Pizpiza: ‘Unapologetically Native’

Indian Country Today features Native Americans across the country during the month of November with #NativeIn2019

Carl Petersen, Lakota, is quick to reveal that his father was the first tribal resident on the Cheyenne River rez to have a cable connected to his computer in the ‘90s to check his email. The monthly bill Petersen says ran his father a grand total of $1800.

“I got hooked on World of Warcraft in Junior High and logged 6,700 active hours, though I was a mono-gamer, I really do appreciate the open worlds and interactions of online gaming,” he says.

Badlands Hat Picture

Petersen devoted 13 years of his life learning his Lakota language. With a combined passion for his traditional language and desire to grab onto technology, he enrolled at Dakota State University as a computer design major. He says “I got hooked on World of Warcraft in Junior High and logged 6,700 active hours, though I was a mono-gamer, I really do appreciate the open worlds and interactions of online gaming,

In March of 2019, Petersen was one of ten recipients of a $10,000 Dreamstarter grants offered by Running Strong for American Indian Youth. The Dreamstarter grants and grant program were started by Gold medal Olympian Billy Mills for creating self-sufficiency and self-esteem in American Indian youth.

Petersen used the grant from Mills to start a Lakota language game and help boost his company Northern Plains Games.

“I have been working in game design for about three years,@ he says. “The most notable project I have worked on was the game When Rivers Were Trails, and a few school projects and Game Jam games.”

Carl Petersen shared his thoughts on being #NativeIn2019.

"Hau Mitakuyapi. For me being #NativeIn2019 is living in two worlds at once bringing them together while acknowledging their differences. Whether on the rez or in the colonized world of academia people will always have different backgrounds I honor mine by being unapologetically Native.

Sincerely, Carl Petersen Oohe Numpa Lakota, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe." 

“Right now, there aren’t really any game design studios in South Dakota, much less on a reservation,” says Petersen.

We’ll check back with Petersen for #NativeIn2020.

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