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Individual Nations, Tribes, Bands, Pueblos and Villages can endorse this Statement on Global Warming and can encourage NCAI to support by resolution:


The American Indian and Alaska Native Leadership Statement On Global Warming


American Indian and Alaska Native leadership from Indian nations, tribes, bands, villages, pueblos, rancheros and communities across America are concerned about the impacts of global warming on our reservations, in our traditional territories, and in the plant, fish, bird, animal and human communities in our regions. Greenhouse gases (GHG) are recognized as the main cause of global warming and climate changes. GHG emitted as a result of ever-increasing human activities including burning fossil fuels have resulted in the abrupt growth in global warming since the so-called Industrial Revolution.

Our tribes, Indian and native organizations are working to address climate change. We are pursuing solutions by reducing CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions through energy conservation, efficiency and renewable generation at the reservation level. Cooperation and leadership from all nations is required, especially in the United States, to slow the rate of global warming through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, we urge the Federal Government to focus attention and policy efforts on this critical issue.

In the 1998 Albuquerque Declaration, American Indian and Alaska Natives, gathering to discuss the impacts of climate change, expressed "profound concern for the well being of our sacred Mother Earth and Father Sky and the potential consequences of climate imbalance for our indigenous peoples and the significance of these consequences for our communities, our environment, our economies, our cultures and our relationships to the natural order and laws." We recognized that a "growing body of Western scientific evidence now suggests what indigenous peoples have expressed for a long time: life as we know it is in danger." Today, the scientific basis for global warming has been sufficiently established to enable meaningful planning of appropriate policy responses to address the issue of global warming.

Global warming poses significant threats to Indian and non-Indian communities and jurisdictions across the country. We are already feeling impacts in the form of heat waves, drought, shrinking water supplies and snow pack, increased rates of asthma, catastrophic fires, floods and storms, coastal erosion, utility infrastructure failure, new diseases, and the loss of traditional plant and animal life. Many of the traditional practitioners of our cultural ways are witnessing dramatic and disastrous changes in weather patterns and the environment.

We can no longer afford to ignore the consequences of this evidence. The scientific community is very clear in its warning -- we must act now to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions below current levels as we are quickly reaching the point at which global warming can not be reversed. The longer we delay in reducing CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, the greater the burden of climate change will be for future generations. This issue requires a direct and effective response from the U.S. Government.

We recognize that many local non-Indian jurisdictions across the country have made it a policy priority to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We know that actions that promote energy conservation and efficiency -- such as weatherization of homes and work spaces, sustainable transportation and reduction of solid waste -- all have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas and criteria pollutants emissions and bring a host of benefits to our communities. These actions reduce financial waste for local governments, businesses and citizens; make our communities more livable; increase spending and economic investment in our communities; and improve the quality of life for current and future generations.

Two other reasons have recently emerged that put reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the top of the policy priority list. The first is energy security. Switching to cleaner energy sources, practicing conservation and maximizing energy efficiency will ease U.S. dependence on foreign fossil fuel-based energy, and at the same time improve local air quality and public health.

The second driver is the simple fact that the people in our communities are calling on us as traditional and elected leaders to address global warming. A public mandate is emerging in communities across the country calling on governments at all levels to protect the global climate.

For the future of our children and of all the beings in this Creation, we, as the First Nations and tribal leaders of this great country, call upon the elected and appointed leaders of the United States, at all levels of governments, to accept responsibility for the welfare of future generations and our Mother Earth. Their decisions must reflect their consciousness of their responsibility and they must act as world leaders on such decisions.

We also recognize that over 800 American Indian reservations and native communities across America have hundreds of gigawatts of renewable energy resource capacity in the form of wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. Most of these reservations are home to some of America's poorest communities. Many of these reservations are on or near the federally owned and operated transmission grids that span much of the country. Many native lands hold an abundance of renewable energy resources far in excess of what could be consumed on our reservations. Many of our communities seek to establish sustainable homeland economic development opportunities built upon renewable energy generation, but lack the local energy demand for our abundant renewable energy resources. Encouraging renewable energy development on native lands with access to the federal transmission systems, which were originally built as renewable energy grids to carry hydropower, is one clear way to meet local tribal needs and to supply America's cities with clean renewable energy.

As tribal leaders responsible for the well being of our tribal nations, communities and for our impact on the natural world, we join with the U.S. Mayors in their Oct 22nd Statement of Global Warming. We urge the federal government to maintain, enhance and implement new domestic policies and programs that can work with Indian nations, tribes, bands, villages, pueblos, rancheros and local communities to reduce global warming pollution and support native renewable energy development.

We urge the federal government to recognize that it owns, operates and maintains an extensive system of transmission lines built to carry renewable energy from federally managed dams. These federal transmission grid systems, which are often now dominated by fossil fuel generation, should be used to support the delivery of renewable energy from rural America to meet urban renewable electricity demand.

We urge the elected representatives of the U.S. cities concerned about impacts of climate change and interested in developing America's renewable energy resources to join with American Indian and Alaska Natives in the "March Forth to Energy Independence Day!" campaign, beginning at the Denver March Pow-Wow (March 19-21) and arriving in Washington DC (July 4, 2004), to support the U.S. reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through the development of strong, sustainable rural and urban economies built upon efficiency and renewable energy delivered across the federal renewable energy grid.




P.O. Box 25  Rosebud, SD 57570

Patrick Spears, President, Intertribal COUP 605-945-1908  [email protected]

Bob Gough, Secretary, Intertribal COUP 303-543-1017  [email protected]


Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Å Cheyenne River Telephone Authority Å Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe

Lower Brule Sioux Tribe Å Omaha Tribe of Nebraska and Iowa Å Rosebud Sioux Tribe Å Spirit Lake Tribe

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Å Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold


>>>> P.O. Box 25  Rosebud, SD 57570   Phone: 605-945-1908   <<<<

President Patrick Spears < [email protected] >  Secretary Robert Gough < [email protected] >

Background and Activities

The Intertribal Council On Utility Policy (COUP) is composed of federally recognized Indian tribes in North and South Dakota and affiliates throughout the northern Great Plains.  Organized in 1994, it is chartered and headquartered on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation to provide a tribal forum for policy issues dealing with telecommunications and energy utility operations and services.

Background:  Low-cost federal hydroelectric power has been generated from tribal lands and waters along the Missouri River for decades without proper allocations provided to the tribes in the region.  Intertribal COUP grew out of the unified efforts of the Missouri River Basin tribes, through the MniSose Intertribal Water Rights Coalition, seeking a fair share of the federal power distributed by the DOE’s Western Area Power Administration, proposing a leveraged benefit.


Mission: Intertribal COUP strongly adheres to the principles of tribal self-determination and ecological sustainability, supporting the development of sustainable homeland economies built upon renewable energy resources.  Intertribal COUP is a vehicle for educating Tribal governments about economic development opportunities available through public and private partnerships to provide reservation utility services.  Intertribal COUP seeks to assure that the benefits of tribal partnerships with the federal government, as envisioned in our treaties, are promoted in federal legislation and policy.


Activity Highlights: Intertribal COUP has sponsored and participated in numerous briefings, conferences, workshops and forums on telecommunications and energy issues including:


·          Co-sponsorship of the Telecom/Utilities 2000 Summit (1st Tribal utility conference) with the RST Utility Commission, BIA, FCC, Commerce, Agriculture and Energy Depts  in June 1996.


·          Indian representation on the Federal Communications Commission’s Local and State Government Advisory Committee for Telecommunications since 1997.


·          Introduced DOE’s ReBuild America Program for partnerships energy efficiency to Indian Country—Great Plains, Southwest, Great Lakes and Pacific Northwest, 1-98.


·          Sponsorship of the Restructuring, Renewables and Reservations - Tribal Energy Conference with the Department of Energy and the National Labs, as part of 3 yr. plan for sustainable economic development based on energy efficiency & renewable resources, 5-98.


·         Partnered with NASA on national Native Peoples/Native Homelands USGCRP Climate Change Workshop as part of the National Assessment of Climate Change, since 11-97. >


·         Development of the High Plains SEED’s Federal Energy Policy Recommendations for the Great Plains and western Great Lakes presented to Congress in 1-99.


·         Developing tribal Integrated Resource Plan and Mid-Continent Wind Assessment 2000; Participating in Intertribal Energy Network (ITEN) with other intertribal organizations, 4-99.


·         Briefed U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Deregulation in Indian Country, 7-99.


·         Served on the NCAI working group in drafting the DOE Indian Energy Policy 2000 emphasizing renewable energy and economic development for Tribes, 8-99.


·         Developed the Tribal Energy Services Company (TESCO) proposal to leverage the WAPA hydropower allocation to develop plans to address energy efficiency, utility formation, renewable energy and create a sustained economic benefit for the Tribes, 9-99.


·         Working with Rosebud Sioux Tribe on DOE supported 750 kW wind project, 10-99. See RST “green tags”: < >

   < >


·         Coordinating with the Great Plains Regional Tribal Chairmen’s Association on development of an Intertribal Wind Development project from 4-00.


·         Assisted in the NREL’s Wind Powering America study, “Wind Development Options for Native Americans in the Dakotas”, 8-00. < >


·         Proposed “Green-Tag” sales of wind energy generated on Tribal lands to U.S. DOE Secretary Richardson, September 2000, announced in 1-01.


·         Collaborating with Energy Foundation & Great Plains Institute for Sustainable Development on outreach to Great Plains Tribes on wind energy development from 12-00.


·         Participated in Climate Change discussions via Indigenous Peoples Forum in association with the Indigenous Environmental Network as part of Kyoto Protocol conferences during the COPs 6 (The Hague) in 2000 and COPs 6b (Bonn) in 2001.


·         Presented of information on Tribal Wind Resource Potential to Tribes in Great Plains in 12-00, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, Western Governors Association and NCAI in 2-01.


·         Participated on the DOE’s Renewable Energy Panel at the Department of the Interior’s Indian Energy Summit, 12-01. See also, the URL for DOE Indian Energy Report:  “Energy Consumption and Renewable Energy Development Potential on Indian Lands” at:

< >


·         Participated in tour of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission’s American Indian reservation renewable energy tour and World Bank meeting, 6-02.


·         Presented “Think Windshed Tribal Wind Development plan as part of Greenhouse Network Global Warming Workshop in Boston, 7-02.  See reference at:

< >


·         Presented "Indigenous Peoples and Renewable Energy: Thinking Locally, Acting Globally - A Modest Native Proposal for Climate Justice from the Northern Great Plains" at the People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit II in Washington DC, 10-02.

< >


·         COUP Intertribal Wind Development Plan for 80 megawatts of wind power in 10 megawatt clusters on 8 reservations is designated as an Interagency Working Group Environmental Justice Revitalization Demonstration Project 3-03.

< >

 < >


·         Provided testimony before Senate Energy and Indian Affairs committees hearing on proposed Indian energy legislation, Washington DC, 3-03:

< >


·         Assisted in development of Rosebud Sioux Utility Scale Wind Turbine Project 2-03, and sponsored the  “Kick-the-Tires” Wind Energy Workshop & Dedication of the 1st large utility scale 750 kW wind turbine to be owned and operated by an Indian Tribe 4-30 & 5-1-03.                                <>

< >


·          Organizing “March Forth to Energy Independence Day!!” Campaign to partner renewable energy Tribes with U.S. ICLEI Cities for Climate Protection to voluntarily meet U.S. Kyoto targets, 5-03.

< >



Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Å Cheyenne River Telephone Authority Å Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe

Lower Brule Sioux Tribe Å Omaha Tribe of Nebraska and Iowa Å Rosebud Sioux Tribe Å Spirit Lake Tribe

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Å Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold

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