Stewarding Native Lands Webinars

Indigenous Stewardship on National Forest Lands:

Presentation Materials:

Webinar #1: Great Lakes Region
Friday, April 19, 2024, 12 pm Mountain Time
Register here!

In this webinar, Tribal representatives will discuss efforts to support Indigenous stewardship of forests in partnerships with the U.S. Forest Service in the Great Lakes region.

The webinar is the first in a series First Nations will host to advance understanding of innovative Indigenous stewardship practices and partnerships focused on ancestral lands that are currently administered as National Forests.

The webinar will feature Eric Clarke, Lead Wildlife Biologist for the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Natural Resources Department, and Keith Karnes, acting Co-Director of the Department of Resource Management for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. Together, they will present on their collaborative work to steward ancestral lands by restoring traditional values and practices with staff from the U.S. Forest Service.

This webinar will be recorded.

Tribal Co-Management and Co-Stewardship: 101

Wednesday, February 28, 2024, 1:30 to 3 pm, Mountain Time

In this webinar, guest speakers Monte Mills and Martin Nie provided a brief history of tribal co-management and co-stewardship and explanations for how they differ. An overview of opportunities available under various federal authorities was also shared, along with considerations for capacity-building and pathways for effective implementation. In addition, how to strengthen agreements to protect tribal values and interests will also be discussed.

About the Speakers

Monte Mills is a Professor of Law and Director of the Native American Law Center at the University of Washington School of Law.

Martin Nie is a Professor of Natural Resources Policy and Director of the Bolle Center for People and Forests in the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana.

For more information about this webinar, please email Brett Treadway, First Nations Program Associate, at btreadway@firstnations.org



Microgrids: Advancing Tribal Solar Energy Opportunities


As climate change continues to affect the natural world, Tribes should consider microgrids as one option to advance energy sovereignty. In particular, solar and storage microgrids are a renewable alternative that reduces energy insecurity and greenhouse gas emissions. Microgrids also keep resources in communities, lower energy expenses, and allow for predictable costs. Due to the remoteness of many Tribal members’ residences and the high cost of grid expansion, approximately 17,000 Tribal households have no access to electricity. Therefore, microgrids are a viable climate solution to increase community energy access.

In this webinar, a representative from Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) presents general information about solar and storage microgrids. And, Tribal representatives from Blackfeet Community College, Blue Lake Rancheria, and Hualapai Tribal Utility Authority present an overview of their completed tribally led microgrid projects, highlighting project inspiration and benefits, financing, challenges, and recommendations.


  • Meredith Cowart, Senior Associate, Rocky Mountain Institute
  • Melissa Weatherwax, Director of Institutional Development, Blackfeet Community College
  • Heidi Moore-Guynup, Director of Tribal and Government Affairs, Blue Lake Rancheria
  • Roger Wright, General Manager, Hualapai Tribal Utility Authority

Speaker Bios

Meredith Cowart is a Senior Associate in the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Carbon-Free Electricity Practice where she supports RMI’s e-Lab for energy communities work. Meredith has experience in mediation and dispute resolution and co-designed and facilitated multistakeholder negotiation processes on technically intensive environmental issues. She also has experience conducting research and analysis on forestry, energy, and climate change issues.

Melissa Weatherwax (Blackfeet) is the Director of Institutional Development at Blackfeet Community College. She comes from the Amskapii Pikunii and was raised near Browning, Montana on the Blackfeet Reservation. Melissa is a certified K-12 teacher and has worked at Blackfeet Community College for over 15 years. Her experience included educational systemic reform, coordinating Native Science Fellowships, and advancing the Tribal College net zero pledge.

Heidi Moore-Guynup serves as the Director of Tribal and Government Affairs for the Blue Lake Rancheria. She has extensive experience in community development, strategic planning, conflict resolution, and climate resilience. She is a member of several boards and advisory teams advancing issues associated with community benefits, green port implementation, MMIP protections, and more associated with the proposed offshore wind development. Prior to coming to BLR she served in many roles in  TK-12  education. She’s been a school psychologist, principal, and district superintendent.

Roger Wright is the Generation Manager for the Hualapai Tribal Utility Authority and has been serving the Tribe since May 2023 in this role. He has previously been employed by the Aha Macav Power Service as Engineering Manager for the Fort Mojave Tribe’s wholly owned electric utility. He graduated from California State Polytechnic University in 1980 with a BS in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and spent the early years of his career working in the aerospace industry, primarily for DoD contractors. He has also spent some years teaching mathematics and computer system repair at the local community college.