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Opinion
Winona LaDuke: Obama must include Indian Country


"To accomplish the green energy goals he talked about in his inaugural address, President Obama must work with Native Americans.

"Each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet," the president said, vowing that "we will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories."

To realize these goals, Obama's administration must collaborate with Native American tribes to realize their vast wind and solar power potential. For instance, using solar power alone, Native lands have the potential to generate about 4.5 times the amount of electricity that is produced in the entire United States. Tribal wind resources could provide a double digit percentage of the country's electricity, as well.

In addition, a green jobs initiative could transition the most wasteful economy in the world into one that has a chance at surviving, all while providing economic development where it's needed most. By working with Native American tribes, the Obama administration can catalyze the development of tremendous human and economic potential in some of the country's poorest communities.

For too many years, Washington presented tribes with a false choice: either develop polluting energy resources or remain in dire poverty. Often, the oil and mining companies ripped the tribes off by underpaying royalties, even as they polluted the land. But economic development does not need to come at the expense of Native cultural identity or thriving ecosystems."

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Winona LaDuke: Obama's green plan must include Native Americans (The Olympian 1/28)