My Great-Grandfather Used the Grease Trails, I Use a Smartphone

The following op-ed was published in the Summer/ Fall edition of Asparagus Magazine. 

My great-grandfather, Johnny David, wore many hats in our Indigenous nation. He carried the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief name Mikhlikhlekh. He was a traditional medicine man, hunter, and trapper. And, whenever the Wet’suwet’en hosted a potlatch, he travelled to neighbouring nations to invite their leaders to attend. He used the technology of his time — the grease trails, traditional trading routes that connected tribes — to deliver his messages to Indigenous leaders.

Today, I do a similar job. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a chief, medicine man, hunter, or trapper. In fact, I wouldn’t last 24 hours alone in the wilderness. I have a hard enough time navigating Walmart. But, like my great-grandfather, I am a communicator who frequently delivers messages to Indigenous nations, except I use the technology of my time: smartphones, social media, and email.

I told this story while traveling British Columbia last fall with the First Nations Technology Council, an organization that provides technology training to Indigenous peoples and works to advance digital technologies in Indigenous communities in BC. Our team spent two months...

Read the rest of this op-ed on how technology can support Indigenous self-determination here. 

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