Native Representation

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#1 Posted by mrcool11 (469 posts) -

I couldn’t really tell you for sure if video games have a good record for representation of Native protagonists. The only game I knew of that had a central Native character was Prey, and I’ve never played it. In fact, I’ve played quite a few games over my 19 years, and the only time I’ve played as an ‘Indian’ was in a Mount and Blade mod. Some might say that this Indian absence from games is a pretty significant problem, but that’s an issue unto itself, and I don’t necessarily want to get too much into that. However, I would say that this general lack of representation of Native peoples in games makes each game they do feature in significantly more important.

All I know about Assassins Creed III at this point is that it has a fellow with a tomahawk on the cover. Where Ubisoft goes from there could potentially be a breakthrough in the portrayal of Native people in a new medium. Now, I don’t know if Ubi Montreal would have many Native folks employed, or how many would be in some sort of creative directorial position, so if anyone is privy to that info I’d be glad to have it. I tend to think that having Native artists (I have a pretty loose definition of artist) involved in this sort of production would avoid many problems of representation I can see arising from AC III.

A common representation of ‘Indians’ is the Noble Savage caricature. Chances are a lot of you thought of a Last of the Mohicans-esque sort of badassery when you saw Assassin Indian Man raising his tomahawk on that cover art. While that movie and the book do portray ‘Indians’ as thinking human beings, it’s also fairly limiting in that Indians are portrayed as warriors and not much else. Also, Daniel Day-Lewis’s character is some white guy adopted into the tribe, and in the book is for some reason vocally racist towards the bad guy Indians to a ridiculous extent. This type of representation also perpetuates the view that Indians are the last of a dying breed, which wasn’t exactly true last time I checked.

There’s a tendency among dominant North American society to imagine every Indian tribe to be “Generikee”. I really hope that Ubisoft takes the time to learn about whatever nation they are planning on making this character be from. A slightly brown fellow with long hair who does war whoops is not exactly a good representation of any particular Indian nation. Not every ‘Indian’ is a straight-outta-Dances-With-Wolves Sioux. Nothing wrong with being Sioux (though the word Sioux is problematic), it’s just that most representations of Native men are of generic Plains Indian warriors riding bareback. Some specificity is always nice. As far as I know, people would rather be identified by their nationality rather than an imposed racial term. And for those of you who are or know Indians who are totally cool with being called Indian, no need to listen to me when it comes to your own self-identification.

There’s a chance here for Ubisoft to provide an appropriate Native protagonist to be played by Native and non-Native gamers alike. While I’m unsure of video games as a medium of meaningful social change, it would be kinda nice to have someone else to play as other than the ripped white guy. All I’m saying is that a darker skin colour doesn’t make a character ‘Indian’. If they want to continue making the standard badass protagonist, I’m all for it; there’s just no need to appropriate and misrepresent an identity to do so.

tl;dr Hopefully Ubisoft doesn't drop the ball on representing Native peoples.

If you want to get an idea of Native involvement in the Revolutionary War, this should give a pretty good historical account. I personally haven't seen that episode, but episode five gave a really good account of the Wounded Knee occupation of the '70's. And if you want to know more about Native people today, and get a rough sense of what I mean when I talk about having Native people involved in the creation of this new character, check out the first episode of this CBC series. And for those of you who think I'm just butthurt over nothing, we shall see.

#2 Edited by CptBedlam (4449 posts) -

Yeah, I really hope they don't go for the "real American badass" approach. Though I think we'll see at least some of that, it's just too convenient.

#3 Posted by Notkcots (20 posts) -

I'm not exactly hopeful. Based on the art shown so far, it looks like they're trying to make him a bland, non-threatening "best of both worlds" type character. What has me on edge is the fact that he's half native American. Chances are Ubisoft's going to use that as an excuse to make him a whitebread Nathan Drake clone with a few obligatory spirit visions or chats with a kindly old chief thrown in. Either that or they're going to go the horribly demeaning route of implying that all native Americans are secretly assassin orders fighting nobly to protect human freedom. Honestly, I can't see Ubisoft really tackling the issue in any decent way. I fear it's going to be a pretty terrible representation one way or another.

#4 Posted by TeflonBilly (4713 posts) -
#5 Posted by RedRoach (1175 posts) -

Ubisoft has a good tract record with the AC franchise. They're pretty historically accurate when it comes to real life events and people. They've done a fairly good job with portraying fairly and equally. I have faith in them to not make any one group, wether it be the british, aboriginal, or the colonialists, the super evil baddies.

#6 Posted by Animasta (14648 posts) -

@Jason_Bourne said:

Ubisoft has a good tract record with the AC franchise. They're pretty historically accurate when it comes to real life events and people. They've done a fairly good job with portraying fairly and equally. I have faith in them to not make any one group, wether it be the british, aboriginal, or the colonialists, the super evil baddies.

the difference here is that, muslims are still a populous people today, and everyone thought the crusaders were assholes. I don't think you could make the argument that the pope wasn't corrupt at the time of AC2 either (I think the time was around martin luther's 95 theses, I can't remember) but, say, they portray indians in a negative way in deference to the americans or the brits. there's not a lot of people that are really going to get angry or anything about it, they totally could be super or even mildly racist and not have a real huge debacle, because there's not a whole lot of native americans around in comparison with white americans, or british people.

not saying they are or anything, just that this is slightly more worrying.

#7 Edited by Klei (1768 posts) -

Turok. Also, the word Indian is wrong. Amerindian is the word you're looking for.

#8 Posted by Jimbo (9772 posts) -

I love me some AC, but I hope they have a more nuanced protagonist this time. Altair actually had personality flaws and a character arc; Ezio was pretty much just Typical Video Game Protagonist with an accent. If the new dude is Native American, there's a risk of them falling into the usual Native American pastiche.

#9 Posted by biospank (648 posts) -

 
something I am woundering about and that is, if you are playing a native american duder does that not mean that these ubi-dudes really don't know anything about genetics. because from what I understand AC storyline/mythos is about Desmond Miles who goes into a machine which tracks his dna so he can experiance that timeperiode or somthing. So how the fuck could a man who has anciant ancestors in some islamic nation and then went to italy, which is more likely and then all of a sudden end up being a 100% native american. Am I the only one who does not understand that fringe logic?


 

#10 Posted by The_Ruiner (1001 posts) -

If Ubi is anything like Hollywood, he'll be a white guy who trains with and eventually becomes the leader of a bunch of native Americans with decades more experience than him. And he'll have a Native american sidekick/mentor...

#11 Posted by Getz (2989 posts) -

@biospank said:

something I am woundering about and that is, if you are playing a native american duder does that not mean that these ubi-dudes really don't know anything about genetics. because from what I understand AC storyline/mythos is about Desmond Miles who goes into a machine which tracks his dna so he can experiance that timeperiode or somthing. So how the fuck could a man who has anciant ancestors in some islamic nation and then went to italy, which is more likely and then all of a sudden end up being a 100% native american. Am I the only one who does not understand that fringe logic?

Obviously they don't have to make it an ancestor of Desmond; anyone can use the Animus. Also, the main character could not be native at all. Ubisoft hasn't said for certain what the protagonist's background is so there's no reason why he has to be a native just because he uses a tomahawk.

#12 Posted by ShadowConqueror (3050 posts) -

I'm all for a good representation of Native Americans.

#13 Posted by biospank (648 posts) -
@Getz: don't know but that explains the ubi-fringe logic but I am curiouse about this game, I am probably not going to buy it because I am not a big fan of the AC game series. I have only playe the first one and a little  of brotherhood.
#14 Edited by Oldirtybearon (4574 posts) -

@mrcool11: Brilliant post. I'm a Native myself of the Ojibwe tribe located in Ontario, Canada. We (as a race) don't get much, if any representation.

However, when it comes to Ubisoft Montreal, I'm not all that worried. They've shown that they have a deft hand at crafting enjoyable experiences drawing from a multitude of cultural and religious backgrounds while still remaining sensitive to all of them. It's for this reason that I have faith in Ubisoft more than any other studio that they will do right by Natives. I mean think about this studio's track record not just with Assassin's Creed (the first video game I can remember featuring an outright Muslim protagonist), but also the Prince of Persia trilogy. Both of these franchises were headed up by Petrice Desilets, so maybe it's just him. I doubt it, though.

I have faith in Ubisoft. After all of the possible missteps they could have taken both with PoP and Assassin's Creed, they've more than earned my faith in their ability to craft the first real Native hero in video games. Turok be damned.

edit to add:

@biospank said:

something I am woundering about and that is, if you are playing a native american duder does that not mean that these ubi-dudes really don't know anything about genetics. because from what I understand AC storyline/mythos is about Desmond Miles who goes into a machine which tracks his dna so he can experiance that timeperiode or somthing. So how the fuck could a man who has anciant ancestors in some islamic nation and then went to italy, which is more likely and then all of a sudden end up being a 100% native american. Am I the only one who does not understand that fringe logic?

Desmond Miles has many, many ancestors. Ancestry is more of a spider's web than a direct line through the ages. Altair and Ezio were not related at all. One stemmed from the Maternal bloodline, the other from the Paternal. Of course, since Desmond is American, his ancestry had to bring his family to the Americas at some point. There's a strong possibility that this Native protagonist could be half-Indian, or perhaps beds an Anglo-woman. That said, if none of these answers are satisfactory to you, then by all means. I'm personally really happy we might be getting a Native protagonist. Those come along far fewer than black protagonists.

Online
#15 Edited by valrog (3671 posts) -

I... Don't see how this matters. My people don't get much representation either, and when we do, we're the bad guys. Sorry, but this just seems more political correctness #$%!.

Should they consult historians that specialize in that time period? Yes, of course. Is the portrayal of the protagonist in any way "important"? I wouldn't go that far.

Other than that, I'm very excited for this. I didn't expect this setting to be honest (My bet was American Civil War for the American setting, but I'm not really a historian so I'm not all that familiar with possible settings), was expecting something like French Revolution or Imperial Russia or something. Though I will always hate Desmond for ruining everything for me. The possibilities would be endless if it wasn't for him. Feudal Japan, anyone?

#16 Posted by Video_Game_King (35975 posts) -

Am I the only one a little put off by the use of the word "Native"? I know what it's referring to, but it still feels incomplete and vague.

#17 Posted by megalowho (959 posts) -

I have faith that the development team will handle it tastefully, they've been pretty good with cultural representations in the past.

Minor character spoilers below from the upcoming GI article:

Named Connor/Ratohnhake:ton. Has an English father/Indian mother, raised and identified as a Mohawk. You get to play as him growing up on the frontier and his village is in the game. Says they're using Native American actors and historical consultants for accuracy.
#18 Posted by Ihmishylje (405 posts) -

People who are wondering about the term "Indian", well, while it is confusing and perhaps dated, there is still the American Indian Movement. The term Native American makes sense in relation to the Europeans who came to America from 1492 onwards, since American Indians had been on the continent long before those colonials came. But, according to most scientific theories, the Indians weren't "originally" from the Americas either, but had come there from somewhere else, most likely Asia. From that point of view, I, at least, consider the current Americans of European descent to be "native" as well.

Also, what we think of when we talk about a tomahawk isn't exactly a Native American/Indian/whatever weapon. It was a British axe that came into Indian use via trade with the British. Native Americans did have similar weapons that were called tomahawks, but their heads were made of stone, rather than steel.

But yes, I do agree that the Hollywood Indian is a racist and fairly ridiculous amalgamation. It would be equally ridiculous to have a character be "European" and have it be a mix of, say, random and highly exaggerated German, English, French, Italian, Polish and Swedish characteristics, as if they were all pretty much the same thing. It would be nice to have a company do ther research for a change and have a character actually represent a tribe of the location and era at least somewhat faithfully (it should be noted that Indians were and still are a changing and adapting group of societies). More to the point, however, I'd like the character to be a human being first and a representation of his or her genetic and cultural heritage second. I think that's key to avoiding racist interpretations.

#19 Posted by cinemandrew (711 posts) -

@mrcool11: Two things:

  1. Speculation about speculation just leads to more speculation.
  2. Is there a reason you're not using the term "Native American"?
#20 Posted by mrcool11 (469 posts) -

@Oldirtybearon: Yeah, I was thinking of Prince of Persia a little as well, and while that wasn't exactly a derogatory representation of Persian people, it seemed pretty heavily steeped in Orientalist assumptions of what the Middle East is like. However much I love the Sands of Time, the voice actor for the Prince makes him sound more British than anything. My main hope is that Ubisoft Montreal's place in Canada, with pretty easy access to people who want to see their cultures represented appropriately will make AC III less demeaning. (Also, Ontario pride! [only sorta, though, haven't lived there in a decade])

@Klei: I put the little quotes around the word 'Indian' because I recognize that though it's a widely recognized term, it really is quite problematic in that it's an imposed identifying term. Amerindian is much the same way, just with a bit of clarification as to what continent you're talking about. I tend to believe that it's best to be identified by one's own nation, in my case the Cree.

@megalowho: That kinda fires me up, especially the colon in his name. I guess we'll see how it turns out.

@Video_Game_King: I agree that 'Native' is a pretty general term, though I think the consensus is that it's less offensive than most alternatives that are used when referring to those who occupied what we now call North America before European settlement. Though many people think it makes them clever when they tell me that they're also 'Native' because they were born in Canada/the US. Can't win 'em all.

#21 Posted by Video_Game_King (35975 posts) -

I'd say you should refer to them by their genealogy (Cherokee, Wampanoag, etc.), but when referring to them (OK, can I just say how awkward and painful it is to be using impersonal pronouns like this? It feels pretty wrong.) as a group or when the above isn't clear, then I imagine Native American would be fine. Although I suppose can't win 'em all, as always.

#22 Posted by mrcool11 (469 posts) -

@cinemandrew said:

@mrcool11: Two things:

  1. Speculation about speculation just leads to more speculation.
  2. Is there a reason you're not using the term "Native American"?

I've just never liked the term. When I say it people look at me funny and say "Don't you mean Native Canadian?" Also, it implies a national allegiance to America, which isn't true for many people who have been designated "Native American".

#23 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4574 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

I'd say you should refer to them by their genealogy (Cherokee, Wampanoag, etc.), but when referring to them (OK, can I just say how awkward and painful it is to be using impersonal pronouns like this? It feels pretty wrong.) as a group or when the above isn't clear, then I imagine Native American would be fine. Although I suppose can't win 'em all, as always.

I'm totally fine with Native or Indian when speaking to peoples of outside cultures/nations. I don't expect anyone outside of the first nations communities to get the difference between Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk, and the many other first nations/tribes in North America. You can say it's a "can't win 'em all," but I look to it as more of an understanding compromise.

Online
#24 Posted by Video_Game_King (35975 posts) -

@Oldirtybearon said:

You can say it's a "can't win 'em all," but I look to it as more of an understanding compromise.

Isn't that how "can't win 'em all"s work :P?

#25 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4574 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@Oldirtybearon said:

You can say it's a "can't win 'em all," but I look to it as more of an understanding compromise.

Isn't that how "can't win 'em all"s work :P?

Yeah, you can say that, but it sounds a little more negative than you probably intended.

Online
#26 Posted by cinemandrew (711 posts) -

@mrcool11: I suppose "Native American" is, more or less, the official term here in the U.S., though apparently not elsewhere. In regard to your concerns with implied national (or continental) allegiance, I would argue that assimilation is a better word. I'm not saying I necessarily agree, but I could definitely relate to that point of view.

#27 Posted by MrKlorox (11203 posts) -
@mrcool11 said:

@cinemandrew said:

@mrcool11: Two things:

  1. Speculation about speculation just leads to more speculation.
  2. Is there a reason you're not using the term "Native American"?

I've just never liked the term. When I say it people look at me funny and say "Don't you mean Native Canadian?" Also, it implies a national allegiance to America, which isn't true for many people who have been designated "Native American".

Last I checked, Canada is in North America. Even the Aztec in what's now Mexico should be considered Native Americans.
#28 Edited by Gabriel (4055 posts) -

Most refer you call them by their tribe names or American Indian, or so I've read. I've never liked the term Native American because it's just as false as Indians.

#29 Posted by cinemandrew (711 posts) -

@Gabriel said:

I've never liked the term Native American because it's just as false as Indians.

How so?

#30 Posted by RudeOnion (1 posts) -

I'm noticing that an awful lot of people haven't been paying attention to Ubi's announcements since long before Revelations came out :)

Although we now know that the protagonist for the new game is only half Native American, he could be 100% Native, and the canon is still correct. He doesn't have to be related to Altair or Ezio at all. Ezio and Altair aren't even related to each other. They are only united THROUGH Desmond. Altair is from his mother's side, and Ezio is from his father's side. This protagonist might be the great great great great great grandfather of the woman who meets someone from, say, Ezio's timeline, and gives birth to Desmond's mother. Whatever the case may be, Connor (as we now know the main protagonist is named) will likely not be related to the prior assassins. Ubisoft has stated that Desmond is the predecessor of a number of various Assassins, all from different backgrounds.

#31 Posted by MrKlorox (11203 posts) -
@Gabriel said:

Most refer you call them by their tribe names or American Indian, or so I've read. I've never liked the term Native American because it's just as false as Indians.

They're the indigenous peoples of the Americas. How's that just as false as calling them by a name that's already used for another people?
#32 Posted by Ihmishylje (405 posts) -

@MrKlorox said:

@Gabriel said:

Most refer you call them by their tribe names or American Indian, or so I've read. I've never liked the term Native American because it's just as false as Indians.

They're the indigenous peoples of the Americas. How's that just as false as calling them by a name that's already used for another people?

What does indigenous even mean? There's no unversally agreed upon definition of the term. If what you mean by the term is "the various peoples and ethnic groups of various regions around the world that came to be enslaved or opressed by European nations between the 16th and 19th centuries" then yeah, fine. But it's not like the forefathers of the Native Americans that settled the region at the point of European contact were "indigenous" or "native" to the area.

#33 Posted by stinky (1543 posts) -

i think were in the same boat, the more he is like Night Wolf from the MK series the better.

#34 Posted by MrKlorox (11203 posts) -
@Ihmishylje: Yeah, what doth life? I mean do we even really exist?
#35 Posted by WaylonJennings (104 posts) -

As a Native American I do get pretty tired of people assuming I can shoot a bow really well, or throw a tomahawk wicked far.

#36 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4574 posts) -

@Ihmishylje said:

@MrKlorox said:

@Gabriel said:

Most refer you call them by their tribe names or American Indian, or so I've read. I've never liked the term Native American because it's just as false as Indians.

They're the indigenous peoples of the Americas. How's that just as false as calling them by a name that's already used for another people?

What does indigenous even mean? There's no unversally agreed upon definition of the term. If what you mean by the term is "the various peoples and ethnic groups of various regions around the world that came to be enslaved or opressed by European nations between the 16th and 19th centuries" then yeah, fine. But it's not like the forefathers of the Native Americans that settled the region at the point of European contact were "indigenous" or "native" to the area.

The largely uncontested theory is that the the first nations peoples crossed a land bridge connecting prehistoric Asia and North America and settled this continent some 20,000 years ago. If that doesn't make my ancestors "Natives" or "Indigenous" then I don't know what the hell we're talking about here.

Online
#37 Edited by Ihmishylje (405 posts) -

@MrKlorox said:

@Ihmishylje: Yeah, what doth life? I mean do we even really exist?

Not exactly the same argument, but whatever. And I don't mean to be pedantic or disrespectful, terminological issues are often actually quite interesting. It's just that there is no concensus over what the proper term is, not even among the Native American tribes/nations. So, I find it odd when people act all high and mighty over whatever term they deem politically correct at a given moment.

The term "Indian" may not even be derived from the notion that Columbus supposedly thought that the Native Americans he met were actually Indians, but that he called them "una gente in Dios" which somehow at some point got morphed into "Indians".

#38 Posted by MrKlorox (11203 posts) -
@Ihmishylje said:

The term "Indian" may not even be derived from the notion that Columbus supposedly thought that the Native Americans he met were actually Indians, but that he called them "una gente in Dios" which somehow at some point got morphed into "Indians".

According to Wikipedia

"However, as the writer David Wilton noted in his book Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends, this phrase does not appear in any of Columbus' writing. Wilton also says that since Greek and Roman times, more than a millennium before the voyages of Columbus, many European languages used variations of the term "Indian" to describe the peoples of the Indian subcontinent."

#39 Posted by Ihmishylje (405 posts) -

@Oldirtybearon said:

@Ihmishylje said:

@MrKlorox said:

@Gabriel said:

Most refer you call them by their tribe names or American Indian, or so I've read. I've never liked the term Native American because it's just as false as Indians.

They're the indigenous peoples of the Americas. How's that just as false as calling them by a name that's already used for another people?

What does indigenous even mean? There's no unversally agreed upon definition of the term. If what you mean by the term is "the various peoples and ethnic groups of various regions around the world that came to be enslaved or opressed by European nations between the 16th and 19th centuries" then yeah, fine. But it's not like the forefathers of the Native Americans that settled the region at the point of European contact were "indigenous" or "native" to the area.

The largely uncontested theory is that the the first nations peoples crossed a land bridge connecting prehistoric Asia and North America and settled this continent some 20,000 years ago. If that doesn't make my ancestors "Natives" or "Indigenous" then I don't know what the hell we're talking about here.

They were settlers, thus, by definition, not native to the region.

#40 Posted by MrKlorox (11203 posts) -
@Ihmishylje said:

They were settlers, thus, by definition, not native to the region.
Yes, the Ocean is the only true indigenous region of life. Then again, it might not be even that. Hence my question: What doth life?
#41 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4574 posts) -

@Ihmishylje said:

@Oldirtybearon said:

@Ihmishylje said:

@MrKlorox said:

@Gabriel said:

Most refer you call them by their tribe names or American Indian, or so I've read. I've never liked the term Native American because it's just as false as Indians.

They're the indigenous peoples of the Americas. How's that just as false as calling them by a name that's already used for another people?

What does indigenous even mean? There's no unversally agreed upon definition of the term. If what you mean by the term is "the various peoples and ethnic groups of various regions around the world that came to be enslaved or opressed by European nations between the 16th and 19th centuries" then yeah, fine. But it's not like the forefathers of the Native Americans that settled the region at the point of European contact were "indigenous" or "native" to the area.

The largely uncontested theory is that the the first nations peoples crossed a land bridge connecting prehistoric Asia and North America and settled this continent some 20,000 years ago. If that doesn't make my ancestors "Natives" or "Indigenous" then I don't know what the hell we're talking about here.

They were settlers, thus, by definition, not native to the region.

I hope you realize how ridiculous you sound right about now.

Online
#42 Posted by Ihmishylje (405 posts) -

@Oldirtybearon said:

@Ihmishylje said:

@Oldirtybearon said:

@Ihmishylje said:

@MrKlorox said:

@Gabriel said:

Most refer you call them by their tribe names or American Indian, or so I've read. I've never liked the term Native American because it's just as false as Indians.

They're the indigenous peoples of the Americas. How's that just as false as calling them by a name that's already used for another people?

What does indigenous even mean? There's no unversally agreed upon definition of the term. If what you mean by the term is "the various peoples and ethnic groups of various regions around the world that came to be enslaved or opressed by European nations between the 16th and 19th centuries" then yeah, fine. But it's not like the forefathers of the Native Americans that settled the region at the point of European contact were "indigenous" or "native" to the area.

The largely uncontested theory is that the the first nations peoples crossed a land bridge connecting prehistoric Asia and North America and settled this continent some 20,000 years ago. If that doesn't make my ancestors "Natives" or "Indigenous" then I don't know what the hell we're talking about here.

They were settlers, thus, by definition, not native to the region.

I hope you realize how ridiculous you sound right about now.

Not really. I'm not trying to take anything away from you (it's not like I could). Nor do I mean to be disrespectful, I'm sorry if I am.

Yes, the people who inhabited the Americas were natives to the region when the Europeans came. The Europeans were not, obviously. However, if you go far enough back in time, then the forefathers of the the Native Americans were not native to the area, much in the same way that the forefathers of current Europeans living in Europe were not native to the region, but moved there from somewhere else. According to current scientific theories, we all date back to Africa.

So, what do you suggest is the amount of time or number of generations after which a people can be considered native to a region, after their forefathers have settled it? Isn't everyone born in America native to America? Or do they need to have a lineage native to that region spanning thousands of years for them to be native? My point was, these terms are not universally accepted. There are various definitions, depending on context and intent.

#43 Posted by Ihmishylje (405 posts) -

@MrKlorox said:

@Ihmishylje said:

They were settlers, thus, by definition, not native to the region.
Yes, the Ocean is the only true indigenous region of life. Then again, it might not be even that. Hence my question: What doth life?

What does life mean? I'm not a biologist, so I don't feel qualified to answer that, but I believe it is the ability of cells to self-replicate. If you are asking about the origin of life, that's an even harder question.

#44 Posted by the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG (4307 posts) -
@Getz said:

@biospank said:

something I am woundering about and that is, if you are playing a native american duder does that not mean that these ubi-dudes really don't know anything about genetics. because from what I understand AC storyline/mythos is about Desmond Miles who goes into a machine which tracks his dna so he can experiance that timeperiode or somthing. So how the fuck could a man who has anciant ancestors in some islamic nation and then went to italy, which is more likely and then all of a sudden end up being a 100% native american. Am I the only one who does not understand that fringe logic?

Obviously they don't have to make it an ancestor of Desmond; anyone can use the Animus. Also, the main character could not be native at all. Ubisoft hasn't said for certain what the protagonist's background is so there's no reason why he has to be a native just because he uses a tomahawk.

Also the protagonist could also be Metis or another mixed Native person so the story could still be about Desmond.  Considering how the Montreal studio is handing this game, I would say that would be the likely case.
#45 Posted by xyzygy (9887 posts) -

You also could have said the same about Da Vinci's representation in 2 and Brotherhood, in terms of his homosexuality. But they handled that excellently. I think they'll do a great job with this Native American character.

#46 Posted by mordukai (7133 posts) -

@Jason_Bourne said:

Ubisoft has a good tract record with the AC franchise. They're pretty historically accurate when it comes to real life events and people. They've done a fairly good job with portraying fairly and equally. I have faith in them to not make any one group, wether it be the british, aboriginal, or the colonialists, the super evil baddies.

No. They used real historical figures but that's where it ends.

#47 Posted by MrKlorox (11203 posts) -
@Ihmishylje said:

@MrKlorox said:

@Ihmishylje said:

They were settlers, thus, by definition, not native to the region.
Yes, the Ocean is the only true indigenous region of life. Then again, it might not be even that. Hence my question: What doth life?

What does life mean? I'm not a biologist, so I don't feel qualified to answer that, but I believe it is the ability of cells to self-replicate. If you are asking about the origin of life, that's an even harder question.

It was a snarky rhetorical way of asking the origin of life, using a catchphrase from the cartoon in my avatar. I meant to imply that all land creatures were settlers, and perhaps even life as we know it. Your questioning of what indigenous truly meant sounded existential in nature, so I was taking it further in that direction.
#48 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4574 posts) -

@Ihmishylje said:

@Oldirtybearon said:

@Ihmishylje said:

@Oldirtybearon said:

@Ihmishylje said:

@MrKlorox said:

@Gabriel said:

Most refer you call them by their tribe names or American Indian, or so I've read. I've never liked the term Native American because it's just as false as Indians.

They're the indigenous peoples of the Americas. How's that just as false as calling them by a name that's already used for another people?

What does indigenous even mean? There's no unversally agreed upon definition of the term. If what you mean by the term is "the various peoples and ethnic groups of various regions around the world that came to be enslaved or opressed by European nations between the 16th and 19th centuries" then yeah, fine. But it's not like the forefathers of the Native Americans that settled the region at the point of European contact were "indigenous" or "native" to the area.

The largely uncontested theory is that the the first nations peoples crossed a land bridge connecting prehistoric Asia and North America and settled this continent some 20,000 years ago. If that doesn't make my ancestors "Natives" or "Indigenous" then I don't know what the hell we're talking about here.

They were settlers, thus, by definition, not native to the region.

I hope you realize how ridiculous you sound right about now.

Not really. I'm not trying to take anything away from you (it's not like I could). Nor do I mean to be disrespectful, I'm sorry if I am.

Yes, the people who inhabited the Americas were natives to the region when the Europeans came. The Europeans were not, obviously. However, if you go far enough back in time, then the forefathers of the the Native Americans were not native to the area, much in the same way that the forefathers of current Europeans living in Europe were not native to the region, but moved there from somewhere else. According to current scientific theories, we all date back to Africa.

So, what do you suggest is the amount of time or number of generations after which a people can be considered native to a region, after their forefathers have settled it? Isn't everyone born in America native to America? Or do they need to have a lineage native to that region spanning thousands of years for them to be native? My point was, these terms are not universally accepted. There are various definitions, depending on context and intent.

I understand your point, but this issue is less about the hard facts and more to do with what I can only describe as intangibles. It's a matter that is both racially and socially charged. It's less about "are people not native after X generations," and more to do with how things have been handled since the famous European settlers (Columbus and his ilk weren't the first, this is fact). You need to keep in mind that my people (which I and my community, along with many other nations in Canada have taken to calling 'the first nations') have gone through a long and rather dreadful process of "assimilation" (I fucking hate that term). The thing is, so much of my people's culture, our traditions, heritage, was completely stripped away from us. Forced conversions to Christianity, Residential Schools and many other horror stories about the mistreatment, enslavement, and near-genocide of my people. This is just my belief, but I think the reason, or one of the reasons why the first nations have more or less kept a hold of the term "Native" is more in keeping with the idea that, despite how badly the Europeans settlers wanted to erase us from the face of this continent, we were here long before them, and we're still here now. It's a reminder, I suppose, if that's the right word. It doesn't feel strong enough, but I think it'll do.

Hope I cleared things up as to why this is not quite the binary/scientific issue you're arguing it to be.

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#49 Posted by RedRoach (1175 posts) -

@Mordukai said:

@Jason_Bourne said:

Ubisoft has a good tract record with the AC franchise. They're pretty historically accurate when it comes to real life events and people. They've done a fairly good job with portraying fairly and equally. I have faith in them to not make any one group, wether it be the british, aboriginal, or the colonialists, the super evil baddies.

No. They used real historical figures but that's where it ends.

Well everything about the Assassin order in AC1 was based on an actual clan of assassins. They killed political figures to shape things how they saw fit. They wore white robes with red sashes, and assassinated their targets in daylight, in public, so that everyone knew who was behind it. All of your targets in that game died or disappeared (in real life) during the time of the game.

In Assassins Creed 2 I specifically remember a scene where Ezio defends Lorenzo de Medici from assassins during a church gathering. In real life and the game, Lorenzo lives and his brother dies. Thats just one example off the top of my head.

#50 Posted by cinemandrew (711 posts) -

@Oldirtybearon said:

..."Native" is more in keeping with the idea that, despite how badly the Europeans settlers wanted to erase us from the face of this continent, we were here long before them, and we're still here now.

That's pretty awesome.

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