The video game that attempts to preserve native alaskan culture
By The New Yorker
The Iñupiat people, a tribe native to Alaska, did not have a written language for much of their history. Instead, for thousands of years, their culture was passed down orally, often in the form of stories that parents and grandparents would tell and entrust to their children. In recent years, those stories, and the lessons and values and history that they contain, have become harder to preserve, as the young people of the tribe, growing up in the modern world, have drifted further and further from traditional ways. This video, which originally appeared on “The New Yorker Presents” (Amazon Originals) and is based on a story by Simon Parkin, is about a recent experiment in transmitting Iñupiat culture through a new medium: a video game.
The tribe worked with a New York-based company called E-Line to create a game based on an old Iñupiat tale called “Kunuuksaayuka,” in which an Iñupiat child travels across the wilderness to find the source of the bitter blizzards that have been hitting his village. Before they began building the game, E-Line developers travelled up to Barrow, in northern Alaska, in the deep, dark cold of January, to meet with tribe members and to lay the groundwork for the project. The resulting game is called Never Alone. In it, players take on the role of a young Iñupiat girl named Nuna and her pet arctic fox as they make their way through a beautifully rendered icy landscape, encountering obstacles based on the “Kunuuksaayuka” story. Never Alone was created through a highly collaborative process: “We’ve had everybody from eighty-five-year-old elders who live most of the year in remote villages to kids in Barrow High School involved in the project,” Amy Fredeen, the C.F.O. of E-Line, told Parkin. In this video, the game developers and tribe members recount the making of Never Alone—how the stories it tells were tracked down and adapted, and how people from these two very disparate worlds were brought together to create the game. As Clare Swan, who sits on the tribal council that had to approve the project, recalls, “We just said, ‘Shoot, of course it’s difficult.’ Anything that’s worth it is. And so here we are.”
Publicado originalmente em: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-video-game-that-attempts-to-preserve-native-alaskan-culture