July 28, 2008

Sick of magical Cherokees

Michael Sheyahshe interviews Winnie (Oglala Lakota/Eastern Shawnee), aka "ix," whom Sheyahshe describes as "a former Associate Producer with some big name games, such as the Call of Duty franchise."

IPI:  Indigenous Peeps in the Industry--02MS: Have you played video games with Native American characters in them?

ix: There aren't many; Prey and Gun are the ones that come to mind. Prey was interesting in that you could go upside down in multiplayer which is a neat idea, but they do the magical Indian stereotype heavily. Gun I felt kind of bothered by how they portray the Apaches. Eventually, I think AIM protested it.

MS: Do you have any opinion about Indigenous characters in video games?

ix: I think there needs to be more of them. I also think that I'm getting really sick of the 'magical Cherokee' stereotype that Hollywood and most media likes to hammer onto us. It's really still racism but in a different way. I wish that there was an Indian character in Gears of War, COD, etc. that's a contributing part of the squad/one of the main characters and not some mystical BS schtick!

MS: Do you know of any other Natives in the "biz" (gaming industry)?

ix: I know one female animator, but she doesn't know much about her tribe or is really all that involved with it. It's kind of hard finding other Indians in the industry. Most of us stay back on the home reservations, maybe. I wish we had better computer programs and equipment on reservations. That would open up more tech jobs for us. I can't imagine what advantages I would have had if the schools where I grew up had computers, the internet, or access to some of the software other public schools do.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Video Games Featuring Natives.

Below:  The Cherokee hero in Prey.

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