This is the finished painted board. There will be 3 decks of cards that will be placed on the corresponding clan on the board. The object of the game is to roll the die, move that number of spaces, and if you land on a clan, pick a card from the deck and follow the directions (directions will be either to move back spaces, move forward spaces, lose a turn, etc depending on the example of the 4 principles of Native life). Whoever reaches the Tree of Peace first wins.   Natives didn’t traditionally play board games, their games taught kids valuable lessons in life as well as responsibility, so this design combines the objectives of modern American board games with several elements of Native design and Native culture. Each game’s object will differ depending on the nation as well as the kids who will be designing it, but the principles will be incorporated in each game.

This is the finished painted board. There will be 3 decks of cards that will be placed on the corresponding clan on the board. The object of the game is to roll the die, move that number of spaces, and if you land on a clan, pick a card from the deck and follow the directions (directions will be either to move back spaces, move forward spaces, lose a turn, etc depending on the example of the 4 principles of Native life). Whoever reaches the Tree of Peace first wins. Natives didn’t traditionally play board games, their games taught kids valuable lessons in life as well as responsibility, so this design combines the objectives of modern American board games with several elements of Native design and Native culture. Each game’s object will differ depending on the nation as well as the kids who will be designing it, but the principles will be incorporated in each game.


In process

In process


Natives’ sense of habitation and where they come from is extremely important in their culture, so each game designed will contain some sense of geography—teaching kids about the environment around them, awareness of the cultures they never knew that were right next door, as well as locations of current reservations.  Since the game I’m making is designed for the Six Nations, the “board” is of New York state—pinpointing all the reservations of each nation.

Natives’ sense of habitation and where they come from is extremely important in their culture, so each game designed will contain some sense of geography—teaching kids about the environment around them, awareness of the cultures they never knew that were right next door, as well as locations of current reservations. Since the game I’m making is designed for the Six Nations, the “board” is of New York state—pinpointing all the reservations of each nation.


I decided to hand paint the entire board using spray and regular fabric paint. The “board” measures 5 ft in diameter.

I decided to hand paint the entire board using spray and regular fabric paint. The “board” measures 5 ft in diameter.


Instead of having a traditional game board that you play on a table, I decided to use a woven fabric called Monk’s cloth that kids will be able to sit around while playing on the floor—mimicking the traditional council meetings of the Six Nations

Instead of having a traditional game board that you play on a table, I decided to use a woven fabric called Monk’s cloth that kids will be able to sit around while playing on the floor—mimicking the traditional council meetings of the Six Nations


Ideation sketches of the game board

Ideation sketches of the game board


The last design is a simple guide book—a book that has the same purpose as the app but for those who don’t have smartphones or any other device to download the app onto—for people already living a simpler life. The purpose of this is to have something tangible to take back from these workshops. What my thesis experiment proved was that these tangible things that aren’t as easily replaced are more important to people and are kept even though they aren’t used. After reading this book and really living by these 4 principles, people have the capability of passing it down to their children, to friends, relatives, etc. This will be a way for these principles to continue throughout the lives of others who didn’t have a chance to go to the centers, who couldn’t afford it, etc. A big element of Native culture is passing down knowledge and stories, but now with everything being electronic, there’s a loss of connection between people. We’re losing that “action” of physically being able to give someone something so this is a way of getting it back. 

The last design is a simple guide book—a book that has the same purpose as the app but for those who don’t have smartphones or any other device to download the app onto—for people already living a simpler life. The purpose of this is to have something tangible to take back from these workshops. What my thesis experiment proved was that these tangible things that aren’t as easily replaced are more important to people and are kept even though they aren’t used. After reading this book and really living by these 4 principles, people have the capability of passing it down to their children, to friends, relatives, etc. This will be a way for these principles to continue throughout the lives of others who didn’t have a chance to go to the centers, who couldn’t afford it, etc. A big element of Native culture is passing down knowledge and stories, but now with everything being electronic, there’s a loss of connection between people. We’re losing that “action” of physically being able to give someone something so this is a way of getting it back. 


The second element of my final design will be an app to be downloaded on any smart phone. Yes, my thesis is about anti-consumerism and trying to steer away from technology, but technology exists and I’m not expecting people to throw out their $200 phones after attending these centers. The purpose of this app is for teenagers, young adults, and middle-aged participants in this organization to be reminded on how to apply these 4 principles in their daily lives, because that’s the point of these organizations in the first place. The main problem with ecotourism is that people get away from their technology driven lives, but after a week or 2, reality sets in and their back to their old habits. This will create awareness and if successful, the app will help people remember these principles so that next time when they have an upgrade for a new phone, they’ll think about its necessity. Lectures and talks can only do so much, but if people are taught how to live in our modern world using these principles to try to change, then that’s what will make a difference. 
This design is also a way to show how Native people are able to sustain their traditional customs while also adapting to the constant development of our society. There’s a way to use our developments and innovations, but use them simply and Natives are doing so. I’m not saying we should go back in time and wear deer skin and hunt for food, but to start slowing down to see what really matters and appreciate the things that we already have instead of just consuming more. 

The second element of my final design will be an app to be downloaded on any smart phone. Yes, my thesis is about anti-consumerism and trying to steer away from technology, but technology exists and I’m not expecting people to throw out their $200 phones after attending these centers. The purpose of this app is for teenagers, young adults, and middle-aged participants in this organization to be reminded on how to apply these 4 principles in their daily lives, because that’s the point of these organizations in the first place. The main problem with ecotourism is that people get away from their technology driven lives, but after a week or 2, reality sets in and their back to their old habits. This will create awareness and if successful, the app will help people remember these principles so that next time when they have an upgrade for a new phone, they’ll think about its necessity. Lectures and talks can only do so much, but if people are taught how to live in our modern world using these principles to try to change, then that’s what will make a difference. 

This design is also a way to show how Native people are able to sustain their traditional customs while also adapting to the constant development of our society. There’s a way to use our developments and innovations, but use them simply and Natives are doing so. I’m not saying we should go back in time and wear deer skin and hunt for food, but to start slowing down to see what really matters and appreciate the things that we already have instead of just consuming more. 


There’s going to be 3 different elements to my final design—the first one is a an example of what is going to be taught to children at this organization that I’m creating, so I decided to design an educational tool because after all, children are our future. 
This idea came from my Indigenous Religion class when an education major mentioned that they have been learning how to NOT use textbooks and go beyond the traditional ways of teaching. I know from teachers in our local elementary schools that Native American history isn’t being taught as thorough as it once was (even though it has never been thorough from the beginning) so this tool will be a way for children to become aware of not only the 4 principles of Native life but also about the culture in its entirety. 
The tool I’ll be creating is a game because what better way to teach children than to entertain them while doing so? However, the older kids that attend the workshops and programs at this organization will be creating and designing their own games for other kids to use. The games these kids create can then be sold from the center on the reservation to local schools—schools that might be too far away to visit or can’t afford the programs. Before designing their own game, kids will learn about the specific nation on the corresponding reservation, learn about traditional Native games—how they reflect Native life, and compare it to American games and their reflection of American life. A good example of this would be Monopoly—a game where the goals of the game are to make money and obtain property—which has become the basis of our country. From these games, kids will learn what’s important in life and learn the 4 principles in order to stop the obsession of consumerism and to make a difference.

There’s going to be 3 different elements to my final design—the first one is a an example of what is going to be taught to children at this organization that I’m creating, so I decided to design an educational tool because after all, children are our future. 

This idea came from my Indigenous Religion class when an education major mentioned that they have been learning how to NOT use textbooks and go beyond the traditional ways of teaching. I know from teachers in our local elementary schools that Native American history isn’t being taught as thorough as it once was (even though it has never been thorough from the beginning) so this tool will be a way for children to become aware of not only the 4 principles of Native life but also about the culture in its entirety. 

The tool I’ll be creating is a game because what better way to teach children than to entertain them while doing so? However, the older kids that attend the workshops and programs at this organization will be creating and designing their own games for other kids to use. The games these kids create can then be sold from the center on the reservation to local schools—schools that might be too far away to visit or can’t afford the programs. Before designing their own game, kids will learn about the specific nation on the corresponding reservation, learn about traditional Native games—how they reflect Native life, and compare it to American games and their reflection of American life. A good example of this would be Monopoly—a game where the goals of the game are to make money and obtain property—which has become the basis of our country. From these games, kids will learn what’s important in life and learn the 4 principles in order to stop the obsession of consumerism and to make a difference.