Augmented reality game designed by Indigenous youth hopes to fight racism

There is a complex history on 40 acres of property in downtown Calgary.

For generations, Fort Calgary represented colonialism. It’s been acknowledged and now there is a concerted effort to showcase the culture of the Indigenous people.

Read more: Pipe ceremony at Fort Calgary seals agreement between newcomers and Indigenous people

Part of that is a new interactive teaching called indigiTRAILS, which uses GPS and augmented reality to bring the experience to life.

Volunteers with USAY experiment with the app. Jill Croteau/Global Calgary

Su Spotted Bull, with the Urban Society of Aboriginal Youth (USAY), said the project involved technical creators and designers who developed a Pokémon GO-inspired app to focus on anti-racism efforts.

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“The history in our books is a lot different than the oral teachings,” Spotted Bull said.

Read more: B.C. becomes first in North America to introduce Anti-Racism Data Act

The app was created by youth for youth.

“They are our future,” Spotted Bull said. “If we teach them at a younger age that will change mindsets as they get older and they become allies.”

Read more: If we want to be allies to Indigenous communities, we must act like every child matters

Chaz Prairie Chicken with USAY said the game has the potential to bridge the gaps and enlighten the non-Indigenous community.

“They’re not fully aware of what we’ve gone through and what we are going through,” Prairie Chicken said.

“Bringing this app is a friendly way to say: ‘This our history and learn with us as we are learning more about ourselves.’”

Using IndigiTRAILS at Fort Calgary. Jill Croteau/Global Calgary

Keegan Starlight is an Indigenous artist who contributed to the project by creating art pieces within the virtual trivia game.

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“Art is a universal language, everyone sees it and knows what they feel with it. We are here and we have a lot to say,” Starlight said.

Click to play video: 'Teaching the truth: Why education needs to be informed and led by Indigenous people' Teaching the truth: Why education needs to be informed and led by Indigenous people

Teaching the truth: Why education needs to be informed and led by Indigenous people – Oct 30, 2021

Nicole Henbrey is a program coordinator with Fort Calgary and said the organization is embracing the spirit of reconciliation, showcasing the app to tourists and locals.

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“For a very long time, the history that lots of people learned about Canada and Fort Calgary hasn’t been inclusive,” Henbrey said. “I’m hoping with things like USAY and other collaborations, people can get a full picture of the history.”

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