The First Nations Technology Council defines Indigenous Digital Equity as a state where Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determine their distinct digital destinies is respected, implemented, and upheld. Mainstream understandings of digital equity fail to address our inherent rights as distinct peoples.
Since 2009, the First Nations Technology Council has been listening to First Nations communities about ways technology can support self-determination. We have since assembled a diverse group of rightsholders and subject matter experts to begin work on Canada’s first-ever Indigenous Digital Equity Strategy.
In an increasingly digital world, where technology touches nearly every aspect of our lives, our peoples must have the same access and tools as the rest of what’s currently called Canada. Digital equity is broadly understood as critical to nearly every aspect of rights implementation.
Access and disseminate information
Education, health, social services
Social and cultural connections
Exercise and maintain freedom of speech
Food supply chains
Create and share art
Practice language and culture
Work and business ownership
Protect and maintain land borders
The digital revolution is transforming economic, social, cultural, legal and political spheres across the globe making it impossible to deny digital technology’s critical role in enabling healthy and resilient societies. More than ever, individuals, communities, and Nations; as well as non-profit, private, and public sectors, rely on digital technology to engage in essential activities. Digital inequity directly denies Indigenous Peoples from exercising and enjoying our individual and collective human rights.
There is an urgent need for strategic planning, community leadership, and the development of future-proof solutions that center Indigenous voices in the design of our collective digital futures. Through the co-creation of an Indigenous Digital Equity Strategy, we are undertaking work to redefine digital equity from an Indigenous perspective while designing calls to action that will chart our collective path toward achieving Indigenous Digital Equity.