Greetings from Covenant Tribal Solar Initiative, an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to supporting American Indian Tribes pursue energy independence.
Since the Plains Indian war of 1864 to the 1876 Battle of Little Big Horn, the Sioux and Cheyenne tribes have fought together to protect our people, our homelands, and the life-giving buffalo. Today the struggle continues against threats to our lands, food sources, and culture.
In more recent years, the Standing Rock Sioux (present day North Dakota), Northern Cheyenne (present day Montana), and many other tribes, have resisted fossil fuel development and its harmful effects on land, air, and water, and its damaging consequences to Earth due to global climate change. At the same time, the promise of jobs and economic benefits of fossil fuels have tempted tribal leaders. Most of our people have resisted this temptation and have chosen to honor our core values of care and protection of Earth. Our elders understood and taught us this sacred trust. As our determination continues, we believe renewable energy and the energy independence of our communities is the best path forward for our people.
Covenant Tribal Solar Initiative was founded in 2016 in response to the inspiring century-long leadership of American Indian tribes in resisting fossil fuels and the growing desire to realize the regenerative potential of renewable energy on tribal lands. Our mission is to empower American Indian tribes to transform their energy systems in a way that promotes long-term economic development and restores self-sufficiency. Our approach is to grow the capacity of tribal leaders and organizations to plan, develop, and maintain renewable energy resources and resilient energy systems.
Our scope of work for 2021-2022 includes (1) Helping multiple tribes develop long-term energy plans; (2) Building the capacity of tribal leaders and colleges to pursue these plans, and (3) assisting tribes with the development of residential, commercial and utility-scale renewable energy projects. In the process of this work, we will guide and support tribes as they establish the organizational readiness and skilled workforce needed to pursue solar energy development, form tribal-led cooperative utilities, and ultimately achieve energy independence.
As the leaders of Covenant Solar Initiative, we have embarked on a first-of-its-kind effort to empower American Indian communities to pursue a future fueled by the sun. We invite you to join us on this journey. We would be honored to have your support, which can take many forms. Funds are needed to pursue our work, but, equally important is advocacy, volunteering time and expertise, and spreading the word about this important initiative.