Connecting Indigenous Communities

10:25 -11:25 AM

Indigenous communities across Canada and the United States are amongst the most underserved when it comes to high quality internet access. It is well established that reliable internet service is a key enabler of economic development, entrepreneurship and SMEs, as well as much needed health and education services.  

Yet the rural and remote locations typical of Indigenous communities present critical challenges in delivering reliable and affordable internet services. In this session, a panel of experts and members of Indigenous communities will explore key challenges as well as recent successful network deployments in Indigenous communities.


John Kealoha Garcia, Nation of Hawaii
Madeleine Redfern, Nuvujaq Society
Tim Whiteduck, Technology for the First Nations Education Council

John Kealoha Garcia

John Kealoha Garcia is an entrepreneur and award-winning creative director based in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Known for his role in building impactful creative for Hawaii’s most influential organizations, John’s forward-thinking leadership and ability to move ideas from concept to completion has contributed to his success over the past 20 years in the industry.

Voted one of Hawaii’s top social media influencers, with design accolades from the Society of Professional Journalism (SPJ) and the American Advertising Federation (AAF) — John’s mindful approach to user experience and keen attention to cross-cultural values bring a fresh perspective to the organizations he serves daily.

In addition to incubating ideas at his creative think tank, Garcia Haus, John serves as executive advisor for the Nation of Hawaii, contributing to the restoration of the sophisticated religion, language and culture of the Native Hawaiian people, who prior to the overthrow, lived in a highly organized, self-sufficient, subsistent social system based on Communal Land Tenure.

Madeleine Redfern, LLB, was born in Iqaluit, Nunavut (formerly, Frobisher Bay, NWT).   Madeleine has a strong commitment to her community, and she strives to be accessible, responsive and accountable.   

Madeleine has 30 years of experience working in business and governance, on issues related to economic development, housing, education, employment and training, justice, community services, early childhood development, and health care.  She is a graduate of the Akitsiraq law school with a law degree from the University of Victoria.  After graduating, she worked at the Supreme Court of Canada for Madam Justice Charron.  Madeleine is a member of the National Indigenous Economic Development Consortium, EcoJustice Board member, Trudeau Foundation, President of the Ajungi Group, and Northern Robotics.  Madeleine is spearheading the setting up of an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in partnership with CIRA and Microsoft in Iqaluit.

Madeleine’s expertise is grounded in partnership-building and developing local capacity towards fulfilling the goal of self-government and good governance.  She has a record of working with industry, governments, aboriginal organizations and communities, helping to assess and identify strategies and approaches for better outcomes. 

Tim Whiteduck

Tim is the Director of Technology for the First Nations Education Council (FNEC) based in Wendake First Nation in Quebec City.

The FNEC represents and serves 22 First Nations communities in Quebec. FNEC aims to achieve full jurisdiction over education while “respecting our unique cultural identities and common beliefs, and promoting our languages, values and traditions.” A core element of this vision is to use technology effectively to support the autonomy and democratic development of First Nations communities.

Tim and his team have been working with the First Nations, as their intermediary organization, developing strategic partnerships to design and install community broadband infrastructure, deliver online and IT training programs, and support the delivery and engagement of broadband-enabled community services including education, health and manyothers.Tim is a member of the Kitigan Zibi First Nation, an Algonquin community located in the Gatineau region of southwestern Quebec, Canada.