Merging culture with technology
From the desk of Assistant Chief Gary Batton
Choctaw history and new technology each fascinate me. Using both together, such as teaching our language in the new LEED-certified School of Choctaw Language so students can learn our history and words over the Internet is really inspiring.
Walking through the school on a recent tour, we were able to join the teacher in one classroom and visit with students 100 miles away thanks to high-tech cameras, computers and live-stream video conferencing! The technology of the classes being offered to more than 30 public schools, five colleges and also globally over the Internet is an amazing thing.
I can remember simply being proud to begin getting wi-fi in our administrative building and hospital and community centers. Now we have our own Choctaw Nation app available on Android, iOS and Windows 8 devices!
Our ancestors would be surprised at the multiple ways people use technology to research history and learn about our own family stories. A personal testimony is when the cultural preservation staff brought ground penetrating radar equipment to help locate the graves of some of my cousins in an old cemetery behind my mom’s home. This was a whole new dimension to family research that really got me excited about connecting to my ancestry.
These are just a few examples of the way I have seen that technology has changed the way we communicate our culture and heritage – and these are fairly recent changes. I look forward to seeing what our future holds so we can experience and learn from the new ways, (while teaching the old ways!)
I am thankful for my ancestors! And I appreciate those who invent the tools that allow us to share Choctaw history with the world!