Projects: Indigenous Women in Renewable Energy

Project Brief

In consideration of the programmatic objectives of A SHARED Future to consider culturally-relevant gender-based approaches in our research, Naatoi’lhkpiakii (Melissa Quesnelle) and Heather Castleden hosted an Invitational Gathering of Indigenous Women who are leaders and/or community champions in renewable energy in 2018 at the Banff Centre. We anticipate holding a second Gathering in 2021. This project emerged from an expressed need amongst Indigenous Women who had completed a one-of-a-kind Indigenous Clean Energy training initiative, the 20/20 Catalyst Program. The premise of our research is that in bringing together the Indigenous Women Alumni from the 20/20 Catalyst Program to share stories, we can generate new insights about the gendered experience of renewable energy projects involving Indigenous peoples across the country. The initial gathering was an opportunity for the women themselves to determine what if any, outcomes and actions they would like to realize through a sustained female-centered network.

Project Updates

The I-WIRE Research Gathering was held in October 2018. Indigenous women came together from across the country to share their stories about being involved in the renewable energy sector. We have completed one round of data analysis. A second round of coding, which takes these changes into account, is currently underway. In addition, a medium-length documentary film is being produced in collaboration with award-winning Mi’kmaw filmmaker, Cathy Martin.

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I-WIRE Gathering, Banff, Alberta, October 2018. Photo credit Cathy Martin

Naatoi’Ihkpiakii (Melissa Quesnelle, Community Co-Lead), Heather Castleden, and Melody Wise (Undergraduate Research Fellow)

Participants at the I-WIRE Gathering. Photo credit Cathy Martin

Objectives

  • Explore Indigenous women’s and gender-diverse persons’ community-based experiences in renewable energy initiatives through culturally-relevant sex and gender lenses;
  • Identify and understand the barriers and facilitators amongst those who participated in the 20/20 Catalyst Program as a means to achieving their/their community’s renewable energy goals;
  • Support reflexivity, co-learning, and storytelling amongst Indigenous women and gender-diverse persons with experience or interest in the renewable energy realm;
  • Provide culturally safe space for Indigenous women’s and gender-diverse persons’ capacity-building and knowledge exchange between renewable energy champions at various stages of renewable energy transition;
  • Determine the level of interest in what, if any, outcomes and actions participants would like to realize beyond the life of A SHARED Future and ascertain mechanisms for sustainable networking (as noted above, prospectively utilizing the ICE platform).

Project Team

Co-Leads

Naatoi’Ihkpiakii (Melissa Quesnelle) and Heather Castleden

Project Assistant

Melody Wise

Advisory Committee

Barbara Dumont- Hill, Tanna Pirie-Wilson