CITC launches new approach to cultural storytelling and youth empowerment

Upper One Games promotional game screen shot.
Upper One Games promotional game screen shot.

Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC), along with development and publishing partner E-Line Media, announced the launch of the first indigenous-owned video game company in the U.S., Upper One Games, LLC. The partnership includes mutual investments to help ensure both companies are aligned across their impact and financial goals.

Through Upper One Games, CITC is embracing technology and new media to preserve and share Alaska Native culture, giving new meaning to the oral tradition of storytelling and offering exciting new ways to engage and motivate youth throughout the world.
The drive for sustainability and empowerment of Alaska Native youth are at the core of what led CITC to invest in video games.
“As an organization, we want to be able to chart our own destiny,” said CITC President and CEO Gloria O’Neill. “This isn’t about the status quo; this is about pioneering a new approach to sustainability, as well as meaningful and scalable impact by creating a global video game brand infused with our values and culture.”
New York’s E-Line Media is a developer and publisher of game-based learning products and services that engage, educate and empower; helping to prepare young people for meaningful, successful lives and careers in the 21st Century.
“CITC brings a deep commitment and powerful, new perspective to the games and impact sector,” said E-Line Media Co-Founder and President Alan Gershenfeld. “We are very excited to partner with them to help pioneer new models of game-based learning that truly inspire youth throughout the world.”
In this unique partnership with E-Line Media, Upper One Games will co-develop and publish a variety of innovative, impact-focused commercial games that cross both the formal and informal learning. Projects currently in development include a groundbreaking game for the consumer market based on traditional Alaskan stories, introducing a new approach to game-based cultural storytelling, a game infused history curriculum slated for middle school students and a new game infused strategy for delivery of social services at CITC.
The projects are being developed by world-class game designers with leadership and development experience on many of the industry’s top games, including Tomb Raider and Madden NFL. All team members are committed to working with Alaska Native elders, cultural storytellers and social entrepreneurs, along with leading scientists to harness the power of games to engage youth.
“Not only do we expect Upper One Games to provide additional financial flexibility to deepen and expand our educational investment, we aim to inspire the imaginations of a broad global audience and be part of pioneering new approaches to highly engaged learning in the U.S. and throughout the world,” said O’Neill.