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Exploring Challenges and Opportunities in Indian Energy Initiatives – An Engaging Panel Discussion

06/27/2023 @ 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM EDT

Event Details

Course Description:

In this panel discussion, we will be joined by experts to provide insights into the current state of energy in Indian Country and the initiatives being implemented to enhance energy access, efficiency, and sustainability. Our expert panelists will discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with these initiatives and their anticipated impacts on the energy landscape in Indian Country. As a moderated discussion, this session promises to offer valuable perspectives on the latest Indian energy initiatives and their potential to shape a cleaner and more sustainable future for tribal communities.

 Key Points/Learning Objectives

  • Describe the current state of energy in tribal communities and how it compares to the rest of the country.
  • Explain the key energy initiatives in Indian Country, including the Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, and Electric Mobility programs, and how they aim to address energy challenges.
  • Analyze the challenges and opportunities associated with these initiatives, such as financing, technology, policy, and regulation, and how they impact the success of these programs.
  • Evaluate the potential impact of these initiatives on the energy sector in Indian Country and beyond, including the economic, social, and environmental effects.
  • Identify successful case studies of Indian energy initiatives and discuss the key factors that contributed to their success.
  • Engage in a Q&A session with the panelists to clarify any questions or concerns regarding the initiatives and their impact on the Indian energy sector.

Overall, these learning objectives aim to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of the current state of energy in tribal communities, the key energy initiatives, and the challenges and opportunities associated with them. Additionally, participants will learn about successful case studies and engage in a Q&A session to gain a deeper understanding of the initiatives and their potential impact.


Corrina Ikakoula

Corrina Ikakoula

Tribal Outreach Specialist, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs

In this role she develops and implements the strategy for external outreach and engagement activities. This includes coordinating all engagement processes, analyzing the impact of outreach, and expanding outreach to Native communities not previously served.

Before joining the Office of Indian Energy, Ikakoula served as a Tribal Account Executive for the Bonneville Power Administration—a power marketing agency within DOE based in Portland, Oregon. In that position, she served as a tribal liaison for more than 30 tribes located in western Washington, western Oregon and northern California.

Ikakoula has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brigham Young University–Hawaii and a Master of Administration – Public Management degree from Northern Arizona University. She is a citizen of the Navajo Nation (Diné). Her clans are Tsé Deeshgizhníí born for the Bilaganna with her maternal grandfather from the Tl’ízí Laní.

Monica Smith Griffin

Monica Smith Griffin

President & CEO, Reagan Smith

Prior to the formation for Reagan Smith Inc., Monica Smith Griffin was a landman in the energy industry for five years. During that time she gained valuable experience in dealing with various regulatory agencies such as the state regulatory agnecies, Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. She has used this experience to create a company that allows operators to navigate complicated regulations and procedures.

With her extensive knowledge of Federal and State regulations and leasing procedures, she is the backbone of Reagan Smith, providing assistance in all aspects of the company. Monica works closely with all the departments of Reagan Smith ensuring efficient and accurate work product for all clients. As the President, she is responsible for guiding the company through the ever-changing energy sector and spearheading new endeavors. 

She is currently working with clients to develop Environmental, Social, Governance programs based on her background in environmental science and her training through the ESG Leadership Certificate University of Oklahoma Program.

Monica has a background in Contracts, Environmental Law, International Law, and Petroleum Transactions. Monica is also a senior partner at St. John, Griffin & Krieg, P.L.L.C. which focuses on Native American and natural resource law.

 Theresa Bohannan

Theresa Bohannan

Senior Evaluation Researcher, ADM Associates

Theresa Bohannan is a senior evaluation researcher at ADM Associates, specializing in conducting process evaluations of energy efficiency programs. With a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree and over five years of experience in energy efficiency, she brings a strong background in training and technical assistance to her role. Additionally, Theresa has worked with tribal courts, conducting research on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and its implications for addressing disproportionality in the child welfare system. Her expertise and background provide valuable insights into energy efficiency initiatives and their potential impact for tribal communities.

Margaret Schaff

Margaret Schaff

Partner, Native Energy Resource Council (NERC)

Margie is a partner at Native Energy Resources Counsel, LLC where she represents tribes and tribal organizations with tribal legal codes, tribal utility negotiations, electric power and transmission contracting, oil and gas, tribal energy resource development, business matters and energy strategies. Margie has also been an energy attorney for over 30 years.

Margie has also published law review articles including “Regulation of Electric Utilities on Indian Reservations” and “Indian Allottee Water Rights: A Case Study of Allotments on the Former Malheur Indian Reservation”

Lee Vasquez-Ilaoa

Lee Vasquez-Ilaoa

Tribal Programs Specialist, Reagan Smith

Lee Vasquez-Ilaoa serves as an American Indian Studies and English Professor and earned her PhD from the University of Oklahoma. A Mescalero Apache/Lower Brule Lakota descendant, she has special interest in environmentally-sustainable programming, community empowerment and increasing awareness of the sovereignty and resilience of indigenous women and Tribes.

As a Tribal Program Specialist, Lee collaborates with Tribal communities to identify goals and strategize ways to address present and future needs. Lee is also a Board Member of Gollapalli Charitable Foundation that focuses on alleviating poverty through education, clean water programs and economic development in underserved areas.

Tony Jimenez

Tony Jimenez

Senior Researcher, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

At NREL since 2001, Tony has experience in techno-economic modeling of wind, PV, and hybrid system projects, wind data analysis, and strategic energy planning.  His current assignments include supporting the DOE Office of Indian Energy technical assistance program and supporting the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in its efforts to accelerate deployment of renewable energy on BLM managed land.  Past NREL work includes leading the small wind Regional Test Center project and conducting renewable energy project pre-feasibility analysis on behalf of a variety of clients. Tony is a retired Army Reserve engineer officer.  In two overseas deployments he served as a project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq and as Director of Public Works for U.S. Army installations in Kuwait.


2:00 PM - 4:00 PM EDT
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