Energy Sustainability & Sovereignty


LaPointe Health array solar panelsEnergy Sustainability and Sovereignty is the ability to ensure equitable access to ample, safe, and affordable energy across our region, and the capacity to plan for diverse renewable energy system transitions in our community into the future. Focus on energy systems and transitions require considerations of land and water ecosystems, infrastructure, food systems, transportation and trail systems, and the health and wellbeing of our community and all our relatives throughout the 1842 Treaty ceded-territory. 

Practicing energy sovereignty within the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) is about being Anishinaabe Ojibwa. Our goals are to utilize the natural gifts the Creator has given to educate and benefit endazhi-Ojibwewanishinaabeng (our Ojibwe people) and the next seven generations; and to create alternative and self-sustainable clean energy system which preserves the environment, conserves our natural resources, and lowers energy costs.

Energy Listening event flyerWhile interest has existed within KBIC concerning the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency for some time, the first major initiatives were taken in 2008 through the formation of the Committee for Alternative & Renewable Energy (CARE), and the completion of a strategic energy planning workshop. The CARE serves as an advisory committee to KBIC’s governing body, the Tribal Council, regarding the development of alternative and renewable sources of energy. This advisory committee includes representatives from various tribal government departments, committees, and Tribal Council, two advisors, and has approved by-laws. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Tribal Energy Program recommends Tribes who are interested in developing renewable (or any) energy program first conduct strategic energy planning and identify an energy champion. The first strategic energy planning workshop in 2008 was facilitated by the Council for Energy Resource Tribes (CERT) and resulted in the first document of this kind – the KBIC Strategic Energy Plan – Final Report (2008), and was prepared by CERT.


Paralleled with emerging energy and environmental issues such as rising energy costs, environmental impacts, natural resource depletion, and climate change, is the increasingly important practices of sustainability, smart growth, and resource management and conservation. These issues and practices are of rising significance to KBIC whose intent is to provide a healthy and productive resource base to sustain the members of KBIC far into the future, as well as to enhance and perpetuate all of the traditional, cultural, and spiritual values which tie the members to the land. Energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy resources are important tools for mitigating climate change and reducing reliance of greenhouse gas emitting fossil fuels.

New Day Array solar panelsToday, energy sustainability and sovereignty initiatives are critical to restoring and strengthening the KBIC – all activities of the KBIC Natural Resources Department promote the sovereignty of our nation. We invite you to learn more about what our Tribal Nation is doing to promote energy sovereignty practices by exploring these resources:

2020 Office of Indian Energy Webinar Series: Energy Efficiency Basics

Michigan Communities Flip the Switch Toward Clean Energy

2020 National Tribal & Indigenous Climate Conference: Tribal Resilience for Seven Generations

KBIC earns award for use of solar energy (2018)

KBIC Presentation (2009): Assessing the Feasibility of Renewable Energy

Development and Energy Efficiency Deployment on Tribal Lands


The communal love of place creates a different world of action. ~ Robin Wall Kimmerer in The Intelligence of All Kids of Life