Today is International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples! Highlighting and amplifying community voices is core to the Xbox Ambassadors community. So, in celebration, we asked those who identify as Indigenous how games with diverse representation have impacted them and to share their own stories about being a member of a gaming community.
We received hundreds of responses and, with much consideration, selected the following to share.
Here are their stories in their own words:
Woodland Cree from Manitoba
Video games brought Indigenous People together when COVID didn’t allow us to gather for Pow Wows; we created an online community and at one point had custom lobbies filled with over 100 Indigenous people. I was also able to share this story with CBC in an article.
We as Indigenous people love to gather, and share stories, and I was fortunate I could provide a space for us to get together. We also managed to fundraise almost $10,000 in the past year for charities!
I am a Facebook gaming streamer and we go by: Moose Tree Gaming. There are Indigenous tags and groups on Facebook, Twitter and TikTok where we share clips, stories, and set up co streams.
I’m an Ojibway Native
It would always surprise me when a game has Indigenous characters in its story. Kind of unreal, as a lot of times we are forgotten or put aside as a people, in certain cases. So it’s great to see our people and even our way of life or language represented.
The game Never Alone was a good one that caught my attention. Because it gave me an opportunity to learn about another Indigenous cultures, stories and legends. It was a treat to play and learn. Looking forward to more games like this.
I’ve run into a few unlikable encounters in the gaming community, BUT it’s always a pleasure to meet people curious about my culture and language. Now, I’m not the greatest with my language, but I know some words. So, people get excited to hear how we say things and what our words mean. Other times, I myself get to be curious about other languages and cultures, so there’s this exchange of learning which is always fun.
I am Ojibwe also known as Anishinaabe and belong to the Sault Ste. Marie tribe of Chippewa Indians
I think that it is great to have Indigenous characters in games. My first experience with Indigenous characters were the Tauren in World of Warcraft.
I have played Never Alone and Ori.. both of which have stories that I can relate to due to my experience with my own culture. I think the coolest game I ever played at the time was Turok. Who wouldn’t want to be a Native Dino Hunter?
I have been in several gaming communities that were made up of people from all walks of life and all around the world. I love it! We all get together to play games we like and to talk and hang out.
Games with Indigenous representation really make me feel a sense of pride and just an overall feeling of happiness to know that there’s a lot out there that deserves to be represented and spotlighted.
One of my favorites was meeting Ken Lobb during the release of Killer Instinct and having him and some of the Double Helix Games team explain how they wanted Thunder to be a representation of true Native American culture and no longer just a stereotype.
It really meant a lot and it was honestly just super awesome to hear and see it reflected in Thunder’s new look, stage and various other details.
The Xbox community has always been great and amazing to me. Couldn’t be happier with all the friends I’ve met through Xbox!
Pharah was my first character I played as in Overwatch. I picked her because she seemed cool- flying lady who shoots rockets, what’s not to love?
Then I found her two Native American outfits, and there was a lore reason to have them. Raindancer is my go-to outfit for her unless she has a cool event skin. It’s great to see some female native representation, while also being a cool warrior.
Métis from Northern Alberta Canada
Playing games with Indigenous characters always makes me happy and fills me with pride. Seeing my people represented as the strong and resilient people they are is important in bringing awareness to the struggles and hardships we have gone through.
My favorite characters represented are Connor from Assassins Creed III and Nightwolf from Mortal Kombat.
Many of my friends and family are also Aboriginal from other Settlements and Reserves and gaming has allowed us to all stay connected ever since we started on the original Xbox.
Tataskeweyak Cree Nation
I’ve always been a huge fan of Rainbow Six Siege. In this current season they introduced a new operator called Thunderbird. She was born in the Nakoda Territories of Saskatchewan, which is the area I grew up in.
You rarely see Native Indians ever in games but to see a healer from my neck of the woods was really exciting. I have met Native healers in the past and have always resonated with how simple, down to earth and effective these practices actually are. They tap into the core of all people, not just Native, and our universal desire to live in harmony with the land and the animals.
I’ve played with people from all over the world, from a wide variety of different cultures. It is a rare thing to play with other Native people. If there is a group that I’m not aware of, I would be interested in checking that out. The people I play with regularly are from Spain, UK, Italy and America. Gaming is such a vast community in a lot of ways, it doesn’t matter where you’re from or what language you speak. We share this really fun common ground that has a very unique way of uniting people.
Thank you once again to everyone for sharing their stories this International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2021! We understand it is not always easy to share personal experiences publicly, so we really do appreciate every single one.