The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest privately funded foundation in the world. The primary aims of the foundation are, globally, to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty, and in America, to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology. (wikipedia) One of the programs run by the foundation is called the “Native American Access to Technology Program”. I came across this program during my search for material on the digital divide and its impact on indigenous communities.
Providing access to technology has more than logistical complications. There are also philosophical issues which go hand-in-hand with this discussion. Some of the more salient points embedded in this issue are outlined in a paper by Dorr, Gordon & Gordon, found here: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/learning/Documents/NAATP.pdf The authors assert that it would be naive to conclude that simply overcoming connectivity issues change the fundamental economic plight of indigenous peoples in America. Underlying economic, social, and political realities that led to the lack of infrastructure also hobbled better solutions to the problems of technology access for Native Americans, and those realities are still with us.
Some details on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as the Native American Access to Technology Program can be found online here: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/nr/public/media/annualreports/annualreport04/programs/libraries/grantee.html