Bryan Brewer: Tribal communities need better Internet service

Bryan Brewer. Photo from Facebook

Bryan Brewer, the president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, supports Federal Communications Commission proposal to help close the digital divide in Indian Country:
As a tribal leader representing a geographically-isolated tribal nation, I urge the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the agency responsible for E-rate, to support the announcement made last week by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to increase funding for this program and prioritize tribal communities so that our schools and libraries can join the digital age to ensure Native students do not continue to be disproportionately underserved.

Technology can be a game-changer by providing access to rigorous coursework and digital learning through the Internet while simultaneously engaging students and educators alike by personalizing learning for each student. High-speed Internet access would allow students in geographically-isolated tribes, like my own, to access advanced placement courses and other educational opportunities that better prepare them for college and careers. With more than half of Native high school students in South Dakota failing to graduate on time, we cannot afford to miss the opportunity that digital learning can provide for our tribal communities.

Too often, our schools, libraries, and community centers must go without Internet connectivity. Even when Internet is provided, rural carriers often charge exorbitant rates to “connect” our anchor institutions at relatively low bandwidth speeds. This is unacceptable. It is critical that tribes and Native communities have access to adequate and affordable resources.

Get the Story:
Bryan Brewer: Internet Access Will Be a Game-Changer for Indian Country (Indian Country Today 11/24)

Join the Conversation