Little River Band of Ottawa Indians - 2011 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Little River Band of Ottawa Indians
Location: Manistee, MI
Project Title: Human Capacity Building Targeted at Training for Relevant Staff, Elected Officials and Tribal Citizens 
Type of Application: First Steps (Planning)
DOE Grant Number: DE-EE0005051
Project Amounts:
DOE: $57,917
Awardee: $7,220
Total: $65,137
Project Status: See project status
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: September 2011
End: March 2013

Summary

The main purpose of this project is to increase human capacity of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians (LRBOI) to understand the components of renewable energy and the importance of energy efficiency. Included in the training are an elected official, staff of the government, and tribal businesses. By training tribal citizens and staff to present workshops, the tribe believes it can increase the knowledge transfer tenfold. Workshops will be held at the semi-annual membership meetings that typically have 500 tribal members and their families in attendance. The tribe plans to take that information to the communities and schools in the nine-county service area and potentially reach hundreds of people. Those that the tribe trains as energy auditors will be able to share their knowledge, skills, and abilities with the general public by offering a service that not many provide. Increasing the level of knowledge within the tribal government will enable elected officials to make intelligent and knowledgeable decisions when planning for the tribe's renewable energy options and striving to help the tribe become energy efficient.

Project Description

Background

For many years, the staff, elected officials, and tribal citizens of the LRBOI have discussed renewable energy. They talked of the potential of wind energy and solar power and pondered what they could do to reduce energy use, reduce costs, and "go green." The tribe has always had the desire to do something but never the expertise to develop a plan to move the desires forward. In the past, several proposals were presented by companies that wanted to work with the tribe and asking for large amounts of money to get large wind projects under way. All proposals were declined. In 2005 a Green Team was formed by Executive Order, and the collective group of staff began to research ideas and projects that the tribe might pursue with the resources at hand. A grant was obtained to fund a Renewable Energy Planning and Assessment Study that was officially adopted by Tribal Council in 2008.

Project Objectives

This proposed project will assist the LRBOI in fulfilling its commitment to caring for the earth by only taking what is needed; giving back; and taking care of the land, air, and water. The project also assists the tribe in asserting sovereignty and strengthens self-governance.

The LRBOI will conduct activities to increase the tribe's capabilities, skills, base knowledge, awareness, and expertise. The LRBOI strongly believes that only when relevant staff, elected officials, and tribal citizens are all on the same level of understanding will the tribe be able to move forward with a Tribal Strategic Energy Plan.

Project Scope

This proposed project will assist the LRBOI in fulfilling its commitment to caring for the earth by only taking what is needed; giving back; and taking care of the land, air, and water. The project also assists the tribe in asserting sovereignty and strengthens self-governance.

Specifically, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians will:

  1. Provide introduction to renewable energy systems and energy efficiency training for relevant staff, elected officials, and tribal citizens, introducing the LRBOI Renewable Energy Planning and Assessment Study. By providing introductory training on renewable energy systems, the importance of energy efficiency, and how to achieve it, and finally reviewing, discussing, and planning to implement the action items in the study, the LRBOI will achieve this project objective.

  2. Provide energy auditor training for relevant staff and tribal citizens to become certified to perform energy audits. By providing this training opportunity to staff and tribal citizens, the LRBOI increases internal and personal capacities, strengthens tribal sovereignty, and fulfills its commitment to Mother Earth.

  3. Purchase the necessary equipment for the energy auditors to perform the audits that will be tribal property and will be shared with certified auditors. After the trainees become certified, they will need the necessary equipment to perform energy audits on tribal buildings, customers of the tribal construction company, local government offices, etc.

  4. Conduct Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Workshops "train the trainer" style so that staff and tribal citizens can offer workshops at the tribe's semi-annual membership meetings and to local units of government, school systems, and other interested groups. LRBOI strives to be a good neighbor to the nontribal community by sharing what it has. Providing renewable energy and energy efficiency workshops is another way that it can do that and make a significant impact on the future.

  5. Attend mandatory DOE trainings. According to the grant guidelines, the technical contact or grant manager must attend two trainings. The tribal planner will attend the required training and bring back the information obtained to share with other staff.

  6. Develop renewable energy and energy efficiency informational materials specific to the tribal community and the nontribal community. The LRBOI desires to provide in-hand materials that can be passed out at workshops and meetings.

Project Location

The LRBOI has approximately 4,000 tribal citizens. The reservation is located in Manistee, Michigan, but services nine surrounding counties: Manistee, Mason, Lake, Wexford, Oceana, Newaygo, Muskegon, Kent, and Ottawa. The largest population of tribal citizens resides in Muskegon County, with the second largest population in Manistee. The LRBOI was federally reaffirmed in 1994 and has grown immensely since then. The tribal government is structured with the Ogema overseeing the Executive Branch, the Tribal Council overseeing the Legislative Branch, and the Chief Judge overseeing the Judicial Branch

Project Status

This project is complete. See the final report.

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's fiscal year 2011 funding opportunity announcement "First Steps Toward Developing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency on Tribal Lands" (DE-FOA-0000422) and started in September 2011.

The November 2011 and November 2012 project status reports provide more information.

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

Project Contact

Dan Shepard
Tribal Planner
375 River Street, Manistee, MI 49660
231-723-8288
dshepard@lrboi.com