Electronic Warriors Ride the Fast Pony
By Frank Odasz, firstname.lastname@example.org
In this time of global strife and planetary peril, we really need to hear
from Native voices with their messages of sustainable life as planetary
citizens and local caretakers. The Internet is a great tool for this because
it facilitates communication to other grassroots interests and provides
a way to join generations (elders carry wisdom and youth carry torch...)
Culture is a creation of shared meaning and group identity and reveals our commonality as human beings.
American Indians are Reinventing Internet Applications
An increasing number of American Indians are learning how to use the Internet to “ride the fast pony.” The expanding capabilities of the Internet have produced new solutions to age old problems like cultural sustainability. Those who have prepared themselves have entered a new age of global citizenship, and activism. The Internet has created an explosion of global innovation for online learning, social networking, and new ways to make a living from anywhere.
We’re hunting and gathering the best innovations as they emerge from global sources on an ongoing basis to empower local sustainability. Online, we have the opportunity to learn anything we want and for the first time in human history we have the power to help anyone, anywhere, anytime. With a warrior’s resolve, one person has the potential to make a positive impact on the lives of an unlimited number of people.
There are 370 million indigenous persons worldwide, with the majority in dire poverty. Half the total global population is under the age of 20. Half the global population lives on under $2 a day.
An example of one Native nation helping another is the Metis-Mayan Ecommerce project described at http://www.metisnation.org (Select the Guatemala project.) On the Fort Peck reservation a new tribal business, “Integrated Solutions” is hosting community learning events to engage youth and elders in using multimedia to preserve elders’ knowledge and oral histories for future generations
Native innovations such as the Digital Pathways distance learning project in New Mexico is offering online college degrees tailored to Native youth without their having to leave the local community.
Elders Carry the Wisdom, Youth Carry the Torch
Native youth today are the first digital generation and as the Seventh Generation prophesies suggest – they have abilities beyond those of previous generations to lead a new day of cultural sovereignty. But youth need the guidance of the elders and elders need to understand what the new technology makes possible so they can help guide youth in making wise choices.
Computers are getting smaller, cheaper, more powerful, more integrated, and more mobile. Within five years, cell phones will be full-featured PC’s capable of 2-way video, multimedia distance learning, participation in global ecommerce, and much more. How we’ll use such tools, depends on who we are as human beings and what values our lives and actions will reflect.
We all need to learn together how to focus on the positive benefits and to avoid the negative risks of misuse of this powerful knowledge-sharing tool. All the generations need to learn together how to keep current on what’s happening around them that can help, or hurt, their communities.
The World Needs Native Wisdom
The Internet is a powerful teaching and learning tool.
The world is in crisis, the hardships endured by Native Americans and all Indigenous and non-indigenous cultures world wide can become the basis for a sustainable human culture. Traditional Native values can be expressed and become fundamental to major global change in ways never before possible.
Internet Values Learning
At www.flipalbum.com software is available for free 30-day trials which can add audio narrations to photographs, add videos, and create flipalbums on CDs, DVDs, and/or on the Web. Libraries of online flipbooks can be found at the website.
The technology world is beginning to reflect many Native values such as:
– Sharing open source software and knowledge
– Social entrepreneurship businesses that do well by doing good for others
– Online mastery learning - mentoring with patience until success is achieved
– Peer-to-peer social networking – building learning communities
– Online video storytelling and oral histories (called podcasts)
– Barter economics trading knowledge and services
– Environmentally sensitive “green” businesses
Teaching Native Wisdom as an economic activity does not necessarily compromise the integrity of the culture or the value of the wisdom. Social entrepreneurship refers to businesses which do well by doing good. Teaching about Native cultures might be the way to preserve them and to grow global appreciation. Cultural knowledge needs to be shared to enlighten the world. Neither heat nor light is lost while sharing the campfire....only fear is lost. Mother Earth cries out for your active stewardship! Honor follows action. And duty calls.
Natives have an important role to play using these new tools to teach others how to protect the Earth and Sky, and all that live between. Teaching how to create sustainable communities and cultures has become suddenly possible and history will record who took action on behalf of the world’s indigenous cultures.
There is much the world needs to learn, such as “smaller houses, bigger lives” and “doing for others as more important than doing for yourself,” etc.
This is a responsibility and cannot be ignored.
Entrepreneurial Culture Allows Youth the Option to Stay Local
The Internet has provided a means to live and work anywhere we choose.
We now can participate in the rapidly growing global economy without leaving the house. But, learning to do so is a cultural shift that suggests we educate our youngest first.
“Planting seeds of entrepreneurship must begin early enough in a child’s primary education to establish entrepreneurship as a lifelong choice.”
From the Strengthening America’s Communities Initiative
The opportunity exists to teach Native youth how they can enjoy many fine occupations without leaving the cultural community. Natives have always been traders, and teachers, so this is not as new as it might first appear. (An article on Rural Telework is listed below.)
Bill Yellowtail on Native Entrepreneurship
The tensions between Native cultural priorities as a sharing community and individual entrepreneurship are resolvable.
Bill Yellowtail, a Crow leader and former Montana state legislator argues for Indian sovereignty – the autonomy of the Indian person.
Yellowtail calls for a circling back to the ancient and most crucial of Indian values - an understanding that the power of the tribal community is founded upon the collective energy of strong, self-sufficient, self-initiating, entrepreneurial, independent, healthful, and therefore powerful, individual persons. Human beings. Indians.
We’re Limited Only By Our Imaginations
The history of American Indians has always been one of cultural change as demonstrated by the diversity of over 550 tribes in the U.S., alone. Already, new forms of global cultures are evolving due to the new capabilities of communicating regularly with anyone, anywhere, anytime. It is possible to create virtual nations able to take action mobilizing huge numbers of people which share common beliefs. The more one learns about what’s already been proven as possible the clearer it is that we’re limited only by our imaginations.
Honor Requires Action
The battle between good and evil, love and fear, continues online and the need exists for all those who wish to do good, to get online and take positive action.
With power comes responsibility and for those who choose to use their gift of power for positive change their life story, their medicine shield, will be that of an electronic warrior.
As our Lakota brothers say, Mitakuye Oyasin....we are all related.
Resources to Share
A Digital Pathways Web Tour
A American Indian Distance Learning project providing college degrees to Native youth for local employment without having to leave the local community.
American Rural Teleworkers: Great Employees, Lower Costs
It is becoming common to be able to work from anywhere via the Internet.
Alaskan Native and Native American Lone Eagle Ecommerce Resources
Extensive rural ecommerce and telework training resources and more.
A Public/Private Partnership Model to Showcase Youths' Digital Skills
and Rural Community Web-based Innovations
A model for engaging youth and local businesses to bring new capacity-building innovations to the community.
Health Information Technology and Community Wellness Broadband Applications
http://lone-eagles.com/healthinfotech.htm Community wellness depends on more than Internet access for the clinics. Citizens need to learn how to use Internet to care for their own social and physical wellbeing.
Homesteading the Ecommerce Frontier in Montana
Good questions for rural Montana communities.
In Support of Genuine Rural Broadband Applications….
Realizing the promise of rural broadband in human terms.
Letter to the Gov. of Montana proposing a statewide rural ecommerce support network http://lone-eagles.com/support-montanans.htm
Summarized as: Montana’s economic development leaders are invited to consider creation of a Rural Ecommerce Support Network which would begin with a Rural Ecommerce Champions Award Program to celebrate Montana’s early adapters Ecommerce successes. An online Resources Clearinghouse is needed to showcase short video success stories, self-training online lessons, and a peer-mentoring program to establish a convenient means for all Montanans to share successful strategies and learn new skills.
Lone Eagle Rural Ecommerce Grant Templates