SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today announced its commitment to formalize a set of principles to guide the company’s engagement with Native American tribes and communities. The announcement was made at an event celebrating PG&E’s long history of engagement with the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians, a federally-recognized tribe located in the central foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Tuolumne County.
For more than 30 years, PG&E has worked with the Tribe as a key stakeholder in the company’s hydroelectric system operations and other utility infrastructure in the Sierras.
“Working with native tribes to care for cultural resources is part of our responsibility as a company that values California’s rich diversity and PG&E is committed to working closely with local communities. Creating a formal set of principles to guide these partnerships will put in place a strong foundation for continued collaboration and success,” said PG&E Corporation Chairman, CEO and President Tony Earley.
During today’s event at PG&E’s San Francisco headquarters, the company and the Tribe highlighted the example set by their collaborative engagement on a recent PG&E hydroelectric maintenance project that unearthed many tribal artifacts and cultural resources. PG&E worked closely with the Tribe to ensure all cultural resources were managed with care and respect.
“It’s important to our people to have connections to preserve and protect our traditional cultural heritage. Our Tribe’s working relationship with PG&E demonstrates a respect for our culture, so that our knowledge of areas will be passed down from generation to generation,” said Carlos Geisdorff, cultural coordinator with the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians.
The event also featured a performance by more than 20 tribal singers and dancers and unveiled a temporary interpretive display to further educate employees and guests about the Tribe. With a theme of “Common Ground,” the exhibit is located at PG&E’s corporate headquarters and features artifacts excavated from the hydroelectric project, as well as baskets and other items on loan from the Tribe.
Moving forward, PG&E’s work with the Tribe will inform a set of principles to guide the company’s continuing engagement with the approximately 100 Native American tribal entities within its service area — in keeping with the company’s commitment to continuous improvement and respect for the diversity of the customers and communities it serves.
”PG&E deserves to be commended for publicly establishing the principles it will follow when working with Native American tribes. The company is setting a standard for how to collaborate with, and show respect for, the needs and interests of tribal communities,” said former Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes, now a member of PG&E’s Sustainability Advisory Council.
“The relationship between PG&E and the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians is a positive example that other corporations can follow in engaging with Native American tribes. NCAI applauds PG&E for establishing formal protocols to respectfully govern its interactions with tribal nations; such established corporate principles can help ensure that regular, meaningful consultation is not haphazard, but part of its core business philosophy,” said Jacqueline Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/index.page.
About the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians
The Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians has a long and rich history in the foothills of the central Sierra Nevada Mountains, dating back thousands of years. In keeping with our traditional cultural heritage, this knowledge is passed down from generation to generation as evidenced by numerous cultural landscapes maintained by the people. As stewards of the land, it’s our responsibility to protect and preserve our heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.mewuk.com.