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Canada's Apartheid, by John Stackhouse
Stories
Introduction
  Nov. 3

Welcome to Harlem on the Prairies
  Nov. 3 (Saskatoon, SK)

Crystal's choice: The best of both worlds
  Nov. 5 (Mississauga, ON)

How the Mi'kmaq profit from fear
  Nov. 6 (Cape Breton, NS)

The healing power of hockey
  Nov. 7 (The Pas, MB)

Norma Rae of the Okanagan
  Nov. 8 (Westbank, BC)

Comic genius or 'niggers in red face'?
  Nov. 9 (Regina, SK)

Praying for a miracle
  Nov. 10 (Lac Ste. Anne, AB)

To have and to have not
  Nov. 12 (Moosonee, ON)

Trouble in paradise
  Nov. 19 (Tofino, BC)

A cut of the action
  Nov. 26 (Wabigoon, ON)

The young and the restless
  Dec. 3 (Ashern, MB)

The wireless warrior's digital dream
  Dec. 10 (Ottawa,ON)

'Everyone thought we were stupid'
  Dec. 14 (Salluit, QC)

First step: End the segregation
  Dec. 15 (Last in the series)

 

The wireless warrior's digital dream

Story by John Stackhouse. Photos by Patti Gower and Tibor Kolley.
The Globe and Mail, December 10, 2001

Part 7 of 7: Continuing to climb the ladder of success


Ottawa In his years of selling the digital dream, Bernard has seen enough communities deprived of the newest technologies to understand that bridging Canada's native and non-native worlds will require the best of both of them.

He also has come to understand how difficult that will be. He has seen big companies that claim to serve Canada look right over vast stretches of the country dominated by aboriginal people. And he has seen government policy designed without much thought to the needs of remote communities.

But in climbing the ladder of high-tech success, Bernard has come to believe that one of the great challenges to closing the digital divide rests in his own community.

Whenever he takes his children back to New Brunswick, he realizes just how distant the reserve is from their suburban Ottawa existence. He also sees how different his own ambitions are from those of his sister, the one with five children. And how different his business goals are from those of his brother and the struggling tepee enterprise.

He shakes his head when he thinks of his siblings on the reserve. If he were to complain to them about the ruthless corporate world, or remind them that the trip to Cancun this spring was his first vacation in years, he knows that his sister would shake her head too. "She's happy," he says. "I go down there and she's on top of the world. And here I am, winning all these awards and all stressed out."

For all the challenges of wiring the North - raising the money, finding the technology, winning the support of native and non-native leaders - Bernard sometimes wonders if the resistance to change on so many reserves will, in the end, keep the digital divide in place.

Unless native communities are willing to take more risks - and the government is willing to back them - he fears that the world of his childhood will never catch up with the world that his children are inheriting.
THE END 
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THIS STORY AT A GLANCE (Parts 1 to 7):


Photo Essay
The Internet Indian


1. 'This is the time!'
John Bernard's secret to success

2. 'The phone lines are too slow'
Envisioning high-speed access as a way to close the divide between reserves

3. Inside Donna Cona
"How do I, as an aboriginal firm, continue to grow without becoming non-aboriginal?"

4. First lessons in profit motive
The indifference to getting ahead bothered me. There was so much welfare.'

5. 'They're creative, they're artistic, they're visual'
Creating a native business and working to secure the contracts

6. 'There's so much jealousy once you're successful'
Building on accomplishments in a community not always known for celebrating

7. Continuing to climb the ladder of success
One of the greatest challenges rests in his own community


 
 

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Two worlds - photo essay


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