WOMAN PROVIDES COMPUTER LINK FOR INDIANS
Msg# : November 24, 1990
From : Dolores Jensen 142/999
To : All
Subject: Newspaper Article in the Tolland Times
*TOLLAND COUNTY TIMES: News Article by Kathy Taylor: Times Reporter*
WOMAN PROVIDES COMPUTER LINK FOR INDIANS
COVENTRY - A Coventry woman has discovered a unique tool in her
search for her roots, an instrument which not only enables others
to share in her search but one that incorporates her favorite
Dolores Jensen, who lives with her husband and three children
on School Street, is proud of her Mexican/American Indian
heritage. She also enjoys fooling around with the family's
personal computer. Therefore, when she began her quest for
information about her American Indian background, it was only
natural that her search would begin with, what else, the
Mrs. Jensen is familiar with computer bulletin boards, which
are electronic message boards to which users gain access by
utilizing a modem, and decided this would be a good way to gather
and share information. "I feel that bulletin boards were meant
to be a place to communicate and to share views on issues with
our neighbors, and this is what I'm trying to do," she explained.
On Nov. 18, 1990, her bulletin board, which she calls The
Reservation BBS, was up and running. Operating 24 hours a day,
seven days a week, At present The Reservation BBS has received over
3000 calls and had acquired over 300 users since it began operation.
Mrs. Jensen serves as systems operator or "SysOp" for her bulletin
board, which has proven to be so successful that an echo entitled
Indian Affairs has been established.
"I looked all over the country and outside the country and there
were no Indian echoes," Mrs. Jensen said. "This is the first Indian
echo to exist. I feel it's unique in style and in subject and I am
proud of it."
The Indian Affairs echo enables the Jensens to communicate with
the Holy Rosary Mission at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South
Dakota, site of the battle of Wounded Knee as well as with many other
bbs's across the country and into Canada and Alaska. Two priests
serve as SysOps at Pine Ridge.
According to Mrs. Jensen, Pine Ridge, which is home to the Sioux
tribe, is considered to be one of the poorest reservations in the
country, with alcoholism prevalent among its residents. As a result
the Pine Ridge
Reservation has received national television coverage recently.
At its inception, Mrs. Jensen told users of the Indian Affairs
echo that she hoped it would eventually become a national and
possibly international echo. As a matter of fact, Indian Affairs
echo has been listed in the national echo list, which means more
computer users will have access to it. "It will be helping a
lot of people."
VARIED SUBJECTS DISCUSSED
Among the topics discussed in the Indian Affairs forum are
current affairs, history, culture, art and religion. Users are
free to request and offer information as long as it relates to
American Indians. Some of the discussed topics that have been
discussed include such controversial subjects as gaming
activities of the Mashantucket Pequot Indian tribe in Ledyard
and conditions at the Pine Ridge reservation.
Less controversial topics include requests for information
about Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribe and Ely Parker, a
friend of President Ulysses S. Grant and the first native
American to hold the position of Commissioner of Indian Affairs.
In addition, current events such as cultural exhibits and
pow-wows are posted on the bulletin board.
She said that she has been offered money by several users who
feel her efforts are worthwhile and want them to continue. "I
just tell them to send it to the reservations," she said. "I'm
not in it for the money."
Dolores Jensen uses the name "SysOp Tiwa" when corresponding
with her computer friends, a name which comes from a tribe that
once lived near her childhood home just outside Albuquerque, N.M.
She and her family, which includes three sisters and a brother,
moved to Coventry when she was seven because "my father needed a
job" and there were construction jobs available here. Her father
has since passed away, but her mother, brother and sisters still
live in the area.
Mrs. Jensen's grandfather, who was a full-blooded Pueblo
Indian, spent his childhood on the Isleta Indian Reservation in
New Mexico. Her father was half Mexican and half native American
and her mother is Mexican, making Mrs. Jensen three-fourths
Mexican and one-fourth American Indian.
She is currently compiling information which would enable her
to be listed as a native American by the Bureau of Indian Affairs
and has offered to assist other American Indians interested in
being listed. "It's something to be proud of -- I feel very
strongly about it," she said.
Eligibility requirements state that an individual must be a
member of a tribe recognized by the federal government, and, for
some special purposes, must be at least one-fourth Indian.
According to Mrs. Jensen, various federal agencies use different
criteria and guidelines for determining membership, as do tribal
Mrs. Jensen said that her dream is to one day see individuals
from all 50 states utilizing the Indian Affairs echo, which
currently carries over 50 messages a week. Now that it's listed
nationally, she feels this number will increase. As of April her
Indian Affairs echo has become available thru backbone distribution
which means it is available at a minimal cost to other bbs's through
out the country. "It's really fascinating", she said. "We all try to
help each other out. You're helping people and that's really what
it's all about."