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In memory of Pat Spears: tribal leader, NativeEnergy board member, and close friend

Posted by The NativeEnergy Team on Jul 11, 2012
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“We believe in the wind.
The wind is a gift.
The wind has power.
The wind is a blessing.”

- Pat Spears, 1950-2012

We are saddened to report that the world has lost a passionate and dedicated activist. Our board member Pat Spears, who passed away this month, was a tireless advocate for environmental and social justice. An enrolled member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, he was a former tribal chairman, the president of the Intertribal Council On Utility Policy, and a key member of the NativeEnergy team. He will be greatly missed, but his legacy will live on through the renewable energy projects that he nurtured and the vision he has championed on behalf of Native American tribes, which benefits all who live on this Earth.

Pat began working with NativeEnergy in 2001, shortly after the company was founded. Tom Boucher, our chief executive officer, remembers Pat’s excitement and long-term vision. “I’ll never forget how appreciative and how welcoming he was when we expressed interest in working together, while it was we who were honored by his warm reception,” said Tom Boucher.

“He and Bob Gough were always on the move—in D.C. pushing for legislation, working with leaders at the Department of Energy, or collaborating with tribes across the country. They essentially lived on the road to promote their vision of tribal wind development.”

They introduced NativeEnergy to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, with whom NativeEnergy helped build the nation’s first large scale Native American-owned wind turbine in 2002. The relationship grew with Intertribal COUP, which became a substantial owner of NativeEnergy by 2005, by way of an innovative agreement that provided further ownership growth opportunity as tribal wind projects were developed.

Pat joined NativeEnergy’s Board of Directors in 2005, representing Intertribal COUP and providing his perspective and guidance to the company.

Pat was also responsible for recruiting our director of business development, Jonny Bearcub. “Since Pat first introduced me to NativeEnergy, I have grown a lot and the tribes have grown a lot in the knowledge of renewable energy and the carbon market,” said Jonny. “Pat and Bob were both very passionate about this mission, and they believed in NativeEnergy.”

Tom Stoddard, our VP and General Counsel, recalls Pat’s appreciation of the world around him—both human and natural. “My favorite image of Pat was during a cookout at my home. The horses came down from the other side of the barn and he heard the hoofbeats. The smile that broke out on his face was heartwarming. He knew that we’re all related, even to our four-footed friends, and he took great pleasure in seeing them.”

We send our deepest regards to Pat’s family and community. We will never forget his unflagging efforts and commitment to people and the earth.

Listen to Pat’s 2002 interview with Vermont Public Radio’s John Dillon: http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/67372/wind-energy-project-gets-boost-from-ben-jerrys/.

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