Electricity access stands as a tremendous challenge for Native American communities. This week, the United States Interior Department unveiled a new program sparking hope.

On August 15, the Biden administration revealed the launch of the Tribal Electrification Program, with an initial funding of $72.5 million.

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This investment is an important step towards using clean energy sources and achieving a carbon-free electric goal by 2035.

“Climate change is the crisis of our lifetimes and has left far too many communities managing worsening water challenges, extreme heat, devastating wildfires, and unprecedented storms. Every action we take now to lessen the impacts for future generations is critical,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. 

“Through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we’re launching a new program to electrify Indian Country to provide reliable, resilient energy that Tribes can rely on and advance our work to tackle the climate crisis and build a clean energy future,” she added.

Over 15,000 indigenous homes don’t have electric power, according to recent Government reports 

Last year’s report from the U.S. Energy Department’s Office of Indian Energy brought some not-so-bright news: 16,805 tribal homes were unelectrified, most in the southwest region and Alaska.

But, there’s more. Bryan Newland, the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, stood up in Congress earlier this year to address the situation.

He stated that 21% of Navajo Nation homes and 35% of Hopi Indian Tribe homes lack electricity. He emphasized that their access to electricity will enhance health, welfare, education, and overall quality of life.

Now, under this fresh program, tribes must ask for the funds they need. Officials will pick the projects based on needs, community readiness, risk, household count and poverty levels. The pre-application process started on August 8; they will announce the winners in March 2024.

Social media users are giving a standing ovation while giving Uncle Sam a piece of their minds over this game-changing project

While this project will improve the quality of life for indigenous folks, online voices are pointing fingers at the government, saying it’s about time they stepped up and took action.

“May the creator bless Native Americans. May they receive justice, justice that has been denied to them since the colonization of the American continent. It’s a shame that the original owners of this land lack basic services like electricity and water,” commented an X user.

Others share their stories about using alternative energy sources like solar panels.

“I use solar at my house in Belize. This way, I don’t have to buy fuel. I’ve been doing this since 2008. The same system is still going strong. I also built a water wheel to generate power using car and washing machine parts,” said another person.

Many others agreed this should have happened years ago.

“That should’ve been done decades ago. Fresh drinking water, electricity, sewer, broadband, and better housing should be mandatory. I’m so sorry they stole your lands to increase the white man’s wealth. I’m ashamed of the treatment you received and still receive from the government,” shared another user.