Blackfeet Community College and MIT Host Community Discussions about Impact of Social Media and Internet Services

On June 27-28, 2019 the Blackfeet Community College (BCC) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will host two community discussions to explore the impact of social media and internet services on the Blackfeet Community. The first discussion will be Thursday, June 27, from 5-7pm. The second discussion will be Friday, June 28, 12:30-2:30pm. Both discussions will be held in South Winds Lodge, Room 104 on the BCC campus at 504 SE Boundary St, Browning, MT 59417.

The purpose of these events is to gather community members of all ages to discuss and evaluate the impacts that social media (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Whats App, and Instagram) and internet services have on our families, culture, and everyday lives. All Blackfeet community residents are welcome to attend and participate in either discussion, which will be moderated by BCC and MIT staff and students. Come join us, and let your voices and concerns be heard. Food and refreshments will be provided at both discussions.

We are honored to have famous Blackfeet artist, Valentina Lapier, involved as well. Lapier will participate by creating artworks related to our community discussions of social media and internet services. More information about her artwork is available here: https://www.valentinalapier.com/

These the first event in a series of community conversations to be held in the coming year about internet and social media use in Browning and the Blackfeet community. It is part of a collaboration between BCC and MIT focused on issues of network sovereignty — how can the internet and social media be used to create more social, economic and cultural empowerment in the Blackfeet community? Blackfeet Community College is helping to lead and host the event (https://bfcc.edu/). The collaboration is supported by the National Science Foundation, and the Global Media Technologies and Cultures Lab at MIT (http://globalmedia.mit.edu/). Staff from the Center for Children, Families, and Workforce Development at the University of Montana will also participate (http://health.umt.edu/ccfwd/). 

Questions to be discussed include:

  • How do social media and internet services impact families and youth? (self esteem? peer pressure? identity? suicide?) 
  • How do social media and internet services impact Blackfeet culture and community? (language? history? tradition? resources? empowerment?)
  • How do social media and internet services relate to local business, workforce development, and employment?
  • How do social media and internet services relate to social issues such as substance abuse, public health, suicide, and poverty?
  • Who owns and controls local internet infrastructure and social media platforms? Who owns your posts and photos? What about privacy and sovereignty issues?

**We welcome your involvement in this important discussion, and are open to other questions you may have or issues you would like to discuss.** 

For further information please contact us: Victoria Augare (vaugare@bfcc.edu), Tara Hite (tara.h@bfcc.edu), ‎or Lisa Parks (lparks@mit.edu)