U.S Department of Energy Celebrates Native American Heritage Month

This month, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) held its 2022 Native American Heritage Month event to celebrate Indigenous peoples, past and present.  For over 32 years during the month of November, DOE has honored Tribal sovereignty, supported Tribal self-determination, and rededicated itself to upholding the United States’ solemn trust and treaty responsibilities to nearly 600 Tribal Nations.


The U.S. Department of Energy’s Headquarters is located on the ancestral homeland of the Nacotchtank (pronunciation: nah-cahch-tank) people. The name of the Anacostia River is derived from this name.

The theme of this year’s celebration was “Stand Strong Together” which embodies the belief that we are stronger together than we are apart. The DOE’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity stands strong together with all Indigenous peoples of this great land. Climate change strikes communities of color harder and deeper than other communities. Tribal communities are on the frontlines of climate change and are bearing the brunt of its devastation. We are committed to the transformation of our nation’s energy system and to using this transformation as a pathway to deeper healing.

President Biden echoed this sentiment in his National Native American Heritage Month, 2022 Presidential Proclamation. He stated, "We will defend Tribal sovereignty, self-government, self-determination, and the homelands of Tribal Nations. We will support Tribal economies, recognizing that Tribal governments provide a vast array of physical infrastructure, social services, and good-paying jobs that benefit their citizens and surrounding communities."

DOE’s annual observance also provides an opportunity for DOE to highlight the work carried out by its Native American employees. This year, Dr. Tommy Jones, Deployment Specialist in the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, shared his path to DOE and the work his office is doing to advance the Department’s mission.

And most recently, DOE  launched the Native American Employee Resource Group to establish a community for Native American employees at the Department.  Its Co-Founder and Director, Paloma Richard, Management and Program Analyst in the Office of Nuclear Incident Policy and Cooperation National Nuclear Security Administration gave remarks and extended an invitation to ALL DOE employees to join the community.

During the event, Secretary Jennifer Granholm talked about DOE's recent funding opportunities announcement to deploy clean energy technology and electrify buildings on Tribal lands further enhancing energy sovereignty. She also acknowledged that "the arrival of European settlers brought a river of tragedy suffered by indigenous people and that despite our foundational ideals of equality and justice, the United States government is responsible for all too many of those tragedies."

The Biden-Harris Administration has prioritized delivering equal dignity and respect to Native Americans. Meeting that priority starts with representation and how the government works alongside tribal partners, shaping policies with tribal expertise to ensure that Native Americans communities thrive.

Available Resources:

Visit our website to learn more about our collective efforts and stay informed about upcoming events.