Navajo Nation at forefront of new Internet technology
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — In late September, all 110 Chapters of the Navajo Nation gained access to the Internet. The move was in thanks to partnerships with various national and regional companies and institutions which were integral in establishing the use of the satellite Internet technology, and will now be used as a springboard to launch the marketing of a brand new product by Starband, Inc., in conjunction with Echostar/Dish Network.
Partnerships in this project are essential for its success. The Southeast Navajo Nation Virtual Alliance (SWNNVA), under D.I.N.E. Incorporated (Developing Innovations for Navajo Education) out of Seba Dalkai School in Teesto, Arizona, is in partnership with NAU, the University of Texas, Starband, Inc. and the Navajo Nation. These are the key entities responsible for establishing the new Internet technology for the Navajo Nation Chapters.
The Navajo Nation is working to sustain the great working relationship that has been established as part of the Begaye/Mckenzie administration’s Five Strategic Objectives. On September 20, 2000, Arizona Governor Jane Hill sent a letter to a President of the Navajo Nation Kelsey Begaye congratulating the leadership of the Navajo Nation for its efforts in utilizing this partnership as a commendable example of a new economic strategy.
The Principal of Seba Dalkai School Dr. Kyril Calsoyas, who is one of the key people responsible for securing the grant to bring this project to reality, heads SWNNVA. In the spring of 2000, on behalf of the Seba Dalkai Boarding School, Dr. Calsoyas submitted a grant proposal to the Department of Commerce’s Technologies Opportunities Program, formerly the Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program.
“As a member of the Navajo Nation community I have seen the need for communications between Navajo citizens ad their government,” Dr. Calsoyas, “The Virtual Alliance Network allows this to happen immediately. We now have a broad local area network linking all our Chapters to the world.”
The Internet technology project began with two simple initiatives promoted by the Begaye/McKenzie Administration, as part of their Five Strategic Objectives— Integrating Technology for the future and Promoting Mutually Respectful Partnerships. With this, the Navajo Division of Community Development and the Navajo Division of General Services began its work carrying the project through development.
To expand on the use of the new technology, the Navajo Division of Community Development is working to establish a Community Development Leadership/Technology Program, in hopes of utilizing a Youth Opportunity Grant award to hire two Navajo youth at each chapter community to participate . This program will provide opportunities for Navajo youth to contribute and work with community issues including technology, the Local Governance Act, computer networking, and technical assistance.