The Energy Transition: Opportunities and Challenges for Indigenous Communities in the US and Canada

February 8, 2023 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Please join the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a panel of experts for a discussion about opportunities and risks for indigenous communities in the North American energy transition.

According to the US Department of Energy, wind resources on US tribal lands could meet up to 32% of US electricity needs. Similarly, according to MSCI, 79% of US lithium reserves are located within 35 miles of an Indian reservation. These data highlight the critical role that indigenous peoples and lands will play in the transition to a low carbon economy–in the US and globally.
Our panel will discuss the Biden administration’s efforts to strengthen indigenous consultation and environmental justice around natural resources and renewable energy development with US native communities. We will also explore how Canadian indigenous leaders are developing equity-based partnerships to develop renewable energy and critical minerals projects under the principles of Free Prior and Informed Consent–and whether such partnerships can meet the needs of indigenous groups in the US as well as ESG-focused investors and project developers.
  • Robert Johnston, Executive Director, Columbia SIPA Center on Global Energy Policy
  • Niilo Edwards, CEO, First Nations Major Projects Coalition
  • Kate R. Finn, Esq., Executive Director, First Peoples Worldwide, University of Colorado
  • Chief Sharleen Gale, Chair, First Nations Major Projects Coalition & Chief, Fort Nelson First Nation
  • Mark Podlasly, Chief Sustainability Officer, First Nations Major Projects Coalition
  • Gare Smith, Partner and Head of Business & Human Rights Practice, Foley Hoag
This event will be hosted in person in New York City and live-streamed via Zoom. All in-person attendees are required to have received a full COVID-19 vaccination series.
Advance registration is required. Upon registration, you will receive a confirmation email. The event will be recorded and the video recording will be added to our website following the event.
This event is open to the press, and registration is required to attend. For media inquiries or requests for interviews, please contact Natalie Volk (
For more information about the event, please contact