The Cherokee Nation seeks to use interactive, digital networks to allow convenient access to services for tribal members and to preserve the Nation's history, culture, and language. The project will place high-speed, Internet-connected computers in natural gathering places in small communities dispersed throughout the 9,000 square mile Cherokee Nation. It will also ensure tribal government staff members are trained on the use of the computer so that they can provide one-on-one assistance to less computer savvy tribal members. An important goal of the project will be to provide electronic information on available services, eligibility requirements, needed documents, and application instructions to tribal members. In addition, the networked computers will provide a means for tribal members to give feedback to government officials, and to access tribal government documents. It will also provide a medium for communication, collaboration, and information sharing across rural tribal communities. A special program will allow tribal members to participate in the preservation of their language, history and cultural. The network will also be used to provide access to information on such subjects as organizing, basic grant writing, holding meetings, forming a non-profit, and other issues that can contribute to the empowerment of communities.
The Cherokee Nation is the nation's second largest tribe, and many of its members live in small, rural communities, with no public transportation and very little communications infrastructure. Their homes are not served by cable television and often have poor reception of local broadcasts. The geographic remoteness leaves many Cherokee isolated from public information sources. Providing an Internet-connected computer in each rural community will create a convenient way for tribal members to access information and allow the Cherokee Nation website more effectively to serve as a source for online services, tribal government information, interactive language instruction, and historical and cultural preservation. The network will help reestablish the ability for tribe members to read, write and speak in their Native Cherokee language and will greatly enhance the tribal government's ability to serve and inform its members.
The Cherokee Nation's Information Systems Department and its 16 employees will develop of this project with input from tribal members and government leaders.