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When Jeff Ward started his career 25 years ago as a software developer and product designer in Silicon Valley, it was a “lonely place” for Indigenous talent.
Originally from Manitoba, Mr. Ward is Ojibwe and Métis and a member of the Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation. After moving back to Canada in 2003, he founded Animikii in Victoria, B.C., a company with a mission to support Indigenous peoples using technology.
“I wanted to continue supporting the communities that I grew up within and that meant making websites for Indigenous organizations, entrepreneurs, non-profits,” Mr. Ward says.
Indigenous peoples have long suffered from economic and social disparities when it comes to accessing technology. A 2022 report by the First Nations Technology Council in British Columbia found that the digital inequity experienced by Indigenous peoples is a result of settler colonialism and systemic racism.
Digital inequity, the report says, includes but is not limited to “affordability, reliability, adoption, quality, relevance, digital skills and literacy and representation in the technology sector.”