E-community: online learning and sharing together in remote First Nations in northwestern Ontario

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University of New Brunswick


My thesis consists of three papers with an introductory and concluding chapter providing a critical analysis of technology work being undertaken by remote First Nations in northwestern Ontario. My methodology used a participatory action research process with the Keewaytinook Okimakanak (KO) tribal council and the KO First Nations. My long-standing relationship and collaborative experience with KO and the KO First Nations made it possible to conduct action research with community members. The KO First Nations use information and communication technologies (ICT) to support the development and operation of an e-community environment. In the first paper, I work with data obtained from an online questionnaire conducted with my KO partners. The paper examines how these technologies support learning, education and training and First Nation control of these services in remote communities. In the second paper, I analyze the 2014 data to develop insights into the nature of the local economy in the KO remote communities supported by their evolving and innovative use of ICT. My third paper, a published article, describes how these remote First Nations own and control the digital infrastructure and resources supporting their e-community within a colonial and adversarial society. My thesis suggests possibilities for enhancing the capacity of ICT and infrastructure for rural networking, supporting innovative uses for these communication tools, and creating new learning and development opportunities.