Projects: Indigenous Women in Renewable Energy

Project Brief

In consideration of the programmatic objectives of A SHARED Future to consider Sex and Gender in our research, Melissa Quesnelle (Indigenous Sustainable Structures Collaborative, 20/20 Catalyst Alumnus) and Heather Castleden (Queen’s University) are proposing to host a series of Invitational Gatherings of Indigenous Women and gender-diverse persons who are leaders and/or community champions in renewable energy over the life of A SHARED Future, which was an expressed need that emerged from the 2017 Catalysts program. We posit that by bringing together the 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. We also envision that this initial gathering will be an opportunity for the women themselves to determine what, if any, outcomes and actions they would like to realize through a sustained female-centred network.

Project Updates

Melody has completed an initial round of coding on all the interview transcripts from the I-WIRE Gathering in October 2018 to produce a preliminary codebook. Melody will use this codebook to proceed with further data analysis. Throughout this initial round of coding, Melody has worked with Heather and Melissa to further refine, group and categorize the codes to improve the relevance and quality of their definitions. A second round of coding, which takes these changes into account, is currently underway. In addition, Melody has drafted a methods section, and is now working on a comprehensive literature review Indigenous women in the renewable energy sector to be completed over the next few weeks.

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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


  • 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


Naatoi’Ihkpiakii (Melissa Quesnelle) and Heather Castleden

Project Assistant

Melody Wise

Advisory Committee

Barbara Dumont- Hill, Tanna Pirie-Wilson, Eryn Stewart