Native American Youth and Google Earth Outreach Break the Silicone Wall

Native American Youth and Google Earth Outreach Break the Silicone Wall

Native youth from San Francisco Unified School District’s Indian Education Program, the American Indian Child Resource Center in Oakland, and the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center at Google’s Mountain View Campus. 


On July 1, 2019, the Bioneers Indigeneity Program and Google co-sponsored an all-day workshop attended by 20 greater Bay Area Native youth and chaperones kicking off the second year of the flagship “Digital Natives” initiative. Digital Natives is a reciprocal partnership between Bioneers, Google Earth Outreach, and Native youth-serving organizations in the greater San Francisco Bay area including San Francisco Unified School District’s Indian Education Program, the American Indian Child Resource Center in Oakland, and the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center

This initiative supports Native youth to share their stories online, using advanced Google Earth mapping and storytelling tools. Bioneers has a long history with Google Earth Outreach as a collaborative partner via our Dreaming New Mexico project and numerous Bioneers Conference presentations. The Digital Natives initiative was launched as a result of this history of collaboration. In 2018, Google Earth Outreach founder Rebecca Moore spoke on the Bioneers main stage about the latest cutting edge work taking place combining the impact of digital geo-storytelling with the power of the newly launched Google Earth Engine. 

The Digital Natives Initiative supports Native youth to share their stories online, using advanced Google Earth mapping and storytelling tools.

Kris Easton, Co-Chair of the Google American Indian Network (GAIN), offers a land acknowledgement and welcome to Native students. 

Students attended a panel presentation featuring four Native American Google staff (Googlers) working in a range of tech positions from product leads to Hardware, Industry, Security and YouTube, followed by an HR presentation with an inside look to the internship and hiring process at Google and in tech in general. Native Googlers shared their personal journeys to careers at Google, with real-life stories and advice about how to reach your goals as a young Native person. After the “Careers in Tech” panel, five Native youth presented the maps that they created through the program in 2018 to each other and Googlers. 

After lunch, Raleigh Seamster, Senior Program Manager at Google Earth Outreach, presented a training on Google Earth tools for digital storytelling and education. Students quickly integrated the software skills, and then broke into groups to plan how they would transform the maps they created in 2018 into dynamic Google Earth Stories, addressing the themes of “Indigenous San Francisco,” “California Indian Genocide,” and “The ongoing legacy of Indian removal, displacement and genocide in the East Bay.” 

Lukas Aguilar and Justice McHenry of San Francisco Unified School District’s Indian Education Program present their plan for a Google Earth story. 

Students will complete their projects — telling the stories that matter to them in their own words — using Google Earth tools, and culminating in an awards ceremony and presentation in the 2019 Bioneers Indigenous Forum.

Come join us to celebrate the gifted storytelling, and technical talents of our Native Youth Leaders at Bioneers 2019


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