July 01, 2014

Stereotypical Deadskins video game

Is This Fun? 'Deadskins' Game Promises Scalp-Taking Zombie IndiansA video game designer is seeking funds for "Deadskins," a proposed console game that many Natives will no doubt find troubling.

The story begins with the mysterious massacre of a tribe by a supernatural being or beings. Then, as described at the game's Kickstarter page:

Using the powers and secrets of your elders, you must journey on a vision quest to repair the Spirit World and heal Mother Earth. Quickly become a warrior and fight a psychedelic battle against a man who has forgotten that he has died. He is a man known as the Dead Skin walker. And his power over the dead, was strong enough to punch a hole through to the land of the living, sending many lost spirits in search of revenge.

Ancestral spirits begin to rise from the earth and mount war parties of the Undead. This ravenous group of zombies attack everything they see and they quickly become many like the stars. They are DEADSKINS; a crazed and bloodthirsty tribe of the undead. Mounted on zombie beasts, the demonic warriors begin to cross over to the land of the living and curse all creatures they encounter.

Writer Dani Miller explains why the Deadskins game is a bad idea:

“Deadskins”--Genocide as Entertainment

By Danielle MillerDominant white culture will never seem to get over its unhealthy obsession with depicting Native Americans as dead and extinct. Cultural objects are whitewashed by acts of appropriation, celebrities and even the general public continues to wear imagery of dead Natives. This perpetual pattern to insult to Native American culture has become so intrinsic that I’m beginning to believe it is an unspoken element of capitalist identity and policy.

What does this say about American culture that it is so inundated with imagery which symbolically subjugates populations who have been oppressed and survived through attempted genocide? It speaks to the success colonization has had on indoctrinating our “color blind” “post racial” society into ongoing imperialism in such a matter that celebration of genocide is normalized. It speaks to the continued genocide that many are complicit in; from perpetuation of stereotypes through erasure, the pillaging of cultural identity through cultural appropriation to blatant exploitation of native resources. Ultimately these seemingly shallow “issues” of stereotypes have causation with statistics and realities of colonial violence.

Many mitigate dead Native depictions by saying well “they just look cool.” But the effects of erasure through Dead Native stereotype are explicit every time someone rejects a real living Native American’s identity by saying: “You don’t “look” like an Indian” or, “I thought all the Indians were dead.”
Comment:  For more on the message of dead Indians, see "Dreamcatcher and Skull" Clothing Line and Kanye's T-Shirts Feature Indian Skulls.

For more on Indians as zombies and vice versa, see "Zombies Are the New Indians" and What the Zombie Trend Means.

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