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The Pandemic Fueled Gains in Digital Equity. But for Native Tribes, It’s Complicated.

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New Mexico pueblos faced challenges in providing internet to Jemez Day School due to bureaucratic hurdles and funding issues. Despite initial resistance, tribal leaders agreed to partner with the local school district, leading to a three-year process to connect the school to a 100 Mbps fiber connection. The pandemic highlighted the importance of broadband for education, especially in rural and tribal areas. Native American students’ internet access varies greatly depending on location, with terrain, poverty, and land ownership patterns posing challenges. Efforts are being made to improve broadband access in areas like Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and Ramah Navajo Indian Reservation, with federal funding and community initiatives playing key roles. However, the process is slow and complex due to land ownership issues and the need for

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