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December 6, 2000
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Sandia, DOE, Navajo Nation sign MOU

Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson participates in signing

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In an effort to build working relationships between the Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories and the Navajo Nation, the entities signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) Dec. 4 in Albuquerque. Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson, Navajo Nation President Kelsey Begaye and Sandia Executive Vice President Joan Woodard participated in the signing.

A second ceremonial signing is scheduled for Dec. 15 at Crownpoint Institute of Technology. The New Mexico Congressional delegation has been invited.

Sandia Vice President Bob Eagan, whose Energy, Information and Infrastructure Surety Division has worked closely with the Navajos over the years in various energy-related projects, says the MOU will encourage further collaboration between Sandia and the Navajo Nation.

“It will give us the opportunity to deploy technologies we developed in our laboratories on Indian lands — technologies like photovoltaics that will provide electricity to Navajo homes at remote sites,” he says. “This is an ongoing relationship and an important extension of a fruitful relationship we enjoy with the Navajo Nation.”

Sandia began working on the MOU effort in 1998 in response to a directive from Secretary Richardson that the national laboratories create partnerships with tribes and pueblos. Several Sandia employees met with Navajo leaders, including Navajo Nation Vice President Taylor McKenzie and Navajo Nation Economic Developer Sharlene Begay-Platero, to outline terms.

The MOU was approved by three Navajo Nation legislative bodies, including the economic development committee, natural resources committee, and the intergovernmental relations committee.

The agreement has several potential areas of collaboration and cooperation that promise to be win-win situations for both Sandia and the Navajo Nation. Among them are developing strategies promoting regional economic development and quality education; offering broad services from Sandia’s Corporate Business Development and Partnerships Office; identifying mutual interests and concerns; and using Sandia’s expertise and resources to help address technical issues on the reservation.

During the signing Secretary Richardson told the audience, “We are linking the global revolution of science and technology with the oldest people in our land,” adding the agreement is one of a number being undertaken by the department and various tribes.

Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Department of Energy under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major research and development responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Media contact:
Chris Burroughs, coburro@sandia.gov, (505) 844-0948

MOU contact:
Ann Riley, ajriley@sandia.gov, (505) 845-4118

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