The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) have received 163 latest-generation Apple iPads with Wi-Fi and cellular capabilities through a strategic partnership between AmeriinfoVets Inc. (AI-Vets) and Insight Federal.
The multi-award procurement contract was received on February 12, 2021 and is effective until December 31, 2025. To date, 12 delivery orders have been fulfilled.
IT Providers Form a Strategic Partnership
BIA’s broader mission includes promoting economic opportunity for American Indians, Indian tribes and Alaska Natives. One way BIA supports this initiative is through the Buy Indian Act, which gives preference to and sets aside procurement contracts for Indian-owned companies.
As a Native American-owned small business, AI-Vets is a preferred contractor to BIA. By strategically partnering with Insight Federal, a first-tier supplier of Apple products with a robust logistics network, AI-Vets is able to offer BIA discounted iPads because of their low overhead cost.
Through the contract, AI-Vets and Insight Federal have provided low-cost iPads to support the educational needs of Indian children and their communities.
iPads for Remote Learning During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged BIE-funded schools and tribal governments by limiting and restricting in-person interactions to prevent the virus’s spread. In March 2020, all BIE schools closed in response to the pandemic, while students, teachers and faculty transitioned to distance learning with the use of technology.
According to BIA, the agencies continue to provide schools with the digital devices and online services needed for in-classroom and remote learning during the pandemic.
“Our BIE team is fully committed to finding a path forward through these challenging times to provide the educational services BIE students need as well as support to students and their families as well as staff,” its education webpage states.
While it is unclear specifically how the iPads will be used, “it is our hope that they enable and strengthen safe, remote learning capabilities for Indian children,” AI-Vets Senior VP of Business Development Julian Warrick says.
AI-Vets Supports BIA and BIE’s Mission
In addition to digital products, AI-Vets is capable of delivering low-cost Wi-Fi services to rural and underserved communities across the country. While mobile devices like iPads can enhance and expand access to education, they rely on high-speed internet connectivity.
“We look forward to expanding our relationship with the BIA and continue to approach BIA with a low-cost, wireless internet capability that could be utilized within the broader educational community,” Warrick says.
BIE provides quality education to approximately 46,000 students at 183 schools on Indian reservations in 23 states. About two-thirds of these schools are operated by tribes and the remaining third are operated by BIE.