Leveraging emerging technology tools to support marginalized communities is one core tenant of web3 that is often overlooked by most media outlets. Placing technology tools that promote community, sovereignty and fiscal sustainability into the hands of indigenous communities is one aspect of the web3 ecosystem that we openly support and celebrate here at All for Climate DAO. We are thrilled to place a spotlight on the Natives in Tech (NiT) Gitcoin GR14 proposal and explore the depths of the NiT organization with our readers.
According to the Natives in Tech website, the organization has four main areas of focus; networking with a diverse community of technologists, creating a strong social media presence to support their mission, holding an annual conference that connects their community with the multitude of opportunities in technology and building "Native-centric technology" that empowers Native peoples. NiT is a US 501(c)(3) charitable organization and is supported by individual donations.
In their Gitcoin GR14 proposal, NiT is looking to raise money to "build open source projects, educate Native technologists, and onboard Natives into Web3." The community is currently working on a Lakota AI Code Camp, building out their Native Job Board and organizing members around Regeneration projects. They are also building their 2022 conference around the topic of "Developing Sovereignty in Tech" and their past conferences can be seen on their Youtube channel linked below.
As of June 20, 2022, NiT has raised $686 from 136 contributors and the estimated QF matching funds are $4450. NiT has received $4026 in lifetime funding from Gitcoin past rounds and contributors. Let's take a glance at some of their past projects to obtain a deeper understanding of NiT's work supporting their communities.
"Natives in Tech provides opportunities for connection, access to technology-focused programs, initiatives, and events to increase educational and career pathways for future Native technologists. We are growing into an organization that is breaking barriers and leading initiatives for change to ensure native technologists are visible in the tech industry, so we can be seen and recognized as the innovators and thought leaders we have always been." Quote from the NiT Twitter account.
One project empowering Native peoples is the Native Owned Business directory whose owners are "majority Native and whose business proclaims to be Native-owned or whose majority owners have Native citizenship" according to their Github repository. To follow this project, please visit their Github repository or the live app. This project is also listed on their GR14 proposal under "Future Projects."
Another project of note on their website is called Indigemoji and is a collection of indigenous flags and symbols to use in Discord or Slack. Representation in virtual communities is a major issue for many and seeing oneself visually represented in emojis and iconography helps support inclusion and connection in virtual communities.
NiT is also using their development skills to bring awareness to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) through an innovative augmented reality face meshing technology app that will both bring awareness to the issue and allow people to show their support by creating special image-based graphic to share on social media.
NiT has a strong social media presence, including a Youtube page with videos showcasing their virtual conferences and educational initiatives with titles such as; decolonizing tech, Indigenous machine learning, encoding native knowledge native and indigenous women equal pay day and more.
One of the more compelling aspects of the ever-evolving blockchain ecosystem is the various opportunities for empowerment that the technology provides for communities who are often overlooked in many areas of innovations, including technology. Gitcoin GR14 is helping support communities like Natives in Tech so that they can create technology that serves their communities and remains open source for all to contribute, use, and build upon. The benefits of protecting and promoting public goods ecosystems built on the blockchain can be seen directly in organizations like NiT and the many ways in which they are improving the lives of their communities through technology.