Through these pilot homesteads, people will be able to reinvest their time and energy back into the community. People can stay in community and connect with one another in the Diné way as they learn the skills of off grid ancestral living.

COVID POLICY

We will be upholding our Navajo Nation’s public health order, and respectfully ask guests coming to our territory to mask up and take COVID-19 precautions. As many of you know our homeland, Diné Bikéyah (The Navajo Nation) has faced and endured the highest rate per-capita of COVID-19 cases than any settler-colonial U.S. state the past year. This didn’t happen because of the lack of power lines and plumbing nor did it happen just because there aren’t massive corporate stores on every corner of our reservation. It happened because a lot of our people’s health was compromised by the ongoing colonial violence and violence against the earth which made our people more susceptible to viruses such as COVID-19. We have lost a lot of relatives during the past year. For this reason, we want to continue to keep our communities and workshop participants safe.

FOOD/ALCOHOL

Meals will be provided by our comrades from the Seeds Of Peace Collective; a collective that we have volunteered with and that has supported us in the past with other projects. Since 1986, the Seeds Of Peace Collective has provided logistical support and training to activists struggling on the front lines for social, environmental, and economic justice. They will provide us with entree options for vegans, vegetarians and omnivores.

Alcohol is illegal on Dine’ Bikeyah (Navajo Nation). As such, this will be a dry/alcohol free workshop. Thank you for honoring this mandate.

THE BUILD

Our project is to build a 1,600 square foot workshop with Andrew’s straw bale building workshop series while simultaneously building an ancestral Hogan Structure with our community. These both will be our first buildings on our land. We spent 2 summers remediating this land. We are currently working with architects and engineers to develop the design and framing.

We participated in the 2021 Montezuma, NM Casita Guest House Workshop, and left the workshop inspired by everything that Andrew has taught us and the sense of community that everyone brought to the workshop. We would love to bring that same positive feeling and more to this workshop and to everyone that will be joining us!

What's Included in Your Tuition?

All workshop participants receive the following with their registration…

E-Book

"A Modern Look At Straw Bale Construction"
($24.00 Value)

Instant Download

"Be Your Own Contractor"
Instant Download Videos
($34.99 Value)

Five Step-By-Step Instructional Videos

Instant Download Videos:
Concrete Framing Post And Beam Load Bearing Lime Plastering
($99.99 Value)

Top Notch Instruction From Andrew (priceless!!!) Plus...

3 Healthy Meals/Day
Camping Space
Shower and Bathroom Facilities

Straw Bale Details

22 Page Instant Download Booklet
($20 Value)

Sorry This Workshop is FULL!

Please Email StrawBaleWorkshops@gmail.com To Be Placed On The Waitlist

Is the Workshop Right For Me?

It Is If...

You don’t want to be that person that says “How hard can it be?” and then becomes the cautionary tale amongst your friends and family.

You want to save money by building your own straw bale house but also want to make certain that you avoid costly mistakes.

You’re an experienced builder but want to learn all the nuances & ins and outs of straw bale construction.

You’ve already designed your home, or even started to build. Now you’re running into a lot of questions and challenges and aren’t sure how to move forward.

You’ve never built anything before and don’t know if you’re insane for even considering building your own straw bale house.

Bale Stacking Details

Create strong and durable walls by learning the techniques used by master balers.

Retying And Resizing Bales

Master the fastest knot tying system to save time and money on your project.

Framing Considerations

Our framing system speeds your construction and lowers your budget.

Electrical Details

Learn how to simplify the incorporation of electrical wiring in your bale walls.

Shaping Bales

Create gorgeous curves and sexy transitions to create an inspiring home with the art of bale shaping.

straw bale round window

Windows, Doors and HVAC

Keep your house moisture & mold free with proper ventilation and window/door installations.

Creating Niches

Include pockets of beauty in your home with the installation of straw bale niches or “nichos”.

Cabinets And Special Installs

Master effective strategies to install cabinets, partition walls, and other special installations.

straw bale wall

Plaster Prep Techniques

Build a strong foundation for your home’s plaster and ensure years of protection for your investment.

plastering straw bale wall

Natural Plastering

Learn the art of plastering in order to create a beautiful and durable finish for your home.

Financing And Insurance

Navigate the confusing world of paying for and insuring your straw bale home.

Endless Q & A

Ask me anything related to your personal project or general straw bale construction. ANYTHING!

Your Mentor is Andrew Morrison

Andrew has over 20 years of professional construction experience and in that time has done everything from design and build his own house, work as a licensed contractor and developer, give a TEDx talk (and numerous other presentations), co-author a national building code, to host several step-by-step instructional videos on contracting and building houses, and much more. 

His greatest passion is teaching others how to build their own dream home and inspiring them to reach the highest level of their own greatness. Since 2006, Andrew has personally taught over 3,000 participants at his workshops. Through his kindness, sense of humor, and ability to teach complex concepts in easy-to-understand terms, his workshops are a mega-hit amongst his graduates. Make sure to bring your questions, curiosity, instruments (if you play any), and let’s have some fun while we build with bales!

Sorry This Workshop is FULL!

Please Email StrawBaleWorkshops@gmail.com To Be Placed On The Waitlist

Here Is What Fellow Workshop Attendees Are Saying...

“You truly are an inspiring teacher. All who are lucky enough to be your students receive the great gifts of your expertise, your humor, and your belief that we can all make a difference one home at a time. It was such a great pleasure to meet you and to be guided by you. I hope to be able to repeat the experience in the future.”
Karen Pope
“Based on the information on the website and in the resource materials at strawbale.com I came to the Corvallis workshop with very high expectations. After a week of fabulous instruction and wonderful fellowship I am happy to report that my expectations were far EXCEEDED. Andrew is a teacher of rare talent. I will carry the lessons forward and am excited for the opportunity to use the new information to build our own straw bale heaven!”
Mary Bushman
“It is not only your experience that makes these workshops successful but your spirit and outlook on life. I was so impressed by how you can get a group of people to work so smoothly on a construction site, then at the end of the day still want to be around each other laughing and sharing. Once again thank you for such a great experience. Best Regards.”
Theresa Coleman
“This class literally PAID FOR ITSELF in the first day. The amount of knowledge that Andrew shared along with his ability to explain complex details in simple, easy to understand language made the educational aspect of this workshop amazing. AND, we had a blast!!!”
Clint Pinder

To Watch A Short And Fun Video Of Our Workshop Experience, Start The Video Below

Play Video

Read Answers To Our Most FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs) And Learn WHAT TO EXPECT At Our Workshops HERE.

Navajo Nation (St Michaels), AZ Hands-On Straw Bale Workshop