Fort Smith youth create new board game to preserve Cree language and culture

A new N.W.T board game is bringing Cree language and culture to northern communities. 

Ryan Schaefer and Eyzaah Bouza, both 20 years old from Fort Smith, created the game to be like Snakes and Ladders, with a traditional twist. 

Named Trails and Overflow, the game takes players through a South Slave trap line where their knowledge of Cree animal names and numbers are tested in a race to the finish line. 

Schaefer and Bouza developed the game at a 2018 workshop joining language revitalization with game development. Schaefer said he never expected the product to come to fruition.

When he heard the concept that he and Bouza created would be brought to life, Schaefer was thrilled. 

He hasn’t yet seen the prototype in person, but said the art and game pieces “look amazing,” noting Yellowknife artist Cody Fennell’s design. 

“It’s pretty cool, something that me and my buddy made a few years ago, joking around, actually turning into something big,” he said. 

Read more: CBC/Radio-Canada