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Sami-digital storytelling: Survivance and revitalization in Indigenous digital games

Elizabeth “Biz” Nijdam

2021 Canada

This article examines how digital games on Sami culture can draw attention to Indigenous issues when produced in collaboration with Sami community members. Through a case study that probes the design, game mechanics, and user experience of Gufihtara eallu (2018), this article frames Indigenous digital games and game development as a form of digital storytelling that is able to educate players on Indigenous knowledge systems and intangble cultural heritage. By looking at the way Gufihtara eallu engages Sami oral traditions in particular, this article demonstrates how digital games are capable of embodying Indigenous methodologies in such a way as to not flatten understandings of Indigenous traditions to a mythologized historical moment; instead, games produced by and for Indigenous people are capable of presenting storytelling traditions as contemporary, interactive, and constantly evolving, incorporating traditional themes as much as contemporary issues that are being perpetually redefined by modern Sami experience and new technologies.

Digital storytelling, game studies, Gufihtara eallu (2018), Indigenous new media, Indigenous oral traditions, Indigenous studies, Sami culture