New e-community group in North Spirit Lake
Keewaytinook Okimakanak has partnered with a group of researchers to get more youth involved in information and communication technologies.
“The lead researcher, Susan O’Donnell, went and lived up in North Spirit Lake for two months,” said Franz Seibel, research director at Keewaytinook Okimakanak Research Institute.
“She found out that North Spirit wanted to set up this new e-community, where all of the services that are Internet based can have a place where they share, learn and innovate together and get the new generation of youth involved.”
Seibel said the last e-community was the SMART community, which was established in 2001 by Industry Canada with K-Net as the Aboriginal SMART community project.
“This is like a renewal of the SMART communities,” Seibel said. “K-Net branded the e-community to get people to come together and the First Nations Innovation project is going to help by publishing the journey, the good news stories.”
Seibel said the First Nations Innovation project researchers are academics who publish and learn from other organizations’ best practices.
“For example, there is a lady going up there next week who is going to bring some audio recorders and teach (the e-community members) how to share their stories through audio,” Seibel said. “They’ll be going on an audio walk and interviewing Elders and then they are going to have a radio show.”
Seibel said the e-community has been using a Facebook page to discuss what is important to them in terms of technology and services in North Spirit Lake, which allows for more efficient communications.
“No longer are we sending faxes, posters and trying to call people to get them to come out,” Seibel said. “We’re going to generate that discussion on Facebook.”
The First Nations ICT Innovations project was launched on Feb. 21 by a team of First Nation groups and researchers — KO, the First Nations Education Council in Quebec, Atlantic Canada’s
First Nation Help Desk/Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey and the University of New Brunswick — to study and celebrate achievements with ICTs in First Nations in the Atlantic provinces, Quebec and Ontario.
The project is aiming to share and document First Nation innovative success stories and best practices; support First Nation ownership, control, access and possession of ICT tools, infrastructure and capacity; develop an understanding of how First Nations are using technologies for community, social and economic development; and emphasize the links between broadband networks in First Nations and self-determination, treaties, and national and international policies such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The researchers have completed studies in four First Nation communities since 2010, including three research studies in Fort Albany and two in Mishkeegogamang.
The First Nations Innovation project is funded through a five-year Insight Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
First Nation community members who wish to become involved in the project are encouraged contact one of the four partner organizations.
Information on the project is available at http://fn-innovation-pn.com.
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