The Pueblo of Santa Ana will develop a broadband wireless community Intranet to facilitate secure information sharing among its twelve government entities and provide high-speed Internet access over a computer or television set top box for all community members. The communication system will allow the Pueblo to schedule tribal meetings, disseminate the nightly watch guard schedule for the Tribe's historical pueblo, and encourage greater participation in tribal affairs by all community members. In an effort to preserve cultural heritage as well as include those who do not read English, the Pueblo's web site will stream audio in Keresan, which is one of the most popular spoken American Indian languages. In addition, the project will cultivate 21st century skills in the Pueblo's younger population through a unique partnership with the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI). Twelve tribal members will receive scholarships to SIPI and will be required to learn desktop applications and web publishing. These students will also serve as interns with tribal government entities and will have responsibilities for developing web content and encouraging computer and information literacy. For example, the tribe's Department of Education intern will be responsible for starting a computer club to teach elementary and middle school children about computer use. The ultimate goal of the project is to build on traditional communication channels that are part of the tribe's culture by using technology to strengthen community bonds and prepare its younger population for life in the digital age.
Since only 20% of our nation's tribes have a publicly available website and most suffer from a lack of resources and telecommunications infrastructure, this project will serve as a model to the 550 federally recognized American Indian tribes in the U.S. who wish to preserve their cultures while preparing themselves for the digital age. The project will use an emerging technology, point-to multipoint wireless service that uses an unlicensed spectrum band. The technology will give everyone in the Pueblo, including all government functions and residences, the opportunity for network connections. Since it is wireless, the network is not restricted to fixed computers and allows mobility within a 2-to-3 mile line of sight. For example, laptop computers can have broad bandwidth connectivity while completely untethered. Finally, the project recognizes that individuals who are less technologically literate may be more comfortable accessing the network via their television sets.
The Santa Ana Pueblo will oversee the project with assistance from two partner institutions. Researchers from the Georgia Tech Research Institute will act as liaisons to technology vendors and assist in network implementation and design and conduct project evaluation. SIPI will serve as a partner by providing two accelerated learning courses to Santa Ana interns and by serving as a guide for the Pueblo's Career Skills Coordinator.