The Real Canadian Un-opoly FAQs

What is the game all about?

What do you want from each Nation?

Why do you want a logo? Why not just use Treaty 1, 2 etc?

What is the basis of the Maybe? and the Community Life cards?

Why should a Nation participate?

What is required for dispersal?

Where are the Metis?

Why is there a Medicine Wheel on the board?

Why are the Seven Sacred Teachings in the game?

What are the symbols on the board?

How is this game different from Monopoly?

What are the rules of the Real Canadian Un-opoly, in a nutshell?

Why is Duty to Consult with each Nation and City?

What do you mean white privilege?

Why did I create it?

How much does it cost?

How will it be sold?

Are the Nations purchasing the game?

Who will benefit from the profits?

How are the addiction centres determined?

How would the licensing be controlled?

What is the game all about?

This is a game considers reconciliation and what that may look like. The Real Canadian Un-opoly’s (RCU) function is to highlight the discrepancy between colonization and decolonization.  The focus is to create relationships, and this is how one can “win”.  There will be a story told by each person for themselves as they move around the board, and that is through the emotions they feel as white privilege is highlighted and a move towards “Radical Imagination”. 

“Radical imagination” can be briefly defined as Settlers literally mindfully removing themselves from the colonial context of privilege of their current capitalist reality and accepting the Indigenous Nations prior existence and prior claim of culture, language and community in North America and Canada (Alfred, 2010, p. 5). The RCU makes room for this potential. (back)

What do you want from each Nation?

I would like to receive written copyright permission for the use of their logo on the board and for the replication of the board in books or magazines or on the internet, as well as for the Creative Commons.  (back)

Why do you want the logo? Why not just use Treaty 1, 2 etc?

I would like to show visually that the Indigenous Nations are self governing and not associated to the Canadian government. Their identity is separate. As well, a great deal of B.C. is unceded (stolen) lands and not covered by Treaties. (back)

What is the basis of the Maybe? and the Community Life cards?

I used success stories from Osoyoos Indian Band, Westbank First Nation and other Nations across Canada as well as pulled directly from the Indian Act and other Canadian government websites. The alternative universe cards are my ideals of what things should look like in a decolonized world. I think it would be brilliant if each participating Nation would add a card to both the Maybe? and the Community Life card repositories.

Why should a Nation participate?

There are 634 First Nation bands in the country called Canada. The game has room for 13. I recognize this is not a fair representation of the various cultural differences for each of the Bands. A Nation would choose to participate if they were interested in educating a non-Indigenous person in the realities of being an Indigenous person in current society and influencing and supporting that education as a move towards change. Ideally I would like one Nation from each geographic area as defined by Provincial/Territorial boundaries.  (back)

What is required for dispersal?

For the game to be released I need to have copyright approval from 13 Nations across Canada (ideally one in each Treaty area, one in Nunavet, and one or two for BC which is unceded land) for their use of their name and logo. Also, I need to have permission for the game to go into the Creative Commons at Royal Roads University. Currently the game is in prototype mode so that the Nations may see what it looks like, how the logo would be used and what the rules of the game are.

Where are the Metis?

The Metis are represented by the Q’alipu Mi’kmaq Nation, although it is recognized that the Metis live across the land from Sea to Sea.

Why is there a Medicine Wheel on the board?

The Medicine Wheel is not common to all the Nations across Turtle Island but the principles of North East South and West are, as is Four Legged, Flying creatures, Swimming creatures, and Tree/Root kingdom, and white, yellow, black and red peoples. Each Nation has their own interpretation of a symbol such as a Medicine Wheel but may call it something different. In the rules there is a clear explanation that each Nation has their own culture and their own meanings for symbols and protocols.  (back)

Why are the Seven Sacred Teachings in the game?

The goal in the Real Canadian Un-oploy is to build relationships built on the principles of the Seven Sacred Teachings. These teachings are not defined as a cornerstone in each of the cultures of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada or anywhere else, but they do provide a strong foundational support for interaction in both Settler and Indigenous relations and are sometimes forgotten in the Settler world.  (back)

What are the symbols on the board?

The white lines indicate both the Two Row Wampum Belt which was the original agreement between the Europeans and the Indigenous Peoples. It could also be considered the railroad. The tobacco leaves are important for Indigenous People’s protocols. The silhouette of the land is from Atlantic to Pacific. Each city and each Nation has their own image. Duty to Consult is represented by the Medicine Wheel.   (back)

How is this game different from Monopoly? 

In traditional Monopoly, the function of the game is to become wealthy by gaining property and building at the expense of other players.  Hasbro’s registration in the United States Patent & Trademark Office identifies Monopoly as a “real estate trading game” (TDSR 2019). There is no better explanation of colonization that I can think of and having the Monopoly reference makes it easy to disconnect principles of interaction.  

The game is not created for longevity (ie. playing over and over again) but is created for discussion and education.  LEGO makes an appearance and building blocks are used as metaphors for building relationships. LEGO also subtly provides a mental stimulus and space to approach these concepts as a child, which, in my opinion and experience, is necessary to be open to concepts of decolonization and reconciliation.  (back)

What are the rules of the Real Canadian Un-opoly, in a nutshell?

The rules of RCU contrast and reverse the original Monopoly’s concept of discipline, formulas of domination (Smith, 2012, p. 71).  Those rules include Foucault’s (McHoul & Grace, 1993) concept of power through “spatial distributions”, “controlling activities”, “organizing stages of education” and “coordinating parts of the system” which relate to the reality of Reserves, the Indian Act and residential schools the impact of which can still be seen today (p. 69, 70).  There is still the option of land ownership.  Reserves and cities are present along with Statistics Canada (2016) information on location cards to provide context of existence in those places, such as white/non-white population and average monthly income. The rules of land ownership in RCU have been re-written only for the Indigenous, and those rules are taken directly from the 1985 Indian Act (Legislative Services Branch, 2019b). Additional controlling activities may be seen in the actions of the Maybe and the Community Life cards (MacDonald, 2017).   (back)

Why is Duty to Consult with each Nation and City?

As Settlers we need to recognize that the Nation and the City are intertwined not separate. Duty to Consult has its own set of protocols in the game and in real life and permission is not a given.  (back)

What do you mean white privilege?

Settlers who play this game as an Indigenous person may come to understand the restrictions and may agree with them, or not.  The politics of recognition (Coulthard, 2014) will come to the foreground, white privilege will be heightened, there will be frustration. Especially with a player that is focused on the traditional capitalist rules of monopoly (buying everything, spending) that results in bankruptcy early on.  That is expected and welcomed. That player gets another chance to get in the game with a one-time gift of funds, and hopefully a new attitude and direction.  (back)

Why did I create it?

I created the game as part of the project for my Master of Arts Degree. Throughout the time that I spent working in the Okanagan, learning the local Indigenous language, considering and understanding concepts of Indigenous Studies, I felt like I was walking two worlds. I was experiencing a reality that no one outside of the Indigenous community could understand. These studies changed my worldview in a profound way and I took a lot of time in determining how I could share those changes with others. One cannot be told of these changes, they must be experienced. Settlers understand board games and the concepts and restrictions are real, not fabricated, which I hope will cause self-reflexive questions and eventual change.  (back)

How much does it cost?

To put together a physical game, the breakdown of components is as follows:

Printed Un-opoly layout (from Staples) which requires assemblage $5

Coroplast (or cardboard for surface) and tape $6

Lego plates and pillars (from Strictly Bricks) $16

Monopoly money (if not printed in house) $6

Dice & characters (from Dollar store) $6

In house printing: Rules, Cards, Labels

Total approximately $40 including taxes

It could be that buying in bulk will save money and there are companies who do small run printings. I will also be looking for grants to support printing/ creation.  (back)

How will it be sold?

The game ideally would be provided to schools, elementary to senior high, through their school board via the internet. I thought it would be easiest to provide a bulk license to each school board for 50 games. They would need to buy their own components as indicated above ($40 each game but could be less with bulk pricing). I am thinking I would require $50 for each game, so $2500 total for one license. Any games over and above that 50 games would require another license for 50 games. This amount may seem extreme however it provides a clear commitment of the school board to reconciliation.  (back)

Are the Nations purchasing the game?

They can if they wish for their friendship centres or other events where they would invite Settlers to attend, but it is not required.

Who will benefit from the profits?

I will not receive any funds from the game or the game construction or the game licensing. I want the licensing costs to go to each local school board area’s addiction centre for Indigenous Peoples. That addiction centre must be focused on culturally appropriate healing, returning the Indigenous person back to their culture.   (back)

How are the addiction centres determined?

I think this is something that each Nation decide which addiction centres they support. Each Nation (whether participating in the game or not) would send me a list. The Nation could also share that list with their school board as they choose.  (back)

How would the licensing be controlled?

I think the easiest would be that the school board send the licensing fees to the addiction centre and send me proof of contribution. I would then release the game for their creation.  (back)

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