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E-organizing example from Minnesota Indian Country

Yesterday, Dani Fisher wrote a post here about citizen journalism. Below is an excerpt from E-Democracy News written by Daniel LeClaire - a community newspaper editor- who recently began managing an on-line issues forum in the north-central part of Minnesota, which is home to the Leech Lake-Cass Lake Indian reservation.

LeClaire's post may get you thinking critically about how a professional can simultaneously inhabit their role as citizen. It might also get you thinking - or rethinking, in my case - how technology can be used to organize and sustain people to do public work. What are your experiences?

"The Cass Lake Times, where I was reporter/editor, provided a vehicle to focus on the good work being done on the reservation, in the city and the surrounding township to revitalize the area economically and re-energize people determinedly trying to shake off the mantle of oppression that has been pressing down for generations...

"With my contacts and reputation from the newspaper, Sharon Enjady-Mitchell’s skills (a woman of connections with years of experience as a social activist), and the motivation of a couple of folks from the radio station, we had what we needed to get started. The forum’s system of rules and moderation gave me confidence that I could make good on promises to keep the forum’s interchanges safe, civil and issue-focused...

"Just six months into it, we have only begun to see ways in which an open dialogue in a controlled setting can lead to a more empowered populace. Whether it be debating our participation in the construction of a pipeline to bring more oil from the tar sands of western Alberta through the heart of our city and reservation, or organizing the construction of imaginative pedaled-powered vehicles to show our respect for a much greater local resource—our elders—members of the Cass Lake-Leech Lake forum have an opportunity like never before to channel the energy of homegrown ideas into a potentially new era of racial understanding and economic solutions."

Comments

See comments to an earlier post where we raised questions about the role of technology:

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/cdc/bythepeople/2007/11/will_facebook_replace_facetofa.php

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs