Indian Affairs | How We Can Help

How We Work With Tribes

Working with tribes to stimulate their economies, the Division functions much like a full service consulting firm. Armed with an expert team of geologists, engineers, marketing experts, and other key personnel, our staff facilitates all aspects of energy development for tribes.

We are committed to finding the best companies that fit with tribal goals.

DEMD's Interactive Energy Development Model

How We Work With Tribes


Tribal Energy Development Goals

Before delving into the development of an energy project, it is critical to first understand the end goal that a tribe wants to achieve.  The DEMD's experience in working with tribes has found that the primary reasons behind a tribe's desire to develop energy projects were found to involve one or more of the following topics:

  • Economic Impact, Strengthen and Solidify the Tribal Economy

It is well known that on many reservations unemployment rates are high and there is a strong desire to boost their local economies through new job creating projects.


  • Environmental Benefits and Sustainability

Tribes developing energy projects aim to do so in alignment with cultural beliefs that the earth and environment need to be taken care of for future generations.


  • Sovereignty 

Tribes often see developing their own energy source as a way to exercise their tribal sovereignty. 


  • Dissatisfaction with the Current Electricity Supplier

In some cases, tribes may be experiencing inconsistent reliability of service and unwillingness of the current utility providers to expand service to outlying tribal communities.

All of these reasons are interlinked as tribes often take a holistic approach to any development.  DEMD believes that the best policy for energy on Indian lands is to assist them in the development of a resource that the tribe defines to be of benefit to them and that improves their community.  

Tribal Energy Development Challenges  

  • Tribal leadership and project staff changes
  • No commercial or business codes
  • Business not separated from tribal political arm
  • Lack of resources - time, money and/or staff
  • Accessible financing
  • Unfavorable project economics 

Some recent projects include:

Coal-To-Liquids- Plans are underway to produce ultra-clean diesel and jet fuel on the Crow Reservation.

Fort Berthold Oil and Gas Plays - DEMD staff have been assisting the tribe with developing oil and gas on their lands. The reservation is located within the trend of one of the largest oil and gas  plays found in the United States in the last 30 years.

URSA Major Pipeline - With DEMD assistance, natural gas is flowing from the Crow reservation to markets in the U.S. URSA Major, the operator, is poised to drill several more wells on the reservation in coming years.

Pyramid Lake, NV. - DEMD staff are assisting the tribe develop their high-temperature geo-thermal resources for potential power generation.

Crow Pressed Brick Housing - A major energy efficient, affordable housing development project is underway on the Crow Reservation. Using raw materials found on their lands, the project has the potential to improve the tribe's quality of life and to promote economic growth by creating new jobs on the reservation..

For more information call (303) 969-5270