Time is Now to launch New Tribal Economies


Last Updated: 20 years AUTHOR: Terrance H. Booth, Sr., Director

Native Nations Sustainable Alliance

A. David Lester, Executive Director, Council on Energy Resources Tribes (CERT) writes, “Indian business is not about money, it is about expressing our deeply held Indian Values in economic terms, to allow us to serve one another. Money is not the goal, money is a means, to allow a person to live according to our Indian ways.” (1) The late Ira C. Booth, Tribal Historian, Tsimshian quotes “Tribal Economic Development in reality would be a re-discovery of who we are as tribal people.”

Right now today there are wide-ranging opportunities to readily create substantial tribal wealth development. Such opportunities lie in the area of renewable energy whereby tribes can become energy independent releasing themselves from off-reservation utility companies. In fact, tribes can become producers of electricity through uses of hydrogen, solar and wind energy.

We see around us in some cities and towns electrical blackouts, brownouts and rolling blackouts for lack of proper electrical power distribution and most electrical companies are at their maximum load. As we saw in California blackouts and no electricity for many days. In Phoenix, Arizona we experienced some rolling blackouts due to the burning of two sub-stations that happen within a two week period earlier this summer 2004. Which gave a scare to major consumers of electricity and a new transformer had to be ordered and put into place.

For the tribes this energy crisis of America can be an opportunity for the tribes to give great consideration to seize this opportunity and in the process gain substantial wealth development to provide viable solutions to the energy crisis of America. In the month of June 20004 the Department of Energy awarded more then $350 million dollars in funding energy projects. How many of the tribes took advantage of this funding opportunity?

Transportation on the freeways, highways and roads of America is the largest consumer of fuel. Automobiles on the roads consume at least 36% of fuel use in America. At this writing some tribes have take steps in becoming energy independent through uses of solar and wind energy. Tribes need to serious look at producing hydrogen.

With the fuel crisis of America Native Americans should consider becoming the primary hydrogen supplier in America. Already Honda is first with hydrogen-powered vehicle on the road this year 2004. One company in Colorado wants to locate its business on tribal lands that can convert car engines to be hydrogen fueled vehicles combining gas and hydrogen together. Company desires to locate on tribal lands to create jobs, and an opportunity to greatly improve our tribal economies by having this one company. In addition, tribes can develop the process of being the suppliers of hydrogen. We have the opportunity to build an automotive hydrogen infrastructure and be ahead of the industry by taking the lead in creating this infrastructure and being the supplier of hydrogen in the process. “Example California wants to build hydrogen stations across that state within the next 5-6 years. World wide there are 87 hydrogen facilities and most are demonstration project.” (2).

How can tribes participate with Hydrogen Opportunities? In Tempe, Arizona are two non-profits, one being the Council on Sustainable Systems Development (COSSD) and the other Native Nations Sustainable Alliance (NNSA) sister Native American non-profit to COSSD. Their combined total work experience totals well over 667 years of service, work and multidisciplinary organization having scientists, engineers, inventors, manufacturers, philanthropists, financiers, nation-builders right now focused on alternative energy. Both non-profits greatly desire to work with tribes of all of Indian Country and other Indigenous population of the globe.

One of the COSSD Members has already assisted the Colorado River Tribes to becoming energy independent by helping put into place that tribe its own tribal electrical utility company. Right now COSSD is assisting the Mayan Indians of Mexico to do the same thing down there.

NNSA since last November 2003 has been making formal and informal presentations started at the Annual Conference of the National Congress of American Indians held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Attended and presented to the Larger Coalition of Tribes a formal presentation to this tribal body held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Since then has attended local workshops, conferences held in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area making presentations on substantial tribal wealth development.

COSSD’s membership includes the American Hydrogen Association and their expertise and knowledge can put the Tribes right into the center of the Hydrogen Economy. Roy McAlister, President, American Hydrogen Association writes, “The Solar Hydrogen Age can produce sustainable wealth from abundant renewable resources and will end the need for hostile pre-occupation with redistribution of non-renewable resources.” McAlister proposes a potential educational and business incubator programs to be headquartered on the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community having programs that will produce renewable energy and materials including electricity and hydrogen, energy-intensive products based on renewable energy will provide a world-class example of the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community leadership in sustainable prosperity. McAlister will also establish an International Institution whereby all tribes can benefit given its purpose is to education; transfer the knowledge and know-how directly to the tribes.

McAlister also proposes interest in potentials in conversion of agriculture wastes, sewage and landfill materials converting into renewable resources including carbon, hydrogen, and soil nutrients. Carbon can be extracted from biomass wastes and used to produce durable goods, which can have a major lucrative impact upon nine major industries using these durable goods. This in of itself can place the tribes into the very center of commerce and readily improve the social and economic environment of all of Indian Country.

McAlister says hydrogen can be used in virtually any existing engine to: produce more power; last longer, and actually clean the air. He further states that new forms of carbon can be produced that are stronger then steel and lighter than aluminum. Among many important applications writes McAlister, these new carbon materials are electrolyzes, fuel cells, and energy conversion systems called Solar Thermal Electric Conversion Systems (STECS). For Maricopa County states McAlister, “It is realistic to use STECS to generate electricity sales of more than $18,000 per acre.”

McAlister states, “That creating a Hydrogen Economy will provide positive youth education, job satisfaction, large income streams and positive tribal leadership throughout the world.” The American Hydrogen Association’s Mission Statement: “To provide Civilization with scientifically proven options for achieving prosperity.”

COSSD’s Mission Statement: “To provide and promote wise stewardship of the earth’s natural and biological resources through education, inspiration and innovation toward development of high quality affordable, and healthy systems necessary to empower the diversity of life and culture for achieving a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable future.”

NNSA’s goal is to introduce tribes across Indian Country to the opportunities NOW available and COSSD a potential business alliance for the tribes to consider and make their tribal decisions to participate with existing proven knowledge, utilize existing and experienced expertise with skills and talents in the area of alternative energy and COSSD’s willingness to bring to tribes prosperity and finally fulfilling all the unmet social and economic needs for all of Indian Country. Solutions are already at hand it is to work to make it happen for the good of all tribal and indigenous populations for current generation into future generations still to come.


1. Red Earth, A Journal of Contemporary American Development: Fall 2002

2. Automotive Hydrogen Infrastructure-Where are We Right Now? By Stefan Geiger, H2 Nation, July/August 2004