Weaving Indigenous Digital Strategies from Alberta, Canada and Oaxaca, Mexico

  • Author / Creator
    Alvarez Malvido, María
  • The mainstream history of the Internet, digital information and communication technologies (ICTs) shows a clear shift to a centralized digital landscape that is predominantly controlled by corporations. However, diverse individuals, communities and Nations around the world have created connectivity and communication models that respond to their own needs and contexts. For example, Indigenous Peoples from different territories, who have resisted colonial structures and demonstrated the sustainability of their communities, organizations, and Nations in relation to their territories, have developed and used ICTs to support their own ways of living. In this context, my research explores the strategies that Indigenous artists and communicators from territories in Mexico and Canada are undertaking to use digital tools according to their own terms and desires. Through testimonio as a narrative research methodology, this work assembles, shares and reflects on the journeys of Ayuujk, Xhdiza, Zapoteco, Nehiyaw, Dene and Métis artists and communicators from territories within the regions of Oaxaca and Alberta, in relation to the interconnected digital landscape of what we call the Internet.

    This thesis is informed by a body of research that acknowledges that digital ICTs are not neutral, but tools of power and counterpower. The testimonio stories presented here provide a variety of experiences and reflections that reveal the strategies that Indigenous artists and communicators have used when interacting with digital tools, such as critical and reflective processes, experiences informed and nurtured by webs of relationships, relation to Land and Language and collective dreaming. Presented as first person narratives, these stories speak of resistance, memory, language revitalization, and collective processes. They reflect journeys that involve digital tools such as video game designing, radio broadcasting, app designing, online streaming and gaming, digital collaging and filmmaking. Moreover, these testimonios provide insights about the role of non-Indigenous allies to contribute to their ideation of a digital world. In presenting this research, I describe my own self-reflective journey that seeks to contribute to more appropriate, coherent and ethical collaborations in both research and technology, through relational and reflective methods and processes while honouring people's stories.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2022
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.