Tag Archives: internet

How can the internet help to preserve indigenous culture – Chris Cramer

In my first weblog I focused on how indigenous communities can get online. In my second weblog I want to look at the question how the internet can help to preserve indigenous culture.

Life at the Edge of the Internet

Preserving the Digital Heritage of Indigenous Cultures


This paper presents our research and field work with the Waorani Indians in eastern Ecuador regarding how they can preserve their digital heritage and culture on the Internet. We focused on empowering the Waorani to use technology to approach the Internet on their terms: to tell their story, not have their story told, to be independent, not dependent. Using analogies to life in the jungle, we explored issues such as digital self-determination, proprietary file formats, control of material entrusted to cloud service providers, international data import/export, content ownership vs. licensing, and intellectual property.

Archival systems are only as valuable as their input data. This data is at risk due to competing economic and legal forces that can adversely influence content, digitization, ownership, and permitted usage. To address this problem, we present an encryption framework that encourages medical tourism to indigenous villages by protecting archived medical data, privacy, and constitutional rights.



How to Preserve Cultural Memory in the Digital Age

Humans are a fortunate species. We are not the strongest or fastest. We don’t have the biggest brains or live the longest. Yet we are dominant over the planet. From cuneiform to computer chip, our memory technologies give us a unique survival advantage: knowledge. But that knowledge is not secure in the digital age.

We’re moving from an information economy of relative scarcity to one of abundance. And we have yet to build an infrastructure that can manage titanic masses of data at scale. The high cost of publishing books and making films forced us to ask what we can afford to save. But anyone with an internet connection can write blogs and post home movies to YouTube. Now we must decide what we can afford to lose. […]



Aboriginal Culture in the Digital Age

The object of this paper is to bring a holistic perspective to the implications of ICT for Aboriginal ways of living, thinking and knowing. Is ICT the potent enabler for the promotion, renewal and enrichment of Aboriginal cultures as many claim? For example does ICT offer new possibilities for the preservation and teaching of Aboriginal languages? Within the context of increasing numbers of Aboriginal peoples living away from traditional communities in large urban melting pots, can technology help safeguard the right of Aboriginal children and young people to learn their culture and speak their Indigenous languages? On the other hand, what types of cultural risks does the new ICT broadly, but not exclusively, refer to existing and emerging digital technologies such as the computer, telecommunications, the Internet, wireless, satellite, mobile phones, etc. technology present for Aboriginal peoples? Is appropriation and distortion of traditional Aboriginal knowledge one of them, and if so, what can be done to mitigate the risks of inappropriate access and use of this knowledge? These are some of the major questions explored in this paper.



The Use of ICT to preserve Australian Indigenous Culture and Language – a Preliminarily Proposal Using the Activity Theory Framework


Propinquity between Australian Indigenous communities’ social structures and ICT purposed for cultural preservation is a modern area of research; hindered by the ‘digital divide’ thus limiting plentiful literature in this field in theoretical or practical applications. Consequently, community consultations become mandatory for deriving empirical and effective processes and outcomes in successful culture and language preservation and teaching of Indigenous culture in Aboriginal Australian communities. Analysis of a literature review has identified ICT as the best provision method to immortalize and teach cultural knowledge and language for Indigenous Australians determined by the accessibility of ICT’s, the capacity of Aboriginal Australians to learn to use ICT and in some instances, the increased cost effectivity for multi-community communications and meetings from geographically dispersed land councils to use ICT. This research examines the effectiveness and outputs of culturally conscious, end-user driven ICT development and implementation into contemporary Indigenous Australian social structures and communities.



Indigenous tribe in Brazil creates video game to help preserve culture

For indigenous communities grappling with how to preserve their cultures, there’s the constant question of how to bridge the gap between historical tradition and a tech-focused world. But a seemingly unusual medium has emerged as an avenue toward achieving this goal: gaming. And one indigenous tribe in Brazil is using it as a means to tell their story.




Aboriginal Culture in a Digital Age. (n.d.). Retrieved October 15, 2017, from http://www.kta.on.ca/pubRep.html

Dupere, K. (2016, March 07). Indigenous tribe in Brazil creates video game to help preserve culture. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from http://mashable.com/2016/03/07/indigenous-video-game-huni-kuin/#tt1rI6LKtOqu

Katikala, R., Madsen, K., & Mincaye Nenquimo Enqueri, G. (n.d.). Life at the Edge of the Internet Preserving the Digital Heritage of Indigenous Cultures. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/events/calendar-of-events/events-websites/the-memory-of-the-world-in-the-digital-age-digitization-and-preservation/presentations-day-1/

Rumsey, A. S. (2016, June 14). How to Preserve Cultural Memory in the Digital Age. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/abby-smith-rumsey/culture-memory-digital_b_10357622.html

Van Der Meer, Sarah & Meer, Der & Smith, Stephen & Pang, Vincent. (2015). The Use of ICT to preserve Australian Indigenous Culture and Language – a Preliminarily Proposal Using the Activity Theory Framework. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sarah_Van_Der_Meer/publication/297324225_The_Use_of_ICT_to_preserve_Australian_Indigenous_Culture_and_Language_-_a_Preliminarily_Proposal_Using_the_Activity_Theory_Framework/links/56de5f9c08aeb8b66f94b0bb/The-Use-of-ICT-to-preserve-Australian-Indigenous-Culture-and-Language-a-Preliminarily-Proposal-Using-the-Activity-Theory-Framework.pdf



Internet Access and Indigenous Communities – Chris Cramer

Getting remote Indigenous communities online

Most remote Australian Indigenous communities have little or no access to digital technology. Last year, three internet-enabled terminals were installed as a trial in the remote communities of Burraluba Yuru Ngurra (Halls Creek WA), Binjari Top Camp (NT) and Bana Yarralji Bubu (Shiptons Flat QLD).

The terminals are robust, free standing units with vandal-resistant screens, keyboards and touchpads, designed to run 24/7 in the harshest conditions. Each has three screens and keyboards so several people can use them simultaneously. Educational games, books, and a child-friendly copy of Wikipedia were included as part of the content.

Source: http://theconversation.com/getting-remote-indigenous-communities-online-19549


Internet access in Aboriginal communities

The Internet is yet to make a difference in remote Aboriginal communities. Very few people there own a computer and even fewer are connected.

Source: https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/economy/internet-access-in-aboriginal-communities#ixzz4tLrK4ltB


Home Internet for Remote Indigenous Communities

Only one household out of 30 in the Kwale Kwale, Mungalawuru, and Imangara communities in Central Australia is connected to the internet.

The Home Internet for Remote Indigenous Communities provides a baseline study of communication use in these three remote communities. It includes an overview of existing policies, demonstrating the significance of the intersection between communications and social policy for indigenous consumers living in remote communities.

Source: http://accan.org.au/files/SWIN-CLC-CATHomeInternet.pdf


Social media and digital technology use among Indigenous young people in Australia: a literature review

The use of social media and digital technologies has grown rapidly in Australia and around the world, including among Indigenous young people who face social disadvantage. Given the potential to use social media for communication, providing information and as part of creating and responding to social change, this paper explores published literature to understand how Indigenous Australian youth use digital technologies and social media, and its positive and negative impacts.

Source: https://equityhealthj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12939-016-0366-0 


Is the Internet A Useful Resource For Indigenous Women Living In Remote Communities In Canada, Australia and New Zealand To Access Health Resources?

In the emerging Information economy, the internet is a very powerful resource. Yet for most Indigenous people, access to this resource is very limited. This report examines the digital divide in our society and how it affects Indigenous peoples in remote communities in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Also explored is the issue of whether or not the internet is a viable resource for Indigenous women to access health resources, and other valuable information that promotes a holistic approach to health and well-being.

Source: http://www.yorku.ca/anthna/DigitalDivide.pdf


Fisher, J. (2013, November 25). Getting remote Indigenous communities online. Retrieved September 21, 2017, from http://theconversation.com/getting-remote-indigenous-communities-online-19549

Rennie, E, Crouch, A, Wright, A & Thomas, J 2011, Home Internet for Remote Indigenous Communities, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, Sydney. Retrieved September 21, 2017, from http://accan.org.au/files/SWIN-CLC-CATHomeInternet.pdf

Rice, E. S., Haynes, E., Royce, P., & Thompson, S. C. (2016, May 25). Social media and digital technology use among Indigenous young people in Australia: a literature review. Retrieved September 21, 2017, from https://equityhealthj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12939-016-0366-0

Smillie – Adjarkwa , C. (2005). Is the Internet A Useful Resource For Indigenous Women Living In Remote Communities In Canada, Australia and New Zealand To Access Health Resources? [PDF]. National Network for Aboriginal Mental Health Research. Retrieved September 21, 2017, from http://www.yorku.ca/anthna/DigitalDivide.pdf

Spirits, J. K. (n.d.). Internet access in Aboriginal communities. Retrieved September 21, 2017, from https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/economy/internet-access-in-aboriginal-communities

Research 5 links Exploring Arts, Culture, Indigeneity and Technology

The more I research into art, technology and indigeneity, the more intrigued I am with the topic. There are many layers to the topic and it is constantly evolving as culture is not static and there is not one set definition of what culture is. In addition, technology continues to evolve so more layers become added including commodification and differing world views on this.


In the journal article, “Aboriginal theater: does ’sold out’ mean ’selling out’? “ The author discusses the disparity between Western Civilizations’ view of theater and the aboriginal point of view which encompasses a reflecting of spiritual truth as they see it. He highlights the complexities of ancient, traditional Aboriginal art forms and finds that the performing arts have been portrayed as primitive ritual lacking in the sophistication and complexity of contemporary western civilization. He speaks to the ethnocentric and naïve view that western thought purports and proposes that these art forms may be  difficult to interpret using western mode of thought.



In the journal article “From Colonialism to Multiculturalism? Totem Poles, Tourism and National identity in Vancouver’s Stanley Park”, the author reflects about the symbol of the totem pole and questions whose culture is represented, displayed and consumed. She questions whether or not they adequately capture the complicated and diverse histories and experiences of first nations people in the province of BC. She also discusses the use of totem poles as a statement of Canadian heritage and questions the Canadian Government’s use of them for their economic and cultural value. She writes further that the displays run the risk of minimizing the histories and legacies of aboriginal people within our nation.


In the article, “Authentic Inuit Art: Creation and Exclusion in the Canadian North”, the author discusses how Modern Inuit commercial arts grew out of the desires of multiple non-Inuit agencies and persons. He also discusses how these outside influences worked to create new art forms which were means of carrying out the will of these competing persons in a complex competition to control social and cultural relationships. These were appropriated by the Inuit and this new art gave them new strength to establish new economic, social and political institutions.  In all, the article examines the historical support and shaping of Canadian Inuit art in the 20th century,  and the consequences of outside influences.


In In the article, “Indigenous culture: both malleable and valuable”,  the author speaks to Ideological  tensions that arise with the effort to balance the preservation of cultural integrity with the selling of marketable wares.  She proposes further interdisciplinary research to develop an understanding that supports the long‐term sustainability of indigenous communities. She finds that existing discourse is currently dominated by non‐indigenous voices and Western tourism motivations, which need amelioration to better support the community‐based approach.


In the article, “The Artifice of Culture, Contemporary Indigenous Art and the Work of Peter Robinson”, the author discusses the huge effect   computing, Internet, and televisual technologies have had on the conditions of the production, reproduction, circulation, and consumption of cultural imagery. These technologies are fueling an economy and the commodification of art as culture.  Indigenous and non‐Indigenous perspectives on commodification are likely to provide different views. The article examines  the representation of contemporary,  ‘non‐traditional’ Indigenous art and the definition of cultural property and identity.



5 Links to Articles – Exploring Indigeneity the Arts and Technology


This article explores art education and place-based education as a means of developing ecological literacy. It explores the integration of the real-world, community-centred learning of place-based education with art. It provides information about a model art and environmental educators to create experiences for students regarding self and community.


This article explores aboriginal expression in the arts and media. It explores tv, film, theater, radio and music networks and the internet. It explores opposing viewpoints including the erosional of cultural foundations  and the empowerment in reappropriating various forms of artistic representation.


This is the website of Muskrat magazine and the article “Pass the faether to Me” Aboriginal Arts Collective” promotes a classroom art exchange program between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth, teachers and artists. It promotes using visual culture to transcend logistic and financial barriers and is attempting to create co-operative and respectful interrelations for future generations. MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture magazine that exhibits original works and critical commentary. It’s mandate is to use media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.


This article from the Canadian Journal of Communication Explores the idea of  “Travelling Through Layers” and how  Inuit artists are beginning to appropriate new technologies. It discusses how the Inuit are mapping traditional concepts, values, and metaphors to make sense of contemporary realities and technologies.


This article discusses the Woodlands School of Art and the impact Norval Morrisseau had on the changing the conversation in the universe about what it means to be native. Norval’s belief that the process of learning is essential to culture and so is the process of teaching culture was expressed through art. It discusses Ojibwa Culture and Art and how art can be used to bridge gaps within and between cultures.


Traditional Knowledge and the Internet


This article, published by Charles Darwin University, examines aboriginal traditional knowledge thoroughly, showing the difference in western philosophy. It details traditional knowledge relatable various forms. Interestingly, in contrast to the previous traditional knowledge website I referenced, it views technology as a medium to bring power and voice to aboriginal people. It discusses the potential for the internet to become a a “virtual open ceremonial ground” where people can come together from different spaces and share traditional knowledge.

This is an excellent site for understanding the importance of traditional knowledge in indigenous culture

Internet in First Nations Communities


This online article contains video interviews and research on promoting the need for high speed internet access in native rural communities. It discusses how urban internet speeds continue to rise while rural communities stays relatively static. It discusses how internet skills have been a positive for aboriginal communities in terms of education and finding jobs.

I would recommend this site to anyone studying how technology can aid in cultural development of aboriginal communities.

Native American Dictionaries

Online Dictionaries

This link on the Multilingual Books website lists a number of online resources for the following languages:

The online dictionaries vary in formats. Some are in ebook format or PDF files while others are web sites.


Idle No More

Idle No More is an ongoing grassroots protest movement, founded in Canada in December 2012 by four women: three First Nations women and one non-Native ally. The purpose of the movement is to oppose unilateral and colonial legislation, to support empowerment in order to build sovereignty & resurgence of nationhood, and to pressure government & industry to protect the environment. In a short number of years it has become one of the largest Indigenous mass movements in Canadian history, and has become, to some degree, an international indigenous movement.

The movement makes use of the internet through it’s website as well as its social media channels:

Here is a a short documentary about the Idle No More movement


Module 1.5 – Infusing Lessons with Aboriginal Knowledge

I actually went looking for examples of ways that indigenous/aboriginal/first nations knowledge has been transposed or infused into the traditional classroom in Canada or elsewhere, but didn’t get far.  I did find several examples of ways that indigenous teachings can be included in teacher training:

OISE at University of Toronto

Manitoba does have some resources for the actual integration of “aboriginal perspectives” into curricula, but I am not sure if that integration is mandated, suggested, or if this is simply provided information to be used at will.

Module 1.3 – ICT For Peace (or, is technology neutral)

ICT For Peacbuilding is a really interesting website that looks at the use of information communications technology (ICT) for conflict resolution. I thought it was interesting to extrapolate a lot of their discussions on the neutrality of the internet/technology as it pertains to our discussions of these topics in this course.  The main author certainly believes that the question, “is technology culturally neutral”, isn’t even the question we should focus on, rather,

whether one accepts the neutrality of technology depends on one’s valuing philosophy – whether one tends toward the pragmatic and situational, or the absolute and authoritarian. Those who believe that technology is neutral argue that “guns don’t kill people, people do”, or that a knife can be used to “cook, kill, or cure.” Those who believe the opposite counter with evidence that technology cannot be evaluated in a vacuum and that there are traits common to all technological developments: (1) technological objects are unique; they are designed to function in a particular and limited way, and (2) technological objects are intertwined with their environment; they interact in unique ways with the rest of reality.

I do think that the neutrality of technology really depends upon the lens with which we look at each circumstance.  There are opportunities for individuals to represent themselves in the way they’d like to be seen. But it is certainly not clear to me if that means true neutrality or simply a manipulation of the cultural norm.