What were you doing before you joined Indigenized Energy?
Prior to working for Indigenized Energy, I was working for the tribal school as a bus driver for 12 years. In July of 2022, I was laid off. When I reached out to friends and family seeking new opportunities, my grandmother, Clarice Baker Bigback, sent me a link to a Facebook post asking if there were Northern Cheyenne Tribal members interested in going to a solar training at Redcloud Renewable Energy Center. I pounced!
Sonny from Indigenized Energy called me and let me know that I was chosen to attend the training. To be honest, I was on the fence about attending, being a woman going off to a training center in the middle of South Dakota without my own vehicle made me really nervous. What helped me say yes to going was knowing that Sonny was going to be there. We went to high school together many moons ago! I felt I could trust him.
Not long after the training, Indigenized Energy posted a new position in my community. I was able to visit with members of the Team, and was offered the position of a Solar Program Associate. The first person I told was my grandma, Clarice, who passed away in September of 2022. I owe her so much for helping me get to where I am.
What is your role at Indigenized Energy now?
I am a Solar Program Associate and I do community outreach. I introduce the residential solar program to the community members and answer as many questions as I can. I build trusting relationships with community elders so they are comfortable and understand the process of bringing solar and the individuals they will interact with.
What is it about this work you find rewarding?
Helping people. Learning new things. Experiencing what it takes to do something new as a whole.
What are you fighting for?
I don’t like using the word ‘fighting’. I would rather use the word ‘support’. I was always told that if you speak negatively you will receive it. So I flipped it, if I speak positively I will receive more of it. (an opposite yet equal reaction)
I am supporting the betterment of our communities as a whole. I want everyone to be able to benefit from what we do as an organization. On top of that, I am doing this for those who will come after me, being taught that what we do will affect those who aren’t even here yet.