Canku Ota Logo

Canku Ota

Canku Ota Logo

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


May 22, 2004 - Issue 113


pictograph divider


Loan Boosts Reservation Internet


$4.2M will help bring high-speed access to rural homes, businesses

ComputerPIERRE - A $4.2 million federal loan announced Tuesday will help spread high-speed Internet access to homes and businesses across the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.

"We have some of the poorest counties in the country ... with a land area the size of the state of Connecticut," said J.D. Williams, manager of the tribe's telephone authority. "From Bridger to Blackfoot, we're going to provide the service."

Bridger is a small community on the southwest edge of the reservation in west-central South Dakota, while Blackfoot is near the northeast border.

The loan is part of a U.S. Agriculture Department initiative to improve telecommunications in rural America. Students on the reservation will gain access in their homes to the same high-speed Internet service available in most larger cities, Williams said during a ceremony marking the loan approval in Gov. Mike Rounds' state Capitol office.

The project has great potential for reservation development, said Mark Shupick of the Four Bands Community Fund in Eagle Butte.

"That dial-up system, call and wait 10 minutes for something to download -Êit's just ridiculous," he said. "You have to have speed. Any more, the sites that are out there, they're just thinking everybody has it already."

Shupick sees opportunity in tourism, most immediately with the 200th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark journey through South Dakota.

"There are going to be encampments, other ideas, and all that stuff needs Web sites and access," he said.

The upgrade also will help reservation medical services and economic development, Williams said. The tribe has a call center that provides about 50 jobs.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone Authority received a 14-year, 4 percent loan for $4.2 million. The tribe can use the money to build, improve or buy facilities and equipment for high-speed service. Priority for the loans was to areas where such service doesn't exist at all. On the Cheyenne River reservation, 216 households will sign up initially, with more added as the network grows. The project will involve five Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe exchanges in Corson, Dewey and Ziebach counties.

The authority already has fiber-optic lines throughout the reservation. The loan will allow placement of digital subscriber lines to increase the speed at which information moves. The leap forward in technology helps medical care, schools and economic development, Williams said.

The goal of the loan program is to give the tribe and other rural recipients access to the digital world economy, said Lynn Jensen, state rural development director for the USDA.

"These are the new paved roads of rural America," Jensen said.

The USDA approved 20 of the rural broadband and telecommunications loans, with $190 million for 19 states.

Rounds said he is pleased officials picked the Cheyenne River Sioux project. He called the venture an "opportunity to prove we can do it out here," one that could lead to similar projects on other reservations in the state.

"Young people need access to the Internet, in their homes," the governor said. "To go broadband is a major step. The Internet moves so quickly for most of us, we don't realize the hardship it is not to have it."

Eagle Butte, SD Map

Maps by Travel

pictograph divider

Home PageFront PageArchivesOur AwardsAbout Us

Kid's PageColoring BookCool LinksGuest BookEmail Us


pictograph divider

  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, 2004 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

Canku Ota Logo   Canku Ota Logo

The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 of Paul C. Barry.

All Rights Reserved.

Site Meter
Thank You

Valid HTML 4.01!