Focus on a tribal member that is working on energy issues in their community and how we are supporting them.
Meet Charlee Rising Sun, a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, who is helping her community build capacity to pursue Renewable Energy.
Charlee's path to the solar industry began when was offered a scholarship from Indigenized Energy to attend solar training at Red Cloud Renewable in South Dakota. While there, Charlee got connected to a solar installer job opportunity in Denver, but due to the costs of relocating, she was unable to accept the position. Recognizing her potential, and also the challenges facing tribal members seeking employment, Indigenized Energy helped Charlee get another offer from Freedom Forever in Salt Lake City and provided her with funds for travel and finding a place to live.
During her time in Utah, Charlee immersed herself in hands-on experience with Freedom Forever. She was surrounded by seasoned professional installers and learned more and more each day. Her new colleagues learned that she was walking almost 2 miles to work each day, they helped set up ride-shares and travel vouchers for her to get to work.
After three months in Utah the work slowed down, and Charlee returned home. But she did not give up hope that the solar industry might offer her a new future.
This summer, when FF was awarded a solar project in her own community, Charlee jumped at the chance to join a new crew that would be trained how to install ground mount solar systems. Along with her new Photon Ranger crew, she helped complete 15 installations, and is now preparing to head to Texas for the winter as a part of a new traveling crew created by Freedom Forever.
“My community, - you can tell it is broken and that it needs to heal. I think we need to change the narrative on the reservation from destroying things and believing that we don’t deserve nice things to: if we take care of things, like for our kid’s kid’s, it will get better. I want to promote healing” - Charlee Rising Sun
In Charlee Rising Sun, we see a shining example of how seizing opportunities, coupled with determination, can lead to a future filled with promise and positive impact. As she steps forward into the next chapter of her solar journey, there is no doubt that Charlee will continue to make waves in the renewable energy industry, leaving a legacy that will endure for generations to come.