1. Torran Anderson
  2. Community Engagement Coordinator
  4. University of Arizona
  1. Cara Duncan
  2. Indige-FEWSS Fellow
  4. University of Arizona
  1. Nikki Tulley
  2. Program Coordinator
  4. University of Arizona

Indigenous Food, Energy, and Water Security and Sovereignty (Indige-FEWSS)

NSF Awards: 1735173

2019 (see original presentation & discussion)

Undergraduate, Graduate, Adult learners, Informal / multi-age

Dr. Karletta Chief (PI) explains her Indige-FEWSS project to address real world food, energy, and water problems on Navajo Nation. Indige-FEWSS graduate fellows are trained to address the following challenges and solutions:


Worldwide, ~370 million indigenous people live in over 90 countries. Although, indigenous people are only approximately 5% of the world population, they represent 90% of cultural diversity and hold 20% of the land that maintains 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity. However, indigenous people often lack access to energy, water, and food infrastructure.

  • 14% of U.S. Native American households lack access to electricity.
  • On the Navajo Nation, our partners for this graduate student training experience, approximately 35% of dwellings are not connected to central power or potable water.


Developing technical solutions to these challenges requires an understanding of indigenous societies, governance, and culture and the ability to work effectively in these contexts.

The overall research theme is the development of novel and sustainable solutions for off-grid production of safe drinking water, brine management operations, and controlled environment agriculture systems. This includes research in innovative photovoltaics; holographics; sensors and controls; unit operation technologies; and material, device, and systems resiliency.



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