September 30 marks Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and is also the traditional Orange Shirt Day, both of which honour the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities. Ubisoft is dedicating this day to reflect, learnings and take stock of its initiatives.
Montreal, Non-Ceded Land
First, we would like to affirm that the land on which we live is situated on the traditional, unceded territory of Indigenous Peoples. Let’s take the opportunity to add context to this sentence which has been a recommendation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada that, in 2015, concluded that territorial acknowledgements would “promote a climate of respect and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.” In Montreal, since December 2017, each City Council meeting starts with an acknowledgement of non-ceded indigenous Montreal territory.
What is Ubisoft Doing?
We very humbly present a few gestures and initiatives put forth by our teams, our communities, and our players in order to contribute to change.
Thunderbird and the Nakoda Nation
A few months ago, a new operator made her debut in the Rainbow 6 Siege roster: Mina Sky, codename “Thunderbird”, a proud representative of the indigenous Nakoda Nation of Saskatchewan. It is, in fact, by working in close collaboration with consultants from the Nakoda Nation that Thunderbird came to be last May.
It’s important to us that a maximum number of players can see themselves in what we create. And we want to do this the right way, by using the services of real representatives of this diversity. The help of these consultants was priceless, and I believe it’s what allowed us to create something authentic, that we can all be proud of,” said Producer Éric Tremblay.
Rainbow 6 Siege decided to go one step further in its support and its recognition of the Nakoda Nation by issuing a donation on behalf of the development team and the studio to the Cega’kin (Carry the Kettle) Nakoda Nation in direct support of its planned community centre and the perennity of their culture.
Indspire and the Sixth Guardian Program by Rainbow Six Siege
Let’s also draw attention to Rainbow Six Siege’s Sixth Guardian Program, which aims to support a charity via 100% of net sales proceeds of an in-game bundle. “Thanks to this initiative, the game’s team and its community of players can concretely and positively contribute to a cause that we care about. In my experience, players are very grateful to be able to make a difference through their work and/or their play!” says Eric Pope, Senior Community Developer on the game.
During Year 6 Seasons 3 and 4, the net proceeds of a Thunderbird pack will be donated to Indspire, a registered charity that aims to help all Canadian Indigenous students get their diploma.
We’re very pleased to do this innovative initiative in partnership with Ubisoft,” said Mike DeGagné, President & CEO of Indspire. “It’s a powerful and creative way to enable First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students to successfully pursue their dreams through education.”
“We hope to bring our game’s community and Indspire together to achieve their important goal and draw something beautiful from our game,” concludes Pope.
Many Ubisoft Education partners are actively involved with Indigenous communities through the introduction of science and technology to young people. For instance, Youth Fusion, a Ubisoft Education partner since 2015, is celebrating its 11th year of working with Indigenous communities, while Kids Code Jeunesse has been offering free coding workshops to youth for five years.
Ubisoft Education also has a VR podcast that aims to help demystify the realities of youth in indigenous communities, featuring Kijâtai-Alexandra Veillette-Cheezo, a videographer and XR artist who works with the Wapikoni organization.
To learn more about this important topic, we invite you to visit these links:
· National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
· Les autochtones du Québec – Radio-Canada
· Visit the McCord Museum’s new permanent exhibition: “Indigenous Voices of Today: Knowledge, Trauma, Resilience”