Initiative For Indigenous Futures

This intensive, 200-hour workshop begins with traditional storytelling –exploring the legends, histories and dreams of our communities– and proceeds to teach participants how to tell a story in a new way: as a video game. With that foundation in place, the youth then learn important industry-related skills, such as game design, art direction, 3D modeling and animation, sound design, and computer programming. The lessons are taught by a mix of game-industry professionals, Indigenous artists and a core team of senior students from Concordia University’s Computation Arts programme. Additionally, Indigenous mentors lend their considerable expertise as cultural consultants and provide moral support to the participants.

From mythic characters to traditional game mechanics to decolonized values, the Skins games reflect Indigenous teachings while offering youth basic technical skills. The instructors and mentors also refer to various university programs related to the disciplines being taught in the workshop.


“What inspired me to base the game on the story of the Flying Head was because I didn’t really see any games out there that had our culture.”
— Tehoniehtáthe Delisle, lead designer
– Participant, Skins 1.0

“We’ve been translating Native traditional stories into a video game in order to intrigue youngsters to remember the stories. It keeps the stories alive. If interaction will do that, then that’s the avenue we need to take. I think that it’s beneficial to the elders because they have a role in our society of telling the story and it’s the children that are coming up who are the next generation.”
— Towanna Miller, artist
– Participant, Skins 2.0

“Everyone here is super friendly and eager to work, and I haven’t really seen that before. The work ethic here and just the amount of motivation everyone has here is through the roof… I’ve been surprised at how motivated I was.”
— Keanu, college student
– Participant, Skins 5.0 – He Au Hou

“It was good that we ran over time with the storytelling because that was the entire reason why we were here, just learning the culture, learning what we were going to make. And it’s kind of rare to just sit down and listen to a kumu, an aunty, or an uncle, just to sit down and talk story, just listen to them.”
— Dwayne, college student
– Participant, Skins 5.0 – He Au Hou


Awards

  • Skahiòn:hati: Rise of the Kanien’kehá:ka Legends – Best New Media, imagineNATIVE 2013
  • Skins Workshops on Aboriginal Storytelling and Video Game Design – Changemakers Award, Ashoka  2012
  • Otsì:! Rise of the Kanien’kehá:ka Legends – Best New Media, imagineNATIVE 2010

Nominations

  • Wao Kanaka – Best Digital or Interactive Work, imagineNATIVE 2019
  • Wao Kanaka – Performance Award, IndieCade 2019
  • He Ao Hou – Best Digital or Interactive Work, imagineNATIVE 2018
  • Ienién:te and the Peacemaker’s Wampum – Best New Media, imagineNATIVE 2015

 


Prerequisites: None

Duration: Storytelling Evening + 3 weeks of 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Video Documentation: Skins 1.0 | Skins 2.0 | Skins 4.0

Past Workshops:

GAME DOWNLOAD

  • Make a World with Unity – WAMP
    • Location: Western Arctic Moving Pictures (WAMP), Yellowknife, NT
    • Date: May 14th – 16th, 2018
    • Duration: 3 sessions of 3 hours
    • Instructors: Pippin Barr, Rilla Khaled
  • Skins 5.0 – He Au Hou
    • Location: Hālau ‘Īnana, Honolulu, HI
    • Date: July 2017 – August 2017
    • Duration: 3 weeks

GAME DOWNLOAD

GAME DOWNLOAD

  • Skins 3.0 – Extended Play
    • Location: Concordia University, Montreal, QC
    • Date: March 2012 – July 2012
    • Duration: 2 separated weeks, intensive

GAME DOWNLOAD

GAME DOWNLOAD

  • Skins 1.0 – Kahnawake Survival School
    • Location: Kahnawake Survival School, Kahnawake, QC
    • Date: September 2008 – June 2009
    • Duration: Weekly highschool course with 2 weekend intensive sessions

GAME DOWNLOAD

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