Community engagement

This document focuses on three aspects of successful community engagement: understanding, planning, and operationalizing, and ensuring that efforts are meaningful. It also includes links to resources for communities.

Entrepreneurship

Connectivity provides entrepreneurship opportunities to Native American communities. It gives communities the ability to take their trades and crafts and put them in marketable places. 

“While the best-known tribal business in the modern era is gaming, indigenous entrepreneurs are increasingly creating a diverse range of companies, such as telecommunication firms, digital enterprises, federal contractors and producers of fashion and art.” (Ways Native American Entrepreneurship Is Expanding, by Chris Farrell Contributor and Next Avenue Contributor Group)

For information on Exploring the Relationship Between Broadband and Economic Growth by Michael Minges for the World Bank, click here.

For business resources and information, click here for the Native Business Magazine.

Here is a great example of an ingenious marketplace brought to you by The Centre for Indigenous Initiatives.

Benefits of Digital

2020 and 2021 showed many communities the importance of reliable internet connection. Many families were dependent on internet connection for distant learning and for work. However, there are many more benefits of the internet for your community. On this page you can explore some benefits connectivity has to offer as well as some examples of how Native American communities use internet access to serve and better their community.

For an overview of findings and guidelines for research on The Impact of Internet Access in Indigenous Communities in Canada and the United States by Dr. Heather E. Hudsen click here.

Community broadband and economic development

Public Safety

Connectivity can greatly enhance tribal justice systems. Connectivity aides tribal police officers, court systems, foster care facilities, aiding background checks, as well as the ability to broadcast missing and murdered indigenous women and children. It can also be used for community communications to provide emergency alerts, important tribal information and updates. It can be used to stream panels and tribal meetings as well. For more information, click here.

For The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Tribal Access Program for National Crime Information (TAP) click here.

Telehealth

Telehealth is another invaluable resource, community members can easily seek virtual health services for things like diabetes control, mental health and many other crucial services our communities need. Going digital assists in connecting existing medical facilities as well. Echo is a program that helps existing facilities. The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium is a great example of telehealth programs.

Cultural Preservation

The internet can be a great way to engage the youth and elders with cultural preservation. It can be used to teach traditional languages. For example, the Bishop Paiute tribe hosted in person language classes however, only a few people attended in person, now there are over 300 people that attend online.  It can be a place to share traditional values. For example, the Yupik people use the internet for many programs including Journey to Recovery for youth and adults, Grief and Healing, Yupik Culture and Values, Traditional Parenting, grief growth and healing tribute to elders, parents, and youth. It is a great tool to represent what matters to our communities. Virtual cooking classes, beading classes, and traditional dance classes are just some ideas to boost awareness of traditional cultures. 

Click here for the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers.