Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians - 2007 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
Location: Hayward, WI
Project Title: Energy Options Analysis and Resource Planning
Type of Application: First Steps (Planning)
DOE Grant Number: DE-FG36-07GO17088
Project Amounts:
DOE: $59,973
Awardee: $23,280
Total: $83,253
Project Status: Complete  More
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: September 2007
End: December 2008


The Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa will gather and compile information on the tribe's energy use, conduct energy audits of reservation facilities, identify where conservation efforts would be worthwhile, and evaluate policy changes needed to implement conservation measures.

Project Description

The Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) energy analysis project is the first step on the path the tribe has committed to follow to achieve energy self-sufficiency. In the past, tribal entities addressed the energy issues on an individual basis and brought their various projects to the Tribal Governing Board for approval. The LCO College was very active on environmental issues but, as it has its own President and Board, its projects were done independently of the tribe. The Tribal Governing Board has now passed resolutions which set energy goals for the tribe as a whole. This signals a new approach in the way the tribe has been addressing energy usage. Therefore, the first objective of the LCO energy analysis project will be to coordinate current and future energy efforts for LCO.

In 2005, the Tribal Governing Board formally recognized its responsibility to protect Mother Earth and its duty to institute a new energy economy built on the efficient and profitable use of clean energy to support tribal self-sufficiency and sovereignty. At that time the tribe also committed to meeting the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol and pledged to require that LCO communities obtain a percentage of their electricity from renewable sources. As the Kyoto Protocol requires a reduction in carbon emissions over a certain time period an objective of the LCO Energy Analysis project will be to determine what LCO's carbon emission levels are. This will be done by hiring a specialist to conduct an energy audit. Once the audit has been completed it will provide the baseline in determining when carbon emissions and energy usage have been reduced. As the Kyoto Protocol is based on 1990 emission levels, the energy audit specialist will need to extrapolate an estimate of 1990 levels based on the current information and existing knowledge of the tribe's growth over the past two decades. In 2006, the tribe conducted long-range planning efforts and adopted the LCO Comprehensive Plan. One of the objectives of that plan is to produce 25% of the tribe's energy with renewable energy resources.


The Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Mission Statement: "We, the Anishinaabeg, the people of Odaawaa Zaaga'iganing, the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe, will sustain our heritage; preserving our past, strengthening our present, and embracing our future. We will defend our inherent sovereign rights and safeguard Nokomis aki-in, Grandmother Earth. We will provide for the educational, health, and social welfare and economic stability of the present and future generations."

LCO's Energy Vision: The Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe resolves to protect and honor Nokomis aki-in, Grandmother Earth, by utilizing what our Creator has provided and taking only what is needed. We, the Anishinaabeg, embark on a path to sustainable living and independence for ourselves and generations yet to come. This will be achieved by implementing systemic conservation measures and the development of sustainable energy.

The LCO energy analysis project is the first step on the path the tribe has committed to follow to achieve energy self-sufficiency. The project objectives are as follows:

  • Coordinate LCO's current and future conservation and renewable energy projects
  • Establish working relationships with outside entities to share information and collaborate on future projects
  • Complete an energy audit and analyze LCO's energy loads and carbon emissions
  • Identify policy changes, educational programs, and conservation efforts which are appropriate for the LCO Reservation
  • Create a plan to identify the most cost effective renewable energy options for LCO.


To reach the tribe's objectives, the Energy Task Force has committed to completing the following tasks:

  • The tribe will set up a centralized energy office to coordinate current and future energy conservation and renewable energy efforts.
  • An energy coordinator will establish working relationships with Sawyer County, the State of Wisconsin, Northland College, and other tribes and organizations to share information and cooperate on borderless issues. The energy coordinator will establish a connection with each agency and produce a contact list.
  • The contracted energy analysis specialist will complete an analysis of tribal energy loads and emissions levels.
  • The energy coordinator will identify policy changes, education programs, and conservation efforts which may be effective in reducing pollution and improving the use of finite resources. Report findings will be given to the Energy Task Force.
  • The energy coordinator and Energy Task Force will create a plan to identify options which will be effective in reducing tribal energy loads, increasing the use of renewable energy, and creating employment without depleting the environment. This plan will be presented to the Tribal Governing Board.
  • Upon completion of the energy analysis, the Energy Task Force will reassess proposed benchmarks and proceed with the next steps of the tribe's comprehensive plan.

Project Location

The Lac Courte Oreilles Band has 6000 members, half of whom live on or near their reservation in northwest Wisconsin, approximately halfway between Milwaukee and the U.S.-Canadian border. The reservation covers 76,000 acres and is 15 miles wide. It is named after the lake on the eastern border which was called Lac Courte Oreilles, meaning "Lake of the Short Ears," by the French who fur-trapped there in the 1800s.

Project Status

The project is complete. For details, see the final report.

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's fiscal year 2007 funding opportunity announcement, "First Steps Toward Developing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency on Tribal Lands," and started in September 2007.

For current project status or additional information, contact the project contact.

Project Contact

Leslie Isham
Energy Task Force
Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
13394 West Trepenia Road
Hayward, WI 54843
Telephone: 715-634-0347