White Earth and Tsleil-Waututh Nations Partner on Community Wind Power


Two tribes, from different sides of the 49th Parallel, are reuniting Turtle Island with a business deal. A First Nations–owned company in British Columbia will supply wind power to the White Earth Community Service Center in Naytahwaush and to the Ojibwa Building Supplies facility in Waubun, the U.S. tribe announced on September 6.

Under the agreement, TWN Wind Power of North Vancouver, British Columbia, which is owned by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, will supply and install two 40kW wind turbines, White Earth announced on September 6. TWN specializes in small-scale wind power solutions for aboriginal communities. It is one of seven businesses owned by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in the alternative energy, tourism, construction, real estate and retail sectors, the company said.

“I want to congratulate the White Earth Nation Tribal Council and everyone who worked to bring this agreement together,” said Chief Justin George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in a statement released by both. “We see the wind power business as an entry point into our goals to partner with Tribal communities across North America.”

More than 20,000 band members call the 1,300-square-mile White Earth, Minnesota’s biggest and most populated reservation, their homeland, according to the tribe.

“White Earth is thrilled not only to decrease our fossil fuel usage, energy dependence, and utility expense but to do so in partnership with another tribe only adds to the excitement surrounding this venture,” said Jerome Lhotka, White Earth Economic Development Director. “We look forward to the commissioning of these two new machines adding to our green power initiatives yet this fall.”

The project is a first in Indian country, the statement said. It’s the first time that such a deal for this model, the 40kW G-3120 Endurance Wind Power small wind turbine, has been negotiated directly between tribes, the statement said.

“Distributed wind energy, which is commonly referred to as small and community wind, is the use of typically smaller wind turbines at schools, businesses, homes and public facilities to offset all or a portion of on-site energy consumption,” the statement explained. The turbines will sit on top of 140-foot-tall towers. Construction will start in September and be finished by November.

“This is a great example of Tribes working together in Indian Country,” said Marc Soulliere, President & CEO of TWN Wind Power. “We are excited to have formed this relationship to further enable energy independence and environmental benefits for White Earth Nation.”