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Connecting the World 14 August 2019

Preserving Native Cultures: Vote Now for the Internet Society’s Panel for SXSW 2020

Anna Higgins
By Anna HigginsSummer Research Analyst

What benefits can Internet connectivity bring to Tribal and Indigenous communities – especially when it comes to language and culture preservation? That’s the topic of our panel proposal for South by Southwest (SXSW) 2020: “How Internet Access Can Preserve Native Cultures.”

And we’re excited to announce that you can now vote for it!

SXSW, is an annual conference held in Austin, Texas, USA. The conference’s many events include a music festival, networking opportunities, and panels that focus on technology, governance, film, culture, and music. The panels featured at SXSW live within tracks that range from health and medtech to innovative applications of new technologies. All panels at SXSW are chosen through a public vote so that participants can decide what they want to discuss at the event.

That’s where we need your help!

SXSW is a platform for bringing important policy issues and initiatives to light, which is why we’ve applied. It’s an ideal forum for exposing the impact that technology can have on culture.

If accepted, our panel would discuss specific issues that Tribal and Indigenous areas face when it comes to broadband deployment, the lessons that communities can learn from one another, and how they can use connectivity as a way to preserve their local languages. We recruited two of our partners — Matt Rantanen from the Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association and Madeleine Redfern from Nuvujaq — to serve as panelists. They’ll offer perspectives of Native communities’ issues from two distinct and harsh terrains: the deserts of California and the tundra of the Arctic Circle.

The Internet Society works with Tribal and Indigenous communities in the U.S. and Canada to ensure they have the opportunity to access education, create local content, and preserve their languages. After centuries of U.S. and Canadian policies and programming that suppressed natives and their cultures, we’re partnering with them to champion their right to connectivity.

Tribal and Indigenous communities can form partnerships despite their different geographies. This idea echoes the spirit of our Indigenous Connectivity Summit, where local leaders come together to share their challenges, opportunities, and lessons learned from advocating for access.

Vote for the panel here! (Voting closes Friday, August 23 at 11:59pm PT.)

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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