Navajo nations lack funds to progress
The United States is a country filled with opportunities, wealth and thriving technology. However, some of those who are native to our thriving nation are struggling to “keep up with the Joneses.”
40 percent of Navajos live in poverty today; many tribal lands have no Internet or cell phone service, and less than 10 percent of Navajos have broadband Internet access. Those who do not live near cell phone service have to drive from five to 30 miles just to make a call. This digital divide is creating isolation for the Native Americans. With the rise of the Web becoming a basic platform for businesses, education and communication, the absence of the Internet can be detrimental. To drive miles out of town to get a simple cell phone connection is not only time-consuming, but it cost gas money. Gas cost an average of $4 per gallon and with those prices, some of the Navajo people can’t even make it 5 or more miles out to make a call. Internet has become such an important part of our society, giving Native Americans access to it could be the key to helping them to rise out of poverty and isolation.
The Navajo tribe needs Internet access and phone service. The Navajo Nation needs to help build the infrastructure for satellite Internet and wireless. While the nation lacks money, it is hard to get any outside help from the federal government because they have their own sovereignty. The Navajo Nation can try to request grants to help set up Internet access and cell phone towers, or try to install “neighborhood” satellite Internet by placing a satellite on a hill outside of each of their neighborhoods or at any high ground and get a wireless connection to connect to the rest of the homes. These smaller and scattered satellites are one of the cheapest options for the tribe to get Internet access.
Native Americans struggles are hard to solve, considering they are not completely separate from the federal government. To be able to get full help from the government would mean that they give up some of their sovereignty. The Navajo Nation should try to make an attempt to get some sort of aid from the government, but if none is received, then the Navajo people can try to ask for donations or seek help from private companies. If the Navajo Nation can get sponsors and get a campaign going, this could attract a good amount of donors.
People take for granted the commodities that many Americans have. NAU students have easy access to their online classes and research materials, while there are students in Coconino County and on the reservation where just logging onto BBLearn is a struggle for them. There have been some programs and grants that help Internet services to reach rural Native land, but it isn’t enough because so many Native American homes are left without any online or phone services.