e-Community

The e-Community is a holistic broadband development model. This approach supports First Nation community-based broadband connectivity, ICT deployment and application solutions that close economic, health, education, infrastructure and service gaps, create new employment opportunities, generate new socio-economic opportunities and improve the quality of life of First Nation community members.

From a holistic perspective, broadband and technology have little value in a community unless they benefit everyone. The e-Community approach supports First Nations to use broadband networks and ICT for community-controlled service delivery in a holistic manner. This includes supporting community members to use these technologies effectively.

The e-Community ICT model (Whiteduck, 2010) suggests how First Nations should approach developing a strategic plan for its broadband infrastructure and ICT development. The Assembly of First Nation’s e-Community ICT model builds upon a common network model employed by Canadian governments, institutions, companies and corporations. It has five themes: First Nations capacity development, First Nations connectivity, human resources development, information management, and service delivery and partners. The AFN is also proposing that First Nations communities and organizations oversee the public funding required to develop and control the communication infrastructure in their communities.

Keewaytinook Okimakanak (KO-KNET), one of the First Nation Innovation partners, is developing a comprehensive e-Community approach in collaboration with its member First Nations. The KO e-Community approach was shared and well received at the 2012 Annual General Assembly of the Assembly of First Nations in Toronto. The KO-KNET e-Community model is described in their website:

http://e-community.knet.ca/

Our project recently worked in collaboration with one of the KO-KNET First Nations – North Spirit Lake First Nation – to support the development of their e-Community. This activity was documented in a short video produced by KO-KNET about the e-Community in North Spirit Lake First Nation. The video can be viewed online from this link:

http://media.knet.ca/node/22176

The First Nation Innovation project has several publications that discuss the e-Community – to access these publications, click on the links below:

1. Democratic Ideals Meet Reality: Developing Locally Owned and Managed Broadband Networks and ICT Services in Rural and Remote First Nations in Quebec and Canada

2. Broadband-Enabled Community Services in Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation: Developing an e-Community Approach

3. How women in remote and rural First Nation communities are using information and communication technologies

Reference: Whiteduck, J. (2010) Building the First Nation e-community. In J. P. White, J. Peters, D. Beavon, & P. Dinsdale (Eds), Aboriginal policy research VI: Learning, technology and traditions (pp.95-103). Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing