2K Games Misses Opportunity To Consult With Elders On New Cree Civilization

Poundmaker Cree Nation Headman Milton Tootoosis spoke about his excitement and immediate disappointment in the game's version of the Cree.


Sid Meir's Civilization series is a turn-based strategy game (4X) that has always featured caricatures of various world leaders to represent different civilizations. Each ruler and civilization tends to have progression trees that apply unique aspects of each individual culture to tech, warfare, diplomacy, and more. Civilization VI is the latest entry and its upcoming Rise and Fall expansion includes the native Cree civilization with Chief Poundmaker as its leader, but Poundmaker Cree Nation Headman Milton Tootoosis finds the game's version of the Cree to be distasteful.

Speaking to CBC Radio, Tootoosis was initially excited but it took a turn. "It perpetuates this myth that First Nations had similar values that the colonial culture has, and that is one of conquering other peoples and accessing their land," he said. "That is totally not in concert with our traditional ways and world view."

"This is not new," he adds. "Hollywood has done a job for many decades of portraying Indigenous people in a certain way that has been very harmful."

There are other ways to win at Civilization, but even those forms of victory are peppered with colonial values that are historically forced upon First Nations. Tootoosis also shared that no one from 2K game approached anyone from First Nation to consult on the game, but he does give credit for the development team's citing of Poundmaker's work to bridge the relationship between settlers and First Nations.

2K need to only look over at Amplitude Games' recent release Endless Space 2. It has a collection of civilizations that can play incredibly different from each other, including The Unfallen, a species based on pacifist ideals. Not to say that it perfectly mirrors what Tootoosis and other elders would expect in the representation of the First nations, but it does show that you can include civilizations that bunk the system other groups may be built on.

Charles Singletary Jr keeps the updates flowing as the News Editor, breaking stories while investigating the biggest topics in gaming and technology. He's pretty active on Twitter, so feel free to reach out to him @The_CSJR. Got a hot tip? Email him at Charles.Singletary@Shacknews.com.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 5, 2018 2:40 PM

    Charles Singletary posted a new article, 2K Games Misses Opportunity To Consult With Elders On New Cree Civilization

    • reply
      January 5, 2018 2:50 PM

      Ah yes, the peaceful Iron Confederacy.

      The earliest written record of the military and political relations of the nations west of Hudson's Bay comes from Henry Kelsey's journal circa 1690–1692. In it, he states that the Cree and the Assiniboine had good relations with the Blackfoot and were already allies against the "Eagle Birch Indians, Mountain Poets, and Nayanwattame Poets" (the identities of these groups is uncertain but they may have been other Siouan-speakers, or Gros Ventres).

      Then post Colombian exchange

      The Confederacy fought a series of wars over the control of the trade in major commodities on the plains. Before 1790 the Cree relied on the Mandan as a source of horses, for their own use and to trade to the isolated European fur trade posts.[3] They were allies of the Blackfoot and Mandan against the Sioux in the great horse wars of this period. The Cree made significant profits from the trade with the Blackfoot; one HBC journal entry notes that a Cree trader bought a musket from the HBC for 14 prime beaver pelts and sold it to a Blackfoot warrior for 50 prime beaver pelts.[3] From the Mandan they also received beans, maize, and tobacco, in exchange for European goods.


      Might want to check your assumptions. I don't think saying that they did not share colonial ideals of conquest means pacifism.

    • reply
      January 5, 2018 9:41 PM


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