Duarte Co-Chairs Tribal Telecom and Technology Conference

Duarte photoAddressing the broadband infrastructure and digital literacy needs of American Indian and Alaskan Native communities is the objective of a national conference co-chaired by Marisa Duarte, postdoctoral research fellow in American Indian Studies and affiliated faculty at the Center for Digital Inclusion.

The 2014 Tribal Telecom and Technology Summit, scheduled from Feb. 10-12, brings together tribes, the communications industry, professionals, nonprofits, and government agencies, to share information, explore options, and pursue solutions to advance digital opportunities for tribal communities. The conference also serves as a forum for tribal leaders to meet with telecom carriers to discuss the delivery of telecom services on tribal lands.

This year’s conference attracted 250 participants, representing 45 tribes and tribal enterprises from 18 states.

Duarte received a Ph.D. from the University of Washington Information School in 2013, authoring a dissertation on “Network Sovereignty: Understanding the social and political implications of tribal internet infrastructures.” The study explores the need for sovereign tribes to take ownership of their own broadband internet infrastructures and services. Duarte says that this ownership can allow individual tribes to communicate on issues like protection of sovereign lands, waters, and peoples.

“If you add these corners of invisible networks, and put on top of that ownership of the hardware, you have potential for tremendous innovation on tribal lands,” said Duarte.

As a postdoctoral fellow in the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Illinois, Duarte is writing a book on building new media in Indian Country. She hopes her research will inform national policy, including FCC decisions on regulations regarding tribal infrastructure build out. (Source: http://ischool.uw.edu/feature-stories/ischool-phds-meet-information-needs-indian-country)

To learn more about Marisa’s work on tribal network sovereignty, visit https://illinois.academia.edu/MarisaDuarte

To learn more about the Tribal Telecom and Technology Summit, visit http://www.tribaltelecomconference.com/.


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