Aboriginal perspective – a recommendation

I’ve admitted before that I came into this industry knowing very little about hydropower, and that I have been on a quest to understand not only the technical aspects of the industry but also the cultural significance and impacts of hydropower ever since.

I was beyond fascinated by author Chris Henderson’s presentation this past October at the Ontario Waterpower Association’s Power of Water Canada Conference. Henderson, a professional in the clean energy, sustainable development, and Aboriginal partnership sectors in Canada, released his book “Aboriginal Power: Clean Energy & the Future of Canada’s First Peoples.”

Officially launched for the first time at the OWA conference, the book dives deep into the rich partnership and connection between hydroelectric power generation and First Nations in Canada.

As we have readers from all over the world, a little context is important.

The First Nations are bands of Aboriginal peoples in Canada, of which there are more than 630 officially recognized across the nation. Nearly half of this population is concentrated in British Columbia and Ontario.

In my travels to Canada on behalf of Hydro Review magazine, I have been overwhelmed by the richness and diversity of the First Nation culture I’ve encountered. There is much to see, as the First Nations have invested heavily into hydroelectric power generation on their native lands.

In his book, Henderson broaches this important topic by identifying the role Aboriginal co-ownership and investment in renewable energy development can play in both the future of power generation and the First Nations culture.

As both a history buff and hydropower journalist, this book was an incredibly intriguing read, as Henderson drew upon both his background as an Aboriginal elder and his experience in renewable energy and economic development to suggest a bridge that would connect the two for generations to come. He uses engaging stories, case profiles of projects from all over the country, and the economic and policy issues that come up with a co-owned project.

Henderson discusses a wide range of topics, including trends he has seen in Aboriginal power development, the ins-and-outs of renewable energy partnerships, decision-making within the community setting, and project financing.

As indigenous partnerships, aboriginal renewable energy development, and rural economic development are concerns and issues on a global scale, I would highly recommend this as a read for those within North America and beyond.

To order, visit aboriginalpower.ca.

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Bethany Duarte formerly was associate editor of Hydro Review and HRW-Hydro Review Worldwide magazines.

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