Chief Patrick Michell

Chief Patrick Michell, Chief of Kanaka Bar Indian Band, who recently spearheaded a solar project in his community.
Chief Patrick Michell

Chief of Kanaka Bar Indian Band
Fraser Canyon, British Columbia

W​e’re creating small-scale incremental change

Unless our world tries to do something about climate change, I’m concerned that big change is coming. I don’t think that I can solve climate change alone. It’s bigger than all of us and it’s going to require all of us working together to solve this problem.

At Kanaka Bar, we’re creating small-scale incremental change with renewable energy. I’ve personally seen the good that can come of it. Thirty-six years ago I had a vision for hydro power in my community. Today, after much work by my community and partnerships with the government and an energy company, we now have a 50 MW run-of-river project on the Kwoiek Creek. The project made me realize that these things take time but they also help create jobs, make our community self-sufficient – and can even have an impact on things like addiction and mental health.

An incredible future brought by renewable energy​

And now with this new solar project – well, within a week of doing presentations on the new system, my membership started turning off all of their lights at night and checking to see if the photocopiers were off when they left work. They would start these conservation habits at work, and then started doing them at home too.

At Kanaka Bar, our whole society is predicated on sustainable use of land and resources. We now have an incredible future together brought by the renewable energy sector. Is what Kanaka Bar achieved replicable? And should it be? The answer is yes.

There’s a word that sends shivers up my spine. Sustainable. You mean to say if I use it today, it’ll still be here tomorrow? Through sheer strength, desire and motivation for positive change, what happened in Kanaka Bar, happened. And I believe that it can be replicated everywhere.

B.C.’s Kanaka Bar Indian Band, located in the Fraser Canyon, recently celebrated the launch of a new 10 kW solar project—led by Chief Patrick Michell and built with the support of Bullfrog Power customers. The Band has long focused on the sustainable use of its land resources. The solar project is an extension of this commitment and gives the Band an opportunity to integrate solar training into the community.

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