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The deployment of broadband infrastructure in the Northwest Territories gave Gwich’in communities access to all the online cultural, educational and economic resources that are vital to supporting long-term development. Researchers at the University of Alberta in partnership with Gwich’in Tribal Council recognized that broadband also came with challenges, especially the need for increased digital literacy skills for community members. This project involved developing and delivering digital literacy workshops for four Gwich’in communities to ensure community members were informed and able to engage in policy, applications and capacity-building challenges and opportunities that accompany digital development in the North.


The team developed 2-day workshops that provided a forum for Gwich’in community members to share how they can manage the increased presence of digital content and the supports and barriers to connectivity. Participants discussed the benefits and challenges that come with new technologies and shared strategies for their own community-based technology development projects. They also participated in hands-on activities like building a 3D model of a network to illustrate how a community network is set up. As a result, educational resources including a Student Guidebook and Facilitator Handbook were produced. Researchers also presented the project at the 2018 Indigenous Connectivity Summit.



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Photos courtesy of Gwich’in Tribal Council.


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