More about discussing Waka Tanka’s theme


The site reading and gaming for Justice has published an interesting response to the articles in which I discussed and tried to explain the setting of my game Waka Tanka.

My original articles
Race and game imagery in Europe and the USA
Waka Tanka
The response

Waka Tanka : A response to Bruno Faidutti

The only thing I’d like to add to this response is that the more I see this topic discussed, the more I think the issue is less about indigenous people or racism than about the cultural differences between the US and Europe. And, even when I see us moving slowly towards the American way, I think the traditional European take on caricatures, viewing them as an art form like any other, is far more sane than the American way, which considers them disparaging by nature. The latter indeed leads to overinterpretation, if not misinterpretation, of everything not both American and contemporary.

Waka Tanka

2 thoughts on “More about discussing Waka Tanka’s theme

  1. Hello Bruno. I first want to thank you for taking the time to respond. I know it is never easy to be in the middle of these issues of discussion and I have seen many people simply ignore the conversation rather than to engage – I really appreciate that.

    I do think context matters and understand the US and European context are different when it comes to Indigenous Peoples and racism. While I still disagree with this reasoning to justify the use of the theme, I see merit in discussing this point. The US has a history deeply steeped in race issues which we cannot ignore and in our lifetimes cannot escape. This game is now set to enter the US context. Cool Mini or Not has decided to market it to a US audience and despite the original intentions of using the theme, the impact in the United States is drastically different than if the game would have stayed within a French or European context.

    In my response, I am not saying that use of Indigenous culture in theme is impossible, but I think there are things we need to think about and take responsibility for when using cultures outside of our own experiences. I am not trying to convince you to ‘think more American’ or invalidate your experience with caricatures from the sixties/seventies. I simply wanted to point out problematic issues I see with the appropriation of culture in board gaming. Indigenous people are contemporary even if the caricatures you have used are not. You may view my post at misrepresenting your intentions (which I could agree to – I don’t think your intent was malicious by any means), however, I see the impact of those caricatures as misrepresenting an entire people and their cultures.

    I am always happy to chat (although comment conversations are difficult). I know we have different views and like I said before, my goals are not to convince you, but to come to a common understanding of our view points and talk more about how our hobby can be inclusive.

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