Skip to main content

Episode 6 - Energy is Power: Decolonizing Energy Production on Indigenous Lands in the West

Tee Pee - Grand Canyon

In our sixth, and final, episode of the rural energy series, we talk to organizers, entrepreneurs, and scholars to understand how energy has shaped rural western reservations and how tribal nations are taking back power, both figuratively and literally.

Our guest for this episode are Jessica Keetso, organizer at Tó Nizhóní Ání, Chéri Smith, founder of Indigenized Energy Initiative, and Kathie Brosemer, a PhD candidate and Environmental Program Manager for the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

Show Notes

Episode 6 Sources

Bureau of Indian Affairs. Energy and Mineral Development: Fluid Minerals/Oil & Gas. U.S. Department of the Interior. Accessed 24 January 2022. 

Bureau of Indian Affairs. Energy and Mineral Development: Renewable and Distributed Generation. U.S. Department of the Interior. Accessed 24 January 2022. 

Clean Air Task Force. 2019. Toll from coal: Navajo Generating Station. Accessed on 24 January 2022.

Grogan, M., Morse, R., and Youpee-Roll, A. 2011. Native American Lands and Natural Resource Development. Revenue Watch Institute.

Maruca, M. 2019. From exploitation to equity: Building native-owned renewable energy generation in Indian Country. William & Mary Law and Policy Review.

National Congress of American Indians. 2019. Tribal nations and the United States: An introduction. Embassy of Tribal Nations.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory [NREL]. 2018. NREL-developed tribal energy atlas pus resource data in tribes’ hands. Accessed on 24 January 2022.

Podmore, Z. 2021. Navajo Nation solar project will cement San Juan County’s position as exporter of renewable energy. The Salt Lake Tribune. Accessed on December, 5 2021 by 

Robert W. Middleton. Hearing before the Committee on Indian Affairs, US Senate. Indian Energy Development: Statement of Dr. Robert W. Middleton, 110th Congress, Second Session, 1 May, 2008 

Schneider, J., Madsen, T., and Boggs, J. 2013. America’s dirtiest power plants: Their oversized contribution to global warming and what we can do about it. Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group.

Wu X, RC Nethery, MB Sabatah, D Braun, F Domicini, 2020, Air pollution and Covid-19 mortality in the United States: Strengths and limitation of an ecological regression analysis, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd4049 

Additional Articles:  

Video on Indigenized Energy Initiative (formerly Covenant Solar):

Guardian article on reservations and power outages during Covid:

NPR article on the Navajo Reservation energy transition:

High Country News article on closing the Navajo Generating Station:  


Back to podcast series