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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