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Three tribes in Minnesota are getting a $1.4 million federal injection to provide clean electricity to tribal homes. The funding was announced last week by  U.S. Democratic Senators Tina Smith, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, and Amy Klobuchar. 

The grants allocated to the Bois Forte Band, Prairie Island Indian Community, and Red Lake Nation will amount to $295,000, $500,000, and $600,000, respectively. Beyond financial assistance, the Tribal Electrification Program also provides technical support to Tribes, assisting them in securing funding for clean energy projects.

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“Achieving energy sovereignty while eliminating or offsetting all greenhouse gas emissions on Prairie Island is the goal of our net zero program,” said Prairie Island Tribal Council President Grant Johnson. “This grant will allow us to make electrification improvements to our members’ homes and involve them more directly in our efforts to change our energy narrative and achieve our net zero goal.”

Tribal lands account for around 6.5 percent of the country’s renewable energy potential, yet Native American households lack access to electricity at far higher rates than the national average, according to the Energy Information Administration. Without reliable access to power, essential tasks such as heating homes, lighting, refrigeration, and powering medical equipment become challenging. 

This initiative aligns with the Biden-Harris administration’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to direct a significant portion of federal investments to disadvantaged communities, including federally recognized Tribal Nations. 

"For generations, Native communities have been hurt by underinvestment and underfunding of basic infrastructure. Our transition to a clean energy economy can’t leave Indian Country behind,” said Senator Smith in a press release. “This funding gets us closer to ensuring every household in Minnesota, including on Tribal lands, has access to clean electricity.”

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