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Accepted Paper:

The Impact of Technology: Technology can be good, but it can also be harmful  
Mary Maytwayashing (Lake Manitoba Treaty 2 First Nation)

Paper short abstract:

Before pre-contact, Indigenous people lived in their homelands for thousands of years in North America. Indigenous people thrived and prospered while they lived in their natural world. They survived and lived in harmony with nature. Indigenous people have always respected their world, the earth, the land, and the universe. They always held a special reverence and connection and relationship to the land. Indigenous people view the universe, the sun, the moon, the stars, the animals, and the water as their relatives.

Paper long abstract:

Today, we are in a time of technology. As a First Nation, Anishinaabe Indigenous woman, I am concerned for the future of my grandchildren and all children and for the ones that are yet to be born. What kind of a future will they have, and is there a future for them? What will it look like? Are there going to be any trees left for them as the earth continues to be exploited by humans? The waters, the oceans, the rivers, and the lakes continue to be polluted and poisoned. As humanity, we must speak for the earth and speak for the children, including all life.

Technology is being used today for almost everything that we do daily. Technology can be good, and it can be harmful. Humans build technology. They are the creators of technology, using their abilities, intelligence, and capacity to build and create. Technology has disconnected people from their core values of a way of life and their life skills and life experience. Technology has disconnected people from their experiential learning, especially young people. Young people should be out on the land, participating in mentorship and leadership training and learning a way of life that their ancestors have enjoyed for many generations. This way of life has included hunting, fishing, trapping, bush skills, cooking, chopping wood, tending to a fire, food preparation, canning, drying meat, food harvesting, food preservation, and drying berries. With young people being immersed constantly in technology, they get distracted. Young people sit in front of video games constantly. The video games they play are an addiction, and they are addicted to their games. Technology harms their physical, cognitive, emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing. When youth constantly sit in front of a video game, they are not involved in any physical activity unless their video game involves physical movement or exercise. Some children play video games beyond midnight and become very exhausted the next day, affecting and impacting their learning. For children to have good health and wellness, they must have strong mentorship and leadership, including a spiritual foundation, and be mentored with good mentorship of life skills and leadership. Young people today are learning academics in education, but many do not understand that all life is sacred and that they are spiritual beings, and that all life must be honoured and respected and valued. I think about the wars in the world, and technology is used to create bombs, armour, and ammunition. This weaponry kills innocent lives, and many children die daily from war and famine. Women and children are sexually exploited, and human trafficking occurs.

In today’s world, it sure does not look very promising for youth to grow up in a safe way. How will people be protected from harm in the future as technology is built and evolves? Children’s lives are being threatened every day. What type of regulations are discussed to protect children and assure their safety. Is there going to be some way to monitor that all life is protected and not manipulated to cause harm to others?

During the pandemic, we could connect and communicate with each other using technology. However, not all people have access to technology. Many First Nation communities live in remote and isolated communities. They do not have the resources.

As technology continues to be developed and built and advanced, there must be careful proceedings and approached with extreme caution that humanity does not disrespect the earth, the land and the universe. My late father used to say in my Anishinaabe language Angomissin, which translates to “take caution.”

The earth does not belong to people. People belong to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. People did not weave the web of life. We are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves -Chief Seattle. We must understand that the universe has a spirit. To Indigenous people, the universe and the earth are alive. The earth is our mother, and she is the original mother to us all. We are all related and interconnected to all life. If we do not look after our earth, nature will show us, like we are now experiencing with all the environmental disasters occurring worldwide like floods and forest fires. On the land, there are natural laws. They are the Seven Sacred Laws and Spiritual Laws of Respect, Love, Courage, Honesty, Wisdom, Humility, and Truth. These are Seven Sacred Laws and are spiritual laws embedded in all life. In our original values and teachings, we all have a sacred duty and responsibility in conducting ourselves as we continue to live our lives on our Earth Mother.

Panel P31
The lived experiences of artificial intelligence in Canadian Indigenous communities.
  Session 1 Monday 6 June, 2022, -