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Stephen A. Nesbitt October 17, 1995

RELEASE 95-063

JSC Hosts Indian Nations Technology Conference Thursday

Representatives from Indian tribes across the U.S. will join in a conference Thursday at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC), exploring the use of telecommunications technologies to improve the lives of Native Americans.

The "All Indian Nations Conference" brings Native Americans together with government, universities and business to focus on the beneficial applications of telecommunications and other technologies.

Conference organizers hope to promote increased use of computer networks, satellite video conferencing, digital switching, fiber optics, cable television and cellular communications to enhance economic development of Indian tribes in the U.S.

Conference planner Jerry Elliott, High Eagle, said the conference should result in recommendations for national telecommunications policies which will benefit Native American communities.

NASA was involved in early demonstrations of telecommunications technologies within the Indian community. A 1978 demonstration project linked native American tribes with the White House and members of Congress via the NASA's Communications Technology Satellite. The Johnson Space Center in Houston and NASA's Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, have been involved in this project.

"We also see some potential for federal cost savings," Elliott noted, through more efficient systems to deliver federal services to Native Americans.

The one-day conference will be hosted by JSC at its Gilruth employee recreation center.

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