Henry Red Cloud
Henry Red Cloud is a 21st century Lakota warrior dedicated to improving livelihoods in Native American communities through renewable energy and sustainable Living approaches. In 2003, he developed a low-cost solar air heating system that saved tribal families 20-30% on their heating bills. In 2006, he established Lakota Solar Enterprises (LSE), one of the first 100% Native American-owned and operated renewable energy companies in the world. In associateion with our non-profit friends, Trees, Water & People, Henry created the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC) in 2008, a one-of-a-kind educational center where tribal members receive technical and hands-on green job skills training. Here he reminds trainees that, by embracing renewable energy, there is a way to return to their traditional relationship with Mother Earth. In 2013, Henry opened the Sacred Earth Lodge, a residential training facility to accommodate the growing demand for training.
Henry’s philosophy of helping one family at a time not only improves lives, but it protects our planet by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and decreasing reliance on fossil fuels. As a respected Lakota elder of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, he is a leader and role model who is inspiring enthusiasm for renewable energy in Native communities across the nation. Devoted to bringing social justice and economic development to Indian Country, Henry is helping tribes on their path to energy sovereignty.
While he grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, Henry Red Cloud lived away from the reservation for over a decade. When he returned home as an adult in 1992 he was struck by the despondency he found there and has been working to provide hope to his people ever since. Driven by his desire to make a significant improvement in the life of each tribal family, Henry began to focus on residential-scale renewable energy options at the turn of the millennium.
Henry’s efforts to bring sustainable energy solutions to Indian Country have earned both national and international recognition:
In 2018 Henry was selected as an MIT Oceti Sakowin Fellow in recognition of his efforts at Standing Rock and bringing energy independence to tribal communities. He also won an e-Achievement Award from eTown Radio which broadcasted his interview to more than 30 countries. Check out the interview here.
In 2016, he was honored by the Red Cloud family to carry the pipe that was smoked at the 1868 Laramie Treaty by his great grandfather, Mahpiya Luta (Chief Red Cloud) into the headsmen council fire discussions at the Standing Rock Oceti Sakowin (Water Protector) camp and speak on behalf of Mahpiya Luta. While there, he helped power up the camps by providing two mobile solar power stations, 11 off-grid solar furnaces and many solar lights.
In 2014, he was selected by the White House as a Champion of Change for Solar Deployment. He also received the 2014 Berea College Service Award and the Oglala Lakota Service Award. The American Solar Energy Society honored Henry with the prestigious 2013 Charles Greeley Abbot Award for his significant social contribution to the field of solar energy.
In 2012, he traveled to Vienna to receive the World Energy Globe Award in both the “Youth” and overall “World” categories. Henry received the 2010 Annual Innovation Award from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, as well as special recognition from the 2010 Nuclear Free Future Award. In 2009, Henry was named Innovative Idea Champion by the Corporation for Enterprise Development and shared his concept of renewable energy on tribal lands at the national Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C. in 2009.