On the Path of The Elders

On the Path of The Elders

Moose Factory, Ottawa – Ontario

Tuesday, 4 October 2011, 11:30 PM

Adapted from work by Stanley L. Louttit, Cle-alls (John Kelly), Elaine Keillor, and Jason Woodman Simmonds

A partnership between the Mushkegowuk Cree of Northern Ontario, Carleton University, BlackCherry Digital Media, and Pinegrove Productions has resulted in On the Path of the Elders, an interactive, Web-based video game and knowledge-sharing site. The game offers players a glimpse into the lives of the Mushkegowuk and Anishnaabe peoples at the time of Treaty No. Nine (also known as the James Bay Treaty) near the turn of the 20th Century.

Click to hear the stories!

Beyond gameplay, the website provides users with an Anishinaabe and Mushkegowuk understanding of the treaty, photo and video galleries, as well as almost sixty oral stories recounted by Elders. The stories are split among four different dialects of Cree – Swampy Cree, Swampy Cree with N dialect, Moose Cree, and Kashechewan Cree – and were recorded over a decade in the 1950s and ’60s by linguist C. Doug Ellis.

Each story of the oral stories has a title in Cree, English, and French along with an identification of the speaker, the Cree dialect used, an age appropriate level, a short description in English and French, as well as search tags.

Perhaps the most important part of the website is the Elder component. As part of the documenting and preserving of Elder history, cultural traditions, and language, the creators of the website have provided Elder interviews and teaching about hunting, trapping and fishing.

The gaming aspect of the site offers players a slick role-playing format which, while quite enjoyable, also offers players valuable lessons about life for the Mushkegowuk and Anishnaabe peoples. There are six central facets to the game: education, economy, security, health, culture, and self-government.

All six Path of the Elders’ game-levels teach youths to esteem themselves and deeply understand First Peoples’ cultures and beliefs. The game designers and collaborators have based each level on research of First Peoples’ suicide rates among youths aged 15 to 24. In recent years, suicides in some communities have been as high 600 times above the Canadian norm, which ranks these rates among the highest on the planet. The research has indicated that self-esteem and healthy communities can reduce that suicide rate to zero.

Through completing all six paths, the embedded information helps the player develop a greater awareness of Mushkegowuk and Anishinaabe values. The game’s quest introduces youth to positive outcomes for their lives as First Peoples’ community members and Canadian citizens. This is an all-win proposition.

Click to see the photo collection!     Click to watch the videos!

Find out more

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