Solar Pathway out of Poverty for Native Americans

by Indigenized Energy Initiative
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Solar Pathway out of Poverty for Native Americans
Solar Pathway out of Poverty for Native Americans
Solar Pathway out of Poverty for Native Americans
Solar Pathway out of Poverty for Native Americans
Solar Pathway out of Poverty for Native Americans
Solar Pathway out of Poverty for Native Americans
Solar Pathway out of Poverty for Native Americans
Solar Pathway out of Poverty for Native Americans
Solar Pathway out of Poverty for Native Americans
Solar Pathway out of Poverty for Native Americans
Solar Pathway out of Poverty for Native Americans
Solar Pathway out of Poverty for Native Americans
Solar Pathway out of Poverty for Native Americans
Jan 21, 2022

2021 Accomplishments

Northern Cheyenne Solar Warrior Trainees
Northern Cheyenne Solar Warrior Trainees

Dear Friends,

All of us at Indigenized Energy Initiative (IEI) would like to express our sincere gratitude for your support in 2021, and wish you a happy and healthy new year! We all enter 2022 with uncertainty, as we face a third consecutive year of disruption due to a global pandemic which has changed the way we behave, the way we learn, the way we work, and the way we interact with our friends, colleagues and family. We mourn for those we have lost and hold closer those who are dear to us. One thing is certain, we can take nothing for granted, including your support, which has allowed us to continue our important work through this uncertainty.

Indeed, the extraordinary efforts put forth by our core and extended IEI team led to tremendous progress for our organization in 2021! Please have a look at some of the accomplishments we're most proud of, below. As always, we welcome your questions, comments and suggestions, and ask that you share this message with anyone in your network you feel may have an interest in our work.

Lastly, with the help of all of you - our amazing supporters - we raised over $1.4M in 2021. As a reminder, IEI runs on philanthropy, allowing us to offer our many of our critical energy planning and capacity building services to tribes at no cost to them, teaching them how to leverage federal funding to revamp their extractive and exploitive fossil-fueled energy systems with clean and regenerative solar. Our goal for 2022 will be even more ambitious. Please consider helping us start the new year by contributing to Indigenized Energy Initiative. Whether large or small, one-time or recurring every donation makes a difference.

From all of us at IEI, we offer you our very best wishes for 2022!


2021 Highlights

  • In January, with a generous gift from the Pazala Foundation, we launched the second phase of our initiative, and were able to begin paying team members who had been working for years as volunteers.

  • In June, we were recognized by The MacArthur Foundation for our work uplifting Indigenous communities by providing support to enable their autonomous pursuit of a just recovery that is guided and informed by their priorities, culture, and practices. We were awarded a major grant from their pool of Equitable Recovery funding which allowed us to staff up and formally launch our programming on the Northern Cheyenne and Standing Rock Reservations.

  • In July, in partnership with Empowered by Light, we completed an important project on the Muddy Hall community building on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.  The 10kw solar array with battery backup system, built by a crew of young Northern Cheyenne tribal members, provides clean and reliable power for the many community events and educational activities that are hosted there, and to serve as an emergency shelter when needed.  This project builds on years of partnership with Northern Cheyenne Tribal leaders and community members and officially launched our Solar Warrior training program with Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center.  

  • In September, on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, we officially re-launched our organization (formerly known as Covenant Tribal Solar Initiative) as Indigenized Energy Initiative, with the leadership of our four Native Solar Warriors. At the same time, we convened our first in-person Advisory Board meeting.  We are deeply grateful for the expertise and guidance they lent there, and to our ongoing efforts.

  • Also in September, with support from philanthropist, musician and footwear/apparel designer, Pharrell Williams, and the global brand, Adidas, we completed another important project -- a 10kW ground-mount solar array -- the first residential solar array on Standing Rock to produce 100% of a family's power needs from the sun. This project was built by young tribal member Solar Warrior Trainees from five different tribes, all coming together to learn and support each other in honor of tribal elders who have dedicated their lives to serving their community.

  • In November, we hosted our first in-person fundraising event, held at The David Brower Center (the Berkeley, CA home of our fiscal sponsor, Earth Island Institute).  The evening was spent in gratitude to our colleagues, donors and friends, and celebrating the year's accomplishments.  Over 100 supporters attended the event to view the premiere of our new short film highlighting the work of the initiative, and imbibe in delicious Indigenous delicacies prepared by Chef Crystal Wahpepah (Kickapoo).

  • In December, our team expanded to seven employees -- five of whom are enrolled tribal members -- plus several talented Native and non-Native individuals working on contract to support the work and mission of IEI.
Standing Rock Solar Warrior Trainees
Standing Rock Solar Warrior Trainees
Crow Creek Tribal Member Installer, Darius Benally
Crow Creek Tribal Member Installer, Darius Benally
Cheyenne Tribal Member Installer, RayLynn Sooktis
Cheyenne Tribal Member Installer, RayLynn Sooktis


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Organization Information

Indigenized Energy Initiative

Location: Berkeley, CA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @indigenized_IEI
Project Leader:
Otto Braided Hair
Lame Deer, MT United States

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