April 1, 2015

Indigenous digital media projects

These kinds of developments are also reflected in the online world of digital media. Around the world, Indigenous peoples are using digital media in diverse ways. They are early adopters of these technologies, which provide many opportunities for these communities to create and distribute content, and connect with one another. As far back as the early 1980s “the smallest Inuit communities were provided [technical] equipment, access, and expertise, and soon were developing websites” (Alia, 2010, p. 73). More recently, a 2009 study from the U.S. found that when broadband was available, Native Americans did everything from blog to download podcasts at higher than national averages (Morris & Meinrath, 2009). These findings are reflected in more recent research, such as in this XX report. [ ADD Traci Morris and her team’s more recent work ].

Several studies from Canada echo these findings. For example, Philipp Budka (2008) surveyed more than 1,000 users of the First Nations social networking site MyKNet.org (no longer active) and found that they considered the website their most important communication medium: more so than telephone, TV, and community radio.

More recent, Budka writes about MyKnet on his blog in the article MyKnet.org: Traces of digital decoloniality in an Indigenous web-based environment. MyKnet hosted about 25k homepages in the early 2000’s, creating what Budka describes as “Indigenous territory” online, in a process of “digital decoloniality”. MyKnet eventually gave way to commercial social media like Facebook and Instagram, finally closing in 2019.

These developments are reflected in several innovative digital media projects set up by Indigenous peoples. For example, Isuma (which was introduced earlier in this Unit) continues to produce digital media. They even built their own network to distribute their videos inside regions that otherwise lack connectivity. In 2008, IsumaTV began installing high-speed broadband and public access production studios in several communities. Funded through the Canadian Media Fund, this project utilized satellites to support ‘high-speed video in low-speed communities’.

ADD — Updated material on Isuma and Uvagut TV from book chapter and emails to Rob (Sam, Michelle)

Visit IsumaTV

Article: Arviat Film Society launches new television station (streaming on IsumaTV)

The Reciprocal Research Network enables Indigenous communities to curate their own ‘virtual museums’ in partnership with research institutions and universities.

The Initiative for Indigenous Futures (IIF) is a partnership of universities and community organizations dedicated to developing multiple visions of the diverse futures of Indigenous peoples, in order to better understand where we need to go today.


Topic 3 Overview