Almost three years after the devastation, volunteers are at the Caddo Mounds rebuilding the grass house. They began the project Tuesday.
Katey Polly is a member of the Caddo Nation and is a tornado survivor. She was at the Caddo Mounds for a community event taking place the day the tornado hit.
“I often ask how I’m even alive, and how I was able to immediately pick myself up off the ground and start helping everyone,” said Polly.
The Oklahoma native is in Alto assisting the project as a trainee, teaching volunteers how to build a traditional grass house.
She recounted what the day of the tornado was like.
“I was actually outside on the ground with my husband,” Polly said. “We were in the grass house at the time and we decided to step outside of it. I don’t know if that was instinct or what.”
The twister caused major damage all around Alto, devastating the community.
“After the tornado, I think it was a first thought of everybody that we wanted to rebuild, so it’s just been a process kind of getting everything together, materials, grants,” said Polly.
The assistant site manager Rachel Galan said it took about a year to organize the rebuilding, feeling excited to see it all come together.
“So many people coming out to support the project and the Caddo and us is really amazing,” said Galan.
Once completed, the new home will be used for education purposes to show how the Caddo lived when they were on this land.
Volunteers describe this as a healing experience.
“We’re here and we’re back and we’re rebuilding. And that’s the important thing for all of us now,” said Galan.
Volunteers plan to build the grass house for 13 days and hope to be finished by July 17.