The First Nations Technology Council was established in 2002 with our founding mandates given to us by the First Nations Leadership Council, which consists of the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit and Union of BC Indian Chiefs. As an Indigenous-led enterprising non-profit, we are the leading voice on Indigenous innovation and inclusion in the technology sector and we proudly serve all 203 BC First Nations.
Between 2002 and 2007, we passed several resolutions to create the organization, set direction and prioritize our founding mandates. The following mandates guide our work and ensure we remain accountable to all First Nations in BC.
Digital Skills Development
Since 2010 we have provided digital skills training to more than 2,800 Indigenous people. In 2012 we started Project Raven, a mobile lab that we brought into communities for weeks at a time to teach intro-level Microsoft software skills. Over 70 percent of our students received this training in their home communities. While the project was a popular success, we recognized that we needed to provide more advanced training if Indigenous peoples were to launch successful long-term careers in the tech sector. We realized that we needed to become a bridge to the new and emerging digital economy.
Since then we have worked tirelessly to develop our Foundations and Futures in Innovation and Technology (FiiT) program. Formerly known as the Bridging to Technology program, Fiit is a combination of two programs: Foundations and Futures. Foundations provide entry-level certifications and an introduction to six in-demand fields within the tech sector. Futures is an advanced stream where students receive intensive training and work experience in one of the six fields they choose to specialize in.
Foundations lays the groundwork. Futures launches our students into rewarding careers.
In December 2016 the CRTC declared broadband internet a basic service yet many of our remote First Nations communities are not connected. This is a major barrier to our people becoming full partners in the digital economy. We are engaged in local, provincial and national conversations to advocate for Indigenous people to have affordable and equal access to the internet and mobile services.
The All Nations Trust Company currently holds the connectivity funds for BC First Nations. Together we participate on the Pathways to Technology Steering Committee to advocate for improved resources and services for First Nations communities in the near and long-term. We are actively designing a provincial connectivity strategy that builds off this work and aims to increase opportunities and speed of delivery.
We support Indigenous communities with evaluating products and services related to integrated information management through the First Nations in BC Knowledge Network. Data management when it comes to lands, resources and nation membership is an essential component to asserting Indigenous sovereignty in the digital age.
Technical Support and Services
We help communities identify technical needs and support the coordination of comprehensive and integrated solutions to meet those needs.
In 2017 we sought the support of the BC First Nations Leadership Council to move forward with large-scale initiatives that will accelerate the speed in which First Nations communities will have access to digital technologies. In 2018 we began developing an Indigenous Digital Strategy that will mean an immense investment in digital skills training for Indigenous people and will ensure affordable high-speed connectivity for all 203 BC First Nations. We are growing our team to ensure we meet our mandates and support all Indigenous people to become equal partners in the new economy.