By Gretchenn DuBois and Brooke Oleen Tieperman
Washington, D.C.—The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy and NCSL convened the 2019 National Tribal Energy Summit (NTES), Tribal Energy: Powering Self-Determination, last month.
NTES provided state and tribal leaders alike an opportunity to sit together, connect and exchange ideas about tribal energy efforts, and the impacts on economies, strides and possibilities. Experiencing firsthand capacity building in motion and real ways to better understand and honor tribal sovereignty—and each other—participants gained broader perspectives and opportunities to advance energy goals, hopefully with a more holistic view.
Learning labs tailored to attendees brand new to energy development and others more versed served up the foundation for more focused talks at Tribal Leader Roundtables. NCSL, the DOE and its Indian Country Energy and Infrastructure Working Group designed plenaries and coordinated programming where connections were a focus with key agencies and contributors such as the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, members of Congress, the White House and leaders in all-of-the-above energy sectors.
Elements crucial to the energy conversation and goals for tribes should be strong STEM programs for tribal youth and even beyond, with extensions to state and local communities to bridge them. The voices and influence of female energy leaders and supporters must be integrated for even bigger strides. Policies at the state and local levels that recognize tribal sovereignty and self-determination as strengths and strive for opportunities to partner will move the needle for the process and bring about continued progress on energy for our neighboring networks and communities.
In an effort to continue dialogue and exchange information, NCSL has compiled presentations and information on its 2019 NTES webpage. We encourage you to use it as a resource. Also visit the Tribal Energy webpage for current information on DOE tribal working group activities and updates. Please also stay up to date on the latest in tribal energy development activities through the DOE-IE website.
Gretchenn DuBois is staff coordinator and Brooke Oleen Tieperman is a program manager with NCSL's Energy, Environment and Transportation Program.