The First Nations Technology Council is on track to close this year. What will Canada lose?

One of the Council’s projects involves securing unused internet frequencies as an integral party of First Nations treaty rights

Why It Matters

Few digital equity organizations are primarily aimed at Indigenous communities, and many live with poor or no access to reliable high-speed internet. The First Nations Technology Council not only works on improving access, but also training Indigenous technologists for the tech sector and beyond.

The many treaties signed by the Canadian government and Indigenous peoples cover the right to fish, hunt, trade, and live on traditional lands. Some cover the earth to the depth of a plow, or the air within a particular area. What about spectrum broadwave, the frequencies used by broadband internet? Do they not fill the air, and fall under the language of a treaty signed centuries ago?

In New Zealand, the Maori people have argued that their treaties do include the right to a significant portion of unused internet frequencies over their lands, a right that wasn’t discussed in the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, but nonetheless holds sway with the country’s courts. Before the Maori, Indigenous peoples in Mexico made similar arguments to their country’s court system, with success. Denise Williams, CEO of the First Nations Technology Council, first heard about the concept of spe

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