Solar Helps Connect Remote Reservations

Remote San Diego Native American artwork is famous for celebrating the celestial bodies. Now the skies are talking back to residents of some of the remote reservations.

San Diego, California – November 18, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] San Diego State University’s Mount Laguna Observatory recently collaborated with HPWREN and the Tribal Digital Village Network (TDVNet) to provide high-speed Internet access to the La Posta, Manzanita, and Campo Native American reservations, which are located in southeastern San Diego county. While Mount Laguna Observatory provided space for the 40-inch antenna, TDVNet supplied the equipment and HPWREN provided the network connectivity. In order to reach the remote Native American reservations of La Posta, Manzanita and Campo, solar-powered stations were utilized – as traditional electricity was not available for the relay sites. The HPWREN and TDVNet teams used the already existing link from the San Diego Supercomputer Center to Mount Laguna Observatory. From the Observatory, the link now continues on to the solar-powered relay stations at La Posta, Campo, and Manzanita Native American reservations, and then onto their learning centers. “We are happy to support this collaborative effort to provide broadband access to the rural San Diego reservations,” said Paul Etzel, director of San Diego State University’s Mount Laguna Observatory. “Many of the tribal bands of San Diego County are rich with star lore as part of their cultures. The ground paintings of the Santa Ysabel and Mesa Grande bands depicting the Universe have been published internationally as prime examples of Native American star lore. Astronomy, through SDSU, has now come full circle in helping to provide San Diego tribes with access to a new Universe.” Ben Linton of Santa Ysabel and Mike Peralta of Rincon coordinated and led the recent efforts that now provide two southeastern San Diego tribes with broadband Internet access. “We’re really excited to now have ten of the 18 San Diego tribes connected to TDVNet,” said Peralta, TDVNet network designer. “It has been really amazing the way the communities have taken to this technological resource – it has become a necessity to all of the educational facilities on the reservations.”

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