An assistant professor of Media and Information, Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures at MSU has drawn on her heritage to design a singing game that raises awareness of threats to water and offers paths to healing through song.
As an Anishinaabe, Metis and Irish game developer and researcher, Elizabeth's knowledge became a valuable asset in ensuring the accuracy and genuinity of Honour Water.
The game was developed by Pinnguaq with LaPensée in partnership with Nibi Walks and the Research for Indigenous Community Health Center. Support was also provided by The Pollination Project.'
LaPensée said Honour Water, "draws on Indigenous ways of knowing to reinforce Anishinaabe teachings with hope for healing waters."
The inspiration for the game came from Anishinaabe grandmothers who lead ceremonial walks called Nibi walks.
Because water songs are more prevalent in some areas over others, LaPensée, who was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest local, brought these songs to Anishinaabe gatherings at a Native American Youth and Family Center where community members could discuss their language, song, thoughts, and food.
Since not everyone could attend such gatherings, LaPensée created Honour Water as a means to pass on both the language and the water songs.
Water carriers, singers, and native language speakers joined forces to work on Honour Water. LaPensée said they came together with "the hope of sharing songs for healing the waters that can be shared with all people, because the wellbeing of water is vital for all life."
The game lets players follow a scrolling text in English and Anishinaabemowin to sing along with the Oshkii Giizhik Singers.
"Fun gameplay passes on these songs in a way that encourages comfort with singing and learning Anishinaabemowin," LaPensée said. "Honour Water offers a way to become comfortable with the vocables of Anishinaabemowin and learn about Nibi (water)."
Honour Water will be exhibited at the leading Indigenous media arts festival: imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The game is now available through the Apple iTunes store and can also be accessed through http://www.honourwater.com/.