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Affordable internet gave Native Americans a way to preserve community and culture. Now it's another broken promise

·1 min

Tucked beside a river in northern New York and straddling the US-Canadian border, a Native American community called the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation has nurtured generations of indigenous artisans. One of these artisans is Kelly Back, who handcrafts traditional beaded accessories for her tribe. Thanks to social media, Back’s small business has gained global reach. However, the US government’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which helped indigenous creators like Back with internet costs, is set to end soon due to lack of funding. This will have a significant impact on indigenous households, especially those residing in remote areas where building infrastructure is expensive and internet plans are unaffordable for many. The program’s termination will affect millions of low-income households across the US, including approximately 329,500 tribal households. Efforts to renew the program have faced obstacles, hampering tribal communities’ opportunities for education, remote work, and cultural preservation. Some tribal governments have explored the possibility of recreating the program, but the high costs and lack of trust in the US government’s promises pose significant challenges. The collapse of the ACP will further strain the relationship between tribal communities and the government, adding to a long history of broken promises.