The Connected Nation Blog: Alaska Native Leaders Being Offered a Direct Voice in State Broadband Planning

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Alaska Native Leaders Being Offered a Direct Voice in State Broadband Planning

By Jeremy Thacker, Communications Specialist, Connect Alaska

There is truly no place in America in greater need of broadband access, adoption, and use than bush Alaska. This week, village leaders from across the state are getting an opportunity to start changing that with an important workshop being held at the annual Alaska Federation of Natives Convention.

Thousands of Native leaders are in Anchorage, representing some of the state’s most isolated populations. One-hour discussion-style Connect Alaska workshops are being held at four different times over the course of the convention to help give the village leaders a voice in planning for the expansion on quality broadband service in their regions.

“High-speed Internet is a critical modern lifeline to crucial services that support and improve quality of life,” said Connect Alaska Project Coordinator Therese Dolan. “Telemedicine, educational opportunities, jobs, and government services including future Alaska PFD submissions all depend largely on broadband access, adoption, and use.”

AFN workshop attendees will learn about the community support, tech support, relationship advocacy, and other free resources that are available to them through the Connect Alaska initiative. The Connect Alaska workshops are planned for the Tubughnenq’ Room of the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center. The sessions are scheduled for:

Thursday, October 20
2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Saturday, Oct 22
2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

The AFN Convention is the largest representative annual gathering in the United States of any Native peoples. Delegates are elected on a population formula of one representative per 25 Native residents in the area and delegate participation rates at the annual convention typically exceed 95 percent. Each year the AFN Convention draws between 4,000–5,000 attendees.