Towards an Indigenous vision for the Information Society

  • Kenneth Deer
  • Ann-Kristin Håkansson
Part of the IFIP International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 161)


The very concept of the “Information Society” is a cultural expression, originating in the context of the evolution of the industrial into a “post-industrial” world. Accordingly, its core elements - knowledge, information, communication and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) - are in fact culturally defined practices. However, the global approach of the evolving Information Society in an advancing Network Age makes these transformations a global issue. Societies with a different cultural, social and/or economic background, such as many Indigenous Peoples around the globe, are already affected by its dynamics — so far largely without being part of developing its philosophies or applications. To become truly global, and to avoid a new level of assimilation, colonization and marginalization, Indigenous Peoples must be equal partners in building the Information Society. Thus, the “Information Society for All” will have to embrace Indigenous concepts and visions in both its general conceptions and its implementations.

Key words

culture Digital Divide ethics indigenous peoples traditional knowledge 


  1. Alonso, Marcos Matías, (2003): Independent Expert Paper, Indigenous Peoples in the Information Society. Draft Paper by the WSIS Focal Point of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. New York/Geneva; para. 14Google Scholar
  2. BMZ-Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (1997): Promotion of Indigenous Forest-Dwelling Peoples Within the Scope of the German Federal Government’s Tropical Forest Program (BMZ aktuell 062), Bonn; p.8Google Scholar
  3. Brant Castellano, Marlene (2000): Updating Aboriginal Traditions of Knowledge. In: Dei, George F. Sefa/ Hall, Budd L./ Rosenberg, Dorothy Goldin (Eds.): Indigenous Knowledges in Global Contexts. Toronto; p.26/27Google Scholar
  4. Daes, Erica — Special Rapporteur (1993): Study on the protection of the cultural and intellectual property of indigenous peoples. United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/28; para. 103Google Scholar
  5. Dutfield, Graham (1999): Rights, Resources and Responses. In: Posey, D. A. (Ed.): Cultural and Spiritual Values of Biodiversity. UNDP, Nairobi/London; p. 508(1); p.505(2)Google Scholar
  6. Escobar, Arturo (1994): Welcome to Cyberia: Notes on the Anthropology of Cyberculture. In: Current Anthropology, Vol. 35, Issue 3; p.211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Indigenous Media Network (2003): Indigenous Peoples and the Information Society. Survey Summary; Google Scholar
  8. Indigenous WSIS-Position (2003): Indigenous Peoples and the Information Society. (Draft) Indigenous Position Paper for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS); Google Scholar
  9. Swanson, Timothy (1995): Diversity and sustainability: evolution, information and institutions. In: Swanson, Timothy (Ed): Intellectual Property Rights and Biodiversity Conservation: an interdisciplinary analysis of the values of medicinal plants. Cambridge; p.9Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Federation for Information Processing 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth Deer
    • 1
  • Ann-Kristin Håkansson
    • 1
  1. 1.Kahnawake Mohawk TerritoryIndigenous Media NetworkCanada

Personalised recommendations