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Interview: Cook Inlet Tribal Council launches Native video game






Never Alone: A forthcoming title from Upper One Games

Amy Freeman of the Cook Inlet Tribal Council of Alaska explains why the tribe created Upper One Games, who first title is out this fall:
Post Arcade: Amy, what’s your role as cultural ambassador for the Cook Inlet Tribal Council look like, specifically working with Upper One Games and E-Line?

Amy Freedeen: My role is particularly one that make connections. Even though I am Iñupiaq, and this video game is based on a tradition Iñupiaq story called “Kunuuksaayuka,” the idea was not to have one person represent the values and the communities the Iñupiaq people. As we develop the game we seek out the right people to invite to the table.

One of the first things we did was have E-Line come up and meet with our partners and storytellers, a group of youth and a group of elders, so that they had the initial exposure, right away at the beginning of the project, to the people we knew we needed to have their voices at the table. Once that group of individuals worked with E-Line and really came up with the concept to really focus the game on the Arctic area and the Iñupiaq people, from there we sought out the culture bearers, the ambassadors, experts that we needed to stay involved throughout the process.

It’s been a phenomenal journey. We had to learn how to make video games, just as E-Line was learning about Iñupiaq culture, and we had to temper our expectations in that this wasn’t going to be a verbatim depiction of a traditional story in a video game because it doesn’t work exactly to translate it word-for-word or action-for-action. It’s really an exciting new type of storytelling for us.

Get the Story:
The first U.S. indigenous video-game company explains how their game Never Alone crosses cultural boundaries (The Financial Post 5/21)

Related Stories:
Cook Inlet Tribal Council set to launch first Native video game (5/19)