Hello, I want to talk about the Ponca Tribe project process and what it will mean to their community but the storyteller in me always wants to tell a story.  The Oklahoma flag honors 60 + tribes that once called Oklahoma home, each of them have their own trail of tears story of how they came to Oklahoma.  The Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma once called Nebraska home. It is written that 600 began the journey and 1/3 was lost on the way, when they got to their present site – it had also been given to their sworn mortal enemies.   The Ponca were easier to work with so they were the ones moved to their present location.   about 8.5 miles south of the Town of Ponca City.   The town honors Standing Bear, a Ponca leader, with a park and museum, best known as the first Native American civil rights activist who said, if you cut me and you cut yourself – both our blood will be red.  

Today the Ponca Tribe remain a strong group, known for their beautiful music, history and culture.  Where they are located is very isolated and internet connection is limited.  The library has no wired internet.  The NDIA project will help bring people and resources together that so the Ponca Tribe may have a working 21st Century library.  It is with the full support of the Ponca Tribe Chairman and the Business committee that walls are coming down and a new computer lab is being prepared!  The new library will offer access to technology, training and information.  There is a need for the community to have good internet access for homework, job and career, health literacy and social media.  The process so far has been very positive, the Ponca Library has applied for e-rate and new construction for fiber to the library.  The library has applied for and received a USDA grant for the technology needed for the library.   A community partner is working on computer programs with curriculum for middle school and high school teens that will engage them and build on their computer skills, encourage them to complete their education and seek higher degrees.    There are 108 homes at the Ponca complex – a little over 500 people.  The Ponca Tribe health clinic served over 12,000 Native American people in 2016.  They have a child development center and early head start that 43+ children attend every day. The children come to the library at least twice weekly for story time.  Elders are served at the Elders complex lunch each day but have no access to online health literacy or social media.  The library already touches many people in diverse ways and the future holds unlimited possibilities for community outreach to people of all ages.

Presently it seems a lot of my time is being spent looking at teaching digital literacy skills and what is already been created.  I would like to recommend – Digital Learn  https://www.digitallearn.org/  There is a lot that can be said about Digital Learn but one of the most wonderful things is that it is in English and Spanish.  

Stay tuned for more stories…

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