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Arctic Issues On-line: Decolonizing the digital North
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Arctic Issues On-line: Decolonizing the digital North

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What are the roadblocks to greater indigenous online participation in the North? How are Inuit leveraging the Internet to represent their interest? This presentation will focus on these questions, …

What are the roadblocks to greater indigenous online participation in the North? How are Inuit leveraging the Internet to represent their interest? This presentation will focus on these questions, utilizing Nunavut, Canada as a case study. The topic, which arises about of my year-long project focusing on indigenous use, will be presented at the Arctic Frontiers Conference in Tromso, Norway January 23, 2013.


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  • 1. n- l in e suesO cti c IsAr sen eter om el P ail.c cha gm Ra @ s.com 9 networky 2013 p8 ive chn lnat a ba r o nuar gl 2 3 Ja
  • 2. the i ng t h ni z ol o a l N orDec d i git rctic ea ter A ce o gr presen c cks t rnet Roa dblo inte nous in dige
  • 3. Prese Prese h s earc s and y re ople• M enous pe ntati ntatio Indig logy • chno y stud te case vut: A on O un a n Ou • N y g raph • Geo utline ost nc e” • C ital dissona tline t u se • “Dig t i nte r ne i e n t Inu tions • Curr o ns i dera i ng c • Clos
  • 4. Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellowship
  • 5. Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellowship
  • 6. Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellowship
  • 7. Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellowship
  • 8. Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellowship
  • 9. Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellowship
  • 10. Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellowship
  • 11. “The cultural survival of marginalized peoplesmay soon depend (if it does not already) on an ability and willingness among the otherwisedefenseless to plug into – literally and figuratively – transnational lobby networks…” - Niezen, 2005
  • 12. Internet doesntthreaten Inuit culture
  • 13. Internet doesntthreaten Inuit culture ... bu t une qual acce s s do es .
  • 14. How and to what extent are indigenous peoples of theNorth leveraging online networks to strengthentheir identity and rights?
  • 15. Case study: Nunavut• Newest Canadian territory• Young, Inuit population• Small consumer base spread across large area• Isolation, limited accessibility • Digital infrastructure critical for service provision and commerce• Primary internet providers: • Northwestel (Iqaluit) • Ssi Micro – “Qiniq”
  • 16. Roadblock 1: Geography
  • 17. Roadblock 1: Geography
  • 18. Roadblock 2: Comparative Costs • Large Inuit movement -- “Feeding my Family”-- gained footing on Facebook• Did not emphasize cost of online networks
  • 19. North versus South: Comparative Costs
  • 20. Roadblock 2: Comparative Costs MB/s Service Cost per MB Monthly fee Start up MB/s upload Monthly cap (G) Extra 1 G downloadQiniq (Nunavut)              Attigiallak (new) $53.00 $80.00 $125.00 1.5 0.38 10 $20.00Qanniq $156.00 $60.00 $200.00 0.384 ? 3 $30.00Pisiq $267.00 $400.00 $400.00 0.768 ? 20 $20.00Northwestel(Nunavut)Business 2.0 $125.00 $250.00 $500.00 2 0.500 .11/hour downWebsurfer $137.00 $70.00 $500.00 0.512 0.128 .24/hour downVideotron(Montreal)Ultimate 200 $1.00 $200.00 $60.00 200 30 250 $1.50Ultimate 60 $1.40 $83.00 $60.00 60 3 150 $1.50Rogers (Toronto)Extreme Ultimate $.82 $123.00 $115.00 150 10 250 $0.50Extreme Plus $1.60 $72.00 $115.00 45 4 150 $1.50Chart compiled by Norman Cohn and Rachael Petersen
  • 21. Roadblock 3: Comparative SpeedsData source: Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, “Communications Monitoring Report 2012”
  • 22. www.gov.nu.ca/ik 1 2 3 5 7 46 8
  • 23. Aaron Watson @TeirersiasEvery single service in NU is affected by slow internet. Blamingcomputers/connections is a daily operation in customer service.Aaron Watson @TeirersiasIn my experience(s) we do a lot of IT works ourselves (diy) to solve issues quickly.Aaron Watson @TeirersiasWherever Ive worked in NU Ive strived to deliver the best customer service,connection issues inhibit that ability.Mike West @mwest_lack of IT expertise of the local ISP and gov compounds the issue. NU systemsarent built for satellite networked communities.Mike West @mwest_And despite a high demand for IT training (verified by numerous surveys), thegovernment run colleges do not deliver.Madeleine Redfern @madinuk…Few Nunavut/Inuit cultural producers seem to be on twitter
  • 24. ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑑᓲᖑᕖᑦ?www.indigenoustweets.com
  • 25. Roadblock 4: oral cultures, textual web
  • 26. What happens when spoken languages meet textual internet conditions?
  • 27. Digital dissonance
  • 28. Audio-visual ways of communicating, Inuit tradition of story-telling translate into…
  • 29. a “high-bandwidth” culture.
  • 30. “Any reasonably audiovisualized internet – that is, at least 5 Mb/s download speeds with 30G monthly caps for not more than $60 a month – allows Inuit to adapt online audio-video to the ancient art of Inuit storytelling, the informationspinal column of 4000 years of Inuit identity and knowledge. That level of ORAL media interactivity – speaking and filming in oral Inuktitut instead of email/Facebook in written English – would also support traditional Inuit values of consensus decision-making andworking together to solve common problems.” -Norman Cohn
  • 31. Cu r r ent Iinter nuit net u A few exam ses ples …
  • 32. IsumaTV www.isuma.tv - online indigenous video portalHigh-speed media players in low-speed communities
  • 33. Social networks as social spaces
  • 34.  As an Inuk you made me proud who I am and see other Inuit all around the world. Makes Facebook a lot more interesting. Work together, talk together, help together The best, I get so close to my culture and learning about other aboriginal hunting and camping styles so awesome! No wonder it’s popular, it’s our way of life as Inuit So far the best, interesting page! Proud to be an Inuk!
  • 35. Inuk Memes Facebook Page
  • 36. Inuk Memes Facebook Page
  • 37. Inuk Memes Facebook Page
  • 38. Inuk Memes Facebook Page
  • 39. Inuk Memes Facebook Page
  • 40. Why does matt it er?
  • 41. Considerations for indigenous connectivity• Arctic connectivity literature focuses on government services, military and emergency response• Extractive industries, technology, and free, prior and informed consent• Budget cuts to internet access programs• Nunavut internet subsidies expire in 2016 • Arctic Fibre, Inc.?• Technology doesn’t work, people do!
  • 42. u! k yo T han Rachwww np89 .glob @gm a l na ail.c tiven om etwo rks.c om