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Indigenous Connectivity Summit
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Each year since its creation in 2017, the Indigenous Connectivity Summit (ICS) has convened those working on the frontlines of Tribal connectivity. It brings together decision makers and stakeholders to build support for digital sovereignty and quality, affordable connectivity for Indigenous communities.
With less than 60 percent of those living on Tribal lands in the lower 48 states having access to basic broadband connections – as Native Nations have regularly been excluded from policy conversations around these issues – ICS has become an important voice as the federal government is finally investing billions of dollars to expand high-speed Internet access across Indian Country.
The Summit, held this year in Anchorage, Alaska, was hosted by the Indigenous Connectivity Institute, an affiliate of Connect Humanity, an organization that supports underserved communities’ pursuit of better Internet access and enhancing digital skills. The Summit has become the most prominent event of its type in North America.
Summit participants don’t just convene and talk. They also agree on a series of calls-to-action for governments and other entities with an eye on promoting digital equity in Indigenous communities. Last year’s calls to action, which included messaging around inclusive Tribal consultation, government and industry accountability, Indigenous spectrum rights, and workforce development, served as the foundation for this year’s focus.
The sixth annual Indigenous Connectivity Summit kicked off today in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, bringing together Indigenous community members and leaders; network operators; researchers; and policymakers to focus on how Indigenous communities in the United States and Canada can expand access to fast, affordable, and sustainable Internet connectivity.
Organized by The Internet Society in partnership with Connect Humanity, the four-day, in-person summit will feature workshops, presentations, lightning talks and panel discussions on a range of challenges and opportunities Indigenous communities face as they work to establish both digital equity and digital sovereignty for tribal citizens.
In announcing the summit, Sharayah Lane, Senior Advisor of Community Connectivity at the Internet Society and advisory committee member of the Indigenous Connectivity Institute, captured the meaning of the moment:
The Internet Society has been organizing the Indigenous Connectivity Summit since 2017, but it has always been our goal to transition leadership of the event to the Indigenous communities themselves. Partnering with Connect Humanity and the Indigenous Connectivity Institute will further the goal of developing community-led solutions that will bridge the digital divide for Indigenous people across North America.