In a series of short interviews, tribal members and energy partners speak in their own words about energy sovereignty and what it means to them.  

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In this video, tribal members and energy partners speak in their own words about what energy sovereignty means to them.
Office of Indian Energy

This is a text version of the video “Energy Sovereignty: What Does It Mean To You?” In the video, members of various tribes speak in their own words about energy sovereignty.

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy logo shows.

Text on screen: What does energy sovereignty mean to you and your tribe? 

Bernadette Cuthair, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe 

As a tribal member and also as an employee, it's very important to understand tribal energy sovereignty. And what that means to us is that we actually get to write our plan to determine our destiny on renewable energy.  

Also, what it means is that it's an internal path to continue to promote that renewable energy path and the development, increase energy needs for the community and savings to them. So, it's directly impacting the folks that are on the ground.  

Ingemar Mathiasson, Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska 

Sovereignty basically allows people to take charge of their future. When you have a chance to develop your own energy resources in the community and you can plan for your future, you're no longer just a victim for outside influences or changes [in pricing]. Then you basically become slowly independent. 

John Red Cloud, Pine Ridge Reservation 

That sovereignty piece, to me, it really embodies the spirit of the people… a lot of native people. But more so from where we come from the sovereignty piece is we have that self-determination. We want to have the primary role in the direction of our life. 

Sean Glasheen, Nuvista Light and Power Corporation 

To me, energy sovereignty for the tribes in our area is independent. So, developing a system that we can work on, keep it simple as possible, and then have the local individuals be owners of it. 

John Flores, San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians 

With energy sovereignty, It isn't just producing your own energy but setting your own rates that your own people can afford and continue to thrive and survive in the future. 

Joey Owle, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians 

How can we call ourselves sovereign if we're not setting up the next generation to then step up to these positions and lead these efforts? 

And so, part of sovereignty is then to educate and involve the next generation, just as folks did for us. 

Text on screen: Learn more about how the Office of Indian Energy supports tribal energy sovereignty