Menominee Nation aims to help lead way in solar energy – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

2 minutes, 52 seconds Read

One year after organizing opposition against the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Reservation that drew national attention, Cody Two Bears and others organized Indigenized Energy.

The nonprofit organization aims to bring renewable energy to Indian Country by teaching tribal members on reservations how to operate and maintain renewable energy infrastructure, such as solar panels.

The group also helps facilitate funding to cover the start-up costs of installing renewable energy infrastructure on reservations.

“It was really important to me to bring some of these resources here to our homelands,” Two Bears said in a recent press conference.

Indigenized Energy visited the Menominee Reservation in spring 2023 and helped train dozens of volunteers in the area to install and operate an array of solar panels on the College of Menominee Nation campus.

Dozens of students recently learned how to install and operate solar energy panels on the Menominee Reservation.

This spring, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that Indigenized Energy and a coalition of 14 tribal nations, including Menominee in Wisconsin, will receive $135.5 million from its Solar for All program to install and expand renewable energy infrastructure on reservations in five states.

Indigenized Energy will help each of the 14 tribes plan their renewable energy projects this year.

“Sustainable solar energy aligns with our commitment to Mother Earth and our teachings as it relates to the wise use of natural resources,” said Ron Corn Sr., former Menominee chairman and board member of Indigenized Energy.

“Native people are the original caretakers of Mother Earth. We still are.”

He explained that the Menominee people’s practice of sustainable logging is a demonstration of their belief in caring for the environment while still supporting people’s livelihoods.

Corn said that, in the 150 years the tribe has been harvesting lumber on its reservation in northeast Wisconsin, it now has more trees in its forest than it did when it started the timber operation.

“The Menominee Reservation land is in a fossil-fuel-rich region,” Corn said. “The pressures to tap those resources have been strong for as long as I can remember. We are not a wealthy nation, but we are a wise one.”

More:When it comes to energy independence on Wisconsin’s tribal reservations, ‘actions are more than words.’ How one tribe is taking action.

The Solar for All program is granting a total of $7 billion throughout the country to help bring solar power to more than 900,000 households in low-income and disadvantaged communities, not just tribal communities.

Wisconsin will receive $62.4 million from the program, Gov. Tony Evers announced, aside from what Menominee Nation is receiving through Indigenized Energy.

Two Bears talked about how leaders in some states, such as the Dakotas, refused the funding because of political reasons or because they still only want to utilize fossil fuels.

“Solar has become very cheap energy,” he said. “It really makes sense economically whether you’re about climate change, or not. Our tribal nations can definitely lead the way in this transition.”

Corn said Indigenized Energy and this funding will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deliver clean power and energy security to some of the most vulnerable tribal communities.

“It is a demonstration of confidence and belief in Native people and their right to a clean environment and vibrant economy and their right to a future that includes energy sovereignty,” he said.

Frank Vaisvilas is a former Report for America corps member who covers Native American issues in Wisconsin based at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Contact him at [email protected] or 815-260-2262. Follow him on Twitter at @vaisvilas_frank.

This post was originally published on 3rd party site mentioned in the title of this site

Similar Posts