In a previous life, our E.D. co-founded the Navajo Women’s Energy Project (NWEP), and helped create a framework, with Professor Beth Osnes that gives female voices a place in the predominately male arena of energy, science and technology.
The work was published in the RIDE journal (Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, Volume 20, Issue 2). Here’s the ABSTRACT for those who are interested: Through applied theatre, Navajo women can participate in authoring a new story for how energy is mined, produced, developed, disseminated and used in the Navajo Nation. This article is an analysis of a creative process that was utilised with primarily Navajo women to create a Navajo Women’s Energy Project (NWEP). The framework for this creative process guided women in deeply considering energy issues from their own perspective and value base, facilitated them in articulating their values around energy, assessing the current energy situation not authored by women and invited them to imagine what kind of energy future they want. Finally, it facilitated women in identifying and rehearsing actions to move from the current story to the new story. This process is designed to include the participation of women who have rich life experience that is often in intimate and direct relationship with the environment, who hold knowledge in their bodies from lived experience and value traditional views and beliefs. The framework for applied theatre in this article helped to lay the groundwork for the NWEP in a relatively short amount of time in a manner that was inclusive, efficient, aesthetically stirring and fun. This framework has the potential to expedite and support the participation of women in authoring a new story for a wide variety of social issues.
NWEP’s mission was to unite, inspire and empower women to create, with their words + actions, a clean-energy future strengthened by cultural bonds and sustainable lifestyle choices. Together with a wonderful collaboration of Navajo women, NWEP created a ‘zine, a radio show, and a cohort of dedicated solar warriors.
In 2012, Adrian began working with the non-profit organization, Elephant Energy. She helped build out the Southwest version, Eagle Energy (EE), which positively impacted tribal communities in New Mexico, Arizona and Utah by providing affordable, small-scale solar technology to Native American elders and off-grid families. In 2013, EE launched it’s Solar Entrepreneurs Program, making it possible for people on the Navajo Nation to start their own small business acting as vendors of Goal Zero solar products. In 2014, EE began it’s Solar Schools Program, which was an opportunity to work directly with Northern Arizona University’s Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) to create a renewable energy curriculum that merged Navajo culture with science. This curriculum provided an angle to education that informed students and community leaders about viable renewable energy options for the Navajo Nation.
Though the work w/ NWEP and EE was valuable (and vast), it was defunded in 2015.
When YKD was formed in 2017, the team made a clear decision to revisit the solar work that Adrian put so much time and love into over the years. It took about 6 months to hash out the details of what that might look like, but out of those conversations and musings, YKD SOLAR was thought into being! With the blessing of Elephant Energy & the Navajo Women’s Energy Project, it was decided that Yahuaca Knowledge Distribution will continue the work EE began. YKD will act as a distributor of high-quality, reasonably-priced solar products to indigenous communities, offering installation services, as well as, education about solar energy.
As of this month, we have arranged with our partners at GOAL ZERO, to carry out two solar install trips in 2018 – one in the Spring, and one in the Fall. Each trip will include a charitable distribution of replacement batteries to families who received solar generating systems from Eagle Energy during their active phase, as well as, new solar installs of Yeti 150 generating systems to off-grid families. We are very excited about this opportunity to continue working with Goal Zero, and we are looking forward to keeping this blog alive w/ updates and exciting developments – so stay tuned!