Note — Mar 28, 2021

Unlikely Union Between Hackers and Indigenous Peoples

Great story in this article adapted from Ramesh Srinivasan’s (Professor of Information Studies and Design Media Arts at UCLA) book Beyond the Valley. In Oaxaca, Mexico, a community-owned organization installs telecommunication access in many remote villages, managing not only to reach them, but to offer cheaper pricing than the telecom giants. Also have a look for the sister organization, Rhizomática which I love for the two ideas behind its naming, and how the two orgs align with local culture, Mayan history, and the great metaphor of the snail.

What if, instead of thinking about user communities as customers, we were to elevate and humanize them as creative agents, innovators, owners, entrepreneurs, and designers of their own communication networks and technologies? […]

Can the rhizome help us imagine alternative technologies that balance power, warn our neighbors about hostile threats, respect the sovereignty of diverse communities, and allow us to learn from one another? These are questions that motivate Rhizomática’s efforts. […]

This cultural touchstone inherited from Mayan ancestors poetically captures indigenous ways of being and knowing — slow, circular, reflective, concentric — central to the lifeways and histories in the region.