Indigenizing Digital Literacies: Community Informatics Research with the Algonquin First Nations of Timiskaming and Long Point

  • Rob McMahon
  • Tim Whiteduck
  • Arline Chasle
  • Shelley Chief
  • Leonard Polson
  • Henry Rodgers
Keywords: information and communication technologies, community-engaged research, indigenous peoples, digital literacies, First Mile, Timiskaming First Nation, Long Point First Nation


Community-engaged digital literacies initiatives can greatly benefit from knowledge and practices developed by Indigenous peoples. In this paper, we describe a research project to develop digital literacies with two Algonquin First Nations in Quebec: Timiskaming and Long Point. This project reflects a First Mile approach to Community Informatics, informed by the theoretical framework of Indigenous resurgence and by engaged research methodologies. In telecommunications and broadband terminology, communities are typically framed as the ‘last mile’ of development. The First Mile approach challenges this situation by encouraging projects that emerge from the locally determined needs of collaborating communities, who gain ownership and control of processes and outcomes. Drawing on community-engaged research methodologies, university-based researchers facilitate this work while community-based researchers integrate data collection, analysis, and public outreach activities into the lived realities of community members. We discuss how digital literacies projects can benefit from the theoretical framework of Indigenous resurgence, which stresses the daily practices that support the continual renewal of Indigenous communities.