- Created: Wednesday, 15 February 2017 15:44
- Written by Laura Proescholdt
Deep in the Chippewa Forest in North Central Minnesota it’s hard to get online. For the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, tall, thick pines and a lack of nearby providers mean steep costs for spotty service.
“When you live in the metro, you take Internet access for granted,” Sally Fineday, a member of the tribe, says. “You don’t even realize that there are people that don’t get it and, if they do, they’ve got to pay a lot of money for service that's not as good as the urban areas.”
And remoteness isn’t the only barrier preventing many Leech Lake band members from accessing reliable Internet services. For Fineday (pictured right), Internet access isn’t simply an issue of convenience — it’s an issue of equity.
“It’s a disparity that we have just because we live on an Indian reservation in the United States of America,” Fineday says. “Indian tribes have always had the last opportunity and that’s why, for us here at Leech Lake, 48 percent of the 10,000 people within the tribal area live below the poverty level."
So, in 2013, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe took action.