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Native American Group Calls for Boycott of Gun

Does Activision's so-so shooter Gun portray Native Americans in a negative way?

That's the claim made by the Association for American Indian Development (AAID) based in Seattle. The group has called for a boycott of Gun, a Wild West-themed first person shooter, for what AAID terms "derogatory, harmful and inaccurate depictions of American Indians."

Activision describes Gun as a "realistic epic action/adventure that lets gamers experience the brutality of the lawless West... corrupt lawmen, warring tribes, cold-blooded outlaws, and ruthless renegades."

In particular, AAID objects to the game's alleged condoning and trivializing of the "near genocide of Native Americans", likening it to glamorizing slavery, lynching, or the Holocaust. Of particular concern to them is Gun's portrayal of "the slaughtering of 'renegade' Apaches, the atrocity of 'indian scalping' and incorrect portrayals of Native American traditions."

The boycott demands that Activision edit the game, and re-release it "in a manner that is responsible to the great Apache people and is culturally and historically accurate to the struggle and plight of all people of American Indian ancestry." If the game is not edited, AAID insists that Activision pull the game from all retail and online stores.

AAID even addresses the game's "Mature" rating, expressing concern that "young kids will still manage to get a copy of it... and then carry what they've experienced into their interactions with real, live Apaches and other Native Americans."

J: American Indians have been less than accurately portrayed since the first "westerns" were written. Although as games become more and more popular, they'll likely need to take care to be culturally sensitive. Games like Custer's Revenge are definitely a blot on the game industry. Gun? I'm not so sure.

-Jabrwock

UPDATE: GameCloud has more on this tale of Gun, including a response supplied by Activision to a Native American radio program which covered Gun recently. The game publisher said, in part: "Activision does not condone or advocate any of the atrocities that occurred in the American West during the 1800s. GUN was designed to reflect the harshness of life on the American frontier... It was not Activision's intention to offend any race or ethnic group with GUN, and we apologize to any who might have been offended by the game's depiction of historical events which have been conveyed not only through video games but through films, television programming, books and other media."

Tags: aaid, activision, boycott, gun, jabrwock, native americans, racism
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