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Web 2.0 - Empowerment for Tribal Nations

“The faith of the villages is dust now...but it will grow again…like the trees.” Chief Joseph, Nez Perce 1840-1904

To those in the digital world, unyielding signal strength, maximum speed, and endless connectivity all add up to power. Without the things that matter most, surfing the web, watching movies, staying social with friends, sharing pictures and playing games, most would be lost. This describes the reality for most of the population of North America. A larger form of power is found in the relationship with Web 2.0 technologies which transforms our ability to communicate with each other and effect or create change.

Web 2.0 technologies enable us to evolve to higher levels of cooperation, participation, and partnership. By connecting us to one another, these changes have the potential to help us reverse or heal the damage that we have ravaged upon ourselves and our environment. The evolution of cooperative systems of technology has created a monumental breakthrough regarding human communication and outreach.

Web 2.0 refers to the cumulative changes in software programs and designs and how they are being used to connect people in business, social, and personal worlds. Web 2.0 sites allow users to collaborate and interact in social media networks and dialogue, like brainstorming and sharing in virtual communities. Web 2.0 sites include social networking, blogs, wikis, video sharing, hosted services, and web applications. There is a new generation of young bloods and they are known as the Net Generation. They seem to be born hardwired for technology, and this is how they interface.

However, the isolation of many Indian Reservations makes it impossible to take advantage of 4G networks. The top wireless network provider claims that they cover 89% of the population of the United States, could the remaining 11% be Indian Reservations? Whereas Web 2.0 technology can bridge the gap between Tribal communities and the rest of the world, extreme poverty and isolation still remain as seemingly solid barriers to freedom. Many developing countries have better broadband coverage. Government policies and business decisions do not put forth the concerns of Indigenous populations on their list of priorities.

Many powerful Web 2.0 technologies provide systems that can support Native communities like never before. With hope and the support of grassroots efforts such as the Idle No More movement, the Indigenous populations of North America can continue the good fight within the battlefield of Web 2.0. For example, one major element of this shift or breakthrough has to do with power. Barriers have been broken. Historically, information and knowledge had been kept within institutions and elite organizations, but now we all have a chance! There is a revolution going on, a profound change in how human affairs are arranged. We have a whole new way of finding one another, supporting and educating one another, and doing things together. In this era of technology those of like-mind can easily find one another and form groups and alliances.

Indigenous communities throughout the United States and Canada share many of the same characteristics that hinder positive change, such as poverty and isolation. It is helpful for Indigenous populations to reach out to one another through online publications. It is a way to bring hope and education to the world by rekindling the wisdom of the Ancestors. This has the power to heal not just a nation but a planet.

As young bloods step up to carry their People out of emotional bondage, Web 2.0 cooperative systems and networks are the weapons of a current and future battleground. For Indigenous populations the time has come for a breaking away from the governmental institutions of power, to gather and unite towards healing and transformation.

The following wisdom is timeless.

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” Chief Seattle – Duwamish 1780-1866

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