Projects: Working Towards Energy Security, Self-Determination, and Reconciliation

Project Brief

The goal of this collaborative research project is to understand gaps in the effectiveness of one federal funding renewable energy program and how this program fits within the broader context of reconciliation. Specifically, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is offering an Off-Diesel Challenge under the Impact Canada Initiative, which aims to provide northern remote communities in Canada with an opportunity to implement their innovative proposals for reducing diesel dependence through renewable energy projects and energy conservation initiatives. This initiative (in its current form) will first ask communities to co-create a challenge that is adapted and responsive to the needs of remote communities, with the goal of supporting innovative ideas arising from communities in remote Canada to reduce their reliance on diesel and move towards renewable forms of energy.

Project Updates

The critical program analysis of NRCan’s Indigenous Off-Diesel Initiative (IODI) is moving along as scheduled, as the first phase of data collection is nearly complete. Derek Kornelsen and Melissa Quesnelle travelled to Yellowknife, NT (June 18-22) and Toronto, ON (July 25-28) to attend Weeks 2 and 3 of the Indigenous Clean Energy Social Enterprise, 20/20 Catalysts training program and to conduct interviews with IODI awardees there. Interviews with NRCan staff and preliminary analysis are expected to be completed by the end of summer/early fall. Heather Castleden, Derek Kornelsen, Melissa Quesnelle, Ken Paul, and Elder Barbara Dumont Hill also met in Ottawa (June 25) to discuss project progress and direction.

Click here to view all bimonthly project updates.

Heather Castleden and Melissa Quesnelle at an Off-Diesel Initiative event

Dave Lovekin and Heather Castleden, Banff, Alberta

Team Elder Barbara Dumont Hill and Derek Kornelsen, A SHARED Future Summer Institute 2018. Photo credit Josh Lyon


  • To conduct a 2-part Policy Analysis to provide essential background information to participating parties;
  • To engage with participating communities to assess communities’ visions/priorities as well as barriers and opportunities, particularly implementing a culturally-relevant sex- and gender-based analysis, regarding moving forward with renewable energy initiatives in general using Impact Canada’s co-creation model as an example;
  • To engage with participating provincial and territorial representatives, industry, the staff/management from the relevant utility companies, and federal representatives to assess these agencies’ visions/priorities as well as barriers and opportunities , particularly implementing a culturally-relevant sex- and gender-based analysis, regarding moving forward with renewable energy initiatives;
  • To train the next generation of researchers, including Indigenous researchers, through opportunities for community trainees, student trainees and hired research assistants;
  • To share and exchange knowledge between all project participants and community members.

Project Team


Heather Castleden


Derek Kornelsen

Advisory Committee

Naatoi’Ihkpiakii (Melissa Quesnelle), Ken Paul, Diana Lewis


Natural Resources Canada: