A Native-Led Company Is Installing Solar Farms for Tribal Nations Across the US

Cody Two Bears stands in front of green and

Cody Two Bears, a member of the Sioux tribe in North Dakota, founded Indigenized Energy, a native-led energy company with a unique mission — installing solar farms for tribal nations in the United States.

This initiative arises from the historical reliance of Native Americans on the U.S. government for power, a paradigm that is gradually shifting.

The spark for Two Bears' vision ignited during the Standing Rock protests in 2016, where he witnessed the arrest of a fellow protester during efforts to prevent the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on sacred tribal land.

Disturbed by the status quo, Two Bears decided to channel his activism into action and create tangible change.

Cody Two Bears stands in front of green and
Cody Two Bears / Photo courtesy of Indigenized Energy

His company, Indigenized Energy, addresses a critical issue faced by many reservations: poverty and lack of access to basic power.

Reservations are among the poorest communities in the country, and in some, like the Navajo Nation, many homes lack electricity.

Even in regions where the land has been exploited for coal and uranium, residents face obstacles to accessing power.

Renewable energy, specifically solar power, is a beacon of hope for tribes seeking to overcome these challenges.

Not only does it present an environmentally sustainable option, but it has become the most cost-effective form of energy globally, thanks in part to incentives like the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

Tribal nations can receive tax subsidies of up to 30% for solar and wind farms, along with grants for electrification, climate resiliency, and energy generation.

And Indigenized Energy is not focused solely on installing solar farms — it also emphasizes community empowerment through education and skill development.

In collaboration with organizations like Red Cloud Renewable, efforts are underway to train Indigenous tribal members for jobs in the renewable energy sector.

The program provides free training to individuals, with a focus on solar installation skills.

Graduates, ranging from late teens to late 50s, receive pre-apprenticeship certification, and the organization is planning to launch additional programs to support graduates with career services such as resume building and interview coaching.

Why is this good news?

The adoption of solar power by Native communities signifies progress toward sustainable development, cultural preservation, and economic self-determination, contributing to a more equitable and environmentally conscious future.

These initiatives are part of a broader movement toward "energy sovereignty," wherein tribes strive to have control over their own power sources.

This movement represents not only an economic opportunity and a source of jobs for these communities but also a means of reclaiming control over their land and resources, signifying a departure from historical exploitation and an embrace of sustainable practices deeply rooted in Indigenous cultures.

This article originally appeared in the Goodnewsletter — Good Good Good’s daily newsletter filled with positive news. Join tens of thousands of other do-gooders by subscribing to the Goodnewsletter today!

Article Details

December 10, 2023 4:02 PM
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