Deborah Runkle: First Armando Valdez, who is the founder of LatinoNet. He is a Doctor of Communications, and a schol­ar in the Bay Area. He cur­rent­ly has a fel­low­ship where he is study­ing access and equi­ty on the infor­ma­tion high­way for peo­ple of col­or.

Armando Valdez: Thank you. I’m hap­py to be here. I think this is a very impor­tant ses­sion, for a num­ber of rea­sons. I think it’ll be a lit­tle more evi­dent as I con­tin­ue talk­ing.

Let me tell you a lit­tle bit about the kind of work I do and some the assump­tions that frame the work I do. Actually it’s two very sim­ple assump­tions, to me very obvi­ous assump­tions that you may or may not agree with.

First assump­tion is that infor­ma­tion indeed is pow­er. The abil­i­ty to access infor­ma­tion. The abil­i­ty to use infor­ma­tion. The knowl­edge that it may bring and may offer is indeed some­thing very empow­er­ing.

The oth­er premise is a soci­o­log­i­cal premise. And that is that in this soci­ety, as is true of most oth­er human soci­eties, we have an expe­ri­ence, a phe­nom­e­na, that we call strat­i­fi­ca­tion. That means that we’re not all at the top, we’re not all at the bot­tom, we’re just sor­ta spread out. And what’s impor­tant about that is that in some soci­eties we have a soci­o­log­i­cal process called struc­tur­al inequal­i­ty.

Structural inequal­i­ty means that we orga­nize our sys­tem in ways that some peo­ple have more access, some peo­ple are more empow­ered than oth­ers by virtue of where they are in that struc­ture. It’s not nec­es­sar­i­ly a sta­t­ic mod­el but nonethe­less it begins to explain some dif­fer­ences, qual­i­ta­tive­ly, quan­ti­ta­tive­ly, about the kind of soci­ety we have.

Now, those are impor­tant premis­es that frame my work sim­ply because we right now are, in my view, on the cusp of a very impor­tant phenomenon—that is we are trans­form­ing the infra­struc­ture to the next-generation tech­nol­o­gy. We’re mov­ing from ana­log to dig­i­tal. We talk about it. This group I think I’m sure is very aware of that phe­nom­e­na. But in terms of deploy­ing that tech­nol­o­gy, it’s gonna be com­ing out of the test­beds, out of the spe­cial­ized groups, into mass soci­ety.

So it’s an his­toric moment. I think it’s very impor­tant that we look and we think about the kind of infor­ma­tion soci­ety we would like to par­tic­i­pate in and that we would like to cre­ate. And that to me is why this con­fer­ence is so impor­tant. I think we need to not make assump­tions but rather be crit­i­cal of where we are as a soci­ety, be crit­i­cal of what we are as indi­vid­ual pro­fes­sion­als, as well as indi­vid­ual mem­bers of the soci­ety.

I’ve been con­cerned not sim­ply with ques­tions of access but also ques­tions of equi­ty. Again, the point about struc­tur­al inqual­i­ty and strat­i­fi­ca­tion. I left the acad­e­my actu­al­ly five years ago to begin work­ing in a more applied set­ting doing dif­fer­ent kinds of things. And one of the things that I’ve done that I’m proud­est of is LatinoNet, and I’ll talk for maybe one minute about that and pass the mic on to my col­leagues.

We began to wres­tle with a ques­tion of equi­ty and access to infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy. We were aware of the phe­nom­e­nal growth and phe­nom­e­nal pow­er of the Internet and that tech­nol­o­gy; online ser­vices. So we began to think about how do we find a way to see that this tech­nol­o­gy does not trick­le down to our communities—Latino com­mu­ni­ties. Because we indeed need access to the infor­ma­tion knowl­edge net­works of the future to empow­er com­mu­ni­ties.

And the approach was to real­ly do a ground-up orga­niz­ing process. We incu­bat­ed the con­cept here in the Bay Area. We invit­ed, in an open demo­c­ra­t­ic process, all Latino non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tions to work with us. Of the two hun­dred and some-some odd, fifty of them signed on, lit­er­al­ly to work with us for a year. To first of all learn about net­work tech­nol­o­gy and sec­ond­ly to use that knowl­edge to design a sys­tem. And that’s the way LatinoNet grew.

We had some notions of what need­ed to be there, the kinds of infor­ma­tion, the kind of fea­tures. The kind of inter­face, the kind of costs. And the kind of sup­port that was need­ed and train­ing that was need­ed to make this hap­pen. We then took that con­cept and took it to Los Angeles region, which is the coun­try’s largest Latino population—Latino urban area. And we debugged it; we learned a lot. We learned about pol­i­tics. We learned about the fit between social eco­nom­ic polit­i­cal needs and tech­nol­o­gy and so forth.

November of last year we launched LatinoNet as a pub­lic… Rather—I’m sor­ry. We pub­licly launched it, but LatinoNet is a pri­vate area on America Online. And the con­cept of LatinoNet real­ly is to try to not only pro­vide access to the tech­nol­o­gy so peo­ple can use infor­ma­tion on the net or what­ev­er, but to pro­vide a very rich infor­ma­tion envi­ron­ment, where infor­ma­tion that is rel­e­vant for Latinos resides. But beyond that also an envi­ron­ment through which Latinos can become not only con­sumers of infor­ma­tion but pro­duc­ers as well.

To us it’s a real­ly key con­cept. You know, tech­nol­o­gy is sim­ply a tool. Getting access to com­put­ers is won­der­ful. And we now are com­mit­ted to find ways to raise mon­ey to actu­al­ly pro­vide modems, not to every sin­gle home but to Latino non­prof­its that serve their com­mu­ni­ties. We iden­ti­fy non­prof­its as essen­tial­ly not only the ser­vice providers but the advo­cates, the care­tak­ers, the edu­ca­tors, of the com­mu­ni­ty. And we think that that’s a place to start.

So we’re embarked on a grand voy­age to try to make a dif­fer­ence in a sig­nif­i­cant way. In my view, the solu­tions right now are not com­ing from the uni­ver­si­ties. The solu­tions are not com­ing from gov­ern­ment. I find the most cre­ative and refresh­ing solu­tions com­ing from folks like your­self and folks in the com­mu­ni­ty that have some needs that band togeth­er and cre­ate part­ner­ships. And I want to encour­age all of you here to try to find a way to pen­e­trate that vir­tu­al real­i­ty, the sort of…the wide computer…cyber world, and you know, go to the real real­i­ty. Go out and con­nect with peo­ple out there that can use this won­der­ful tech­nol­o­gy and find a way for you to become a part­ner, become a change agent in that process.


Deborah Runkle: Next is Cynthia Harvey. She’s a Professor of com­put­er sci­ence and as a mat­ter of fact was the founder of the Computer Science depart­ment at Morgan State University, which is a tra­di­tion­al­ly black uni­ver­si­ty in the Baltimore area. She is also affil­i­at­ed with the Goddard Space Center and runs a Internet ser­vice and brings minority—particularly African-American—scientists and space sci­en­tists togeth­er. She has been a pio­neer woman engi­neer and math­e­mati­cian and has a lot of firsts before her name—in almost every job she has she’s been the first.

Cynthia Harvey: The title of the ses­sion is A Net for All: Where Are the Minorities?” And I think those of us who can see will look around and prob­a­bly have asked ever since you got here, Yes, where are they?” Because since I’ve been here—and I got here Tuesday—they’re not too many iden­ti­fi­able ones. Of course we can’t always go by what we see. But the ques­tion cer­tain­ly is rel­e­vant about where are the minori­ties.

I think at least we can say as far as the minori­ties of African-American descent that there are a few of them here, very few. And I’ve been to the Internet Conference, the ACM con­fer­ences. IEEE, [DTMA?], and all of these con­fer­ences and…they’re not there.

Further—I think we all agree to that. Further, I think most of us would agree to the fact that the Internet is going to exac­er­bate the dis­par­i­ty between the haves and the have nots. There’ve been many ses­sions on that since I’ve been here at this con­fer­ence. So I think we all agree to that. Where there seems to be a great dis­agree­ment is what is to be done about it and who is respon­si­ble. I have been in a state of shock ever since I went to the Grace Hopper Conference last year, where when the ques­tion came up about what should be done about it, every­body at that con­fer­ence seemed to’ve thought noth­ing much.” That it was up to each group to take care of itself. And that’s easy to say but not nec­es­sar­i­ly easy to do.

Now, I think every­one has a stake in see­ing that all of the cit­i­zens of this coun­try have access. This does­n’t mean you give them some­thing but at least that it’s made pos­si­ble for them to have access. And I don’t say this because I think we’re all good fel­lows, or that we will feel guilty and there­fore we want to…you know, some peo­ple feel guilty about the thing about the forty acres and a mule, you did­n’t get it so maybe we should give you some­thing. I don’t think that any of those rea­sons apply. I think every­one has a stake in it and should be involved, pure­ly out of self-interest.

Maybe most of you have heard, and it came up at the end of the last cen­sus in 1990, that it’s antic­i­pat­ed that by the turn of the cen­tu­ry, the year 2000, that the pop­u­la­tion of the United States will be one-third minori­ties. And at the time that was stat­ed in 1990, every­one said, Well, that gives us ten years to see what we need to do to pre­pare for this even­tu­al­i­ty.” But I say uh, wake up, hel­lo, lit­tle look around, this is 1995. And that’s less than five years away, there­fore some­thing needs to be done and I don’t think that enough is being done to address the issues and look at the pos­si­bil­i­ties.

One of the things I see is the dan­ger is that while a num­ber of the peo­ple here and oth­ers like us (I’ll include myself in that) are off in cyber­space expe­ri­enc­ing a vir­tu­al real­i­ty. But there are a lot of peo­ple and a grow­ing num­ber of them, who are exist­ing in real time, and in real space, expe­ri­enc­ing real hard­ships, and real real­i­ty. Many of these peo­ple may be becom­ing more and more alien­at­ed and more and more dis­en­fran­chised or dis­en­chant­ed, becom­ing more more sep­a­rate eco­nom­i­cal­ly and social­ly. And the last ses­sion brought this up, too, about the change in the social and the eco­nom­ic posi­tion of these peo­ple that is becom­ing fur­ther and fur­ther sep­a­rat­ed.

And these peo­ple are per­haps cry­ing out for a piece of the pie while we’re off in cyber­space. And if we aren’t aware, we can, as our sys­tem could be, endan­gered by this kind of activ­i­ty. So I would sug­gest that we all have an inter­est in see­ing that all of our peo­ple have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to par­tic­i­pate and to grow, and to be edu­cat­ed in these mod­ern tech­ni­cal activ­i­ties.

And of course, it’s been stat­ed that by the decade of 2010 that that one-third per­cent will be even larg­er. Now, this is not to say noth­ing is being done; cer­tain­ly there are things being done. But since most peo­ple are not involved in what’s being done, the ques­tion I would like to answer is what can each of us do?

Well one thing, if we know some of the activ­i­ties that are going on, then there may be pos­si­bil­i­ties that we can sup­port some of them, or we can see that they grow or con­tin­ue to have access. For instance, I’m work­ing with a pro­gram spon­sored by Goddard Space Flight Center called MU-SPIN, or Minority University—Space Interdisciplinary Network. And I find it inter­est­ing when peo­ple say we don’t need to help any­one, because you can pull your­self up by your boot­straps. But in my expe­ri­ence in going to some of these small his­tor­i­cal­ly black col­leges who are respon­si­ble for train­ing peo­ple, and find­ing that some of them don’t even have boot­straps. I won’t go into the details on that, but if you again want to know more about it I would be hap­py to answer some ques­tions.

There’s also been a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation-sponsored con­fer­ence on African-Americans in the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion age. And things like this ought to be encour­aged and sup­port­ed, as opposed to what’s been pro­posed in Washington now, which is to cut back on that par­tic­u­lar group’s abil­i­ty to hold those kind of con­fer­ences by not pro­vid­ing any fed­er­al funds. That may be okay but at least maybe we can encour­age some of the pri­vate foun­da­tions to sup­port those kind of activ­i­ties.

The National Science Foundation has some ini­tia­tives and there are many ini­tia­tives going on, which if you need more infor­ma­tion or desire I would be hap­py to pro­vide. Thank you.


Deborah Runkle: Next is Randy Ross, who is from the Native American com­mu­ni­ty and has been active in a whole vari­ety of issues. Cultural activ­i­ties, art activ­i­ties, and most inter­est­ing­ly and the rea­son he’s here is the very active use of the Internet that has been made by the Native American com­mu­ni­ty.

Randy Ross: Cante wasteya nape ciyuza­pe­lo. I come to you from Rapid City, South Dakota in the Black Hills. I’m glad to be here.

Language is an inter­est­ing thing, isn’t it? And I think com­ing into the 21st cen­tu­ry and the infor­ma­tion age, we’re look­ing at trib­al com­mu­ni­ties are still deal­ing with this issue of cul­tur­al sur­vival. And when I look onto the reser­va­tions and the com­mu­ni­ties that are there, there’s a lot to be pro­tect­ed. A lot that needs to be val­ued. And there’s a lot about the com­mu­ni­ties that are there that some­how we have to work a lit­tle bit hard­er to meet these new chal­lenges that we’re being faced with.

And it’s my under­stand­ing that this group had a chance to lis­ten to Jerry Mander the oth­er day, and actu­al­ly that was one of the ear­li­er works that start­ed inspired and trig­ger some of my think­ing. And this par­tic­u­lar book was [In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations]. And I don’t know how many of you read it but I sug­gest you read it. It’s a book that talks about the impact of the val­ues, the belief sys­tems, the impact of—in his instance—was the impact of British Broadcasting Corporation being moved into north­ern trib­al groups in Canada who were nev­er pre­vi­ous­ly exposed to broad­cast mass com­mu­ni­ca­tion medi­ums, and to look at the social phe­nom­e­na and exchange, and the impact on the social and cul­tur­al val­ues and whether the pos­i­tives and the neg­a­tives, and how you bal­ance that out.

I think we’re kind of at the same sim­i­lar cross­roads of how do trib­al com­mu­ni­ties view con­verg­ing and emerg­ing, and fast rapid-paced tech­nol­o­gy devel­op­ments. How the broad­cast­ing com­mu­ni­ty, as we look at the reg­u­la­to­ry envi­ron­ment that’s mov­ing sup­pos­ed­ly towards a dereg­u­lat­ed con­di­tion. And also the idea about con­tent providers and access. Again, what does all that mean to our trib­al com­mu­ni­ties, and as we look at again the social impact of val­ues?

In the past we looked— You know, to give a broad back­ground… And I have to— Disclaimer here, I’m not a lawyer. But as trib­al com­mu­ni­ties, I can say that Indian peo­ple of any group know so much about gov­ern­ment. You go to the BIA and you get the answers there. We have a whole book called USC Codify 25 devot­ed to Indians. We’re the only group in this coun­try who gets to have a three-inch memen­to about our posi­tion in this coun­try. It gives us a unique posi­tion. I think there’s some­thing that we can share as a com­mu­ni­ty.

But ret­ro­spec­tive­ly, when you look at the Interstate Highway Act, it has not served trib­al nations very well. The idea was plowed right through them, or it went around. Either way you know, we can look at dimin­ished effect, some dis­in­te­gra­tion, and again we talked about—the term came up—cultural integri­ty. These are con­cerns that we have but how do we bal­ance that with the need for eco­nom­ic and com­merce and access to edu­ca­tion­al and med­ical ser­vices and so forth?

Cultural rights I think is some­thing that is inter­wo­ven into our con­cern about how the dig­i­tal future…you know, what are the elec­tron­ic laws that will… How will they view and respect community-based val­ues regard­ing cul­ture prop­er­ties? And in our case, we have a real bat­tle at home about defin­ing what we call inalien­able com­mu­ni­ty prop­er­ties. One indi­vid­ual does not have the right to take an item and go out and sell it on the mar­ket. These are char­ac­ter­is­tics of oth­er trib­al cul­tures as well, but this is something…how do you keep those kinds of things intact so you don’t get…they have the Jerry Mander absence of the sacred” effect impact­ing your com­mu­ni­ty in very adverse ways.

So I think that’s…you know, I just want­ed to kind of point out that the broad frame­work of fed­er­al Indian law and pol­i­cy, there’s still…tribes are look­ing at ways… They are sov­er­eign. I think there’s numer­ous records of statu­to­ry fed­er­al law, judi­cial opin­ions, court doc­u­ments, the Constitution, and the treaties that indi­cate that tribes in all the inter­pre­ta­tion have lim­it­ed the sov­er­eign sta­tus or depen­dant sov­er­eign sta­tus.

But now we’re faced with how do tribes deal with the juris­dic­tion and reg­u­la­tion of elec­tron­ic resources that are with­in the con­fines and the bound­aries of fed­er­al Indian reser­va­tions? And so this is kind of the new chal­lenge. The FCC folks real­ly don’t have an inter­sec­tion in their laws and reg­u­la­tions that real­ly help us under­stand where trib­al rights might begin or end. And so there’s already been some court cas­es. The Fort Mojave tribe in Arizona has already kind of bumped heads with FCC over can they declare them­selves as a cel­lu­lar com­mon car­ri­er provider and apply for licens­es for ser­vices that cov­er their reser­va­tion. Well, the FCC ruled against them, say­ing that sov­er­eign­ty and so forth is not a deter­mined. And the FCC rul­ing says you have to go at it as a minor­i­ty under their def­i­n­i­tions of the 1992 or ‑4 Communications Act amend­ments.

These are real­ly big issues, and I’m not going to be able to cov­er them all for you this morn­ing. But I think that it’s some­thing that kinda…the idea of sov­er­eign­ty reach­es a lot of folks. And even though the native Hawaiians have some issues. The Pacific Islanders. I think as com­mu­ni­ties we look at cul­tur­al rights, cul­tur­al expres­sion… I think there’s an incred­i­ble amount of work that needs to be done, par­tic­u­lar­ly with respect to the intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty and how do we begin to look at some of these incred­i­ble issues that are going to impact our com­mu­ni­ties long-term. So I’ll just kinda…cease and desist on that one, hey?


Deborah Runkle: Art McGee is a par­tic­i­pant in a num­ber of Internet activ­i­ties, includ­ing the Institute for Global Communications, com­put­er net­works such as PeaceNet, EcoNet, LaborNet, and ConflictNet.

Art McGee: I’m sort of…still you know, amazed that I’m even here today because com­pared to a lot of the oth­er folks here I’m sort of you know, just a layper­son. I mean I’m a tech­ni­cal per­son. I’ve been involved with com­put­ers for many years. But in terms of being a net activist or being real­ly heav­i­ly involved in these types of issues I’m new to a lot of this. And it’s sort of an hon­or for me to have been invit­ed to be here and to par­tic­i­pate on this pan­el, and to have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to speak to some of these dif­fer­ent issues.

I’ve most­ly been involved, in addi­tion to being par­tic­u­lar­ly con­cerned about issues deal­ing with com­mu­ni­ties of col­or, I’ve also been par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ed in the issue of com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­o­gy and how it relates to black and African com­mu­ni­ties, and what dif­fer­ent issues that they may have to wres­tle with in terms of using the tech­nol­o­gy, what effects it could have on their com­mu­ni­ties, both commerce-related effects as well as consumer-related effects. And so this is the some of the work that I’ve been doing.

I want­ed to sort of bring up a few points or some issues that’ve sort of been run­ning through my head late­ly. So maybe you could— I hope the audi­ence could sort of help me out in mulling through these. Because I think there’s some impor­tant con­cepts and things that haven’t real­ly been dealt with prop­er­ly but that sort of through urban leg­end these sort of facts have been passed around, or these absolutes have been passed around and peo­ple say, Oh okay, that’s the way it is.” And say, Yeah, did you know that it’s this way?” And I think that maybe we need to sort of do some more crit­i­cal think­ing about some of these issues.

The first one that comes to mind is the…you know, every­one’s pret­ty much famil­iar with The New Yorker car­toon of the the two dogs sit­ting at a com­put­er ter­mi­nal and one dog is show­ing his friend how great the Internet is. And the computer-literate dog turns to the oth­er dog and says, On the Internet no one knows you’re a dog.”

Well if I had drawn that car­toon, I would have had the oth­er dog turn right back and look back at his friend and say, What’s wrong with being a dog?” [applause] And one of the things is it both­ers me about the whole con­cept, or this whole con­cept of los­ing or being able to lose iden­ti­ty, and it sort of ties in with the need to have sort of a more diverse par­tic­i­pa­tion at a con­fer­ence like this, is that there’s cer­tain issues such as that, that have unique sig­nif­i­cance to minor­i­ty groups” or indi­vid­u­als that oth­er pop­u­la­tions may not be aware of. Whereas say for exam­ple being able to go online and have a lack of clues as to your class, or whether you’re ugly (no offense to any­one in the audi­ence), [laughs; laugh­ter] or you know, gen­der, those are impor­tant.

But in par­tic­u­lar, when you look at how minor­i­ty people—Native Americans, African Americans—have been treat­ed his­tor­i­cal­ly, the issue of iden­ti­ty takes on a par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance. It’s been the cause for death, of being attacked, of being lit­er­al­ly in many cas­es wiped out or hung, or dif­fer­ent sorts of— It’s not just some­thing to play with. It’s not just some­thing that we say, Oh well, I can do this today and tomor­row I’ll be back out in the real world.” And so that’s an issue that I’d hope that when you go away from this pan­el that you’re sort of think­ing about that, and become more aware of the fact that your sort of belief in that idea of being able to assim­i­late or lose the identity…that that sort of desire to do that may not be as wide­ly… What’s the word I’m look­ing? As wide­ly val­ued in the greater soci­ety.

Another issue that comes up, for exam­ple in rela­tion to pri­va­cy, sort of more of a class-related issue. It has to do with the fact that often— And in par­tic­u­lar it’s also racial but it’s sort of class and race com­bined, hav­ing to do with the fact that if you’re poor, and for exam­ple poor peo­ple often have to seek government-related ser­vices more fre­quent­ly than the gen­er­al pop­u­la­tion in many cas­es. And that the abil­i­ty to sort of be anony­mous or keep things to your­self, you sort of lose that by default because you don’t have these same options of drop­ping out or stay­ing free, or stay­ing under­ground so to speak. That you’re sort of forced to give out every­thing about your­self, to be tracked, because of the lack of trust of your char­ac­ter or because just sim­ply that’s what’s required of gov­ern­ment report­ing.

And I think that’s some­thing that a lot of peo­ple don’t think about as much or aren’t as aware of. That pri­va­cy issues are some­what dif­fer­ent depend­ing upon social sta­tus or class or race. And I think that’s some­thing that needs to be thought about a lot more.

Another issue has to do with just how his­tor­i­cal­ly tech­nol­o­gy’s been used. Everyone here is you know…it’s sort of ingrained in I guess in American cul­ture to sort of have sort of adver­sar­i­al rela­tion­ship with law enforce­ment or police. But once again, in par­tic­u­lar to minor­i­ty com­mu­ni­ties, and I can par­tic­u­lar­ly speak for African American com­mu­ni­ties, it’s even a greater sort of ani­mos­i­ty, a sort of greater adver­sar­i­al rela­tion­ship between the gov­ern­ment, law enforce­ment, and how tech­nol­o­gy has been used to track or to con­trol peo­ple. And these are the types of things that need to be looked at a lot clos­er.

One oth­er thing… This is sort of more on the pos­i­tive side, I would say. It’s prob­a­bly pret­ty obvi­ous. Being able, or rather the pow­er of the tech­nol­o­gy to allow peo­ple to express them­selves in ways that they haven’t had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to do before. This takes on a par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance for minor­i­ty com­mu­ni­ties because of the fact that access to the press, access to main­stream media, the abil­i­ty to put out images that are not stereo­typ­i­cal or that are counter to stereo­typ­i­cal images, is some­thing you know— We’ve been sort of bom­bard­ed by these images that are con­trolled by oth­er peo­ple or what they view us as. And so the net has sort of a par­tic­u­lar impor­tance to com­mu­ni­ties of col­or and being able to express ideas, put out images, and do oth­er things that they are con­trol­ling, with­out sort of the tra­di­tion­al media as the mid­dle­man or hav­ing to come crawl­ing to the tra­di­tion­al media all the time in order to have your side of the sto­ry or your view­point expressed.

And one oth­er thing that I want­ed to empha­size, that even though I’m a techie-type per­son and I love com­put­ers and could pret­ty much just sit in front of one and not eat all day, I think that one thing that needs to be empha­sized is that no mat­ter how great all this is one thing that needs to be done and looked at more close­ly is just hav­ing bet­ter basic edu­ca­tion. I think too often we get off on this track of com­put­ers will rev­o­lu­tion­ize this and it will increase learn­ing that, and that you have a group of peo­ple out there who are illit­er­ate or who’re just bare­ly lit­er­ate. All the com­put­ers in the world won’t help them until they’re at least able to read. [applause]

And so I think that’s very impor­tant. It’s for exam­ple one of the rea­sons that no matt— You know, I’m always a big advo­cate of pub­lic radio. No mat­ter how many com­put­ers you have in say a rur­al area or a less-developed coun­try or an inner city, there are always going to be sit­u­a­tions where peo­ple who can’t can read but they can under­stand hear­ing the words over radio. You can always have a tran­sis­tor radio, car­ry­ing with you some­where to receive infor­ma­tion. So we should­n’t just look at the com­put­er as sort of this, Oh this is all we need. We can get rid of every­thing else. We don’t need any oth­er media. It’s all going to be through this and for­get about the rest of it.” [applause]


Deborah Runkle: So with that I’d like to start hav­ing some ques­tions for the pan­elists and then—not very long because I know the time is going—I’d like to open it up to the audi­ence. But first I’d like to ask the pan­elists if they would elab­o­rate per­haps on some pro­grams that they’re aware of either in their orga­ni­za­tions or oth­ers which are try­ing to address some of these issues.

Cynthia Harvey: Yes, there are many things going on to try to over­come these prob­lems. One activ­i­ty that I’m involved with is—and this is a gov­ern­ment activ­i­ty, but I think it’s pret­ty cre­ative. I’m a pro­fes­sor at Morgan State University but because of my thir­ty years of address­ing this prob­lem— (Of course I don’t look that old.) But I’ve been work­ing for thir­ty years and address­ing the prob­lem. And I was invit­ed to come to work with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for two years to work with minor­i­ty uni­ver­si­ties. Because one of the ways the major­i­ty uni­ver­si­ties get all of this equip­ment and get on the net­work and do all the work that they do is that they get grants from the gov­ern­ment to do research. And the minor­i­ty uni­ver­si­ties don’t get the grants because they don’t have any­thing to attract a grant with.

For instance, NASA says in order for you to get a grant from them to do research you must be on the net­work so that you can get the data. And once you’re on the net­work and get the data then they’ll give you mil­lions of dol­lars and of course you can buy all the things. But the minor­i­ty uni­ver­si­ties weren’t con­nect­ed to the net­work; there­fore, they did not qual­i­fy for research grants; there­fore they got no mon­ey.

So this pro­gram, it’s called MU-SPIN—Minority University Interdisciplinary Space Network, goes to minor­i­ty uni­ver­si­ties and teach­es them how to build their own net­work and how to con­nect them­selves as opposed to going out and buy­ing expen­sive parts of hir­ing con­sul­tants and these things. And once they can get some kind of infra­struc­ture inside the uni­ver­si­ty and get a net­work set up in the uni­ver­si­ty, then NASA can guar­an­tee to con­nect them to the out­side world. They can’t do any on cam­pus but they can take that con­nec­tion and take it to the out­side. Then they qual­i­fy to apply for grants.

We’ve been to…oh I guess about twenty-five uni­ver­si­ties so far. And these uni­ver­si­ties are not just his­tor­i­cal­ly black, but it includes the con­sor­tium of Native American uni­ver­si­ties, so we’ve been to South Dakota and New Mexico. And also the Hispanic insti­tu­tions, so we’ve been to Puerto Rico and places like that. And there are quite a few of them in California that are on the list. Most of them we can iden­ti­fy by being Title II schools. And the num­ber of schools now that have qual­i­fied for research grants, which means now they can train more peo­ple in their areas to learn to use the net­work.

Now, when the per­son at that con­fer­ence said to me that we did­n’t need to help any­one because the soft­ware for get­ting on the Internet is free, it nev­er occurred to them to know that how did you get that free soft­ware that’s out there on the net­work, huh? How do you get it? You have to be on the net­work to down­load it. And if you’re not on the net­work you can get the free soft­ware. So, that was a big shock. So these are the kinds of things that are hap­pen­ing, if you don’t have it you can’t get it. So, there need to be ways of empow­er­ing peo­ple.

Now, one oth­er lit­tle thing, I have to put a plug in for myself and I said I’ve been doing this for thir­ty years. I used to work in an indus­try where I made mon­ey. And I real­ized that— [laugh­ter] Really, real­ly. Someone…I had a long con­ver­sa­tion about thirty-five years ago with some­one say­ing well with com­put­ers com­ing along—and this was before micro­com­put­ers, you know, you had the big things—that this was the oppor­tu­ni­ty for the African American com­mu­ni­ty to make its mark. Because most immi­grant pop­u­la­tions when they came over, there was some new thing that came along that they got in on at the begin­ning and gave them the oppor­tu­ni­ty to become you know, full-fledged cit­i­zens. And I said, Well geez, the only way I can see doing that—I can’t do it where I’m working—is if I go into the uni­ver­si­ty and have an impact on stu­dents.” So I can at least say by this time I have taught com­put­ers sci­ence to about…oh, eight thou­sand stu­dents who some are now in indus­try and some are start­ing busi­ness­es of their own. Some of them are teach­ing at oth­er uni­ver­si­ties. So it’s like a lit­tle peb­ble, you know, some rip­ple is going out.

And so each of us has to take the respon­si­bil­i­ty to do some­thing, what­ev­er was in our pow­er, and then it’s with­in your pow­er to say well they’re cut­ting NASA’s bud­get, tell em don’t cut MU-SPIN. Or there may be oth­er things that you hear about. You know that we’re down­siz­ing but maybe we have to be care­ful what we cut out when the down­side and not cut out all the oppor­tu­ni­ties that are cur­rent­ly being gen­er­at­ed to help peo­ple become full-fledged cit­i­zens.

Deborah Runkle: Does either of you want to say any­thing or should we open it to ques­tions?

Armando Valdez: I just…some addi­tion­al com­ments. And as a [follow-up?] to some of my open­ing state­ments there. And it gets back to the cur­rent pres­i­den­tial Internet pol­i­cy. And I’d just like to see oth­er activ­i­ties… The Office of Technology Assessment is cur­rent­ly going through a report process for a… Senator Inouye com­mis­sioned a study to look at the impact of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­o­gy on American Indians, Alaska natives, and native Hawaiians, and that study will be com­plet­ed I believe in May or ear­ly June for pub­lic dis­tri­b­u­tion and of course to the mem­bers of Congress. And there’s a great, intense effort to try to com­pile and to look at a lot of these key crit­i­cal pri­or­i­ty issues that are impact­ing these var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties.

But to put some con­text to that, in 1994 President Clinton… There’s been numer­ous pre­vi­ous fed­er­al Indian pol­i­cy state­ments, but this is the lat­est one. And in 1994, Bill Clinton says, Today I reaf­firm our com­mit­ment to self-determination of trib­al gov­ern­ments. Today I pledge to ful­fill the trust oblig­a­tions of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. And today I’ll vote to hon­or and respect trib­al sov­er­eign­ty based upon our his­tor­i­cal rela­tion­ships.”

And you have to remem­ber to put that in con­text. The Indian tribes gave up mil­lions and mil­lions of acres of land. A lot of lives were lost. And not too long ago. Hundred, hun­dred and fifty years. There’s foun­da­tion and frame­work that the tribes talk about unfund­ed man­dates, you know. But this is some­thing that we’re try­ing to define where we’re going to own up to these sit­u­a­tions. So that inter­sec­tion has got to hap­pen, that nexus between the FCC and where are we going to open up some new chan­nels here.

The OTA study will be impor­tant to open up that dia­logue and a new begin­ning and per­haps a new dis­cus­sion to cre­ate those new chap­ters in Felix Cohen’s Federal Indian Law Handbook. We’ve been fight­ing for years now for juris­dic­tion over water rights, hunt­ing, fish­ing, min­er­als, subsurface/surface min­ing. And this is some­thing that I feel that impacts all Americans as we look at how we con­duct our­selves, our behav­ior. So I think the net and the con­nect­ed­ness and the infor­ma­tion exchange, all the things will ben­e­fit all com­mu­ni­ties. And I think as soon as tribes can take con­trol and own­er­ship of deter­min­ing where they’re going (the self-determination fac­tor), build­ing their own infor­ma­tion economies, and then shar­ing that infor­ma­tion you know, in indis­tinct ways that pro­tects their com­mu­ni­ties and their their local image and their dynam­ic. So those are just kind of some encom­pass­ing com­ments I’d just like to offer. So thank you.

Art McGee: I did­n’t have any­thing in par­tic­u­lar or that spe­cial to say, except that one of things that I try to do when I talk to peo­ple or write or what­ev­er, is to point out that even with sort of all the doom and gloom of the lack of access or the dif­fer­ent cul­tur­al issues and oth­er things, that there is a lot of good going on out there. That there are a lot of grass­roots efforts. That there are a lot of good orga­ni­za­tion­al efforts to give peo­ple more access, that are com­plete­ly inde­pen­dent of gov­ern­ments but also in some ways con­nect­ed with the gov­ern­ment. But that the main point to make is that peo­ple aren’t sim­ply sit­ting around and wait­ing for a solu­tion. That they’re not just sit­ting and say­ing, Oh, when will Al Gore get here to res­cue us?” They’re they’re going out, they’re doing every­thing from run­ning a bul­letin board sys­tem in their base­ment, to planning…you know, set­ting up their own Internet ser­vice providers-type things. And so that’s the main point I want to get across, is that it’s not all bad news.

Deborah Runkle: Okay, we’re going to take ques­tions now. And giv­en the time and the num­ber of peo­ple I would request that you ask a ques­tion and not give a speech.

Audience 1: Camera peo­ple don’t usu­al­ly get to ask ques­tions but I fig­ure this is a dif­fer­ent kin­da con­fer­ence so I will.

My ques­tion is real­ly to Mr. Ross, but to any­body else on the pan­el who like to help out. I lis­ten to National Public Radio and the Native American news, and I real­ly nev­er hear any­thing about the net on there except an occa­sion­al sta­tis­tic about the num­ber of modems on trib­al American lands. And it occurs to me as a mem­ber of the PGP devel­op­ment team that one of the things that Native Americans could do to help both them­selves and every­body else, and get an awful lot of atten­tion from the gov­ern­ment real fast [some light gen­er­al laugh­ter] would be to pro­mote the use of anonymiz­ing remail­ers on Native American lands.

It seems to me that seems that since you know, my ances­tors appar­ent­ly came over here and stole your coun­try, that you have a cer­tain right to sov­er­eign­ty, and I think that should­n’t be tak­en away from you and I think you should make the most of that. And I’d like to know…if you can pos­si­bly edu­cate me and every­body else here about any kind of ini­tia­tives that are being tak­en in that direc­tion I’d real­ly appre­ci­ate it, and I’d be glad to offer my assis­tance and vol­un­teer my efforts in that area as well. So please, tell me what’s going on with that.

Randy Ross: Okay. Well thank you. Yeah, might as well go to Europe and stake a claim there, huh? [laugh­ter] See if that works first.

Um, from an infra­struc­ture stand­point, many of the reser­va­tions… I heard it this morn­ing, the way the sys­tem was set up in the begin­ning… So you talk about a lot of bound­aries and so forth, in-state, the high cost of toll access, those switch­es, the remote ter­mi­nals. If you look at how the infra­struc­ture is designed, those switch­es are locat­ed off the reser­va­tion in most cas­es. The eco­nom­ics of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, the tax­a­tion of ser­vices on that, the fed­er­al Indian land­ing team just has­n’t fit in to the cur­rent mod­el of local reg­u­lat­ed monop­o­lies and how they’re set up and how their rev­enue streams are devel­oped. Indian peo­ple tend to pay a lot of mon­ey to be in con­nec­tion with rel­a­tives, even with­in the bound­aries of the reser­va­tion they’re cross­ing a cou­ple of these lad­ders and they’re pay­ing in-state toll dis­tances. Because of the pricing—again, the pric­ing schemes that we’re cur­rent­ly faced with.

25% of Indian homes on aver­age have phone ser­vice. There’s some infor­ma­tion says it might be as high as 50$ in some reser­va­tions but it most due to eco­nom­ic con­di­tions and the high cost of access. Just basic phone ser­vice. We’re talk­ing com­mu­ni­ties who don’t even have access to 911. Health con­di­tions are fair­ly deplorable. But when you can’t even con­tact the ambu­lance because you don’t have 911, we have a lot of prob­lems here. And the local [arbox?] and the the tel­cos aren’t going to come in and fiber up the reser­va­tion, because the sub­scriber per loop rev­enue require­ment does­n’t meet a stan­dard that they want. That’s why it’s so impor­tant I think that tribes look at this infra­struc­ture issue. If they can deter­mine their own reg­u­la­to­ry envi­ron­ment, set up their own switch­es, force some inter­con­nec­tiv­i­ty agree­ments, they can have that 911 so that they can call local with­in a 500-mile radius if they want to, local.

We’re talk­ing about calls ter­mi­nat­ed from one fed­er­al Indian reser­va­tion land to anoth­er one. Calls orig­i­nat­ed and then ter­mi­nat­ed on fed­er­al Indian land. Can tribes set their switch­es up up to set up a trib­al net­work that sits in its own reg­u­la­to­ry regime? Those are things that we need to look at so that we can pro­vide bet­ter, broad­er ser­vice and a bet­ter social impact to our com­mu­ni­ties.

So yeah, there is some big issues out there and I could go on and on, but I’ll work on that European trip.

David Vest David Vest with Victims of Credit Reporting. We’ve had a large num­ber of peo­ple that once belonged to this group that can no longer access the net because all of the major graph­i­cal inter­face providers require cred­it cards. There’s also a move afoot now to require month­ly cred­it checks for access to the net, to the major providers. I’ve heard some hope here in issues regard­ing alter­na­tive net­works. I’m won­der­ing if you have any sug­ges­tions how the one quar­ter of Americans that are cur­rent­ly unable to obtain cred­it cards can obtain access to the net at the same time. AOL cer­tain­ly won’t let you. Neither will Prodigy, CompuServe. I can go on and on.

McGee: I can say I can only real­ly speak for IGC. We have sev­er­al dif­fer­ent options for sign­ing up to our ser­vices. Credit card is obvi­ous­ly the most pop­u­lar, but we also you know…monthly billing, pre­pay­ment, CheckFree. So we’re very flex­i­ble in terms of under­stand­ing that our user com­mu­ni­ty may not all be using cred­it cards, or may one not be able to use cred­it cards to sign up for the ser­vice. I think that’s some­thing that more ser­vice providers should do, is add more options and be more flex­i­ble.

Audience 3: Yes, I’m involved with an orga­ni­za­tion, Metropolitan Austin Information Network—it’s called MAIN—and what we are, we’re kind of like a com­mu­ni­ty net­work. Essentially what we do now is that we pro­vide Web and Gopher pages to com­mu­ni­ty groups in and around Austin. And my ques­tion is I won­der if you had any advice or rec­om­men­da­tions for one…you know, for MAIN to be more effec­tive in bring­ing these minor­i­ty groups online. And also like, if there’s any­thing that we should say to these… You know, I’m think­ing of like a com­mu­ni­ty news­pa­pers and orga­ni­za­tion that aren’t online now about why they should be online.

Ross: Well I guess in gen­er­al, at least for the trib­al com­mu­ni­ties that I’m aware of and work­ing with, the whole tech trans­fer issue of get­ting them… The hard­ware and soft­ware is part of it. Part of the problem…regulatory. And the afford­able access issue’s anoth­er one. So there’s a whole com­bi­na­tion of issues but most cer­tain­ly… A lot of the stuff is so abstract that when you can go into a trib­al coun­sel that bare­ly under­stands how switch net­works net­works work for basic phone ser­vice then you’re talk­ing about well we want to upgrade this so we can do at least ISDN or some voice/video data appli­ca­tion. And boy you lose them right off the bat and then you’ve got to some­how take it out of the abstract. This should real­ly show what the ben­e­fits are. And then you could talk about access to the hordes of gov­ern­ment infor­ma­tion, hope­ful­ly it’s use­ful. You know, some of it’s not use­ful. But even then, that’s what I mean, there’s a whole vast sea of unfil­tered infor­ma­tion out there that how do tribes begin to build their capac­i­ty inter­nal­ly. Or com­mu­ni­ties, you could say a com­mu­ni­ty, or a trib­al library, or a trib­al col­lege, or what­ev­er the enti­ty is.

Showing exam­ples, I think. If you’re going to com­mu­ni­cate with them, there’s much talk now about putting things up for Web pages. I’ve already seen sales pitch­es that will put stuff up for eight cents, uh… They had all these class sched­ules all fig­ured out. So it costs that, but what are they real­ly get­ting out of that? And so you pay so much much to hang a page up for months in Mosaic and… So real­ly it’s like the appli­ca­tion and what is the ben­e­fit and val­ue gonna be of hav­ing stuff post­ed out there that’s rel­e­vant to them. I can see the poten­tial for…definitely for cur­ricu­lum devel­op­ment. We could talk about learn­ing styles, cul­tur­al learn­ing styles. I real­ly see this whole rev­o­lu­tion thing kind of com­ing back full cir­cle or going back to the pic­tures and draw­ings. And the idea of learn­ing styles that are tra­di­tion­al learn­ing styles that include voice, sound, and you know, a whole mix of kind of a holis­tic thing. So I real­ly see that while the jury’s still out in a lot of way, I real­ly see that there’s going to be recep­tive­ness to look­ing at new ways, and so I think that that whole learn­ing issue is real­ly a key area.

Harvey: Yeah that’s an inter­est­ing ques­tion about how you get peo­ple to real­ize the val­ue or the poten­tial for being on the net­work. I had an inter­est­ing expe­ri­ence this past semes­ter. One of my class­es decid­ed to do a sur­vey of the minor­i­ty busi­ness­es in the met­ro­pol­i­tan area, because there was a direc­to­ry that they could use that iden­ti­fied all the busi­ness­es. And they asked them first whether they’d heard of the Internet, and if any of them had heard of it, were they using it and if so how. And it was just amaz­ing how many had not even heard of the Internet.

And then after they had done their sur­vey and we had a dis­cus­sion about what it meant, one of the things the stu­dents observed was that the small­er busi­ness­es where the ones who had heard the least, and the larg­er busi­ness­es had heard more. And of course all these were small com­pared to the mam­moth busi­ness­es. But it came about that some of them had expe­ri­ence with say­ing that some of the busi­ness­es that were suc­cess­ful and larg­er were ones that were on the Internet because they had been able to trans­act some busi­ness and attract some cus­tomers.

So what we think we’ll do, and this just hap­pened this past year, is to have the com­put­er soci­ety and the stu­dents in the cours­es come up with some sort of way of con­tact­ing the busi­ness­es after they’ve put togeth­er a doc­u­ment say­ing what you can get out of being on the Internet. Because they real­ly don’t know. And this goes with what you said, there needs to be some cur­ricu­lum devel­op­ment or changes, because the cur­ricu­lum that we’re following—even in com­put­er science—was pret­ty much an [SACM?] cur­ricu­lum we’re fol­low­ing, was devel­oped long before net­work­ing real­ly took over. So we do need to do some changes there also.

Valdez: I just want­ed to offer a com­ment. Our expe­ri­ence was that we per­mit­ted the orga­ni­za­tions to define what infor­ma­tion was use­ful to them, and not so much—it was not technology-driven. The idea of get­ting on the net or using the net and so forth. The idea is what infor­ma­tion do you need to have access to in what form? And once that ques­tion was addressed, there was no ques­tion about you know, do I use the net—I mean, it’s there and so forth.

So I think it’s impor­tant to think about not the tech­nol­o­gy but rather…you know, peo­ple in any walk of life will use tools avail­able to them if they val­ue those tools, if it’ll get them what they need. Be it a car, be it a com­put­er, be it what­ev­er. And we had sig­nif­i­cant suc­cess with that.

Audience 4: My ques­tion is to the whole pan­el about some of the long-term trade­offs between community-building ver­sus build­ing bridges across com­mu­ni­ties. Much of the empha­sis here and in oth­er fora has been on the val­ue of these tech­nolo­gies to bring togeth­er like-minded peo­ple with com­mon inter­ests around the world, whether it’s minor­i­ty inter­est, polit­i­cal, reli­gious, or all the computer-literate dogs who want to talk to each oth­er. And on the one hand this is cer­tain­ly an empow­er­ing approach, but I’m see­ing increas­ing con­cern on the oth­er side and even schol­ar­ly con­cern that what’s hap­pen­ing is that like-minded peo­ple are split­ting off into small­er and small­er groups who talk to peo­ple who have the same atti­tudes, the same polit­i­cal opin­ions as each oth­er, and are not con­fronting peo­ple who have dif­fer­ent opin­ions and dif­fer­ent inter­ests. And we’re actu­al­ly maybe using this tech­nol­o­gy to move away from the community-building and the broad­er set of inter­ests in the pub­lic dia­logue that we real­ly need to have. And I’m very inter­est­ed in what all of you are think­ing about in terms of long-term trade­offs of build­ing your own com­mu­ni­ties ver­sus build­ing bridges across com­mu­ni­ties and a broad­er pub­lic dia­logue.

Valdez: I’d like to respond to that. I mean it’s… I began get­ting involved polit­i­cal­ly in 1960s, and I began work­ing with ini­tial­ly SDS and eth­nic orga­ni­za­tions. And I found that the way many of these orga­ni­za­tions then and now address the ques­tions of peo­ple of col­or was sort of a check­list or nom­i­nal­ly so. I felt a need to move from that com­mu­ni­ty to a Chicano stu­dent orga­niz­ing com­mu­ni­ty and so forth. And I found, and I’ve main­tained that rela­tion­ship all my life, that is it’s not an either/or sit­u­a­tion. I think if you frame the ques­tion the way you have, in terms of trade­offs, then we begin to see what is the rel­a­tive mer­its of doing this as opposed to doing that.

I would argue that the way we should frame the issue is how can you do this and do that to strength­en, in your case, both sides of the dichoto­my. I don’t see it as a dichoto­my nec­es­sar­i­ly. I think that there is sig­nif­i­cant strength in orga­niz­ing with­in your com­mu­ni­ty, because I can do it for exam­ple in the Chicano com­mu­ni­ty and per­haps you can’t. But I think for me to iso­late myself and do that and not com­mu­ni­cate with you I think is a detri­ment to both what you’re doing and I’m doing, and so forth.

So I think it’s impor­tant for us to think glob­al­ly, and act local­ly, and that’s what I’ve done over the years and I think that’s the way we should think about these ques­tions rather than just an either/or.

McGee: From my expe­ri­ence I’ve found that I’m see­ing just the oppo­site, that it’s only— At least from an eth­nic or racial stand­point, that the net­works are only bring­ing more peo­ple togeth­er that pre­vi­ous­ly would nev­er have crossed paths in a life­time. I do under­stand your con­cern about the issue in terms of thought process or polit­i­cal lean­ings, that peo­ple are sort of only asso­ci­at­ing with the same folks. But I don’t see that as a par­tic­u­lar­ly cyberspace-related prob­lem. Because it seems to only be mir­ror­ing what occurs in the gen­er­al soci­ety. I mean, I don’t think I’m going to be hav­ing lunch with Newt Gingrich tomor­row. I mean, whether in cyber­space or in the real world.

So I think that’s just the way it is on a day-to-day basis, that peo­ple tend to do that. So it’s not real­ly— That’s not real­ly— I don’t see that as real­ly a cyber­space prob­lem, I think actu­al­ly cyber­space has had a pos­i­tive effect in that area. That I can just—from my own per­son­al expe­ri­ence, the wide range of peo­ple that I’ve met, or who’ve become friends with would nev­er have hap­pened with­out this com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­o­gy.

Ross: I’d like to add just a short com­ment. I also served as a non-trustee board mem­ber for the National Museum of the American Indian. It hopes to build a facil­i­ty on the Washington Mall next to the National Air and Space Museum, and it hope to have a Suitland, Maryland research cen­ter. They had an open­ing for the cus­tom house in New York City last fall. Tribal America’s look­ing very care­ful­ly about the issue of how to exchange and share and strength­en cul­tur­al posi­tion­ing. Not only from a learn­ing con­text with the com­mu­ni­ties but how do we share infor­ma­tion with the next gen­er­a­tions. And not­ing that under the cur­rent muse­um prac­tices with­out tech­nol­o­gy many of our chil­dren have and prob­a­bly nev­er will have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to trav­el to Washington DC to see much of the cul­ture, pat­ri­mo­ny, and the mate­ri­als that have been col­lect­ed over the years.

I think this offers— The idea of glob­al exchange, the idea of mul­ti­me­dia, it opens up new doors and pos­si­bil­i­ties of shar­ing and exchang­ing, and to a sim­i­lar extent nego­ti­at­ing and start­ing that dia­logue for— In trib­al com­mu­ni­ties the issue of repa­tri­a­tion, the return of cul­tur­al prop­er­ties is an impor­tant issue. But with­in the com­mu­ni­ties, there is… We have Indian radio out there. We’re start­ing to look at…it’s a mix of medi­ums I think. So when you talk about just the Indian techies talk­ing to the Indian techies well, to some extent it is that. But at the same time we have a lot of oppor­tu­ni­ties to mix com­put­er net­work access with say, the Indian radio sta­tion, maybe the cable pro­gram­mers that are com­ing up with new ideas there for pro­gram divi­sion and pub­lic access to some chan­nels there. And the news­pa­pers, the news­pa­pers.

So I’m not going to die tomor­row. The paper guys aren’t going to go away. But how do we get a qual­i­ta­tive impact of all the merged medias, to build our economies and the com­mu­ni­ties inter­nal­ly, and strength­en them. And then go from there about what we want to do about devel­op­ing a broad­er nation­al cul­tur­al pol­i­cy agen­da of how do we share infor­ma­tion with the larg­er globe. And to remem­ber that we’re not just… You know, there this thing about there’s a third world out there. Hey, this is—it’s a one world. Get real, this is one world, you know.


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