Indigenous peoples in Canada make extensive use of social media

The headline this morning on The Tyee by a colleague and friend of mine touches on the widespread use of social media among the First Nations of Canada, who are widely scattered across this large country. Many First Nations territories were never ceded to Canada’s European colonizers, and thus remain illegally occupied. The article touches on the risks that corporately-controlled social media pose.

In one example from Callison’s preliminary research, a community was using Facebook to discuss the impact of a major infrastructure project that would be heading through their traditional territory. While the proponent was holding a large number of public meetings, they were not forthcoming with some important information, including the final agreement. So members of the First Nation were using Facebook, specifically one member’s page, to share information about the project.’Apparently there were complaints about this person to Facebook — no one knows by who — and Facebook shut it down for 48 hours. And this happened to be the last two days before the vote,’ she said.

It made me wonder about what research has revealed on social media use among indigenous peoples in the Philippines and what kinds of parallels can be drawn between the two cases. I wonder as well to what extent international indigenous solidarity networks has been strengthened through social media.

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