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Indians in Cyberspace
by Mike MacDonald

Who is
by Cheryl L'Hirondelle

First Nations in Cyberspace
by Mike Patterson

Image Credit: NASA JPL-Caltech E. Churchwell University of Wisconsin


First Nations in Cyberspace: Two Worlds and Tricksters - Where the Forest meets the Highway

by Mike Patterson

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4.3 Questions - Adoptions, Survivals

The question remains as to what the effects of the adoption of the new technology, the new arena of cyberspace, will be. Adoption of the fiddle showed cultural losses, and survivals at the same time. As the following section explores, the current opportunity for cultural exchange in cyberspace can be seen by as perhaps a last chance for exchange of perspectives, or a knell for assimilation - in light of the Seventh Fire Prophecy.

Natives, particularly on reserve, missed the early forays into cyberspace, and regarded it with suspicion from the start. In 1998 I was at South Bay Mouth at the tip of Manitoulin waiting for the ferry to Tobermory and the Bruce Peninsula. I stopped at a diner that advertised whitefish and chips, and sure enough, there was an Ojibwe woman there just getting started for the afternoon. I asked if I could plug my laptop into her phone line; her younger son (about 12) thought it was a neat idea but said "ask my dad." The older son (15) sat smoking cigarettes looking out the window at the cars headed for the ferry - it was powwow weekend and there was a lot going on.

I asked their dad if it would be OK for me to tap into his phone line and get to my office in Ottawa. He said alright, come back in the morning. I got takeout whitefish and relaxed at my camp. The next morning, the younger son looked upset and the older had gone off to the powwow; after breakfast Dad told me that he had laid awake all night in thought, and now feared that I might use my computer and the Internet to get into his bank account or take the money from his Interac machine; he asked if I could prove otherwise. Not being able to, I nodded to his wife and youngest son and left.

I headed to the popular Esso fishing stop down the road. The owner there, a non-Native running a busy corner shop, let me plug in. When I told him about my trouble up the road, he said: "If you can get to my bank account, please put some money in."

The people at the whitefish shop were right to be suspicious. If Barlow is right, and cyberspace is "where your money lives," then the mainstream shopkeepers are there already, waiting for the Natives to come and 'trade.'

Next: Chapter Seven

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