Designing with and for Ka'nikúhli:yo:

An exploration in Indigenously determined game design


This webtext is, first and foremost, a container for A Strong Fire, an Oneida language and culture game, which is playable in the frame above or in a new window at Selecting “read” will take players to the Oneida creation story: Yotitsya'ahs falling from Sky World and creating Turtle Island. The interactive narrative can be experienced in a translanguage version (English with eight words in Oneida) or fully in Oneida with no translation. Selecting “play” will take players to two minigames that reinforce the eight Oneida words taught in the translanguage version. The game, which incorporates concept art, music, and voice acting from Oneida and Stockbridge tribal members, is designed to share an Oneida worldview. Before continuing to the rest of the webtext, which explores the design process and how it was informed by Indigenous perspectives on materiality, please take a moment to play through the interactive narrative and play the short minigames.

Author Bio

Wendi Sierra is an Associate Professor of Game Studies in the Honors College at Texas Christian University. A researcher and designer, Sierra is interested in games as novel learning environments. Her first game, A Strong Fire, was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her book, Todd Howard: Worldbuilding in Tamriel and Beyond, explores how Howard uses worldbuilding in his open-world role-playing games.