Connected Nation

100th Episode: Talking tribal broadband with the nation's first tribally owned telecommunications company

October 16, 2023 Jessica Denson Season 4 Episode 27
100th Episode: Talking tribal broadband with the nation's first tribally owned telecommunications company
Connected Nation
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Connected Nation
100th Episode: Talking tribal broadband with the nation's first tribally owned telecommunications company
Oct 16, 2023 Season 4 Episode 27
Jessica Denson

This marks Connected Nation's 100th episode.  On this episode, we focus on the critical need to approach closing the Digital Divide on Native American lands with respect, humility, and long-term commitment.
We'll discuss the issue Calix's  senior engagement manager for tribal and indigenous communities and with a representative from the first tribally-owned telecommunications company in the U-S, which was founded more than 65 years ago.

Related links:

CRST Telephone Authority -
Tribal Broadband Bootcamps -

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This marks Connected Nation's 100th episode.  On this episode, we focus on the critical need to approach closing the Digital Divide on Native American lands with respect, humility, and long-term commitment.
We'll discuss the issue Calix's  senior engagement manager for tribal and indigenous communities and with a representative from the first tribally-owned telecommunications company in the U-S, which was founded more than 65 years ago.

Related links:

CRST Telephone Authority -
Tribal Broadband Bootcamps -

Jessica Denson, Host (00:04):

This is Connected Nation, an award-winning podcast focused on all things broadband from closing the digital divide to improving your internet speeds. We talk technology topics that impact all of us, our families, and our neighborhoods.


 Today's podcast marks our 100th episode, and I'm happy to say it's focused on a critical issue, the need to approach closing the digital divide on Native American lands with respect, humility, and long-term commitment. We continue our broadcast from the Connections 2023 conference in Las Vegas, hosted by Calex, and we're talking with the company's senior engagement manager for tribal and indigenous communities, and with a representative from the first tribally owned telecommunications company in the us, which was founded more than 65 years ago.


I'm Jessica Desen, and this is Connected Nation.


I'm Jessica Desen Denson, and today I'm talking with Claudia Tarbell, who is CA's Senior Engagement Manager for tribal and indigenous communities. And Mona Thompson, who is the GM of Cheyenne River, Sioux Tribes telephone company. Welcome ladies.

Mona Thompson,Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (01:15):

Thank you. Thank you.

Jessica Denson, Host (01:17):

I'm really excited to talk to you today. We are at Kay's Connections 2023 conference, which is taking place in Las Vegas in the middle of October. It's at the Wynn Resort, and it's a pretty big event.


There's a lot going on. So I've asked you to sit down with me today just to talk about a big issue that's happening in the US where we're connecting rural America, and one of the important parts of that is helping Native American groups do that. And so I'd love to first talk about both of your backgrounds and then we'll get into that issue. Is that all right? Sure. Sounds good. Okay. Claudia, tell me a little bit about your time at Calyx and your role.

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (01:57):

So I've been with Calix for a year now, and my role is to work with tribes across North America to make sure that they're successful in getting their communities connected. And before joining Caly, I was actually part of my own tribally owned I S P. So I worked for Mohawk Networks in ny. And when I was there, I really seen the impact that broadband had within my community. A lot of youth was staying, our public, public safety 50 departments were connected and able to expand a lot of their services that they're doing. So they're putting cameras in place right on the border.


So I was for that because I was like, well, if something happens to my kid, the border's right there. It's really hard. Those kind of international things. So I was really happy to what our community was doing with the connectivity and how they were just really embracing it and really utilizing it.

Jessica Denson, Host (03:09):

Expand a little bit more for our audience of the tribe that you're a part of that you're, and in the area that you live in the us.

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (03:17):

So I live in Quani, and it's a border community, so part of it's on the Canadian side, and then the other part is on the American side. So most of us have dual citizenship, but we see Quani as one community. We don't recognize that there's a border there. And so what's unique about it is when we received funding to do the fiber to the home, it only paid for the American portion to get done. And the Canadian portion had D S L before we did the fiber. And so now the American portion has fiber, and the Canadian portion still has D S L. So part of our community is still struggling with connectivity.

Jessica Denson, Host (04:01):

How difficult is it because as a tribal nation, you're your own nation and you have your own government, correct? Yeah. But you're also having to deal with the Canadian government and the US government. How did you approach that?

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (04:17):

We have two different government systems. So we have the St Ridge's Mohawk tribe, that is the state side, and then we have Mohawk Council of Quane, that's the Canadian side. And so they have their chiefs, there's the chiefs within the Canadian portion, and then there's the Chiefs within the American portion as well. And that's how we're able to work with both governments.

Jessica Denson, Host (04:39):

And so one side really had better access than the other side a lot sooner. Was that hard to see that part of your community was being left out of this?

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (04:49):

It's very hard because when you recognize your community as one community, it's very hard to not do anything about it really, because it's like your cousin that lives just down the street. It's not like a huge border where you got to go through border crossings. There's a road within Quane that's called Border Road, and half of it's on the state side and the other part's on the Canadian side. So the houses on the state side have fiber to the home and the ones on the Canadian side, and it's just across the road. So how do you tell your cousin or your aunt or somebody that, sorry, we can't just run fiber across to connect you because there's certain regulations

Jessica Denson, Host (05:39):

And how do you deal with that when it comes to schools and healthcare and all those, that has to be really challenging the school. Are there two schools that sit on the two different sides or,

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (05:50):

Yeah, there's three different schools actually. There's the St Ridge's Mohawk School, which is on the American side, and there's three different elementary schools within each district on the Canadian side.

Jessica Denson, Host (06:02):

Wow. It has to be a challenge, but I want to get back to, we'll explore some of that, but Mona's sitting here and I want to talk with her as well. And Mona, could you give our audience a little bit of background on your role and a little bit about your tribe? I know I don't want to make any assumptions. All Native American tribes are not the same. Yeah.

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (06:27):

Yes, that's correct. So I am an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and I began my career at the tribally owned telephone company in 1996. At that time, it was dial up internet. So I like to always talk about the history of our company, but our company, tribal Council, saw a need for our tribe to provide communication services to their tribal members back in 1958 and for purchase the local telephone company for a hundred thousand dollars, which in 1958 was That's

Jessica Denson, Host (07:05):

A lot of money.

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (07:05):

A lot of money. So I had just the aerial phone lines. We had the operator that plugged in the connection. It was an eight party line up until the early 1970s, at which time we became the first tribal owned company to borrow from. The Rural Electrification Association was about $1.2 million. And we put copper. We buried copper in the ground to our service area at that time because we were borrowing from the federal government to upgrade our services. We established an ordinance in 1974 just for that legal component. And so we had buried copper. We served five exchanges on most of our tribal lands in Dewey and Zebo County and North Central, South Dakota. And fast forward to the dial up internet age of 19 95, 19 96, it was limited. Obviously, it was slow as molasses. You could get up and wash a load of clothes and come back and your page was still downloading.


So as time moved forward from the 1970s when we had that buried copper, we also, then we progressed to D S L service, which was limited to three miles outside of our five central offices. So it was very limited for people that could get the D S L. So then we went into 2008, and at that time, JD Williams was our general manager, and him and our board of directors made a decision to borrow money from r u s to upgrade our facilities from copper to fiber optics. So in 2010, we were awarded $37.8 million from r u s in the form of a loan to upgrade to fiber optics. So we, from 2010 to 2016 had a fiber to the home construction project for our study area boundary and not knowing, not having a crystal ball. We didn't know we'd enter an era of a pandemic that would turn the world upside down, but we had the ability then to provide quality broadband services to those homes and businesses that had fiber. So here we are today.

Jessica Denson, Host (09:39):

You're really forward thinking in all of that, and it paid off because a lot of people were left out, especially in rural parts of the country. So just as I asked Claudia, tell me a little bit about the area that your tribe is in and anything you'd like to share about the culture there.

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (09:57):

Sure. So the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation is about 2.8 million acres. It's compared to the size of the state of Connecticut. So it's a large land-based area as some tribes are. We have a lot of agriculture and wide open prairies, rolling hills. It's beautiful.

Jessica Denson, Host (10:26):

What part of the country is, is it around Oklahoma area?

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (10:29):

Oh, no, South Dakota. South Dakota. North central, South Dakota. Sorry.

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (10:32):

That's all right. Yep.

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (10:33):

North central, South Dakota. So sometimes winters can be brutal, sometimes they're mild, and we're in droughts, and it's a great place they call home. I love it.

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (10:46):

It's beautiful there. Yeah, it is beautiful. I talked to a young woman yesterday who lives in South Dakota, and she was telling me how beautiful it is, how she lives in the plains, and you can see the black hills and yeah, it's very beautiful. And you grew up there and you still live there with your family?

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (11:05):

Yes, I've been a lifelong resident with the exception of college and grad school.

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (11:10):

Yes. And you were telling me when we sat down that, and you just went through the history of it, that this company started 65 years ago, and it's owned by the tribe, operated by the tribe, and that's really a forward thinking thing that's now starting to happen in more places across the country. So you were the first, so talk about what that's like to break that barrier and why it's important for perhaps from lessons learned, we all learn those lessons. When do we dig this? When should we lay this? When's the time to upgrade? When's the time to take an r u s loan, that kind of thing. What are things that other groups can take and learn from what you've experienced or what your company has gone through?

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (12:02):



Lot of tribes look up to us because we were the first tribally owned telecommunications company in the United States, and we do our best to answer any questions that they might have to help them. There's telecommunications is a complex industry to enter, and I think




Is doing a great thing by offering specific tribal industry or tribal partnership. I think it is just so important for tribes to have the ability to have someone, a trusted partner, calex,



Jessica Denson, Host (12:51):

Them as they enter

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (12:52):


Claudia Tarbell, Calix (12:52):

Broadband arena. I think tribes know best what's best for their tribal memberships. Rural providers may not always know how to best serve those tribal members on tribal nation lands.


And there's sometimes there's an issue of trust as well, right?

Jessica Denson, Host (13:08):


Jessica Denson, Host (13:09):

Yes. Which I understand completely. I mean, it makes sense, the history and the tribes that I've talked to, I've talked to some in Oklahoma and Utah, that it can be challenging for others to understand that there's a certain way that you operate. Were not like, I'm not, I live in Louisville. I might not do the same things that people do in San Diego. It's unfair to make an assumption that all Native Americans operate the same way or do the same things. So not that you needed me to say that, you're like, yeah, that's right. So I know you said Caly, right? My accent, I keep wanting to say calyx, but Caly, Claudia, I'm going to come back to you. Can you talk about how you operate within this sphere with the different tribes, how the company works and how them along the path as a partner?

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (14:05):



We're finding the associations or the groups that are run by tribes or Native American, and it's the groups that are specifically trying to help tribes launch broadband. We're finding those groups and actually just helping them, them do what they need to do and providing resources that we have any educational resources, because like Mona said, it's a very complicated industry to get into. And when I started at Mohawk Networks, it took me three months worth of research to figure out what internet was and why it's important and fully understand the impact that it has. And I didn't even have to do the operation side of it. I couldn't even imagine what the tech support needs to learn or the operations or the field techs need to know. So those are the things that I am using X'S resources to provide to tribes at no cost. Like here's Broadband Academy. It highlights, it's like a high level of all the things that you need to think about when you're building a broadband business, like funding, how to plan it out, how to build it, and then what you need to think about when you're operating. And then market as well. I feel like not just tribes, but broadband companies in general completely forget about marketing.


There's this assumption where there's one message and it'll appeal to everybody, but it really doesn't so,

Jessica Denson, Host (15:43):

Or will build it, and they'll come just that assumption of that.

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (15:47):

But if they don't understand how it benefits them, internet isn't something that is physical. You can't see it. So your messaging has to be around the value behind it. It has to be the customer experience. And I feel like that's where tribes are different. We're not about profit, we're not about the return on investment. It's about providing a really good customer experience to my aunt, you know what I mean? Or to my cousin who runs a small business out of our home. So that's really how personal it is for tribes, because you're providing connectivity to your family and they're telling you how they're using it.

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (16:30):

And if they're not happy,

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (16:32):


Jessica Denson, Host (16:33):

You get the earful. And

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (16:34):

If they're not happy elders, especially if you don't treat elders or you don't serve them with a high level of customer service, you have four other phone calls coming in because their daughter might not be happy or their granddaughter might not be happy. How you talk to the elder

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (16:53):


Mona Thompson, C heyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (16:53):

They're frustrated after that first phone call. So

Jessica Denson, Host (16:57):

There's two points I want to make with what you just said. One, at Connected Nation, we talk a lot about adoption access and use, and not just having it be there, but understanding well how it affects your life and how to use it. It's a very important piece of closing the digital divide. But also, I will, full disclosure, when I started at Connected Nation six years ago, I didn't even know the term broadband. So when you say they're going to build these broadband networks from the ground up and they've never learned about it, I just can't imagine how daunting that must be. So having those resources have to be critical.

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (17:36):

Yeah, I think so. I mean, it's your foundation because a lot of times you can't do it on your own, so you have to hire contractors. And with all this funding, there's all kinds of contractors and companies who are all of a sudden interested in helping tribes. It's always in the headlines like, this tribe received $50 million. How many people are reading that? Tracking it, and then coming to talk to you. So it comes back to who can you trust?

Jessica Denson, Host (18:07):

Yes, that's something we've talked about too, internally and externally, that there can be some bad actors. Once you talk about 65 billion, 85 million, this person's getting this 65 billion total, that's just one bead program. Then we have the Native American stuff through N T I A and Reconnect and R U s. So yes, it can be an attraction to some people that maybe don't have the experience you'd expect. So Mona, how does your company interact with cx? So

Speaker 4 (18:42):

When we did our fiber to the Home project back those many years ago, our engineering consulting firm recommended calex for our platform. And so we've been with Calex since 2010, and as they continue to innovate new products and services, we do our best to embrace those and offer them to our subscribers. And as Claudia said, it's all about the customer experience. And we are happy that we have what Calex can do to assist our team to give that good

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (19:25):


Jessica Denson, Host (19:27):

And when you came in, you were talking about how much you've enjoyed some of the conference stuff, what are you learning or seeing? That's really exciting.


They bring different carriers up on stage that share their success stories. And the one gentleman this morning said he three years ago sat there and he said he wanted to be up on stage three years ago, and today he was up there on stage. So I hope fully envisioned someday that a tribally owned carrier will be up on stage telling their success story.


Yeah, that would be awesome.

Speaker 4 (20:05):


Jessica Denson, Host (20:06):

Claudia, she's just for our viewers, our listeners who can't see, she's nodding your head Yes. She

Speaker 4 (20:10):

Wants to see that. Yeah,

Mona Thompson ,Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (20:11):

That's my goal

Jessica Denson, Host (20:11):


Claudia Tarbell, Calix (20:13):

Oh, it's success story.

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (20:15):

Yeah, I,

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (20:16):

Yeah, definitely want to see tribal leaders on the stage for what they're doing in broadband. We're doing amazing things too, and I would hope to find someone, we're very shy, afraid of public speaking, really, to find a leader that's actually willing to get on stage.


Mona, you might be up there

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (20:38):

Soon. I'm retiring in a couple months, so it's not going to be me most likely.

Jessica Denson, Host (20:43):

Oh, you're retiring

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (20:44):

Soon. I am retiring soon,

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (20:45):

Yes. So are there any stories that you are excited, any up and comers that you see, organizations or tribes that you're seeing are doing some great things? Right now?


I'm in my first year, so I'm really just getting to know all the customers that Calex has that are tribes, and then working to dig a little deeper into those stories. And it's not just how they use Kali's equipment and services, it's that overall impact that broadband has on the communities just to keep, because these projects are large. It's not like a one year project and then it's done. It's years and years. So to keep those other tribes motivated to keep going, understanding that this is providing skilled jobs to the community by owning and operating. It's providing, providing inspiration to your children. I was in Circles of success with the Oklahoma tribe, and they said that the new movie that was released, I can't remember the name, flowers

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (21:55):

Of the Killers of the Flower Movie. It's a

Jessica Denson, Host (21:58):

Long title. It's the Osage story. The story,

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (22:01):

Yeah. But they were saying that their youth can't even watch it because it's streaming on Apple and they don't even have the connectivity to stream it. That's

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (22:12):

Crazy. It's

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (22:13):

So important to show our youth what you can do and how we're out in the world and doing other things. So

Jessica Denson, Host (22:21):

Yeah, my C e O and I talk a lot about this, about the technology,

Jessica Denson, Host (22:25):

Yes. But


It's really about the human

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (22:27):


Claudia Tarbell, Calix (22:29):


Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (22:29):

I just add something


Off the cuff here? I think the pandemic really brought to light a lot of awareness of indigenous and tribal nations. So number one being the lack of the ability to have connectivity to broadband, but it also brought awareness to indigenous and tribal issues. The digital divide obviously is still a huge issue in tribal nations in the United States, but also it brought, Claudia talked about her cousin that has her own small business and is able to do it using a broadband platform, social media. Social media has just brought so much awareness to tribal nations to missing and murdered indigenous people, women. So unfortunately we had the pandemic, but I'm very happy that people are more aware because of social media has brought the ability for people to understand a little bit more of what tribal nations face tribal members face. I buy a lot of bead work from artists that I would've never have been able to meet if I hadn't followed them on Instagram. So

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (24:03):

To your point, don't you think it's one of the good things? I mean, there's a dark side, of course, to all things, including the internet,



Jessica Denson, Host (24:10):

Don't you think one of the good things is that indigenous people can tell their own story through their own lens? Yes. And instead through someone else's? Yes.

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (24:20):

Yeah, it's amazing. I follow a woman from Alaska who does traditional practices with her mother, and so she's actually teaching who we are as people from, they own their own people, which is really good because historically it was somebody else telling our stories. And now we get to tell our own stories, which I think is really empowering,

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (24:47):

Just thinking on it. Just the other day I saw on TikTok a Native American man explaining his braids and why you don't touch the braids and what they mean, and that spiritual connection he has to the braids. And I was like, that is So, I had no idea. And I grew up around Native Americans, so I didn't know that. So I think that's a really positive side to it. So I won't keep you all day, but I do want to hear from each of you what you would



Jessica Denson, Host (25:16):

What do you hope the future holds



Claudia Tarbell, Calix (25:18):

Space for indigenous people, native American tribes in the us? You want to go first, Claudia and then Mona, you could finish this out. Final word.

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (25:29):

I mean, I hope that a lot of tribes don't hand over the power to anybody. I hope all tribes are looking at how to take ownership somehow. Not all tribes can own and operate because sustainability is a huge issue, but find a way to take ownership of the infrastructure, take ownership of their connectivity. Nobody's going to care about our communities the way we care about our communities.

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (25:56):

And Mona,

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (25:57):

And I would echo what Claudia said. I think carriers need to understand and respect that they need tribal consent before they go onto those tribal lands. I think sustainability is huge. So once you build that network, how do you sustain it and keep it operational into the future? There are no funds for sustainability, keeping your network



Claudia Tarbell, Calix (26:30):

The other thing that I have a concern about is the future of the Affordable Connectivity program. And so in Indian country, that monthly discount is huge. And if that funding that discounted program ends for tribal nations, I think people are not going to be able to continue to keep the service. So there's a number of things that I think are important to the future of Tribal Nations have having that connectivity through broadband.

Jessica Denson, Host (27:01):

And just for our audience sake, the Affordable Connectivity Program is something run by the Federal Communications Commission, and it helps people,


People, native Americans, and anybody that helps with the monthly discount, it helps with equipment. It's proven to be a very important program. And I know that Congress is looking at continuing funding it, but that has not been done yet. So the impact of that's going to be pretty bad if you take that away. I think from those people who are struggling and like you said, the resources of the internet and being able to learn more about each other and have a business and do that kind of thing for your tribe. Do you have any future plans that your company's planning?

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (27:50):

We were just awarded r u s grant. We're expanding into a clac territory on Cheyenne River and on Standing Rock Reservation. So we're getting ready to construct fiber in 2024 and 2025. We also have the tribal broadband connectivity program funding that will be good up through April of 2025. And that's also providing an additional discount on our broadband service for our subscribers. And then we're also doing digital literacy training. So we have a YouTube channel.

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (28:31):

That's fantastic. Yeah,

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (28:32):

We have a YouTube channel, and that was made possible through

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (28:35):

That. What's the YouTube channel? Do you know the name of

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (28:37):

It? Yeah, it's C R S t. Telephone Authority is the YouTube channel, and we have first how to apply for Lifeline, how to afford apply for the A C P program. And then we have 10 other videos that we're developing with their consultant.

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (28:53):

And all of that is Native American run from top down.

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (28:58):

So our consulting company, we were trying to get one of our employees to do the narrative on those videos, but due to the limited resources time, we ended up sourcing it out to a non-indigenous.

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (29:14):

It happens.

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (29:15):

Yeah, I understand.

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (29:16):

So anything else you wanted to add that I didn't touch on that you thought was important that I even think to ask how you feel good about it?

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (29:25):

I would just add, I was sharing with Claudia the phenomenal job that Calex is doing, recognizing tribal nations and just having her on board, having her on that team I think helps everybody be aware of Tribal Nations. So I am really happy and pleased


With what Calix

Jessica Denson, Host (29:47):

Is doing.

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (29:48):

You guys must be great at one-on-one customer service because all I hear from everybody is how I feel like I personally know the people that work at cex. I keep hearing that over and over.

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (30:02):

I mean, I want to add that this job actually inspired my son to do more, really, before he was getting C's and B's in school and really didn't know where to go. And then I got this job and we hosted a tribal broadband bootcamp in Quani, and we had nine nations sitting around a fire at my parents' camp, and it kind of inspired my son, and now he's in high honor roll and he has a goal to take over my job.

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (30:39):

That sounds amazing.

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (30:41):

He's like, I like what you do. You get to meet all kinds of people. He's like, you get to travel and then you get to stay within Quani. So I'm really happy for my job within Calx. I get to work with great people, very personable, very friendly. And then also I get to meet tribes throughout North America, and that's great. And then on the other side of it, my son is very inspired. He now has a goal and he's working on it, and I'm sure he is going to achieve

Jessica Denson, Host (31:12):

It. How old is he?

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (31:13):

He's 16.

Jessica Denson, Host (31:15):

That's awesome. Yeah. A lot of other parents are like, oh, maybe I need to work for college. Well, ladies think Go ahead, Mona. Yeah, we have a lot to talk about. Keep going. Yeah.

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (31:25):

Claudia mentioned the Tribal Broadband Bootcamp. We are having one on Cheyenne River Reservation next week, the 24th through the 27th. And we're hoping that we have a good turnout of tribes in our region, which is the north central part of the states. And so anybody that might be listening, put a plug in for us.

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (31:44):

Yeah, I'll get a link and I'll put it in the description of the podcast as well, as well as your YouTube channel. That'd

Jessica Denson, Host (31:48):

Be great.

Claudia Tarbell, Calix (31:49):

That'd be great. It's always a good sign when we keep talking, when we think we're going to finish up, so I love it. Thank you both. Ladies. Again, it's Claudia Tarbell, who is Calex, see if I could say it right. Senior Engagement manager for Tribal and Indigenous Communities, and Mona Thompson, who is the general manager for Cheyenne River, Sioux Tribe Telephone Company. Thank you, ladies. I really appreciate your time today. Thank you.

Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone (32:11):

Thank you. Thank you.

Jessica Denson, Host (32:12):

I'll be at the Connections Next few days,

 And we'll continue to bring you stories from the field. Until next time, I'm Jessica Denson. Thanks for listening to Connected Nation. If you like our show and want to know more about us, head to connect or look for the latest episodes on iTunes, iHeartRadio, Google Podcast, Pandora, or Spotify.


About Claudia and Calix
Connectivity in tribal schools
Meeting Mona
History of Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone
Relationships in tribal broadband
Calix and Cheyenne River's interactions
How the pandemic highlighted tribal nations
The future for tribal broadband