October 09, 2012

Indians connect via social media

Reporting From The Rez

By Derek OlsonFor years, the lives and struggles of people on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation have generated international interest. Now, thanks to social media, people on the reservation are sharing their own stories and getting a worldwide response.

With a billion users around the world, Facebook is changing the way people communicate. That's particularly true in Pine Ridge.

"Several years ago, we didn't have that technology so we were isolated from hearing about what's going on in the world as well as the world knowing what goes on here," community organizer Andrew Iron Shell said.

Iron Shell has been organizing community members on Pine Ridge for decades.

"A small room of 20 people was an outstanding phenomenon to have show up at a meeting," Iron Shell said.

But a couple years ago, Iron Shell's son had an idea.

"My son who was then in high school told me, 'You know, Dad, you're doing community meetings and trying to gather the people, but they're all on Facebook,' Iron Shell said.

"I seen my dad trying to get the meetings and everything arranged and I thought it would help," Iron Shell's son, Terrell Catt, said.

Now, the community organizer has close to 5,000 friends on the social network. He uses the site to share information and news stories that he thinks are relevant.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Online Fundraising to Save Pe' Sla and Firth Video Generates Protest E-Mails.

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