Indigenous Digital Advancement Framework

In the Fall of 2018, our team hosted eight regional engagement sessions across British Columbia. The roundtables were comprised of Indigenous leaders, elders, staff, youth, entrepreneurs, BCATEAM members and other community and Indigenous organizations. Discussions, survey questions and breakout activities were focused on accessing career opportunities in the rapidly growing technology sector, as well as how nations want to use technology to advance self-determination.

These engagement sessions contributed to the foundational elements of an Indigenous Digital Advancement Framework. This is a first of its kind strategic framework for all Indigenous peoples in BC to benefit from a collaborative approach aimed at achieving equitable, affordable and sustainable access to digital and connected technologies, and utilizing technology to advance employment and economic prosperity.

Key pillars of this framework were validated through breakout activities with session participants designed to unearth regional-based priorities and challenges for the advancement and utilization of digital and connected technologies in Indigenous communities.

We know that many Indigenous communities are without equitable, affordable or sustainable access to internet connectivity. This reality was emphatically confirmed through our regional engagements as a barrier to economic development, training opportunities and efficiency and effectiveness of various governance initiatives. We also know that provincial and federal investments towards connecting Indigenous communities in BC, managed by the All Nations Trust Company (totaling $59.6 million dating back to 2009), is not sufficient to connect all 203 Indigenous communities.

Our team is holding ongoing discussions with BC and Canada on how an Indigenous Digital Advancement Framework can expedite the critical investment needed to achieve digital equity in the province while providing Nations with the information they need to advance and utilize digital and connected technologies based on their own unique challenges and priorities.