Lambton College collaborates with Aamjiwnaang First Nation to develop interactive game with focus on Indigenous heritage
SARNIA, October 19, 2021 – With an ongoing commitment to advancing Truth and Reconciliation in collaboration with Indigenous communities, Lambton College is pleased to share details of a new gamification project being conducted in partnership with Aamjiwnaang First Nation.
The College’s Research & Innovation department and Aamjiwnaang First Nation recently received funding from the Natural Science Research Council of Canada’s College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF) to design and develop an interactive 3D game that includes community verified historical, cultural and language content, containing interactive gameplay, education, and simulation components.
The results of the project will provide Aamjiwnaang First Nation with an innovative solution to addressing one of the challenges they face as they work to educate and engage local youth in learning about their rich heritage. This is a challenge currently faced by many First Nation Communities and collaborators hope the technology will put Aamjiwnaang in a position to share their experience utilizing the gaming platform and supporting other communities in adapting similar educational models.
“Aamjiwnaang is excited for the chance to collaborate on this project with Lambton College. We have worked with their team in the past and have had positive outcomes,” says Aamjiwnaang First Nation Chief Chris Plain. “It is a great opportunity to not only revitalize and share our culture and teachings with our community but those on the Lambton College project team. They mention Truth and Reconciliation, and this is surely a step in the right direction to not only look back on our history, but finding new ways, through technology, to share it and make it more accessible for those interested in learning it. We have a large population that lives outside of the community that could benefit greatly from something like this, and allow them to feel more connected to their community and culture.”
The research team behind the project is currently working with representatives from Aamjiwnaang, focusing their efforts towards developing and verifying the information that will be included in the game. Once content is completed and approved, a technical research team will develop the interactive game, which will be closely followed by 12 months of testing and optimization.
“This is a really important project for Lambton College,” said Mehdi Sheikhzadeh, Vice President of Research & Innovation at Lambton College. “In addition to the finished product being shared within the Aamjiwnaang community, there is also the potential to utilize this gaming model to educate non-Indigenous youth in the region about Indigenous culture and history.”
Sheikhzadeh said the project falls directly in line with College’s strategic commitment to advancing Truth and Reconciliation, particularly as it pertains to creating collaborative partnerships with local First Nations Communities and supporting the transferring of historical and cultural Indigenous knowledge on to youth. Recently, in consultation with the Lambton College Indigenous Education Council, the Research & Innovation department developed Indigenous Research Guiding Principles to inform researchers about their responsibilities as they prepare for research to be conducted in an Indigenous Peoples context and/or with Indigenous People.
The new guidelines were designed to recognize the unique considerations necessary for conducting research with Indigenous peoples. Lambton College has collaborated with First Nation communities on projects that continue to address challenging subject matter including economic leakage, human trafficking and entrepreneurship.