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tribal broadband bootcamps
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As a young woman of the Nuxalk Nation, Mallory Hans is “clearing a path for future generations.”
A 2022 graduate of the British Columbia Institute of Technology, she’s one of about 50 people hailing from various Tribes and First Nations across North America in attendance for the latest Tribal Broadband Bootcamp, a three-day intensive learning experience focused on building and running Tribal Internet networks.
Held in different tribal regions several times a year since the initiative began in 2021, this bootcamp (the eighth in an ongoing series of hands-on seminars) is being hosted at the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort on the Saint Regis Mohawk reservation along the New York/Canada border.
“So far so good,” Mallory said on Day Two of the bootcamp just as the attendees broke into small groups to go through a variety of demonstration stations set up by bootcamp instructors and Tribal employees who run Mohawk Networks, which provides fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) Internet, video, and voice services across the reservation in northern New York.
In continuing the driving impulse to demystify technologies and build capacity among cohorts in Tribal nations, Day Two was centered around fiber stations that included demonstrations of how network operation centers are run; one on fiber splicing; another showcasing equipment used to install fiber inside of households with representatives from Calix, and another station on the electronic equipment that measures the performance of fiber lines.
“I’m enjoying it, feeling more confident and finding out I’m capable,” said the 22 year-old, newly minted fiber technician.
The Community Broadband Networks (CBN) team here at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is thrilled to announce we will once again welcome a postdoctoral fellow this coming fall to undertake a two-year project that advances policy initiatives in support of expanding broadband access and digital sovereignty for Tribal Nations across the U.S.
It’s the second time the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) has selected ILSR as a host organization for a Leading Edge Fellowship, which embeds humanities and social science PhDs with nonprofits committed “to solve problems, build capacity, and advance justice and equity in society.”
Earlier this month, ACLS announced 18 new ACLS Leading Edge Fellows for 2023. In September, one of those fellows – Jessica E. Auer (PhD, History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) – will join the CBN team, kicking off her full-time fellowship as a Tribal Broadband Policy Analyst.
Jessica will conduct original research and writing to help develop policy narratives that can be used to support new and existing tribal broadband efforts.
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 – Tribal citizens miss out on educational, economic, telehealth, social networking, and a panoply of other activities that foster community resiliency and democratic engagement in the modern world.
Training to Build the Networks We Want at Broadband Bootcamps - Episode 537 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by ILSR Communications Team Lead Sean Gonsalves to talk about the most recent Tribal Broadband Bootcamp, in Gila River. Tribal attendees from across North America came together - some experienced, and others tackling structural broadband inequities in their regions for the first time - came together to meet each other, share lessons learned, and get hands-on experiences with the nuts and bolts about improving connectivity for families that have long been left behind by the private marketplace. With help from representatives from Gila River Telecommunications, attendees learned about deployment technologies, fiber splicing, security, operations, digital inclusion, and more. Christopher and Sean also chat during the show their recent participation at the the digital equity Los Angeles summit, and first urban broadband bootcamp from ILSR.
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Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.