Madonna Peltier Yawakie, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, founded Turtle Island Communications (TICOM) in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota in 2001 with the aim of offering telecommunications consulting to tribes. She was joined in the business the next year by her husband Mel, an electrical engineer who with his wife had a combined 34 years of experience working in the telecommunications field. The Yawakies’ keen awareness of the lack of service parity on tribal lands was and continues to be the motivational force behind their growing business. And their commitment to making a positive impact on the ongoing digital divide remains as strong as ever.
TICOM provides telecommunications consulting and engineering services specializing in project management, telecom infrastructure analysis; wireline and wireless system design; and acquisition regulatory and financial services that support project development. Winds of Change spoke with Madonna Yawakie to learn more about how TICOM is working with tribes to increase telecommunications services in Indian Country and at the same time support tribal sovereignty.