Center for Native American Mining and Energy Sovereignty
A new Payne Institute center at the Colorado School of Mines supporting the self-determination of tribal communities in energy and mining.
“The Tribe’s inherent right to exercise its sovereignty, deciding to develop reservation resources to benefit the people and earth in which it serves is powerful beyond measure. I am in full support of the Center for Native American Mining and Energy Sovereignty and its efforts in Native American Mining and Energy education.”
Southern Ute Growth Fund
The Center for Native American Mining and Energy Sovereignty (the NAMES Center) is part of the Payne Institute for Public Policy at the Colorado School of Mines, one of the world’s foremost universities of mineral and energy engineering. The Center was established to be a strong supporter of tribal communities, an effective convener to industry and a thought leader in the national conversation on new critical mineral and energy development in the western U.S. The center will empower tribal communities through knowledge and collaboration to find financial success in the energy transition while gaining energy security and sovereignty for their people.
We have several short, medium, and long-term goals for the Center and its development and hopefully will lead to its growth and importance in Indian Country.
Development of a Fund to support Native American students, their admission, retention, development, and graduation at the undergraduate and graduate levels in majors relating to Energy and Minerals.
Development of a Fund to support Research and Development in Energy and Minerals relating and of interest to Tribes, in conjunction with Tribes, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Institutions of Higher Learning, National Laboratories, and Private Research Organizations.
Development of Native American STEM activities, curriculum, and programs, especially those related to Energy and Minerals.
Development of an entity/process to provide technical assistance and capacity building services in the areas of Energy and Minerals to Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Tribal Communities.
EMPOWERING WITH KNOWLEDGE
The Center will offer a spectrum of programs that leverage Mines resources to support mutual learning and information sharing with our tribal partners. Our plan includes:
• A tribal scholarship program
• Teaching and research fellowships for graduate students and faculty
• Offering situational analyses and insights of key technical issues
• A CSM President’s Advisory Council on Native American Affairs
EMPOWERING THROUGH COLLABORATION
The NAMES Center offers a fresh collaborative approach, supported by novel lines of communication, to take on the challenges of mineral and energy development in Indian Country. Working with tribal governments, reservation communities, industry leaders and government agencies, NAMES offers our tribal partners unprecedented information access through a variety of collaborative events, including:
• Large symposiums on broad tribal and industry subjects
• Single-topic focused workshops
• Small group facilitated stakeholder meetings
Initially, each collaborator, NTEA and Payne, will supply one member each to a Board of Directors (Board). Once the Board is seated and functioning, it shall work on developing a larger Board at a time that it chooses. Also, a Board of Advisors (Advisors) will be developed by the Board made up of representatives from initially each of the Tribes of Colorado and then other Tribes as the Board decides from time to time.
The collaborators, NTEA and Payne, agree to communicate in a timely manner and via phone, electronic mail, virtually, or in person.
PARTNER ENGAGEMENT AND SUPPORT
The NAMES Center is only as strong as the engagement and support of our tribal, industry and government partners. This growing community of NAMES Center partners includes:
The National Tribal Energy Association (NTEA)
The Southern Ute Indian Tribe
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
IN THE NEWS
First Uranium Mines to Dig in the US in Eight Years Begin Operations Near Grand Canyon
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributes to this article about the push for more nuclear energy and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. How it has spiked uranium prices, leading mines for the element to begin operating again in the U.S. despite long-term environmental and health impacts. January 15, 2024.
Native American Energy Sovereignty is key to American Energy Security
Payne Institute Program Manager Rick Tallman, Daniel Cardenas, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how as the energy transition plays out across the United States, tribal communities see both a tremendous opportunity and a direct threat to their sovereignty. The immense natural resources of tribal lands will almost certainly be needed to help secure the future of American energy security. At the same time, a history of energy exploitation has left reservation communities with systemic problems and unmet needs that energy policy makers, regulators and industry leaders must acknowledge, understand, and address in any go-forward plans. November 9, 2023.
A Pathway to Responsible Mining in Indian Country
Payne Institute Program Managers Rick Tallman and Brad Handler, Director Morgan Bazilian and Daniel Cardenas write about how the demand for minerals critical to both the energy transition and U.S. national security is growing rapidly. At the same time, the reliability of the global supply chain is being challenged by geopolitical events. The result is a growing call to bring more mining for these critical minerals back to the United States, where the vast majority of critical mineral reserves are located on or within 35 miles of Native American reservations. November 9, 2023.
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