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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


September 20, 2003 - Issue 96


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Computer Literacy, Distribution Program Reaches Milestone

credits: photo :Dean Todd prepares a computer for distribution.

Dean Todd prepares a computer for distribution. More than 2,000 families are now enjoying in-home computer access thanks to the Chickasaw Nation Computer Literacy and Distribution program, which refurbishes and distributes excess tribal computers as well as computers donated by businesses and government agencies.

According to the director of the program, Cliff Jones, it was implemented in February 2002 to make computer equipment available to students, elders and others, who may be unable to afford it. The program is providing a much needed service.

"As far as I know, this is the largest program of its kind in the state, and maybe in all of Indian country," said Jones. "I think we're at the cutting edge of getting technology into the hands of people who need it. If you multiply that 2,000 by the two or three family members who commonly use a home computer, we have had a positive impact on 5,000 to 6,000 individuals."

Although most equipment is distributed in Oklahoma, computers have also been distributed to Chickasaw citizens as far away as the state of Washington.

While approximately 54 percent of Americans are online, it is estimated that only about 9 percent of Native Americans can afford computers and only about 8 percent are actively on the Internet.

Moreover, many Native Americans who are using the Internet are making use of facilities at school or community access centers.

"This ready in-home access to computers makes it much easier to become familiar with the equipment and develop the kinds of skills that can make a meaningful difference in the quality of life and lead to expanded employment opportunities," said Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby.

Jones credits much of the success of the program to cooperation within the tribe and to the generosity of other donors. Chickasaw Enterprises has made financial contributions and the Chickasaw Foundation has helped facilitate donations from outside entities, while the property and supply, maintenance and nutrition services divisions have all helped transport and deliver computer equipment.

Microsoft corporation donated $15,000 to the program earlier this year. That grant money will be used to provide computer training for recipients. It will also be used to develop materials to encourage other companies to participate in the program.

The Chickasaw Nation, the state of Oklahoma, East Central University and Gateway stores of Norman are among those who have donated equipment to the program.

Donations of equipment have also come from as far as Nebraska, Iowa and Florida ­­ and while donation of computer CPUs (central processing units), is currently keeping pace with demand, Jones says the program is now in need of computer monitors.

"People may go through several CPUs before they buy a new monitor, and monitors are a little more difficult to ship and store, so that is probably our greatest need right now," said Jones.

He also points out that any and all donations are needed to keep pace with applications.

Figures for the current fiscal year show applications, at 117 per month, are still outpacing distributions, at 86.3 per month.

Donations to the program not only benefit those who receive the equipment, they can also benefit the donor's bottom line.

Estimates of the costs associated with disposal, storage, handing down to other employees or selling used equipment range up to $400 per computer.

By donating to the program, companies can save time and disposal costs, and receive a tax deduction.

Donation is also environmentally friendly, as reuse is preferable to disposal or even recycling of toxic materials contained in computer equipment.

Jones said used computer equipment can be picked up free of charge within the state of Oklahoma, and the program can often pay freight charges for out-of-state donations.

To donate equipment to the program, or for more information call (580) 421-7876.

The Chickasaw Nation.
We have provided current information about our events, locations, news and employment opportunities here as well as brief overviews of what makes the Chickasaw tribe unique and special. With our boundaries encompassing more than 7,648 square miles of south-central Oklahoma and our citizens here and around the world, we are still known as the "great unconquered and unconquerable nation; a nation known for its bravery and more especially for its intrepid warriors and its dynamic women; never known to have lost a battle."

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

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