Indigenous Friends Association

Alejandro Mayoral Baños, a PhD candidate in the Communication & Culture program, and executive director of the Indigenous Friends Association, recently received funding from the Government of Canada under the Canada Service Corps program for an initiative that connects and supports Indigenous youth.

The announcement was made on Aug. 1 at the Skennen’kó:wa Gamig (the House of Great Peace).

Mayoral Baños had to connect different communities, different departments and different groups of knowledge in order to create the various applications. "We are trying to incorporate traditional knowledge into the digital space, with the purpose of creating safer spaces for youth...we are trying to improve the lives of Indigenous students in their journey of post secondary education," said Alejandro when we asked about the main goal of the initiative.

What began as a small application for Alejandro's Master's project, then grew to a PhD. "...it started growing to include traditional knowledge in software engineering, to talk about Indigenous data and intellectual property, talking about technical education and Indigenous knowledge, and also how we can embody the Indigenous peoples in cyberspaces and how we can reclaim land in digital spaces."

For more on our chat with Alejandro, watch the video below!