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Standing Rock tribe moves to computerization

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FORT YATES, N.D. - Each year Standing Rock Sioux Tribal councilmen wade through a mountain of paper tied to federal, state and tribal issues along with their regular duties concerning tribal matters.

But that pile of paper will soon be reduced.

The tribe is completing the installation of a network computer system allowing each councilman to access its agenda and documents. Previously the packets placed before tribal leaders were in the form of an overwhelming pile of documents nearly 6 inches deep.

Computerization, said Management Specialist Mark F. White Bull, will allow the tribe to reduce the amount of paper it uses and give tribal members ready access to information.

The nearly $70,000 computer project includes the addition of 17 Compaq Thin-Client computers and a Compaq Proliant Server.

"What this means is that the council will be able to have instant access to all past resolutions and actions taken by the council, including all documents related to carrying out their duties in a timely manner," White Bull said.

Native American Systems Inc. of Englewood, Colo., assisted White Bull, who designed the system.

The wireless system permits limited cabling and can easily be reconfigured when staff and council move to a new administration building.

The system also will allow for districts to have access to the Proliant Server and documents through Internet Access, he said.

The initiative lays groundwork for development of an information network which will tie all of the districts together to share services and information, he said.

Although some representatives in government are resistant to computerization, White Bull said councilmen have embraced it as a way of reducing the amount of paper consumed and providing them with a tool to make their jobs as tribal representatives more productive.