2K Games is coming under fire from the Poundmaker Cree Nation of Saskatchewan in response to the depiction of the Cree Nation and its namesake, Chief Poundmaker, in the forthcoming Civilization VI: Rise and Fall expansion. The First Nation also takes issue with the fact that no one from 2K consulted with them on the project.
The expansion depicts Chief Poundmaker as the in-game leader of the Cree Nation. This inspired excitement initially in Poundmaker Cree Nation Headman Milton Tootoosis, as it cited the Chief’s work as a peacemaker between First Nations and the Canadian Government in the 19th century, but his feelings reversed course in quick fashion.
In an interview with CBC, Tootoosis posited that the game’s premise prevents it from creating a respectful depiction of either the prominent First Nations figure or the population he led.
“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,” Tootoosis said. “That is totally not in concert with our traditional ways and world view.”
“He was certainly not in the same frame of mind as the colonial powers,” Tootoosis added.
Such nuances, characteristics and sentiments could have easily been communicated to 2K, but, according to Tootoosis, no one from the publisher or the game’s developer, Firaxis Games, consulted with the First Nation on the project. Tootoosis believes 2K should have formally approached the elders of the First Nation before deciding to include Chief Poundmaker in the game. “It’s a little dangerous for a company to perpetuate that ideology that is at odds with what we know,” said Tootoosis.
2K Games has yet to comment publicly on the matter, and the Poundmaker Cree Nation is preparing to formally contact the publisher after a consultation with elders within its community.