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Indigenous Peoples' Literature

Enough of White Man's ASCII

by Tracy LaQuey with Jeanne C. Ryer


Dave Hughes, who is kind of an Internet evangelist, took to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to work with a group of Native American teenagers at the American Indian Science and Engineering Society's summer school in physics. According to Dave, the kids, who were from the Navajo, Zuni, Crow, Tohono, Sioux, and Picurus Pueblo tribes, showed polite, quiet interest as I explained the technology and made a local call to the Internet (Colorado Supernet). They laughed a bit, read, and responded to email sent especially to them by Dr. George Johnston, physicist at MIT, whom I asked directly to welcome them to the world of mathematics and physics by telecom.



Then I said, "Enough of White Man's ASCII" and started calling up the Indian art, the Crow Dance poetry, the new pieces by Lorri Ann Two Bulls, via modem, at 240 baud. They *really* got excited! Putting questions to me, walking up to look closer at the full-color VGA monitor, their dark eyes laughing, smiles, and half of them standing up for the rest of the hour-long session. When it was over, a crowd around the machine, picking up copies of the Online Access Magazine and Boardwatch Magazine I brought, and more questions. And from their obvious tribal knowledge, they were saying, "That's Crow, that's Sioux!" from the colors and symbols in the various pieces of art.

A heart-warming session with 40 Indian kids who seemed to get a glimpse of a future even they could participate in. And if I am right, by reaching these youth, starting with their own images of their inner selves as Indians produced by such technologies, they may be better able to move on into the world of science, math, and the cold regions of technological and white man's society, while still not losing their identity or associations with each other. Perhaps even doing their life's work as professionals, from the reservation, thanks to these little devices.

Source: The Internet Companion:

A Beginner's Guide To Global Networking




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The Indigenous Peoples' Literature pages were researched and organized by Glenn Welker.


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