Indigenous Spectrum Sovereignty: Creating a Place in Virtual Space?


  • Richard Wheelock


Indigenous Peoples face a media future dominated by the creative genius of combined human and artificial intelligence. Using so-called social media and the emerging metaverse, profit-driven mega-corporations have seized the reins of power in the mass media in times when the notion of truth as the basis for human decision-making is threatened. If one considers that the media in democratic societies is charged with the responsibility of providing accurate, accountable information so the People can exercise their sovereign powers knowledgeably, democracy in Indian Country and elsewhere is clearly in dire straits. This paper will build upon the findings of another paper, presented by this author in last year's American Indian Studies Section of WSSA, to continue the process of assessing how indigenous peoples might respond to the ongoing abuses perpetrated by flawed colonial business models now dominating social media. Certain strategies, especially the exercise of spectrum sovereignty combined with insights from indigenous knowledge, might offer ways to assure that emerging artificial intelligence in social media, like Meta, can be decolonized to serve the actual needs of indigenous peoples, rather than destroy the very thought processes that support tribal sovereignty.