LAS VEGAS, NV – During the 2019 Reservation Economic Summit (RES) hosted by the National Center for American Indian Economic Development (NCAIED), digital technologies were a common thread across the fabric of Tribal economic development.
Tribal citizens recognize the value of digital transformations that Tribes are adopting at an increasingly rapid pace. While some Tribal enterprises find it daunting to change their business practices to processes that are technology centered, others provided testimonials on how efficiencies and improvements have been gained -- in contracting, data management, business processes, renewable energy, social media marketing, telehealth, wearable technology, and cultural revitalization and preservation -- through transforming digital technologies.
“RES is a great place to learn how Tribal governments, tribal enterprises, and tribal citizens are using digital technologies and how fast they are changing their digital footprint,” states Loris Taylor, President & CEO of Native Public Media.
Derrick Baxter, CEO of Ogoki Learning Inc., provided information about an app that is helping to teach young people the Ojibway language. Baxter shared his personal story about working with elders to record the Objibway language and how his passion turned into a business delivering more than 170 apps in the App Store and Google Play. According to Baxter, Tribal innovation on mobile technologies is limitless and encouraged Tribal members to develop apps for tribal specific communities, conferences and events, resources, and tourism.
Bloomberg Government’s Senior Data Analyst Paul Murphy spoke about applying pioneering technology to the commercialization of government spending data. Using technology, a deep dive analysis is possible for contracts, procurement practices, budgets, and grants that will position Tribes for economic growth.
Not every session provided a rosy picture of Tribal digital transformation. Tribal representatives likened cyber security to an arms race with threat actors who have become more sophisticated in utilizing technological and psychological weapons against Tribal enterprises and anchor institutions. Tribes agree that methods for detection, prevention, and remediation have become an integral part of the Tribal landscape.
“Wearable medical technology has already reached some Tribal communities to provide predictive analysis as part of treatment plans for injury, diabetes, heart disease, opioid abuse, and other health risk factors. These are life-changing changes and it goes to show that when broadband is deployed to Indian Country, it will transform our Tribal communities,” concludes Taylor.
Native Public Media has a strong and robust Communication and Telecommunications Policy Program. For more information, visit www.nativepublicmedia.org