Indigenous Online Meeting Software

In November of 2019, the Land led us to develop an Indigenized online meeting software that can replace Zoom in Indigenous communities. Dreams last winter encouraged us to pursue a way of actualizing this vision when we began to question its necessity, since we didn’t yet know then that a worldwide pandemic would destroy Indigenous peoples’ ability to travel and meet together face-to-face for a very long time. The fact that we were given the seed of solution for a problem we didn’t know we had yet actually demonstrates one of the more important aspects of Indigenous Knowledge.

No one on the initial core team of people who began working to understand how to carry out this task is trained in software development, so it took several months of hard work to figure out the dimensions of what we were being asked to do and then assemble a team of people who can reach the goal. We are particularly grateful to Cat Kutay, an IT engineer of Aboriginal descent who found us and stepped up to the plate to help actualize the vision for this software. We intend to make this software available to all Indigenous communities and organizations during the 2021 calendar year. The fact that the project was given to us when and as it was, and that it has developed at the pace it has, strongly suggests the sad possibility that our communities will still need such software more than a year from now. We have also realized that even once the pandemic has abated, travel may be restricted for other reasons. This software will give our people the option to communicate in ways that support the collaborative, relational interactions typical of traditional Indigenous meeting protocols.

These are some of the team members collaborating so that Knowledge of the software design we’ve been asked to midwife can emerge from our relationships with each another and the Land.

Shawn Wilson, Ph.D. (Opaskwayak Cree)
Prominent Indigenous research scholar, Faculty member, Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples
Southern Cross University, NSW, Australia

Stuart Barlo, Ph.D, (Yuin Nation)
Interim Dean, Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples
Southern Cross University, NSW, Australia

Cat Kutay, Lecturer (of Aboriginal and Celtic descent)
College of Engineering, IT and the Environment
Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia

Jessica Venable, Ph.D. (of Pamunkey and Mattaponi descent)
Executive Director of Research Universities
McAllister & Quinn, Washington DC

Cassidy Ann Medicine Horse, Ph.D. (Nimiipuu)
Author and Scholar, Native Studies, philosophy, and biological agriculture
Bozeman, MT

Jennifer Woodcock-Medicine Horse, Ph.D. (adopted Southern Cheyenne)
Adjunct Faculty, Dept. of Native American Studies
Montana State University, Bozeman MT

Julius Wassenas (Opaskwayak Cree)
Psychology undergraduate student, University of Alberta
substitute teacher on the Opaskwayak reserve

Jo Belasco, Esq.
Co-President, Tapestry Institute
Chadron, NE

Dawn Hill Adams, Ph.D. (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma)
Co-President and Founder, Tapestry Institute
Chadron, NE