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Changing how Native Americans are represented in video games

This indigenous game designer wants to immerse gamers in Native American culture — and put an end to stereotypes.

Native American representation in Video Games

Who is Carl Petersen

Carl Petersen wants to change the way Native Americans are represented in his favorite medium — video games. Peter grew up on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Formerly the Great Sioux Nation. As a member of the Oohe Nunpa (Two Kettles) band of the Lakota tribe and a computer science and computer game design graduate of Dakota State University, Petersen’s family was unable to afford the $2,000 internet bill for him to continue playing video games as a child. Petersen decided to put his passion for culture and video games together by designing his own game. He built his first game Tipi Kaga in 2017 and founded the gaming company Northern Plains Games in 2019.

“Even when you see representation, let's say, the Tauren in World of Warcraft, it's a caricature, it's offensive sometimes, like, especially the insinuation of lesser intelligence or that kind of thing. You know, I played Assassin's Creed III. Connor was a cool character, but he was still very much a whitewashed Indian…And even the parts of his story that had to do with his culture, even if they had, you know, a person from that tribe consulting, there was no one on that team who was from that tribe or native at all,” Petersen shares with Brut.

What is Tipi Kaga?

Petersen came up with the idea for this game back in 2014. Essentially, it is a game where the player constructs a traditional Lakota Tipi and will integrate the almost forgotten Lakota language within the gameplay. Today, there are less than three thousand fluent speakers and while Petersen can speak it, the last fluent speaker in his family died fourteen years before he was born. However, with the support of the company’s Patreon supporters, there should be more culturally sensitive games brought into the industry.

Brut.

03/12/2020 4:48 PM
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18 comments

  • Duran R.
    03/31/2020 00:37

    They're gonna white-wash your games eventually so lets take a bunch of already cool games and "lakota-wash" them instead.

  • Andrew F.
    03/30/2020 05:15

    Go for it kid

  • Bearshirt R.
    03/30/2020 02:20

    My nephew Carl ..wooooooo

  • Robert T.
    03/29/2020 06:12

    Game looks boring and unnecessary.

  • Trevor S.
    03/29/2020 05:12

    I am part American native from my mother side of the family

  • Jason S.
    03/28/2020 18:11

    A taryn with the head dress from wow is what inspired and "woke" him when mortal kombat has nightwolf? Okaaaay... weird.

  • Paige V.
    03/28/2020 17:54

    What a neeeerrrrdddddd. Says the person who did the same 😂 y

  • Christopher A.
    03/26/2020 23:11

    Is it me or he and his family look white white lol

  • David J.
    03/26/2020 22:34

    If he was white promoting european culture he'd be fired, banned and wouldn't be In the news

  • Johnny J.
    03/26/2020 18:27

    How DARE you insinuate the native American never even developed the wheel...or a written language....

  • Man G.
    03/25/2020 16:09

    For one to be "native American" you only need to be born here.. By definition..by stereotype native Americans are Indians..

  • Man G.
    03/25/2020 16:07

    Sounds like. A stereotype to me

  • Tani G.
    03/25/2020 08:22

    Oh snap I met that kid at Crazy Horse Memorial! Right on

  • Joseph M.
    03/25/2020 04:46

    Wait. Were not meant to be the same? And keeping our traditions alive is a good thing..... but if you're white that's racist so...

  • Michael J.
    03/24/2020 22:49

    No more"wokeness".

  • Patricia A.
    03/15/2020 19:50

    HAVE AN IDEA. MAKE IT HAPPEN. KEEPING HOPE ALIVE BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. GOOD LUCK

  • Edub G.
    03/15/2020 16:54

    Good to be a native ✊

  • Ralph O.
    03/13/2020 15:25

    Wow