Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Daily Lobo The Independent Voice of UNM since 1895
Latest Issue
Read our print edition on Issuu
LTE: A Chicano's Journey in ASUNM: Navigating DEI at an HSI

The Daily Lobo welcomes letters to the editor from any point of view.

Letter: The importance of equity in tech access

Technology can change lives in ways that were once thought impossible. In a relatively short period of time, our technological “norm” went from dial-up internet to high-speed Wi-Fi, from letters in the mail to smart phones across the globe. And now, XR, or extended reality, is changing every industry in the world. 

However, access to cutting edge technology depends on geographical location and accessibility. As someone who grew up on the Navajo reservation in rural New Mexico, tech innovation tends to occur at a slower pace.

New Mexico is home to 23 federally recognized Indigenous tribes. Many of these communities live on tribal lands, paying homage to their ancestral traditions and building thriving communities for generations to come. 

Although satellite internet and broadband are becoming more accessible on the reservation, there’s plenty of room for progress. As policymakers consider new tech legislation, it is vital that they approach any additional regulation thoughtfully to consider communities who are underserved and under connected.

As a child, I witnessed my grandparents, both native Diné Bizaad speakers, try to enjoy TV programs that were only offered in English. 

On top of historically systemic disadvantages, Indigenous communities have been left out of the conversation for greater broadband access, with 18% of Native Americans lacking internet access compared to 4% of people in non-tribal areas. 

These experiences helped shape my lifelong mission to promote inclusion of Indigenous languages and cultures through Indigenous storytelling in modern media. I created a women-led multimedia company, Glittering World Girl, that specializes in incorporating Navajo language and culture revitalization through XR technology. 

This new age of technology is democratizing accessibility to people all around the globe, and New Mexico has the opportunity to be part of that conversation. With greater access to technology, companies like mine can help New Mexico become a place of inclusion and rich in culture — in a modern way.

Every industry is quickly embracing XR technology. During its inception, policymakers now have the chance to positively contribute to that history by helping make XR technology accessible to all people, including Indigenous communities. 

XR technology will allow our communities in New Mexico to better understand one another through immersive and empathetic storytelling and will ensure that we don’t fall further behind with social technological advancements that are changing the world.

As policymakers continue to pass tech legislation, I urge them to consider the unique needs of Indigenous communities and ensure that Indigenous communities have equal access to tech innovation that will equip them with the knowledge and skills to succeed and make a positive impact on New Mexico.

Akilah Martinez is a founder of Glittering World Girl, Diné, XR Developer and UNM alumni

Enjoy what you're reading?
Get content from The Daily Lobo delivered to your inbox
Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Daily Lobo