Friday, November 13, 2009

Renewable energy on tribal lands: Red Cloud receives national recognition

Henry Red Cloud, founder of Lakota Solar Enterprises (LSE) recently returned from Washington D.C., where he received national recognition as a 2009 Innovative Idea Champion by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED). Accompanied by Trees, Water & People (TWP) National Director Richard Fox, and Board President Jon Becker, Henry had the opportunity to share his concept of renewable energy on tribal lands with hundreds of people at the national 2009 Innovation Summit in downtown Washington.

At the Summit, Henry engaged with other innovators to shape and advance next-generation solutions aimed at building the community of innovators that will address today’s unprecedented economic uncertainty and build new jobs.

During their stay in D.C., Henry also met with several key politicians, including Representative Markey and Senator Udall, all of which were very interested in Henry’s efforts to bring renewable energy to Native American communities throughout the United States. South Dakota Representative Herseth-Sandlin expressed strong support for the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC), located in South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The RCREC, established by Henry and TWP, is a one-of-a-kind training facility where tribes from around the nation can learn about clean, cost-effective renewable energy applications from fellow Native Americans.

The trip ended with a very positive meeting with Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs Larry EchoHawk. Henry is a fifth generation direct descendant of Chief Red Cloud, the last war chief of the Lakota Sioux, who met with Secretary Salazar’s predecessor back in 1870. This meeting, coming nearly 140 years later, focused on how the Department of the Interior could better work with Henry and other tribal alternative energy leaders to support renewable energy education and projects across the Great Plains.

Henry believes that renewable energy is “a new way to honor the old ways,” and that family and facility scale solar and wind projects will become a cornerstone of Native American energy independence.

Henry Red Cloud is a true innovative idea champion for renewable energy across the reservations of the Great Plains, utilizing his expertise and ideas to improve the lives of Native Americans, while maintaining their cultural role as stewards of Mother Earth.

About Lakota Solar Enterprises:
Lakota Solar Enterprises (LSE) is located on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and headed by Henry Red Cloud. Since 2004, LSE has assembled and installed more than 250 cost-effective solar air heating systems for tribal families on 12 different reservations. He has also presented at more than 30 renewable energy conferences and workshops on solar heat, solar electric, wind turbines and strawbale housing. With a proven, reliable technology refined over years of development, LSE focuses on home and facility-sized renewable energy applications that save money on escalating heating bills. More information about LSE can be found at

About Trees, Water & People:

Trees, Water & People is a Colorado-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to developing sustainable community-based conservation solutions. To learn more, visit

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