Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law hosts “Wiring the Rez” conference

Christopher Lomahquahu

Gila River Indian News


Law and policy makers visited the Gila River Indian Community for a conference on e-commerce in Indian Country. The ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law hosted the 6th Annual “Wiring the Rez” conference at the Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino on Jan 30. 


Lt. Gov. Robert Stone opened the conference with a traditional prayer and welcome address for the attendees. “It’s really good to host this conference in our community, we know e-commerce is important for communities here and elsewhere in the modern world,” said Lt. Gov. Stone. 


The conference focused on economic opportunities for tribal communities and businesses particular for tribes in rural areas.  It also explored the challenges of regulation, jurisdiction and compliance, cybersecurity, data privacy and creating private sector economies in Native communities. 


“Connectivity is important to our community, as it is throughout Indian Country,” said Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis. He said within Indian Country, access to internet service for members of tribal communities lags behind the rest of the nation. 


“Throughout Indian Country, the digital divide, as we all know is very real. The latest data shows, that 35 percent of Indian Country lacks access to broadband,” said Gov. Lewis. 


Robert Miller, ASU Professor of Law at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, said that economic development will help tribes for generations. 


“Why focus on economic development? Creating economies in Indian Country, to build communities to stay together, help people who want to live on the rez, have adequate paying jobs, housing and schools for their kids,” said Miller.

Lewis later added, “When we host conferences like [this], we are looking at the technological solutions, that are going to present new opportunities for solving problems, in our community and across Indian Country.”