The annual Information Technology Summit hosted by the Navajo Nation Department of Information Technology will be held at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque on November 14-17, 2016. The summit is expected to draw presentations and attendance from varied stakeholders seeking cyber solutions and technology instruction. Loris Taylor, President and CEO of Native Public Media, will provide a session on radio licensing and ownership November 15, 2016.

“I am honored to be invited by the Navajo Nation to present on the importance of media access, control, and ownership.  Judging by what is happening at Standing Rock in terms of media coverage, or the lack of it by mainstream media, this conversation is timely.  Currently Native media and independent media are the primary providers of news from Standing Rock on a consistent basis regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline.  We also need to talk about technology based abuses levied against the water protectors where media overlaps with technology,” stated Taylor.

The four-day summit will provide technology education sessions to address broadband technology opportunities and challenges across Indian County with specific attention to the technology needs of tribal offices in the fields of health, social services, judicial, communications, telecommunications, higher education, and more. For additional information, visit http://www.nnits.navajo-nsn.gov.

Information is necessary to daily decision making. However, many across the country, including Tribal Communities, continue to lack the infrastructure and resources that would enable access to information. This communications divide has been the focus of Mignon L. Clyburn, Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

In April 2016, the Commissioner announced the launch of the “Connecting Communities: Bridging the Communications and Opportunities Divide” Tour, and began meeting with rural and urban communities to learn of the benefits and challenges facing the communications sector nationwide. This tour included visits to Tribal Communities to hear of specific challenges that Indian Country continues to face.

In a press release from April 2016 announcing the tour, Clyburn said, “I’m excited to embark on this national tour to hear from those seeking to bridge the communications and opportunities divide. This is a unique opportunity to gain new insights and ensure that the FCC hears a wide range of perspectives, including the many voices that often go unheard.”

The Connecting Communities tour will conclude with the #Solutions2020 Policy Forum taking place today, October 19, 2016, at 1 p.m. EDT at the Gewirz Building, Georgetown University Law Center, 600 New Jersey Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20001. Over 20 panelists from across the country, including Loris Taylor, President and CEO of Native Public Media, will discuss some of the most challenging issues facing the communications sector to date. Topics of the policy forum will include

  • Bridging the Affordability Gap
  • What is 5G?
  • Combating Inequality in the Communications Sector
  • Health Care: An Unfinished Chapter of the National Broadband Plan
  • The Future of Viewpoint Diversity

The discussion will be streamed live at https://www.fcc.gov/live.

You can read the press release at https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-338868A1.pdf.

For more information about the forum, visit https://www.fcc.gov/news-events/events/2016/10/commissioner-clyburn%E2%80%99s-solutions2020-policy-forum.

Native Public Media signs on with 75 public interest organizations and sent a letter to the Chairman and Commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) calling on the agency to move forward this month on three issues currently before it: the set-top box rulemaking, the broadband privacy rulemaking, and the zero rating investigation.

The FCC has been working toward actions on these three issues for months, if not years. The agency could vote any day on proposed new rules for set-top boxes, after it postponed a scheduled vote in late September. It is currently scheduled to vote on new privacy rules that would limit broadband providers’ ability to use and share their customers’ data for non-service-related purposes. And it is in the midst of an investigation into abusive data caps and zero rating plans that many advocates argue violate net neutrality rules.

Public interest organizations view action on these issues as necessary to make internet, cable, and satellite services more affordable and open, and to preserve internet users’ privacy. “This Commission has made bold and historic moves to dismantle technological barriers to free and unfettered speech, making tools for generating content more accessible, and networks for sharing and reading more egalitarian,” the letter says, noting in particular the importance of the 2015 Open Internet Order that established net neutrality rules. “But there is still much left to do.” As the year comes to an end and Washington anticipates being thrown into the turmoil of the election and changing Administration, the letter urges swift resolution of these issues. “Each day that passes without marking progress on these important issues is another day of missed opportunities,” the letter says.

You can read the letter sent to the FCC here – 2016-10-public-interest-fcc-letter-final

By Brian Cladoosby

This Sunday’s presidential debate marks another milestone for this election cycle and a critical moment for Native American communities nationwide. While the presidential candidates will be discussing their plans for the country, Tribal leaders from across the nation will be gathering to finalize our priorities for the next president at the National Congress of American Indian’s annual conference.

For Native Americans, the needs for our communities are just as diverse as we are, and it is important that the next president understands and works with our leaders to further empower our communities to thrive in the 21st century. A crucial ingredient to our success is ensuring affordable, reliable high-speed internet access.

Millions of Americans recognize the importance of the internet as an equalizing tool of economic, social, and political power. Indeed, many advocates speak passionately about the important role of the internet in our everyday lives and the need to address the digital divide.

Often missing from these conversations is the reality that for Native American communities, this divide is much larger. The Federal Communications Commission’s broadband progress report found that 41 percent of Americans living on tribal lands lacked access to broadband, compared to 10 percent of all Americans. A report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that unusually high costs for service and unreliable connections were among important limitations to increasing internet services for some tribes.

This divide is tragic, but unfortunately not surprising. Native American communities for generations have been disconnected and isolated from the rest of America – often living in remote areas. According to the most recent data on our communities, 28 percent of all American Indians and Native Alaskans live in poverty, a number much higher than any other racial group.

Although the internet serves as a means to connect people to jobs, educational, political and healthcare resources, the internet’s promise of opportunity for all does not reach our communities. In our increasingly digitally connected and reliant world, Native American communities are behind.

Take the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota for example. In a recent interview with MSNBC regarding protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault traveled over an hour to the city of Bismarck to conduct the interview via Skype because of spotty and delayed internet service on his reservation.

At a time when the largest Native American protest over water in Indian Country is taking place, this broadband black hole on Standing Rock has made traditional and social media coverage of these massive protests difficult. Lawrence O’Donnell, host of MSNBC’s “Last Word,” highlighted this in a Facebook live video following his visit to Standing Rock. He noted that the lack of access to reliable internet and cellular services, along with the high cost to bring live TV equipment to the reservation and protest site, have resulted in limited news coverage.

Even children on Tribal reservations nationwide struggle to access the internet, often needing to frequent commercial areas with Wi-Fi hot spots miles from home to finish their homework. They suffer the double whammy of their families not being able to afford internet service or worse, not having service available at any price.

Lack of affordable access to broadband makes a difference in the social, political, and economic power and success of our communities. There has been some progress over the past eight years to ensure that tribal communities are a part of policy conversations to address the country’s internet access issues. We have seen a restructuring of existing federal programs to provide greater access to the internet for low-income families, public schools, and libraries. President Obama even launched his ConnectHome initiative– a public-private partnership pilot to provide broadband access to 275,000 low-income homes– among the Choctaw Nation.

But the next president still has much work to do to ensure that the over 500 tribal nations across the country have access to reliable, affordable high speed internet. This includes making more spectrum available with a focus on connecting and deploying affordable broadband to our communities. It also includes ensuring greater representation of Native Americans and our policy priorities within key government agencies.

As we sit on the eve of the second presidential debate, with just over 30 days until the election, our communities are watching to ensure the next president is prepared to address the needs of Native American people. Education, jobs, and health are all areas where technology could make a real difference in our communities. Expanding access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet is vital to achieving this promise.

Brian Cladoosby serves as the 21st President of the National Congress of American Indians.

National Preparedness Month

Flagstaff, AZ —In an emergency, every second counts. That’s why it’s important to have a plan to be prepared for the types of emergencies, including natural and man-made disasters that could affect us where we live, work, and also where we visit. September is National Preparedness Month to encourage developing an emergency plan.

The theme for National Preparedness Month is, “Don’t Wait, Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today,” with an emphasis on preparedness for youth, older adults, and people with disabilities and access needs.  Additionally, in Tribal Communities, socio-economic factors can contribute to the lack of disaster and emergency preparedness.

“Tribal Communities must prioritize and take ownership of disaster preparedness for survival. In support, NPM developed the Emergency Communications Guidebook for Native Broadcasters who often are seen as first responders in their communities. The Guidebook is a tool to strengthen Tribal Emergency Communications in an effort to encourage preparedness and decrease fear before and during a disaster to reduce loss and improve recovery after the disaster,” announced Loris Taylor, President and CEO, Native Public Media.

The American Red Cross suggests families develop an emergency plan, it can be as simple as conducting an assessment of your home to test and install smoke alarms and provide fire, safety disaster education to the household, including an evacuation plan.

In concert with the release of the Guidebook, NPM will release the Family Disaster Handbook. The Handbook is an effort to clarify the disaster system by providing Native American families with accurate, timely and relevant information about their risks, options, and practical steps they must take to save lives and protect property before disaster strikes.

“As we recognize National Preparedness Month, it is important to know that preparing for emergencies is more than a one-time pursuit. Being ready for unexpected catastrophes must become a way of life for families and communities everywhere,” said Vincent Davis, Founder of PreparednessMatters.Org. “Those who are most vulnerable should be our priority. Saving lives and reducing suffering should be our goal. Only after we have done all we can to prepare, can we then leave the outcome to the Creator. Live Prepared!”

The NPM Guidebook will be available to Native broadcasters by October 2016.

The At-Large Tribal Ambassadors Project addresses the digital divide throughout Tribal communities and specifically aims to generate increased awareness and understanding of Internet governance development within un-served and under-served Tribal communities.  The Tribal Ambassadors, in representing indigenous groups in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico, will be assigned a Coach with a goal to gain overall ICANN experience and understanding of the Internet multi-stakeholder community.  Additional details and requirements are available on the At-Large Tribal Ambassadorship Workspace.

The Fellowship covers travel, hotel, transportation costs, and a stipend to Hyderabad, India for the duration of the ICANN meeting for two Tribal Ambassadors from November 3-9, 2016. Applicants will need a passport and Visa for travel. Visa fees will be covered by the Tribal Ambassadorship Fellowship as part of the travel support. To apply, complete the the online application by August 14, 2016.

About the Project

The At-Large Tribal Ambassadors Project is a complement to the current ICANN Fellowship program that has a goal to create a broader and more regionally diverse base of knowledgeable constituents to build capacity within the ICANN Multi-stakeholder Model. Participation in the program at an ICANN Meeting is a “fast track” experience of engagement into that community model, with presentations designed to facilitate understanding of the many pieces and parts of ICANN while providing opportunities to network and promoting interaction with staff and community leaders.

Who may apply for and be awarded a Tribal Ambassadors Project fellowship?

The Project is targeted at individuals who identify with, or are part of an indigenous group in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. These people are either new to the ICANN environment, are familiar with ICANN but have yet to attend a face-to-face meeting, or have started participating in ICANN by other means but are in need of travel funding in order to broaden their knowledge and deepen their engagement. Priority will be given to constituent members of Native Public Media (NPM), Indigenous members of other NARALO At-Large Structures in the US, Canada, or Puerto Rico and to NARALO unaffiliated individual members. Other Indigenous members or individuals are also encouraged and welcome to apply. The only requirement is that these individuals must NOT be involved in other ICANN supported travel programs at time of selection.

How are the Tribal Ambassador Project fellowships awarded?

Tribal Ambassador Project Fellowships are awarded by an independent selection committee based on a mix of criteria including applicant experience and references. The Selection Committee names are listed on the Tribal Ambassador web page as well as a description of the project.

 

Flagstaff, AZ – July 7, 2016 –  Mignon L. Clyburn, Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will speak about broadcast diversity and why it matters during the July 19 -21, 2016 Tribal Radio Summit.  The Summit will take place at the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Phoenix, Arizona, and will focus on new radio licensing for Native Americans.

Commissioner Clyburn, a long-time advocate for media ownership rules that reflect the demographics across the U.S., began her service at the FCC in 2009 and was re-nominated by President Barack Obama and appointed for a second term in 2013. Clyburn is the first African American woman to serve as an FCC Commissioner.

“Commissioner Clyburn’s continued support for increased media ownership among Native Americans and people of color is critical.  Tribal communities continue to have a need for multiple means of communication including radio.  Information is necessary to the daily decision making process of our Tribal members and radio is especially necessary where other communications infrastructure such as broadband have yet to be deployed.  We depend on radio for news, weather, cultural programming and other critical information including emergency, disaster and public safety communication.  We are honored that Commissioner Clyburn will join us for the Summit,” stated Loris Taylor, President and CEO of Native Public Media.

The Summit is an opportunity for Tribes and tribal entities to learn how to get a radio station for their community and will bring together information about engineering, legal requirements, radio station operations, and programming for the sole purpose of explaining what potential licensees need to know in order to apply for and operate a radio station.  Applicants will also learn how to exercise the FCC Tribal Priority for Broadcast in securing AM and FM stations.

There are 567 federally recognized American Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Villages in the U.S. but fewer than 60 broadcast stations serving Indian Country.  To RSVP for the Summit, please email: Native@FCC.gov.

The Tribal Radio Summit is co-hosted by Native Public Media, the FCC Office of Native Affairs and Policy (ONAP), the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) and Arizona State University American Indian Policy Institute (ASU AIPI).

There is growing consensus among internet users, digital rights advocates and activists on the principles that must guide any policymaking that affects the Internet:

  • Free Speech: Freedom of expression online and offline. Don’t censor the internet.
  • Access: Universal access to fast and affordable communications platforms.
  • Choice: Diverse, decentralized and open infrastructure with a competitive choice of providers.
  • Privacy: Protect personal data and the right to communicate and access information in private.
  • Transparency: Shed light on the data collection and processing practices of government and online platforms.
  • Openness: Support Net Neutrality to prevent unreasonable discrimination against content or users; protect everyone’s right to create, innovate, and share without permission.

This Internet policy platform aims to promote these principles and foster a healthier and more inclusive democracy.
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The three-day conference packed over 50 presentations, evening events and tours to suit all participants under the the theme “We’re Better Together.” Approximately 275 broadcasters, including 15 from Tribal radio stations attended the conference to network, learn, and understand the merging of new and legacy media.

On Wednesday, June 8, three pre-conference radio affiliate summits kicked off the conference. In the rural station summit, broadcasters projected the outlook of their stations by year 2021, identified challenges and developed strategies to overcome them. A recurring vision that surfaced for stations was to achieve financial serenity, and to recruit a new generation of radio personnel, inclusive of a succession plan for targeting a younger listening audience. NFCB CEO Sally Kane noted the rural station summit was largely attended.

The first Keynote, Malkia Cyril, Center for Media Justice director, passionately described the need for equal speech and justice for all people regardless of race.

June Fox, second Keynote speaker and General Manager at KNHC Radio, C89.5 FM, led the audience on her journey with a non-commercial station, run by students at Nathan Hale High in Seattle, WA. In her address, she stressed the importance of relationship building, thinking outside of the box, and described how she led a successful membership campaign at her station.

With three plenary sessions, conference attendees received information on media content, development, and engagement. The breakout session tracks centered around development, programming, operations and administration. Not only did the NPM staff host a Native station gathering and present on the Emergency Preparedness Panel, participation in the following sessions garnered them valuable insights, tools, contacts and ideas.

1) Community Service Grants – Compliance and Application
• Updates on CPB’s new certification guidelines, grant use and financial reporting
• Proper preparation is essential, strongly encouraged potential applicants to begin the process at least eight months prior to the application deadline.
2) Emergency Preparedness Panel
• Described their experience in providing emergency response and how preparedness is key.
• Shared resources and equipment broadcasters utilized such as saferstations.org, need to purchase a small portable transmitter that runs on gas in the event the station transmitter goes out.
3) Underwriting Legal Review Panel
• Legal advice included language restrictions in underwriting spots, distinguished rules for profit and non-profit organizations and raising monetary contributions through contests and sweepstakes.
4) Programming: Innovations in reporting
• Working with Localore, veterans, journalist and storytellers created content around important community issues.
• Journalist Alison Herrera, a Native American from Minneapolis, created a series called, “Invisible Nations” featuring Oklahoma Tribal communities whose voices are often unheard. Oklahoma is home to 38 Tribal nations, represented by only one Tribally owned radio station and one terrestrial TV station. Media owned and controlled by Tribal entities do not often have a Free Press Act in place. Storytellers like Herrera are changing stereotypes of Native Americans.
5) Development: Optimizing Revenue Streams in a Digital Age
• Kamran Razvan, Founder of Click and Pledge, presented the digital landscape of online giving with data and new fundraising approaches. Attendees learned the value of one, an influential donor with an extensive network. Important templates of web rates will be shared with the Native radio network.

Nobody thinks much about emergency response until there is an emergency. What role can community stations have beyond 4 beeps out the box every month to make sure that the emergency alert equipment is functioning? Broadcasters have a responsibility to provide emergency alert services to our communities, but emergency preparedness goes far beyond having a fully functional EAS system. Our panelists will discuss all facets of emergency preparedness from the EAS requirements and equipment considerations to station disaster plans and active engagement as a positive force for safeguarding public health and safety in the communities you serve.

Session: Emergency Preparedness: Equipment and Process

Date & Time: Thursday June 9th from 2:00 to 3:15

NFCB Conference