Locals Only Artists

Janelle Pewapsconias

Little Pine First Nation, Treaty 6 Territory

Janelle “ecoaborijanelle” Pewapsconias is a nehīyaw Cree spoken word poet, social innovator, and inclusive game designer. Janelle’s poetic prowess tells stories from a nehīyaw perspective, sharing cultural teachings and language in a unique style of spoken word. She has co-authored an Indigenous poetry chapbook and has been featured on many stages throughout Saskatchewan. Her culturally-respectful and hilariously neechie approach to analogue game design is integral to her mission. You can hear the voices and stories of Indigenous people and people “in the margins” in her poems and games. Janelle grew up on the small reserve of Little Pine First Nation, Treaty 6 Territory, and now resides in Saskatoon, SK.


The Riversdale Jam

Janelle Pewapsconias’s project for Locals Only, The Riversdale Jam, will develop a game in collaboration with the community, generating a strong social impact by preserving local knowledge and intergenerational teachings. Janelle will mentor youth through the project by creating a Youth Game Dev team whom she will guide in the creation of a game that reflects Riversdale’s cultures and community history while celebrating its resilience. The team’s unique gaming experiences, gameplay mechanics, and community stories will make the creation of the game a beautiful and remarkable art on its own.

In Indigenous storytelling, “there is a reciprocal relationship between the storytellers and listeners, through the listening and gameplay experience” (Corriea, A. R. 2014). The Riversdale Jam’s multi-phase approach will allow the traditional practice of ongoing storytelling and revision while adding content throughout the summer at bi-monthly sharing circles. In a respectful and humble way, Janelle and the Youth Game Dev team will be creating gameplay art with great imagination and skill. They invite you to join them this summer at their sharing circles to have your perspectives and stories include in Riversdale Jam.

Works cited:

Corriea, A. R. (2014, March 17). Games can preserve indigenous stories and oral histories. Retrieved December 12, 2017, from https://www.polygon.com/2014/3/17/5520030/games-can-preserve-indigenous-stories-and-oral-histories