(via FieldNotes): These are the first words in an article on how the internet is changing life in First Nations communities in Canada:
"This year, the internet saved a child's life."
For Internet may mean different things to life up there in the North:
A broadband connection doesn't mean downloading the latest Bedouin Soundclash album or "messengeing" a friend who lives down the street. For the aboriginal communities that are being wired, internet means school, family, health-care and job opportunities.
High-level physics courses are now available online, and bright aboriginal students who choose to stay in their villages … have the drive to take online classes and strive towards university.
First Nations leaders think keeping kids in the community -- educating and mentoring them -- might stem some social problems.
And previously isolated villages might cooperate and share news via the web:
Turtle Island Native Network has a forum page where aboriginals post essays, ideas and concerns. Chief Tommy Alexis of the Tl'atz'en Nation posted an essay on clean water issues on the afternoon of May 22. By 9:00 p.m. on May 30, it had been viewed 3250 times. Other communities facing water pollution problems now know that they are not alone. Maybe one of the communities new to the web will learn for the first time that other First Nations have similar land-rights issues, or water-quality issues. It is possible that isolation will no longer disempower nations.