WINSLOW, Ariz. –As part of President Obama’s Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative to remove barriers to Native youth’s success and the ConnectED program to provide more students access to the Internet, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced a new partnership with Verizon and Microsoft to provide wireless tablets and high-speed wireless services to more than 1,000 Native American students.
Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) Director Dr. Charles “Monty” Roessel celebrated the partnership with representatives from Verizon and Microsoft at the Winslow Residential Hall near the Navajo Nation reservation in Winslow, Arizona. Winslow Hall is one of 10 dormitories to receive broadband access under the public-private partnership between the Interior Department and the two companies.
Verizon has already established wireless broadband connectivity at eight of 10 dormitory locations, and expects to complete its work on the project early next year. Verizon has installed enhanced network infrastructure for the dorms and will provide free wireless data service to the students for two years. In conjunction with Verizon’s donation, Microsoft is providing the students with wireless tablets that will run on broadband service from Verizon at no cost for up to two years.
Verizon has also partnered with and funded the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in Indian Country to provide two years of free digital training, services and support for students, teachers and dormitory staff. The services include comprehensive solutions to digital connectivity problems, learning and classroom management applications, and math and language arts enrichment. The initiative is part of Verizon’s ongoing support of Indian Country and its commitment to the President’s ConnectEd program.
The Native students participating in this initiative reside in the following Bureau of Indian Education-funded dormitories: the Aztec Dormitory in Aztec, New Mexico; the Blackfeet Dormitory in Browning, Montana; the Chickasaw Children’s Village in Kingston, Oklahoma; the Eufaula Dormitory in Eufaula, Oklahoma; the Jicarilla Dormitory in Dulce, New Mexico; the Kinlani Bordertown Dormitory in Flagstaff, Arizona; the Richfield Residential Hall in Richfield, Utah; the Sicangu Owayawa Oti (Rosebud Dorm) in Mission, South Dakota; the Tiisyaatin Residential Hall (Holbrook Dormitory) in Holbrook, Arizona; and the Winslow Residential Hall in Winslow, Arizona.
This challenge invites Native youth and organizations across the country to join the National Native Youth Network, a White House effort in partnership with the Aspen Institute’s Center for Native American Youth and the U.S. Department of the Interior. Under its auspices, the Gen-I Initiative also includes a demonstration program called Native Youth Community Projects, administered by the Department of Education; a Cabinet Native Youth Listening Tour; and the first-ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering held last year.