International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management
Third Annual Tribal Energy Policy Roundtable
Tribal Energy Policy: Climate and Technology Challenges

March 18-20, 2008
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.


Climate change, thinning ice caps, melting permafrost, Kyoto, the nuclear renaissance, carbon sequestration, smart cars, smart highways, smart buildings, biofuels, nano-films and nano-coatings, carbon trading—these are but a few of the issues that pepper discussions of tribal energy and development policy today. Shapers of tribal energy and development policy are confronted with a range of voices offering often simplistic and contradictory advice. Disappointingly, what should have been at once the stimulus for introspection and the framework for rationalizing tribal energy policy development, the Tribal Energy Resource Agreement, has been viewed by many within and without Indian country as simply the key to the expeditious unlocking of tribal energy resources. TERA discussions have been reduced to the mere mechanistic parsing of regulatory requirements.

The Third Annual Tribal Energy Policy Conference will bring together high level tribal, industry, and government leaders and experts in the many fields of energy, environment, science and technology, and policy in a series of facilitated dialogues to: examine the emerging global, national, and tribal environment in which tribal energy and development policies will be made; identify the impacts of energy, social, and technological adaptations to climate change and increased global competition for energy resources; and, to establish a framework for rationalizing tribal energy policy.


March 18 morning, 8:30:am-Noon
Session 1: Through a Glass Darkly: Glimpses of the Future

For what future(s) should Indian tribes be planning? What factors will shape tribal futures? How will changes in the demography of the U.S. shape tribal, regional, and national futures? How will changes in climate affect tribal economic, political, cultural, and social interests? Will these changes exacerbate tribal-state tensions? Or will such changes encourage collaborative efforts? What opportunities in workforce development, regional development, and tribal sovereignty obtain from national and regional demographic changes? What risks? What should we expect—an expansion, or retrenchment of globalization? What will the impacts of either be on Indian country? These and related questions will be examined to outline the contours of the landscapes—political, environmental, social, cultural, economic and other--in which tribal energy policy will be carried out.

March 18, afternoon, 1:15pm-5:00pm
Session 2: Desiderata

What future(s) do tribes want? What kinds of communities do they want? The conference will suggest possible scenarios by way of responses and reactions to the following and related questions: Are tribal goals and aspirations fixed elements of tribal identity? Or should they molded by different visions of the future? Is agility a response to uncertainty? How do tribes build agile systems and institutions and develop agile leaders? What are the political, economic, social, and cultural goals and aspirations of tribes today? What external and internal factors would cause tribes to rethink these goals and aspirations in the future? What role do tribal energy resource development and energy policy play in achieving these goals? How much convergence is there between tribal goals and aspirations and those of federal and state agencies and corporations? Can the tribal colleges and universities, which are primarily teaching institutions, do the forward studies work for Indian tribes? What will they need in the way of partnerships, financial support, as well as a rethinking of their mission to do this work?

March 19 morning, 8:30am-Noon
Session 3: Energy for Today, Energy of the Future

What uncertainties does the multifaceted energy industry face? How are they preparing to make the transition to the future? What role do science and technology play in making that transition? What role should tribes and tribal educational and research institutions play? What opportunities for advancing tribal economic, political, social, and other interests obtain from different future energy scenarios? What risks? How should tribes merge their energy, economic, social, cultural, and political interests to build sustainable communities? Are there clean energy investment opportunities for tribes?

March 19 afternoon, 1:15pm-5:00pm
Session 4: The impacts of Energy, Social and Technological Adaptations to Climate Change on Indian Country

Will agriculture and the extractive industries continue to be the mainstay of rural America ? What impact will mandated adaptations to climate change have on these industries? What will these industries look like in the future? What role can tribes play to diversify the industrial base of rural America ? Will the depopulating (except for Indian country) of rural America continue? How will these adaptations affect tribal colleges and universities? What can be the political, cultural, social, economic, and environmental effects of the research, development, installation, operation, and decommissioning of new renewable energy technologies on Indian tribes? What will be the role of transportation?

March 20 morning, 8:30am-Noon
Session 5: Toujours Prêt

How do tribes prepare for the future? What workforce, systems, and institutions will be required? What role should tribal colleges and tribal organizations play? What is the role of federal agencies? Of the private sector? Of the tribes? Of the off-reservation tribal population? Of state and local governments? What collaborative efforts should be pursued?

Roundtable Respondents:

Moroni Bennally , Diné Policy Institute, Diné College

T.M. "Bull" Bennett
North Dakota Association of Tribal Colleges

David Conrad, Osage Nation

John Echohawk, Native American Rights Fund

Claire Evans, University of Denver Law School

Glenn Ford, Tribal Council, Spokane Indian Tribe

Roger Fragua, Cota LLC

Martina Gauthier, University of Denver Law School

Stuart Harris, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

Ben Hoisington, Dineh Power

Richard Holman, Center for Advanced Energy Studies, Idaho National Laboratory

A. David Lester, Council of Energy Resource Tribes

Patricia Limerick, Center of the American West, University of Colorado

Mari-Angeles Major-Sosias, AREVA

Shannon McNeeley, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Roger Taylor, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Rajul Pandya, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

Jo Render, Newmont Mining Corporation

Jeanne M. Rubin, International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management

Robin Smith, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation

Mervyn L. Tano, International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management

Brandy Toelupe, University of Denver Law School

John Topping, Climate Institute

Bruce Valdez, Southern Ute Growth Fund

Linda Sue Warner, President, Haskell Indian Nations University

Fred White, Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources

Daniel Wildcat, Haskell Indian Nations University

Conference Hotel

Radisson Hotel Denver Stapleton Plaza
3333 Quebec Street
Denver, Colorado
Phone: +1 303-321-3500;
+1 800-333-3333

Logistics Information

All roundtable sessions will be held at the Radisson Hotel Denver Stapleton Plaza. Rooms are available to roundtable attendees at the special rate of $89.00 (single or double) per night. For reservations, call the Radisson Hotel Denver Stapleton Plaza at
+1 303-321-3500 or

Be sure to mention the “IIIRM Third Annual Tribal Energy Policy Roundtable” and make your reservation by February 23, 2008, to qualify for the special room rate.

Registration Information

Registration Fee: Early registration (until February 28, 2008 ) is $475. After that date registration is $525. Tuition includes morning and afternoon coffee service and one copy of the roundtable materials. For information on multiple registrations from one tribe, or other information, call the International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management at +1 303-744-9686. Please fill out the registration form and send it and your check or purchase order to: IIIRM, 444 South Emerson Street, Denver, CO 80209-2216; or FAX to: +1 303-744-9808.

For More Information:

Mervyn L. Tano
Phone: +1 303-733-0481
FAX: +1 303-744-9808