FMCC member organizations have had quite a bit of media attention recently. At the end of 2022, Jessica Mundie published a story in the National Post on First Nations communities across Canada who are building their own networks. Her story featured interviews with a number of FMCC members including Alfred Loon, president of Eeyou Communications Network (ECN) and Jesse Fiddler, director of K-Net.
The article offered a brief history of both ECN and K-Net beginning with a description of services in their service regions before the networks were implemented. Loon noting that connection in the Cree communities was “pretty much nonexistent” and Fiddler reporting that before K-Net’s service, some of the communities didn’t even have basic telephone service. The article also cited Rob McMahon, FMCC Coordinator and Associate Professor at University of Alberta. McMahon also related the poor Internet services First Nations often experience, but also how community-led initiatives are addressing those issues.
Lyle Fabian, president and owner of KatloTech Communications in the Northwest Territories, was also interviewed by Mundie on the work he has worked to help First Nations communities in the North design and implement networks. Speaking to Mundie, Fabien says that to close the digital divide, policymakers need to partner with Indigenous communities to support Indigenous endeavours to build networks.
This sentiment is supported by Sally Braun of Western James Bay Telecom Network (WJBTN) who was interviewed by John Gormley at 650 CKOM on January 3, 2023. Braun also expressed the need for Indigenous communities to be listened to: “Those are the voices that need to be connected and brought to the table,” she said, “because we need Indigenous knowledge sitting at the policy table and the only way they’re going to be able to participate is if they have the connectivity platform to do so.” Policy advocacy is a key part of FMCC’s mandate, to see more, visit FMCC Activities.
Alfred Loon was also interviewed by Matt Galloway of CBC’s The Current on ECN and the ways they have been able to bridge the digital divide. Listen here.