Tribes need better broadband

Loris Taylor is on the show today to talk about a need for better broadband on tribal lands. Plus ICT associate editor and senior correspondent Vincent Schilling talks about Marvel comics' brand new Kickapoo Captain America.
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Chances are if you live on an American Indian reservation you experience poor internet service. It’s one disparity that was revealed to many Natives during this pandemic. Trying to connect to the web is spotty in many cases and non existent in others.

In 2019, the American Indian Policy Institute at Arizona State University found that 18-percent of people who live on tribal reservations did not have access to the internet.

They also found that 33-percent relied solely on cell phones for internet service.

The cost of broadband is another barrier to access.

Joining us today to talk about the need for broadband on tribal lands is

Loris Taylor. She’s the president of Native Public Media. 

Vincent Schilling is associate editor and senior correspondent at Indian Country Today. He enjoys technology, comics, and movies. 

He is also a film critic and writes the Native Nerd column. He recently had the opportunity to interview Darcie Little Badger about Marvel comics' brand new Kickapoo Captain America. Vincent joins us today with more details.

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    Some quotes from today's show

    Loris Taylor

    “What we found is that COVID-19 was really, and truly an information centric, pandemic. Everybody wanted information about hospital protocols, about where to get food about lockdowns and directed some governments. So at the end of the day, broadband is not just about hardware or the infrastructure. It's about a lot of other things, software capacity and whether we have the people on the ground to deploy broadband or to use a broadband it's about policies. Essentially it's about the internet as being a really dominant and transformational engine of communications and commerce”. 

    "What COVID-19 really unveiled for tribes was in the midst of 2020, there were hotspots that were set up across tribal homelands.On the Hopi reservation there was one set up on the campus of the mission school. In one particular case, I remember talking to a mother who had three children, one who was an infant. So two of her children took turns in the pickup truck during winter on a mobile handheld to do their homework”.

    Vincent Schilling

    “For Native content in this Marvel universe, I think what Marvel is learning as well as others you know, people are learning in, in terms of television, radio and film that the Native narrative and that Native storyline is a storyline that's been needed to be told for a long time. And it needs to be told by Native writers, native authors and native artists. I've heard behind the scenes that people are chomping at the bit to get this content because it hasn't been told. And what they're discovering is something that you and I already know, Mark is that native people are a culture of storytellers”. 

    “Talking to Darcy Little Badger made it clarify some things and confused some others because they can't reveal everything yet. However, she did tell me he's not the type of Captain America. That's going out and fighting Hydra every day. You know the character is Joe Gomez, who yes, is a Kickapoo grass dancer, who she told me is inspired by the mantle of Captain America. Now he does join Captain America on some sort of excursion of some sorts, but like I said, she can't reveal everything yet. So, yes, there is more to learn”.

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    Mark Trahant, Shoshone-Bannock, is editor of Indian Country Today. On Twitter: @TrahantReports Trahant is based in Phoenix. 

    Vincent Schilling, Akwesasne Mohawk, is associate editor of Indian Country Today who enjoys creating media, technology, computers, comics and movies. He is a film critic and writes the #NativeNerd column. Twitter @VinceSchilling. Email: vschilling@indiancountrytoday.com he is also the opinions’ editor, opinion@indincountrytoday.com

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