Here on the banks of White Clay Creek, he promotes renewable energy as a modern way to honor the old way and a return to traditional relationships with Mother Earth. He recalls a prophecy of his great-great grandfather Makhpiya Luta, Chief Red Cloud, who negotiated the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty. Praying with other tribal leaders at that time, he shared a vision for the restoration of harmony and lasting peace on the war-torn Great Plains -- within the passage of seven generations. Five generations later, Henry is looking at his own grandchildren as “the sacred seventh.” “I believe that with this renewable technology, we’re getting back to that,” he says. “It’s going to bring us together. We’ll all be setting a precedent for the next seven generations,” he predicted in a recently recorded message. Red Cloud opened the Sacred Earth Lodge in 2013, providing a 23-bed dormitory and residential training facility to accommodate a growing demand for renewable energy instruction that he helped stoke.
Henry Red Cloud, Descendent of Lakota treaty negotiator teaches techniques at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Photo by Talli Nauman / Native Sun News Today
Fox describes him as “devoted to bringing social justice and economic development to Indian country,” noting that he is “committed to helping tribes on their path to energy sovereignty.” He has a “philosophy of helping one family at a time,” Fox said, which “not only improves lives, but it protects our planet by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and decreasing reliance on fossil fuels.” Red Cloud has earned a string of recognition awards for his contributions to fortifying the renewable energy market and promoting community resilience. In early 2019, he garnered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Oceti Sakowin SOLVE Fellowship, aimed at “bringing independent energy to tribal camps and communities.”
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