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Article: From marginalization to self-determined participation

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Budka, P. 2015. From marginalization to self-determined participation: Indigenous digital infrastructures and technology appropriation in Northwestern Ontario’s remote communities. Journal des Anthropologues – Special Issue “Margins and Digital Technologies”. No. 142-143: 127-153.

Abstract

This article discusses, from an anthropological perspective, the utilization of digital infrastructures and technologies in the geographical and sociocultural contexts of indigenous Northwestern Ontario, Canada. By introducing the case of the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Kuh-ke-nah Network (KO-KNET) it analyses first how digital infrastructures not only connect First Nations people and communities but also enable relationships between local communities and non-indigenous institutions. Second, and by drawing on KO-KNET’s homepage service MyKnet.org, it exemplifies how people appropriate digital technologies for their specific needs in a remote and isolated area. KO-KNET and its services facilitate First Nations’ self-determined participation to regional, national, and even global ICT connectivity processes, contributing thus to the “digital demarginalization” of Northwestern Ontario’s remote communities.

Text (PDF)

Article: Social media in remote First Nation communities

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Molyneaux, H., O’Donnell, S., Kakekaspan, C., Walmark, B., Budka, P., Gibson, K. 2014. Social media in remote First Nation communities. Canadian Journal of Communication, 39(2): 275-288.

Abstract

Community resilience in First Nations includes ties to people both inside and outside the community, intergenerational communication, the sharing of stories, and family and community connectedness. This study, based on a survey of Internet users in the Sioux Lookout region of Northwestern Ontario, explores the link between social networking sites and community resilience. The region is home to some of the most isolated First Nation (indigenous)communities in Canada. Cultural and familial links between these communities are strong, yet until recent use of the Internet, maintaining regular communications to strengthen cultural ties was challenging. This study examines the links between travel and communication online, the ways in which social media are used to preserve culture and maintain communication, and the implications of social networking for community resilience.

La résilience communautaire chez les Premières Nations se base sur les rapports à autrui tant au sein de la communauté qu’au-delà de celle-ci, la communication intergénérationnelle, le partage d’histoires et la solidarité familiale et communautaire. Cet article se fonde sur un sondage d’utilisateurs d’Internet dans la région Sioux Lookout du Nord-ouest de l’Ontario pour explorer les rapports entre les sites de réseautage social et la résilience communautaire. La région Sioux Lookout compte certaines des communautés autochtones les plus isolées au Canada. Les affinités culturelles et familiales entre ces communautés sont fortes, et pourtant, avant l’utilisation récente d’Internet, le maintien de communications régulières pour resserrer les liens culturels n’était pas facile. Cette étude examine les rapports entre voyages et communication en ligne, les manières dont on utilise les médias sociaux pour préserver la culture et assurer les communications, et l’impact du réseautage social sur la résilience communautaire.

Free chapter: “We were on the outside looking in”: MyKnet.org – A First Nations Online Social Environment in Northern Ontario

Free chapter: “We were on the outside looking in”: MyKnet.org – A First Nations Online Social Environment in Northern Ontario published on No Comments on Free chapter: “We were on the outside looking in”: MyKnet.org – A First Nations Online Social Environment in Northern Ontario

Bell, B., Budka, P., Fiser, A. 2012. “We were on the outside looking in”: MyKnet.org – A First Nations online social environment in northern Ontario. In A. Clement, M. Gurstein, G. Longford, M. Moll & L. R. Shade (Eds.), Connecting Canadians: Investigations in Community Informatics (pp. 237-254). Edmonton: Athabasca University Press.

“In 2000, one of Canada’s leading Aboriginal community networks, the Kuh-ke-nah Network, or K-Net, was on the verge of expanding into broadband services. (For more on K-Net, see chapter 14.) K-Net’s management organization, Keewaytinook Okimakanak Tribal Council, had acquired funding and resources to become one of Industry Canada’s Smart Communities demonstration projects. Among the innovative services that K-Net introduced at the time was MyKnet.org, a system of personal home pages intended for remote First Nations users in a region of Northern Ontario where numerous communities have lived without adequate residential telecom service well into the millennium (Fiser, Clement, and Walmark 2006; Ramírez et al. 2003). Shortly thereafter, and through K-Net’s community-based Internet infrastructure, this free-of-charge, free-of-advertising, locally supported, online social environment grew from its core constituency of remote First Nations communities to host over 30,000 registered user accounts (of which approximately 20,000 represent active home pages). …”

free chapter download: http://www.aupress.ca/index.php/books/120193

Presentation: cyberactivism = cultural activism

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At the 2nd UnlikeUs conference in Amsterdam, I gave a talk on cyberactivism, with KO-Knet and MyKnet.org as examples for the indigenous case.

Budka, Philipp. 2012. Indigenous cyberactivism: the case of KO-Knet and MyKnet.org. Presentation at UnlikeUs conference, Amsterdam, 10.03.2012. (PDF)

Main points:

  • case for media / technology diversity that is cultural diversity
  • through activist projects and practices
  • need to support local languages, cultural heritage & practices
  • through (1) control & ownership, (2) cooperation, networking & sharing

Further reading and resources:

Summary of the presentation by Ryanne Turenhout

Books
Landzelius, K. 2006. (ed.) Native on the net: Indigenous and diasporic peoples in the virtual age. New York & London: Routledge.
McCaughey, M., Ayers, M. D. 2003. (eds.) Cyberactivism: Online activism in theory and practice. New York & London: Routledge.

Journals & Papers
Budka, P., Bell, B., & Fiser, A. (2009): MyKnet.org: How Northern Ontario’s First Nation communities made themselves at home on the World Wide Web. The Journal of Community Informatics, 5(2), http://ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej/article/view/568/450
The Journal of Community Informatics Special Issue (2009): CI & Indigenous Communities in Canada – The K-Net (Keewaytinook Okimakanak’s Kuhkenah) Experience, http://ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej/issue/view/27

Links
UnlikeUs
Institute for Network Cultures

Publications, papers & presentations about MyKnet.org

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This is a list of publications, papers and presentations that results from research on MyKnet.org, an online social environment for First Nations people of northwestern Ontario, Canada. For more information on MyKnet.org and the research project, take a look at the summary of the MyKnet.org research project and the MyKnet.org research website.

Publications

Bell, B., Budka, P. & Fiser, A. 2012. “We were on the outside looking in” – MyKnet.org: A First Nations online social environment in northern Ontario. In Clement, A., Gurstein, M., Longford, G., Moll, M. & Shade, L. R. (Eds.) Connecting Canadians: Investigations in Community Informatics. Edmonton: Athabasca University Press. Forthcoming.

Budka, P. 2009. Indigenous media technology production in northern Ontario, Canada. In Ertler, K.-D. & Lutz, H. (Eds.) Canada in Grainau / Le Canada à Grainau: A multidisciplinary survey of Canadian Studies after 30 years. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Budka, P., Bell, B., & Fiser, A. 2009. MyKnet.org: How Northern Ontario’s First Nation communities made themselves at home on the World Wide Web. The Journal of Community Informatics, 5(2), Online: http://ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej/article/view/568/450

Papers and presentations at conferences

Budka, P. 2011. Connecting First Nations through media and communication technologies in northern Ontario, Canada. Paper at “American Indian Workshop (AIW)”, Graz, Austria: Graz University, 31 March – 3 April.

Budka, P. 2010. Popular culture and music in an indigenous online environment. Paper at “11th Biennial Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA)”, Maynooth, Ireland: National University of Irland Maynooth, 24-27 August.

Budka, P. 2010. Indigene Medienproduktion im Nordwestlichen Ontario, Kanada. Presentation at “Tage der Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie”, Vienna, Austria: University of Vienna, 22 April.

Budka, P. 2009. Die Bedeutung von (kultureller) Identität in einer indigenen Online-Umgebung (MyKnet.org). Paper at “Internet und Identitätskonstruktion von Jugendlichen Workshop”, Vienna, Austria: University of Vienna, 30 October.

Budka, P. 2008. Indigenous territories on the World Wide Web: How First Nation people in Northwestern Ontario make themselves at home online. Paper at “Internet Research 9.0 Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers”, Copenhagen, Denmark: IT University of Copenhagen, 16-18 October.

Budka, P. 2008. Indigenous media technology production in Northern Ontario, Canada. Paper at “10th Biennial Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA)”, Ljubljana, Slovenia: University of Ljubljana, 26-30 August.

Budka, P. 2008. Populärkulturen in einer First Nation Internet Umgebung: Hip Hop als Element jugendlicher Identitätskonstruktion und Repräsentation. Paper at “Wiener Tage der Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie”, Vienna, Austria: University of Vienna, 10-11 April.

Budka, P. 2007. The new mediation of traumatic experiences: the First Nations online environment MyKnet.org and suicides in Northern Ontario, Canada. Paper at “Sites/Cites of Trauma Workshop”, Gothenburg, Sweden:Gothenburg University, 5-6 October.

Budka, P., Grünberg, G., & Trupp, C. 2007. Indigene und Internet in den Amerikas. Ein komparatives medienanthropologisches Projekt. Presentation at “Wiener Tage der Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie”, Vienna, Austria: University of Vienna, 26-27 April.

Bell, B., Budka, P., & Fiser, A. 2007. “We were on the outside looking in” – MyKnet.org: a First Nations online social network in Northern Ontario. Paper at the “5th Canadian Research Alliance for Community Innovation and Networking (CRACIN) Workshop”, Montreal, Canada: Concordia University, 20-22 June.

Report on the MyKnet.org and Facebook Online Survey, April – December 2011

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Budka, Philipp. 2012. Report on the MyKnet.org and Facebook Online Survey, April-December 2011.
http://meeting.knet.ca/mp19/course/view.php?id=7

Abstract

This report presents and discusses findings of an online survey which aims to contribute to the understanding of First Nation online practices. By looking at two popular web services, MyKnet.org, a regional First Nation homepage environment, and Facebook, the global leader in online social networking, it becomes clear that for the First Nation people of northwestern Ontario the internet is the most important communication medium. These two online services have become ubiquitous media technologies that are used to connect and represent people in this remote region. They are well integrated into people’s daily lives and practices; not only as communication tools, but also as subjects of discussion. As participants to this online survey (N=117) indicate, the popularity of MyKnet.org and Facebook is mainly due to the fact that those online services are easy and free to use for keeping in touch with family and friends. Besides maintaining and fostering social connections, people also utilize MyKnet.org and Facebook to share stories about cultural activities as well as music and videos, which is considered an important cultural practice. Survey results suggest further that while Facebook has replaced MyKnet.org in terms of online communicating and connecting, the Aboriginal online service is still being used for creating and designing web presences as well as for local information gathering and sharing.

The full report (PDF)

Links
MyKnet.org research website
MyKnet.org
KO-KNET

TAZ Artikel “Social Network für Indianer – ‘Wir waren zuerst da!'”

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von Sunny Riedel, TAZ, 08.06.2010 (Print, PDF und Online)

“MyKnet ist eine soziale Online-Umgebung von Indianern für Indianer”, erklärt Philipp Budka vom Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie der Universität Wien. Seit ein paar Jahren forscht er über das Internetportal und dessen Provider Knet.

Das Herzstück ist MyKnet.org, eine Ansammlung von Homepages, über die Angehörige der First Nations, wie sie sich selbst bezeichnen, miteinander kommunizieren.

Wie die meisten Aboriginals werden auch die First Nations stark benachteiligt. Ihre Siedlungen und Reservate sind häufig weit voneinander entfernt, Straßen gibt es kaum. Nur im Winter, wenn Flüsse und Seen zugefroren sind, brausen Trucks über diese “winter roads”. Im Sommer können die Distanzen nur per Flugzeug bewältigt werden. Die fehlende Perspektiven in der Isolationbringt Probleme mit sich. Depressionen, Alkoholismus, Arbeitslosigkeit und eine hohe Selbstmordrate sindAlltag.

“Grund dafür ist die Unterdrückung der First Nations und die Missachtung ihrer Kultur durch die Mehrheitsgesellschaft”, erklärt Philipp Budka. Um das Web 2.0 dafür zu nutzen, die eigene Kultur zu fördern, hatte das Tribal Council, ein Zusammenschluss der politischen Führer der Indigenen, die Organisation Knet 1994 gegründet. Im Jahr 2000 folgte das soziale Netzwerk MyKnet.org.

mehr auf: http://www.taz.de/1/netz/netzkultur/artikel/1/wir-waren-zuerst-da/

Article: MyKnet.org: How Northern Ontario’s First Nation communities made themselves at home on the World Wide Web

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Budka, P., Bell, B., & Fiser, A. 2009. MyKnet.org: How Northern Ontario’s First Nation communities made themselves at home on the World Wide Web. The Journal of Community Informatics, 5(2), Online: http://ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej/article/view/568/450

Abstract

In this article we explore the development of MyKnet.org, a loosely structured system of personal homepages that was established by indigenous communities in the region of Northern Ontario, Canada in 2000. Individuals from over 50 remote First Nations across Northern Ontario have made this free of charge, free of advertisements, locally-driven online social environment their virtual home. MyKnet.org currently comprises over 25,000 active homepages and strongly reflects the demographic and geographic profile of Northern Ontario. It is thus youth-based and built around the communities’ need to maintain social ties across great distances. We draw upon encounters with a range of MyKnet.org’s developers and long time users to explore how this community-developed and community-controlled form of communication reflects life in the remote First Nations. Our focus is on the importance of locality: MyKnet.org’s development was contingent on K-Net, a regional indigenous computerization movement to bring broadband communications to remote First Nations. MyKnet.org is explicitly community-driven and not-for-profit, thus playing an important role in inter- and intra-community interaction in a region that has lacked basic telecommunications infrastructure well into the millennium.