Red Power Energy

Red Power Energy Trailer

Red Power Energy recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy for it's "solid reporting, compelling storytelling, and journalistic integrity.

A provocative film from the American Indian perspective that reframes today’s controversial energy debate while the fate of the environment hangs in the balance.

Can energy development empower a people while powering the nation?

Tribal lands are the microcosm of today’s controversial energy debate. Between the fears that fossil fuels cause climate change and the hope that renewable energy can save the planet, lies the complex reality of American Indian reservations grappling with the balance of culture verse progress, poverty verse new-found wealth, and the fate of the environment.

Fifty-six million acres of tribal lands contain 10% of the nation’s renewable energy potential and 20% of America’s onshore oil and gas reserves. Tribal lands hold roughly 30% of the coal found west of the Mississippi, nearly 20% of the known natural gas and oil reserves and up to 50% of potential uranium reserves. Solar power could produce 9,275 million MWh of electricity per year; twice the nation’s requirement, and wind power on tribal lands could power to 50 million homes.

Uniquely intimate, provocative and told from the Native perspective, with a nearly all-Native film crew and all-Native Advisory Council, Red Power Energy is a multi-media documentary that combines engaging storytelling with in-depth journalism. Featured are Western and Great Plains American Indian tribes in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. From tribes mining coal, drilling oil and fracking natural gas to a coalition of tribes and individuals building sustainable wind farms and small scale residential solar, an engrossing story emerges that showcases America’s indigenous population reclaiming their right of self-determination.

From a historically passive role in mineral extraction that frequently left their resource-rich reservations either leased out for pennies on the dollar or contaminated by environmental degradation and Federal mismanagement, Native people are in the midst of an extraordinary resurgence. They are challenging long-held stereotypes, fighting for the sovereign right to control their lands, and develop their natural and mineral resources --- however they choose. These Native-told energy stories offers a rare insight into the ideological battle shaping modern Indian Country and further advances a deeper understanding of American Indian culture which is too often under-reported, misunderstood or overlooked.

Crow Nation (Montana)

Mandan, Hidasta, Arikara (North Dakota)

Shoshone and Arapaho, Wind River Reservation (Wyoming)

Northern Cheyenne (Montana)

Oglala Lakota, Pine Ridge (South Dakota)

Rosebud Sioux, Rosebud (South Dakota)

Southern Ute (Colorado)



Director, Editor, and Executive Producer
Olken is a veteran filmmaker at Rocky Mountain PBS and is Executive Producer of the arts and culture series, ‘Arts District’ and the soon-to-be named news documentary series airing later this year. Red Power Energy comes on the heels of Urban Rez, a documentary about American Indian Relocation. Urban Rez was the only PBS documentary selected for the 2014 American Film Showcase, which Olken screened in Kazakhstan. Among her more than 55 prestigious honors are: 29 Regional Heartland Emmy Awards, the Ministry of Agriculture Prize at the International Ekotopfilm Festival in Bratislava, 12 Colorado Broadcasters Association awards, 3 National CINE Golden Eagles, and 2 Western Heritage Wranglers, Western genre’s highest award.



LARRY POURIER, Oglala Lakota
Larry T. Pourier has worked in the film, music, and theater industry for over 25 years. His film credits include: Imprint, Skins, Good Meat, Spiral of Fire, and Stone Child. We Shall Remain (PBS), New World (Feature), Dreamkeeper (ABC), Skinwalkers (PBS), Lewis & Clark (IMAX), The Witness (IMAX), Crazy Horse (TNT), Lakota Woman (TNT), Buffalo Soldiers (TNT), Tecumseh (TNT), and Doe Boy (Indie). His latest achievement was to help develop and produce an ongoing Native American public history program for historical Colonial Williamsburg, the first in their history. When not working on a film project he lives in Thunder Valley, on the Pine Ridge Reservation.



Director of Photography
Charles "Boots" Kennedye serves as a Documentary Producer for Vision Maker Media after working at The Oklahoma Network (OETA) over the last decade. Kennedye has headed many major projects with the Public Television station and his work has won multiple Heartland Emmy Awards. In his spare time, he carved-out a second career as a sports photographer working for the NBA Thunder Basketball team since its 2008 inaugural season. Kennedye serves as Producer on the Vision Maker Media's original series "Growing Native" and will also direct Vision Maker Media's Creative Services division. Boots has played a lead role in more than 150 productions and won numerous accolades from many national press associations including The Oklahoma Broadcasters Association, Society of Professional Journalists, Dallas Press Club Association, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Associated Press, and the National Education Television Association. Kennedye was Director of Photography for Urban Rez.


David w.jpgDAVE WRUCK, 
For the past 20 years, Dave Wruck has split his editing time between crafting award-winning documentaries, narratives and commercials. Wruck’s feature length documentaries include The LEGO Brickumentary with Academy Award winner Daniel Junge; Emmy Award winner Pete Schuermann's The Creep Behind The Camera; Derby, Baby!, Children of Light; Music Is My Life, Politics My Mistress, and work with Academy Award nominee Henry Ansbacher. Wruck edits shorter length documentaries for Rocky Mountain PBS and has built solid partnerships with Made Movement, Plus Productions, Genesis Inc, BravoEcho, and Grenadier for clients such as TGI Fridays, Cinch Jeans, Canon USA, Grand Rapids Public Museum, and Case Logic. Dave's work has garnered him 5 Emmys and multiple Telly Awards and brought home Film Festival awards from The Starz Denver International Film Festival, The St. Louis International Film Festival, Chamonix Adventure Festival, Taos Shortz Film Fest, Mountain Film Festival, Palm Beach International Film Festival, and Sidewalk Moving Pictures Festival.


WALT POURIER, Oglala Lakota
Logo Design
Walt Pourier is Creative Director and owner of Nakota Designs and Executive Director of the Stronghold Society which is dedicated to instilling hope and supporting youth movements through Live Life Call to Action Campaigns.

DIANE CERAFICI, Tlingit and Tsimshian
Cerafici has worked in Production at Rocky Mountain PBS for over a dozen years, performing a multitude of administrative duties for the Production Department and for the documentary, Urban Rez, all-the-while working in several key positions for in-house studio productions. One of Diane’s earliest jobs was at the American Indian Community House in New York City.


MAURICE SMITH, II, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, Navajo Intern
Maurice is from Cloquet, Minnesota, where he recently graduated from High School. He has participated in multiple media projects through his volunteerism, including serving as a production assistant for the American Indian Business Leaders Annual Conference. He has also created multiple short-form video projects for his high school's social media channels while serving as a student council member. Maurice says, "I am choosing a career in media because it influences our culture and community, and it plays an important role in our daily lives as Native teenagers."



Jonny BearCub Stiffarm, an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Nation, is the business development director for NativeEnergy, which develops carbon offset projects including new wind, solar, biomass, and hydro projects. Jonny is a national recognized leader in tribal energy affairs and U.S./Native American land and regulatory matters, and represents NativeEnergy and the tribal community at key industry tribal and energy events and speaking engagements. She received her undergraduate from Brigham Young University and a juris doctorate from the University of Minnesota School of Law.

Stands Over Bull is an accomplished geoscientist and experienced with coal mining, coal bed methane, oil and gas drilling, and solar and wind power. The grandson of the first Crow Indian to receive a four-year degree in teaching and the son of a principal and high school teacher and tribal leader, Dr. Stands-Over-Bull was immersed in an environment that stressed the importance of an education and he was exposed to community issues on a tribal, state and national level. He currently serves on the Boards of Missouri River Enterprises, Fort Berthold Reservation, North Dakota; Denver Indian Center; and Denver Indian Chamber of Commerce. He teaches classes for engineers, professors and students scientists at the Colorado School of Mines and at Montana State University.

LORI WINDLE, Anishinaabe​
 Lori Windle is an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe at the White Earth Nation. Lori earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art with a minor in Communications at Metropolitan State University, and was awarded her Master’s Degree in Media Arts at the University of Colorado at Boulder.  She has received national awards for her productions, including two from the Red Earth American Indian Film and Video Festival in Oklahoma.  Lori is a founding member and current officer of the Society of American Indian Government Employees (SAIGE), a national non-profit organization.  She has worked for 25 years as a video producer and American Indian Special Emphasis Program Manager for the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), the federal agency overseeing environmental regulation of coal mining and the reclamation of abandoned coal mines. 

is the Director of the Denver Anti-Discrimination Office where he facilitates resolution of civil rights discrimination complaints by utilizing the Indigenous form of ‘Peacemaking.’ Darius also proudly provides staff support to the Denver American Indian Commission and he periodically teaches a Contemporary American Indian Studies course at the University of Colorado Denver. He obtained a Baccalaureate degree in Communication from Azusa Pacific University; has an advanced studies certificate in American Indian History and Cultures from the University of Denver and he holds a Masters of Nonprofit Management/Leadership Training and Development from Regis University.   

Behind the Scenes

Funding for Red Power Energy provided by:

Viewer Comments:

"Important illustration of the struggles between economic sovereignty and a sustainable environmental future."

"Fascinating. Balanced. Informative. Excellent film."

"Excellent discussion with filmmaker."

"Really interesting to see this side of energy development in the U.S."

"I had no idea there was such an internal struggle within nations regarding energy."

"Distressing to see impoverished Nations repeating industrial world's mistakes."

Red Power Energy is airing on PBS stations across the country! Check the list! 


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