The Fort Peck Tribes invited a small team of Googlers to visit Fort Peck Reservation in Poplar, Montana, for two days of bidirectional learning and relationship building. The Google team, whose expertise is in the responsible development of artificial intelligence (AI) and generative AI systems, aimed to learn more about the Tribes’ key values and include those values in creating a better foundation for Google products and research. The Fort Peck Tribes, including the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, are U.S. federally-recognized self-governing and sovereign entities with a widely dispersed resident population. The relationship building between the Google team and the Tribes occurred remotely over the past year, but with this first in-person visit, the hope was to facilitate a reciprocal learning experience and grow the relationship further.
During the visit, the Google team started learning how to better support Fort Peck Tribes’ unique identities, cultures, and sovereignty. They are exploring various potential collaborative projects with the Tribes, including developing a Siouan AI language model together. Both parties hope that the Google AI Ecosystem will continue to apply these learnings to build products that are more useful and helpful for everyone. The two-day visit packed with activities included shared conversations and meals, participating in Pow Wow dancing, crafting medicine pouches, and learning about hunting rituals, all of which provided valuable insight into the Tribes’ way of life. The team was deeply honored to participate in the cultural activities and rituals of the Fort Peck Tribes.
Through this visit, the Google team aimed to align with the company’s AI Principles, including AI Principle #1, “Be socially beneficial” and AI Applications We Will Not Pursue, by incorporating the values and perspectives of the Fort Peck Tribes in their work. The team learned about the Tribes’ key values, such as respect, spirituality, and inclusiveness, and how to define social benefit more inclusively. They also aim to support the Tribes’ unique identities, cultures, and sovereignty by being mindful of data misuse, addressing disparities and biases in representations, and striving for culturally relevant products and services.
Overall, the visit was an opportunity for the Google team to not only learn from the Fort Peck Tribes, but also build a relationship that promotes mutual understanding and collaboration. Both parties are hopeful that the learnings from this visit will lead to the development of more inclusive and culturally relevant products and research within Google’s AI ecosystem.