National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture Hosts 2009 National Conference in Boston

On August 26-29, myself on behalf of Native Public Media, and a broad array of arts administrators, media producers, scholars, social media gurus, advocates and artists gathered in Boston for CommonWealth, the 2009 edition of NAMAC’s biennial national event. This landmark event – co-hosted by the Boston-based Center for Independent Documentary and thirty local arts and media organizations — is the central meeting point for the leadership of media, and visual arts organizations to strategize for the future of the field.

On Thursday, August 27th, I participated in one of the session panels, where I presented NPM’s position on the Cultural Commons.  According to Harvard Scholar Lewis Hyde, “…cultural commons,” that vast store of unowned ideas, inventions and works of art that we have inherited from the past and that we continue to create… the question of the commercialization of culture, exemplified at the moment by many things–the ‘enclosure’ of the public domain, the patenting of aboriginal medicines, proprietary control of genetic materials or of the internet, and the general market triumphalism that has followed the end of the Cold War.”

However, in Indian Country, the concept of the commons is a double edged sword, especially when it comes to the internet. While the Cultural Commons belongs to all of us, Natives often feel they must protect some information from entering the Cultural Commons, in order to prevent it from being privatized or commodified. The Commons shouldn’t be a free for all; healthy boundaries are needed that respect people and communities.  Indian Country has indicated to NPM and NCAI that they support Net Neutrality; the internet is a highway and should be free and open, however the information on the internet is the car and needs boundaries to operate safely.

Needless to say, we had a healthy discussion following the panel presentation.  If you would like more information on my presentation, please contact me.

Published by Traci L. Morris

Dr. Morris, the Director of the American Indian Policy Institute at Arizona State University is a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma. Under her leadership, the AIPI has grown and diversified its service to Indian Country via an MOU formalizing a long-standing partnership with the Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA) and forming the Tribal Economic Leadership Program offering training in Tribal Economic Governance and Tribal Financial Management; access to Entrepreneurship training and tribal business support through Inno-Nations; and Economic Development Consulting; and, the formalization of the Institute via by-laws and an advisory board comprised of both internal ASU leadership and external tribal and non-tribal leadership. In her work at both ASU and prior, Morris has worked with Native American tribes; Tribal businesses; Native American non-profits; Native media makers, artists, and galleries; written a college-accredited curriculum in Native American new media; and has advocated for digital inclusion at the Federal Communications Commission and on Capitol Hill. Morris’s research and publications on Native American media and the digital divide is focused on Internet use, digital inclusion, network neutrality, digital and new media curriculums, digital inclusion and development of broadband networks in Indian Country. Her book, Native American Voices: A Reader, continues to be a primary teaching tool in colleges throughout the country. Dr. Morris is Affiliated Faculty at ASU's School for the Future of Innovation in Society, an Affiliate of ASU's Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology, a Senior Sustainability Scholar at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, President of the Board of the Phoenix Indian Center, Board member of the Arizona American Indian Chamber of Commerce, and on the Advisory Council of the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums. Formerly, Morris served member of the Advisory Board for the Department of Labor's Native American Employment and Training Council and served a two-year appointment (2014-2016 and 2010-2012) on the Federal Communications Commission's Consumer Advisory Committee. As an entrepreneur prior to her ASU appointment, Morris founded Homahota Consulting LLC, a national Native American woman-owned professional services firm working in policy analysis, telecommunications, education, and research assisting tribes in their nation-building efforts and working with Native Nations, tribal businesses and those businesses working with tribes. Morris has an M. A. and Ph.D. from the University of Arizona’s American Indian Studies, in addition to a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Colorado State University.

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