About Native Sun

Native Sun is a Native-led nonprofit organization that promotes energy efficiency, renewable energy and equitable energy transition through education, workforce training and demonstration.

Our Values

To help Native nations and people lead the way to a climate future by realizing the economic and environmental benefits of Indigenous perspective within the transition to clean energy, engaging in civic and democratic life in ways that advance a just energy transition, and progressing toward the future of energy sovereignty.

Our Mission

To help Native nations use renewable energy systems, train a Native renewable energy workforce, educate young people about climate change and the environment, and develop civic skills and capacity among Native people to provide leadership for a just transition and the pathway to energy sovereignty.

Executive Director

Robert Blake

Tribal citizen of the Red Lake Nation and owner of Solar Bear, a solar installation company headquartered in Minneapolis, MN. Robert’s passion is spreading the word about renewable energy through communication, cooperation and collaboration.

Board Members

Ralph Jacobson

CEO of IPS Solar – one of Minnesota’s first solar power companies and one of the Twin Cities’ fastest-growing companies.

Laura Kidd

Laura Kidd attended Metropolitan State University, where she attained her Bachelor’s degree. Laura brings a wealth of experience working for the Twin Cities American Indian communities. Laura has worked for the American Indian Family Center and the Ho-Chunk Nation, and Laura was a board member of Dayton’s Bluff Community Council.

Dr. Christie Manning 

Assistant professor of environmental studies at Macalester College with focuses on the climate crisis and community-level action.

Dr. Julia Nerbonne

Adjunct assistant professor of conservation biology studies at University of Minnesota with focus on creating powerful social movements.

Brian Seki

Red Lake Ogichidaag and project manager for Woodstone, Inc., a Native-owned company.

Angela Christian-Nelson (Chaboyea)

Angela earned her B.A. in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin, River Falls. She has worked for Axtell & Haller, CPAs for the past four years. Prior to Axtell & Haller Angela handled the Director of Operations for Bdote Learning Center a Native American Language Immersion Charter School in Minneapolis.

Jonee Kulman Brigham

An environmental architect and artist, Jonee has worked in sustainability consulting, design practice, and interdisciplinary research. Her current work in Green Schools and Environmental Education includes designing green school guidelines and researching STEAM education using her model for art-led environmental education. Jonee’s passion for sustainable, and equitable energy aligns perfectly with Native Suns’ values.

Staff & Consultants

hLisa Daniels

Lisa is the Executive Director for Windustry and is co-manager of Native Suns’ Electric Vehicle Charging Station project. Her experience as Executive Director with a demonstrated history of working in the renewables and environment industry. Lisa possesses strong business development skills in Nonprofit Organizations, Policy Analysis, Event Planning, Energy, and Sustainability. Lisa’s core strategies: working to address Climate Change with clean energy access for all; community-based renewable energy delivers more to the local economy.

Joe Parkhurst

Joe is an enrolled member of the Red Lake Nation. Joe is an employee of Native Sun and is Co-Manager of the Department of Energy Electric Vehicle Charging Station project. Joe holds a Bachelor of Science in business and brings two decades of experience handling projects for Fortune 100 companies. Since 2017 Joe has worked for American Indian nonprofit organizations helping to achieve the goals of the United States Treasury Department and The United States Department of Justice.

Keiko Miller

Associate Director of Program Strategy and Development

Keiko brings a wealth of experience in project management, strategic communications, facilitation, strategic planning, and program development. She has had the privilege of participating in various initiatives related to sustainability and community development, such as her time as a Board Member and later as the Board Chair at Minneapolis Climate Action.

Sarah L

Senior Policy and Program Analyst

Sarah is a Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa member, raised in Dunseith, ND. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from North Dakota State University and a Master’s in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy from the University of Minnesota. Sarah’s passion for renewable energy ignited during her undergraduate years when she interned at Sandia National Labs through the Office of Indian Energy internship program and worked on national issues revolving around energy production. This internship allowed her to collaborate closely with Sandra Begay and gain exposure to tribal energy projects via conferences, training, and field visits, including trips to the Navajo Nation, Hopi villages, and the Hualapai’s Grand Canyon solar project.