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I am no programmer, and honestly my kids understand this better than I do, but I have had a heck of a lot of fun these past few days creating a silly little RPG called “Idle No More: Blockade.” It is probably full of bugs and I’ll have to finesse it a little later, but I wanted to get this out for Canada Day.

I created the game using RPG VX ACE, which has been an amazing experience. There are so many tutorials out there to help guide you through the process, and I see a LOT of potential for Indigenous story-telling with these kinds of tools! In fact, I would love to do another one that focuses on using the Cree language exclusively, rather than having a few words here and there as in this game.

Like I said, I’m no programmer, and this whole project took me two full days so don’t expect it to run too long or get too complicated. It was more of a ‘can I do this’ experiment than anything!

You play the character sâkowêw, a Cree girl who is sent by her Elders to gather land defenders from the city. The evil Enkoch Industries are planning to do some exploration on the Sundance field, and want to run a pipeline across the entire territory!



I wanted to make this game culturally relevant. I put in as much Cree as I thought I could get away with for those who speak little to no Cree at all. I also brought in elements like giving tobacco.

The monsters you face come straight out of Cree oral tradition, and I hope I am forgiven for adding in these story elements in the heart of the summer rather than keeping it for the winter. Basically you face real people who ‘attack’ you with the stereotypes we are all too familiar with, but you do battle with the stereotype itself, which is given corporeal form as a terrifying Cree monster.  This game won’t be too difficult for anyone to complete, but the purpose is really to tell a story. I found this medium for storytelling to be incredibly powerful, and I am putting it out there in the hopes that it will encourage others to create stories of their own!



If you’d like to give the game a go, you can download it here. Unfortunately right now I only have a version for PCs, so if you’re a Mac user you’re out of luck for a bit.

It’s a dropbox file, because I just couldn’t fit it here. You’ll have to unzip it (extract all) in order to play it. Once you’ve got it downloaded and extracted, you click on the “Game” (an application) and you’re good to go!

Though I mention it in the ending scene, I want to put it here too. I used songs from:

  • A Tribe Called Red  (“Electric Powwow Drum”, “Sisters” and “Red Skin Girl”)
  • Northern Cree (“Driving Me Crazy”)
  • Joel Steudler (“Dark City” [Copyright](C) 2014 )

I also used a tileset by Artist Lunarea: [Copyright](C) 2014 DEGICA Co., LTD;
LTD; Enterbrain, INC; Artist: Lunarea

If you give the game a shot, I’d love to hear your comments…as long as they are about the story and not the programming.

If you have a Mac, and you don’t intend on downloading this game onto a friend’s PC someday, then below is a video of the entire (short) game in two parts.





Chelsea Vowel is a 34 year old Métis from the Plains Cree speaking community of Lac Ste. Anne, Alberta. She is the mother of two energetic girls and holds a BEd and an LLB from the University of Alberta....