This presentation explores how Indigenous cultural knowledge can be used as a framework for computing science and computer programming. First, this conversation introduces decolonial computing and some of the problems with “culture-agnostic” or “culture-neutral” computing initiatives. It then proposes an Indigenization of computer science to disrupt established western design principles in computing by focusing on culturally-specific interfacing in digital technologies and computer programming.
Specifically, this presentation uses examples from a Plains Cree (nehiyaw) worldview to Indigenize computing theory for software and hardware development that make technologies more culturally relevant, inclusive, accessible, and fair for everyone.
Jon Corbett is a nehiyaw-Métis computational media artist, professional computer programmer, and newly appointed Assistant Professor at Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Art & Technology. He holds a BFA from the University of Alberta in Art and Design, and an MFA and Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia in Interdisciplinary Studies. His doctoral research crosses the domains of Indigenous Studies and Digital Humanities and focuses on braiding Indigenous knowledge with western computing paradigms. His research products thus far include a nehiyaw-based programming language, physical hardware designs for the nehiyaw syllabic orthography, and software/application solutions that use Indigenous Storywork as design tools. In addition to being showcased in several books and articles, his artwork has been featured at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in New York City, NY, and at the Biennale d’art contemporain autochtone / Contemporary Native Art Biennial (BACA) in Montreal, QC.