March 14, 2015


This website is about celebrating the achievements of remote and rural First Nations with information and communication technologies (ICT). We explore the challenges and solutions using a critical lens. This website brings together three linked projects with many of the same partners:

Research: First Nations Innovation (began in 2005)
Outreach: First Mile (began in 2010)
Policy: First Mile Connectivity Consortium (began in 2013)

Research: Check out the Research section of this website for more information on the research activities. The research began in 2005 led by the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in Fredericton in partnership with the Keewaytinook Okimakanak First Nations council in northwestern Ontario, with staff based in Sioux Lookout and Thunder Bay. In 2006, our Atlantic partner joined us: Atlantic Canada’s First Nations Help Desk / Mi’kmaq Kina’matnewey based in Membertou First Nation, Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. In 2008 we were joined by our first Quebec partner, the First Nations Education Council based in Wendake First Nation. In 2016 we were joined by our Alberta community partner, the Technical Services Advisory Group based in Edmonton. In 2015 three research partners joined the project: the UNB Mi’kmaq-Wolostoqay Centre (MWC), Université Laval, and the University of Alberta. Since we began working together in 2005, our work has been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) with in-kind contribution from our First Nation partners.

Our first project was called RICTA – Research on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) with Aboriginal Communities. We followed RICTA in 2006 with a series of research projects now called First Nations Innovation (FNI). The broad focus of all our research is how remote and rural First Nation communities are using ICT. On this page you can find all the publications from our research going back to 2004. In 2014 we created an online course for UNB, Colonialism and the E-Community, that we now are offering free to everyone on this website. The research home has been the UNB Department of Sociology. The research component of the project ended in March 2018.

Outreach: For more information about our outreach activities, visit the Community Stories section of our website. In 2010 we began to work with remote and rural First Nations to develop stories highlighting how these communities are thinking about, planning, using, developing and innovating with ICT. The project – called the First Mile – was initially led by Simon Fraser University (SFU) in partnership with our research team, and after SFU’s participation ended the core team continued the work: The University of New Brunswick, Keewaytinook Okimakanak, Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey and the First Nations Education Council. This series of projects is called the First Mile. On this page you can find all the stories documented so far.

Policy: The First Nations organizations in our partnership have been actively involved in policy development prior to 2005. Since we began working together some policy activities continued as a team. Our outreach activities in 2010 led by Simon Fraser University and the University of New Brunswick, the first First Mile project, ended with an activity to influence federal policy related to First Nations broadband infrastructure. We realized afterward that the federal regulatory environment was a better focus for our policy efforts. In 2013 we created the First Mile Connectivity Consortium (FMCC) to work more directly on policy and in 2014 we incorporated the FMCC as a federal non-profit policy advocacy organization with a wider group of First Nation organizations as founding partners. On the FMCC section of the website are the FMCC board members, associates and members as well as the details of our policy interventions and activities to date.