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Why One Poundmaker Cree Nation Headman Is Upset With Civilization VI

Civilization VI: Rise and Fall
(Image credit: 2K Games)

Firaxis and 2K Games have been caught up in some controversy spurred on by the Cree nation located in Saskatchewan, Canada. The current presiding Chief Headman, Milton Tootoosis, took umbrage with the depiction of the Cree leader in the upcoming Civilization VI: Rise and Fall expansion and explained why that was.

In an interview with CBC, Cree Nation Headman, Milton Tootoosis explained...

It perpetuates this myth that First Nations had similar values that the colonial culture has, and that is one of conquering other peoples and accessing their land. That is totally not in concert with our traditional ways and world view.

According to the Headman, the biggest issue is that the depiction of Chief Poundmaker in Civilization VI: Rise and Fall is that it portrays the Cree as colonial conquerors. According to the Cree Nation, the tribe was more like diplomatic traders and ushered in peaceful relations as often and as much as possible.

We actually don't know how Cree Chief Poundmaker really behaves in the game other than how he was depicted in a very brief minute long trailer that only partially covered how the Cree will behave in Civilization VI. To be fair to Firaxis, however, the depiction of the Cree aren't as colonial conquerors but rather as traders and explorers. In fact, many of the Cree's bonuses come from focusing on building domestic habitats for the people, gathering resources and increasing diplomatic trade relations.

Since it's still a Sid Meier's Civilization game there's obviously some form of combat and land acquisition happening in the game, but that's just par the course for the game's mechanics.

It sounds like Tootoosis is disgruntled that the Cree fit snugly within the confines of the typical strategy game paradigm, as opposed to being depicted with the kind of nuance that they were known for in real life.

The thing is, every nation gets the same kind of treatment in games like Civilization, so it would be difficult to create a more deliberately in-depth depiction of the Cree civilization in the game. According to CBC, Headman Tootoosis is disappointed that neither Firaxis nor 2K Games reached out to the Cree Nation for information on how the Cree operate.

The Cree feel as if Hollywood has had a history of negatively portraying their Nation and that the addition of Chief Poundmaker to Fixarxis' upcoming expansion for Civilization VI doesn't really help.

However, there's also an alternate take on the situation as well, with Headman Tootoosis also believing that perhaps the appearance of Chief Poundmaker in Civilization VI: Rise and Fall could help with absolving the famed Cree leader of a conviction from 1885 regarding an act of treason in the North-West Resistance.

It's hard to tell what will really become of the Cree's addition to the game. In some ways, some are happy that there is representation of Native Americans in the game, while others feel that it could have been handled better. You'll be able to pick up the Rise and Fall expansion for the strategy game come February 8th for PC.

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.