About This Guide

Based on: "Common Ground:
                   A  Cross-cultural Self-directed Learner's Internet Guide
                                  by Frank Odasz frank@lone-eagles.com
Click here for Free Web Version
                Click to Download the May 2000 Updated Version
                                    ( A 1 megabyte, 146 page WORD '97 File)

The previous K-12 Version of this guide is at http://lone-eagles.com/k12guide.htm
(The updated guides above include all previous resources and many new resources!!!)

These guides are the handbooks for two online courses you're invited to explore:

ED 597 4L: Making the Best Use of Internet for K-12 Instruction
    Alaska Pacific University Three Semester Credit Version

EDTE 5172: Making the Best Use of Internet for K-12 Instruction
    Seattle Pacific University Five Quarter Credit Version

ED A597 6L: Designing K-12 Internet Instruction
     Alaska Pacific University 3 Semester Credit Version

CONTEXT: Unprecedented Self-empowerment Potential

This guide is a fast-track learning tool to help you use the Internet to learn whatever you need to know, on an ongoing basis. Your expectations of what you are capable of will grow best through direct hands-on learning, following those topics of greatest interest to you. Throughout human history, we’ve struggled with barriers to learning and sharing information. Today, suddenly, we have unprecedented power, which we’ve yet to recognize fully.

Using this guide, you’ll learn to access specific information within seconds of having the need. You’ll learn to create online learning experiences for others, to collaborate in many new and powerful ways, and to self-publish your own ideas using multimedia web pages.

As we first empower ourselves, and then our families, communities, and cultures, it will become overwhelming clear that there exists no upward limit to the number of people one individual can impact positively, worldwide. By sharing what we each learn, we’ll all have access to all our joint knowledge. In an ideal world, we’d all save each other great amounts of time by broadly sharing the best of what we each learn.

Over the next fifteen years, many of the six billion people on the planet, represented by over 15,000 cultures, will receive the opportunity to access the Internet through new satellite and wireless technologies. What they will find, and whether it’s supportive of their families and cultures, may ultimately be, in part, up to you.

Through the Internet, we’re both learners and teachers, all the time. The interactive Internet offers everyone unlimited opportunity –unlike anything before in human history. We need to open ourselves to learning new ways of thinking in order to do what needs to be done for ourselves, our families, communities, and cultures.

As each of us learns to become a Lone Eagle - a self-directed learner - we’ll be better able to join with other Lone Eagles to build learning communities in very powerful ways. However, there is a real responsibility that comes with this new power you’ll find at your fingertips. You alone must decide what you believe about your responsibility to help others. There is great honor in helping others, and the temptation to put personal gain before this honor.

For any community, culture, or country, to reach its full potential, the full potential of each citizen must be realized. This guide is intended to be used as a "train-the-trainers" resource to help others learn to become self-directed learners, and then to build learning communities.

As citizens, teachers, and parents, we must learn to teach our youth to become self-sufficient learners...if they are to fly freely above the turmoil of the accelerating rate of change in our modern world. As we all learn to instruct others online, with measurable success, the door of unlimited global opportunities opens ever wider.

The specific goal of this guide is to allow you to leapfrog ahead to the best the Internet has to offer, with the least amount of time and effort. This guide presents hands-on exercises ranging from general overviews to in-depth exploration. As new, more powerful web tools evolve, this "online" guide will add them as simply and efficiently as possible.

This Guide is organized around four successive levels of self-empowerment

Level One: Becoming a Self-Directed Learner:
The reality of our fast-changing world requires that we all acquire "just-in-time" self-directed learning skills such that we can learn what we need, independently, whenever necessary.

Level Two: Self-Publishing Globally
If we all share what we learn, we’ll all have access to all our joint knowledge.

Level Three: Building Learning Communities
Through Mentoring and Collaboration
Community is the sum of what we give to each other, and we now can teach anything to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Level Four: Global Citizenship and Enlightened Expectations
Public problem-solving, learning-to-earn, and transnational activism hold our greatest individual and community benefits!

This entire guide can be found on the web at

Cross-cultural Emphasis of the Guide

The "cross-cultural" intent of this guide is to emphasize the potential individual and community benefits the Internet offers to
all cultures. As expectations increase with experience, many will not understand what the Internet offers them until they establish
their own hands-on experience and begin to see for themselves how they can benefit from the Internet’s unlimited potential.

This guide is written for all cultures in celebration of the cultural heritage of humankind. This shared heritage is no less than the story of the history of humankind’s search for self-identity and meaningful community. It is important that we all work together to preserve and document all world cultures, particularly the knowledge of our elders, before the opportunity is lost forever.

Echoes in the Electronic Wind

In the United States there are 481 federally recognized tribes, with over 300 non-federally recognized tribes. Throughout the long history of Native Americans new tribes have been created, as old tribes split apart for various reasons. Cultures change and evolve as conditions and ideas change, as they always have.

When the Spaniards brought the first iron knives and horses, life was improved for many tribes, and their cultures changed significantly. A century later, the Winchester rifle improved hunting and defense capabilities. Today, the hunt for that knowledge which can provide for tribal sustainability is discovering powerful new tools on the Internet. An electronic wind of new possibilities for self-empowerment has unexpectedly changed what Native Americans can do to support themselves and their tribes. Look to the past, to see the future.

Despite the powerful collaborative tools the Internet makes available, making money appears to dominate the Internet, not explorations on how to use these tools to build communities and how best to support the social good. Leadership with vision is needed to demonstrate to the world’s peoples how to make best use of these tools to build meaningful communities. Ethics and character are more important than ever as integral parts of this process.

Native Americans, despite widespread poverty and hardship, are among the first indigenous peoples in the world to explore the four winds of Internet empowerment as presented in this guide. The echoes of Native Americans’ proud history needs to be heard globally through these electronic winds the Internet brings us as they have much wisdom to share.

Whereas many Native Americans do not yet have Internet access, most Native American Schools soon will have, and the costs are dropping while new satellite and wireless technologies are providing new affordable connectivity solutions.

The need exists for all Native Americans to identify the best practices for empowering family, community, and culture, if they indeed exist at all. A parallel need exists to assess the risks to traditional cultures represented by Internet access to unlimited information, both positive and negative, which no one can deny has the potential to change traditional cultures forever.

Whereas no one tribe can speak for all others, the opportunity exists to create a Native American Cross-cultural Internet Guide which highlights those Internet benefits, and risks, applicable to most tribes. This guide is intended as a first step model as to what could be created, and is intended to be further customized by individual tribes, perhaps even for international use by indigenous peoples worldwide. See the conditions for duplication at http://lone-eagles.com/for-trainers.htm or page two of this guide.

Native Americans are among the first indigenous peoples to explore both the positive and negative uses of the Internet, and have the opportunity to share what they learn with the billions of indigenous individuals who will experience the Internet in the coming years.

With the Internet as a self-publishing medium, Native Americans have the opportunity to inform peoples worldwide about their culture, their history, and their contemporary issues.

This is a time for exploring our joint full potential, and envisioning what could be, to the best each of us is able. This is a time for mentoring those who don’t know what they need to know, in order to prevent the unnecessary hardships that will result from people not understanding the opportunities at hand.

This guide includes many Native American innovations using Internet tools to support tribal needs. Adventurous spirits may ultimately bring the greatest strengths to their tribes for self-preservation.

Self-sufficiency today comes from the ability to use Internet tools for self-directed learning using resources from all over the world. In most tribes it is the youth who are the technology leaders, and key change agents. Many tribes have partnered their youth with their elders to jointly explore multi-media cultural self-expression, bringing a powerful new global voice to their tribes. We’re limited only by our collective imaginations.

Imagination is more important than knowledge
                                                   Albert Einstein

Important Issues
                    Many resources in this guide directly address the important issues listed briefly below.


Any communications on the Internet might be intercepted or accessed by someone without your permission. Information such as important tribal secrets should never be put online.

Electronic Privacy Information Center
Technically oriented resources on issues and legislation regarding electronic privacy.


The Internet can bring exposure to those who would put you at risk. There are many guidelines available, particularly for youth, regarding Internet safety. (See the Parenting Web Tour on page 37.)

Cybernetiquette for kids!
http://disney.go.com/cybersafety  Educators’ favorite.

Federal Trade Commission
Working for consumer protection and a competitive marketplace. Includes kids privacy and Internet safety resources.

Inappropriate Information

The availability of pornography, hate literature, bomb-making and drug-making information on the Internet is a real issue, counter-balanced by vast positive knowledge. Supervision of youth when using Internet and adhering to the morals and values of the tribe will be the challenges presented by the negative information on the Internet.

Cyber Patrol
Cyber Patrol is an Internet access management utility that helps parents and teachers control children's access to the Internet.

Authenticity Issues

A Congressional Office of Technology Assessment study states - "Sensitive Native religious and spiritual information, if computerized, could more easily be accessed by unauthorized persons and used for inappropriate purposes." "Computer networking makes it more difficult to verify the authenticity of users; some non-Indians have been using Indian names and computer addresses on the Internet. Native arts, crafts, and traditional practices are especially vulnerable to misuse and misrepresentation. Non-Natives may use or sell Native artwork electronically without authorization or fair compensation, or may advertise and sell non-Native art as Native. These kinds of activities are clear violations of privacy and intellectual property rights and also compromise Native cultural identity and self-determination."

No one from the "outside" of a cultural group can take responsibility for monitoring the authenticity and privacy issues as this is an essential role for the cultural group itself as a fundamental source of self-identity and purpose.

Evaluation Guidelines for Web Sites about American Indian Peoples
Maintained by Elaine Cubbins, these important guidelines address important issues such as authenticity, appropriateness, respect and assessing quality.

Information Age Carpetbaggers

Many Montanan tribes, through experience, would caution other Native groups "Beware white-men bearing grant proposals." It has been repeated many times that promises were made, equipment delivered, and no lasting benefit realized, while literally millions of dollars have been spent on grants funded specifically to benefit Montanan Native groups. The lesson learned is "Don’t get involved with projects that did not involve you from the very start."

Most tribes find it offensive to have someone show up with a grant funded on their behalf, using their name and issues to get the money, but without their involvement. Often, most of the money goes for administration of the grant with only a token amount going to the tribe. Grant-writing tips and funding sources are included in this guide.

Electronic Democracy and Transnational Activism

While initially many indigenous persons may not understand why access to global information might be in their best interests, the greatest benefit we can hope they will be able to understand and realize is that of their participation in the global community. Modern communications is literally reducing the importance of nationalism and physical borders. As demonstrated for decades by Amnesty International, those who share concern for a cause can collaborate effectively, and on an ongoing basis via email, without regard to physical location or time available.

As an example; Amnesty International sends out via email "urgent alerts" to its local groups and participating individuals and K-12 schools with details on human rights violations, requesting its members to write informed email and printed letters of protest to specific government officials in the offending governments. Hundreds of lives have been spared from wrongful incarceration due to these coordinated efforts. Children are thus able to learn at a young age the power of thoughtful Internet collaboration. Many resources on the Internet exist which teach activism skills and list global causes that are aggressively using Internet collaboration.

Includes a searchable database of activist causes with web sites at

NetAction has curriculum for virtual activists.

Native American  Activist sites
A great listings to see how others are using the Internet!

An "Electronic Democracy" Web Tour

Cultural Impacts and Cultural Survival Issues

"Information is power." The historical disadvantage Native Americans have suffered is primarily one of keeping informed, and having a voice, where federal decision-making is concerned. Using the Internet, Native Americans are learning how to keep up-to-date on important legislation, how to share information among themselves, and how to use the Internet to exert political pressure on decision-makers. Once indigenous peoples understand what’s at stake, and how to use these information and collaborative tools, they quickly understand that they are essential to their survival and wellbeing.

Unlimited information access will inevitably change and evolve a culture. The realities for survival in the modern world preclude the luxury of being oblivious to outside forces.

All cultural groups are challenged with how best to deal with minimizing the potential cultural risks to their tradition of the potential impact of exposure to other worldviews, including negative information via the Internet. Each cultural group must be their own ultimate authority for learning how best to deal with these potential challenges to the strength, integrity and future of their own traditional culture.

Citizenship - Local and Global

We’re all learning that it is indeed possible to maintain one’s own cultural traditions while becoming a true global citizen, skilled in information retrieval and tolerant of the diversity of all human cultures and beliefs. Cultures that survived have adjusted to new technologies. As already stated, with the power the Internet brings to your fingertips, perhaps comes also a responsibility to help others. One cannot deny that the potential for any individual, or community, to impact vast numbers of people via the Internet is very, very, real.


"Peace comes within the souls of men [and women] when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and realize that the center is really everywhere. It is within each of us."
                                                            Black Elk

For more about cultural empowerment, read
Culture Club at
http://lone-eagles.com/cultureclub.htm .

Acknowledgements: This guide reflects lessons learned directly from working with, and listening to, Alaskan Natives, Native Americans, Migrant educators, Hawaiians, Texans, and many other diverse citizens and communities. The goal of this guide is to teach how people can best support one another using these new technologies, combining caring and connectivity with common sense.

Inspiration for this guide comes from my parents, Frank and Joanne, who tirelessly encouraged learning and lovingly instilled the desire to help others as represented throughout this guide.

Author’s background information - http://lone-eagles.com/articles/frank.htm