Last week I wrote a post discussing the reasons why we chose to go with the Mi’kmaq and the Inuit as the representative aboriginal cultures for our game First Encounters. For the time period encompassing the 1500s, the original plan had been to include the Iroquois (or Haudenosaunee) of the St. Lawrence river as one of the aboriginal groups that the French interact with in the game. For reasons outlined in the Feb. 9th post, their inclusion had to be reconsidered. This decision came despite the fact that the encounter between the French and the Iroquois is an historical fact. During all three three of his voyages to North America, Cartier sailed up and down the St. Lawrence meeting different groups of Iroquois in their respective villages.
This week I would like to share with our readers issues that have arisen from the decision to focus solely on the encounter between the French and the Mi’kmaq. We fully agree that the aboriginal groups chosen for the game (i.e. Mi’kmaq and Inuit) are appropriate in terms of historical accuracy. However, choosing only the Mi’kmaq clearly means we cannot include indigenous cultural and technological knowledge that did not belong to them, for this would promote the negative idea of the ‘universal Native’ that we’re striving to avoid. However, not including other aboriginal cultures in the game, specifically the Iroquois in this case, makes it impossible to also incorporate some of the more exciting learning modules we had planned. The following posts this week will outline two modules representing interesting sources of Iroquois knowledge that will likely not be included in the game. Stay tuned this week for an overview on the challenges of incorporating into First Encounters knowledge of the Three Sisters and the Tree of Life (so aptly named by Jacques Cartier himself).