ABOUT THE SOCIETY
MAMAWAPOWIN: Cree word for a gathering, or the act of coming together.
Mamawapowin Technology Society, is a registered Not For Profit Society which provides free, public wireless internet to the Samson Cree Nation at Maskwacis, Alberta, Canada.
Maskwacis is home to four First Nations communities: Samson Cree Nation, Ermineskin Cree Nation, Louis Bull Nation, and the Montana Cree Nation.
We are currently servicing the Samson Cree Territory within Maskwacis, and we are making plans for expanding our service to all of the Four Nations.
We have goals that reach far beyond traditional online connectivity. Our long term goal is to provide a blueprint for sustainable connectivity and access to rural First Nations communities all across Canada.
We believe that affordable internet access is key to enabling self-sufficiency and developing a thriving culture. We want to empower our communities to discover the future they can build with technology. We want to provide sustainable, accessible connectivity as the first step toward a vibrant, successful tomorrow for rural First Nations all across Canada.
Q&A WITH BRUCE
Q. Why is access to the Internet an issue for your community and what makes you think providing access will have such a positive impact?
A: They say that 99% of Canadians have access to the Internet, but that’s 99% of Canadians who live in towns or cities with infrastructure. Most rural places and First Nations Communities don’t have that infrastructure, and if they do it comes with a huge cost. From a connectivity standpoint, there is a huge gap. A lot of these First Nations communities are so low-income that unless it’s free, it’s really not accessible.
Q. What inspired you to try and solve this problem?
A: Well, I always lived in a city and had access to the Internet, so I learned early on that there are many advantages to having access to information. I want my own kids and the people of my community to have access to good education, and I want them to have reliable communication systems. I believe this will improve the lives of the community. It wasn’t until I started poking around with my own wifi networks that I realized I could provide the same for the entire community. Once I started working on community wifi, I realized this could be something I do for other First Nations communities across the country.