The Bond: Connecting through the Space Between Us (cont.)
By Lynne McTaggart
the water line would have cost some $579,000 to lay down, more than
half of that cost was deferred because the citizens offered to do
digging themselves and provide their own equipment. By subtracting
what the labor would have cost, Hix was able to drastically reduce
the federal funding necessary to get the project approved.
of Tailholt’s willingness to invest in “sweat equity”
to build the community center as well, the Cherokee Nation offered
$72,000 to provide the basic materials for the 3,700-square foot
building. Tailholt’s request for small amounts of federal
funding again made it through the fierce approval process precisely
because volunteers offered to carry out the construction for free.
community began scouting out potential locations for the building,
but once again they were faced with money problems. Where would they
get the funds to buy the land? At one of the evening meetings,
80-year-old Pauline Sanders stepped forward. She had the perfect site
for the building on her substantial acreage, and she was willing to
donate nearly five acres, on the proviso that the center offer a
literacy program for children and a nutrition program for the
building and pipeline were both operational by 2006. Tailholt had
clean water and a community center with a library, with free computer
use, and a place for everyone to meet.
the bigger payoff in Tailholt was the effect on the community of
engaging together in a common goal. Before the building work had
begun, the town’s population had felt isolated from each other.
“The whole process of getting this community building started
has brought our community together,” said Jeremy Marshall, who
is president of the Tailholt Community Organization. While the men
showed up with hammers, squares, and levels, Pauline and other women
from the community would show up at the site every day to cook lunch
for the volunteers.