TITLE: Code Talk

Access: http://www.codetalk.fed.us/

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Native American Programs (ONAP) hosts this federal inter-agency Native American Web site, designed to connect Native American communities to relevant information and resources available from government agencies and other federal organizations. The site is clean, well organized, easy to use, and wonderfully devoid of commercial advertising.

Code Talk is an interesting complement to the well-established NativeWeb (http://www.nativeweb.com), a volunteer-run Web site with a grass roots perspective. While NativeWeb links to many non-profit, non-governmental, and even controversial sites, Code Talk points primarily to agency and organizational links proffering the official government line. It even includes a "kid safe" link to agency-sponsored children's pages.

"Key Topic Areas" connects to over a dozen agencies and related gateways, including Community Development, Health, Housing, Tribal Court Clearinghouse, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian Education, Environmental Resources, Urban Indians, and more. "Calendar of Events" notes relevant national conferences, institutes, meetings and training schedules for a full year. "Resources and Tools" provides yet another arrangement of contacts, with some duplication.

Although the agency links seem well maintained, some aspects of this site are seriously neglected. Under "Current Issues," for instance, postings are six months to two years old. Only "Indian News Links," which links directly to tribal newspapers, contains current news. Even the latest posted issue of ONAP's newsletter, Dreamcatcher, is from December 1999! The search engine also does not work, although functionality has been promised "in the near future." The sitemap is useful, but no substitute for a good search engine.

The strength of Code Talk is its role as a gateway to the federal and state programs and opportunities directly available for Native Americans in the United States. As such, it may be more useful to those working on behalf of Native Americans, or to Native American organizations and individuals, than it would generally be for researchers, historians, and students. On the other hand, it contains a wealth of information for anyone researching government programs in this area. In addition, the site includes links to related sites in genealogy, laws and treaties, music, pottery, literature, sports, and more. The collection of Indian news publications alone is worth investigating. For those seeking one place to find federal grants, programs, assistance, publications, and events of interest to Native Americans in the United States, this site could be a real boon.

Barbara Valentine
Linfield College

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