Interactive 3-D Landscape: Engaging the Sqigwts #5

Built upon a platform using “virtual world technology,” the structures and dynamics of an interactive 3-D Landscape entails users taking the form of "representatives" (avatars) visible to others. With auditory and visual sensations, the representatives, each with their own profiles, will interact in a computer-simulated world of perceptual stimuli, who in turn, can manipulate elements of the modeled world and thus "experience a degree of presence."

When you compare the key defining structural and dynamic attributes of hnkhwelkhwlnet (listed in #3), with ‘me‘y‘mi‘y’m (listed in #4), and now with an interactive 3-D Landscape, there is an intriguing alignment. Can access to and appreciation of hnkhwelkhwlnet be facilitated through a virtual world platform?   We will see.

Key 3-D Landscape attributes:

  • unfolding event,
  • convergence of those attentively participating,
  • avatar has a distinctive “profile,” which influences the experience,
  • collective,
  • can be orality-based,
  • traveling a territory,
  • discovery of embedded lessons.
   hnkhwelkhwlnet attributes:    ‘me‘y‘mi‘y’m attributes:
  • unfolding transitory event,
  • participatory, actively engaged
  • collective and relational with other participants
  • place-based in a landscape
  • orality-based
  • perennial teachings, intergenerationally disseminated
  • unfolding storyline event
  • convergence of those actively participating
  • collective and relational with other participants
  • traveling a landscape
  • orality-based,
  • revealing embedded teachings







"Proof in Concept."  We have sought to incorporate the critical structural and dynamic attributes in a ‘me‘y‘mi‘y’m event into an interactive 3-D Landscape as the means for you to better gain insights into the meaning of the Schitsu’umsh hnkhwelkhwlnet associated with sqigwts (Frey and et alia 2014).  As with the storyteller's techniques of retelling a story, this 3-D Landscape is but another means, the "how," of putting "flesh and muscle" on the "bones," the "what," the miyp embedded in the hnkhwelkhwlnet.  Each is in alignment with the otherMay this dynamic means provide access to what is steadfast, allowing you, as a participant, to experience a story coming alive, revealing its miyp. While the 3-D Landscape can never substitute for the actual encounter with an elder as he or she verbally re-tells a story, by engaging in this 3-D Landscape you can experience a little of the “heartbeat” of a story. 

Overcoming Materialism and Dualism.  With the structures and dynamics of an interactive 3-D Landscape you can begin to appreciate hnkhwelkhwlnet as an unfolding event brought forth by those participating.  You can begin to appreciate a reality not reduced to its material properties, not estranged from your participation, not seen as if from behind a "plate glass window." This interactive 3-D Landscape can provide access to the meaning and significance of hnkhwelkhwlnet that begins to acknowledge and address the challenges brought by Aristotelian materialism and Cartesian dualism. See units The Challenge and Lesson Plan: Science.

Overcoming Literacy. With the structures and dynamics of an interactive 3-D Landscape you can begin to appreciate hnkhwelkhwlnet as an unfolding story event brought forth by those participating. You can begin to appreciate how if this orality-based, storytelling dynamic is missing, so too can be the much of the meaning of the story. The interactive 3-D Landscape can provide access to the meaning and significance of hnkhwelkhwlnet in a manner a literacy-based format cannot. Working in collaboration with the Schitsu'umsh, authors such as Frey have attempted to convey the oral-nuanced texts though literacy-based formats, presenting the stories in a "poetic style," only to confront the impasse (Aripa, Yellowtail and Frey 1995 and Schitsu'umsh and Frey 2001).  Even conveying the oral narrative traditions via recorded video streaming of the storytellers telling the stories lacked the necessary ‘me’y’mi’y’m interactivity (Schitsu'umsh and Frey 2002).  See Orality and Literacy.

"Never in my forty-plus years of collaborative ethnographic researching and writing with American Indian communities have I been involved in developing a means of conveying Indigenous knowledge and practice with such potential for authenticity and depth of meaning, than with the project.  The 3-D Landscape begins to address the challenges associated with literacy, materialism and duality."  Rodney Frey, project ethnographer.

Intriguing how this interactive 3-D Landscape derived from computer technology, which is itself an extension of literacy-based communications, can align with ‘me’y’mi’y’m and hnkhwelkhwlnet, which are only precipitated through orality-based communications!  This 3-D Landscape strives to Indigenize the digital, rather than digitize the Indigenous.

"Landscape."  Assisting us in aligning the conceptual framework of Schitsu’umsh hnkhwelkhwlnet, with ‘me‘y‘mi‘y’m, and with our 3-D module is the term implicit within each, that of "landscape." Landscape is defined as “the way a people have conceptualized the phenomena of their environment (lakes, rivers, mountains, animals, fish, and plants), investing those phenomena with cultural significance and meaning, . . . [entailing] phenomena that are fundamentally aesthetic, affective, moral, and /or spiritual, as well as economic in nature,. . . [with the human in] an active and essential role in continuing to bring forth the world, . . [a world that] does not have existence separate from that of the human. . .” (Schitsu’umsh and Frey 2001:270-71).

An Invitation to Water Potato Day.

You have been invited to participate in the annual Coeur d'Alene Tribe Water Potato Day, held during the fourth week of October, to help gather the last of the year's root foods. You are about to experience the unfolding story of gathering sqigwts and will learn of the various Schitsu’umsh miyp meanings associated with this event. 

Are you prepared?   Do you have your "road map" in hand?  Have you reviewed the previous units (#1 -  #4b)?  Do you have an appreciation for the dynamics, structures and meanings of hnkhwelkhwlnet?  How is a rainbow akin to hnkhwelkhwlnet?  Do you have an appreciation of the dynamics and structures of ‘me‘y‘mi‘y’m?  What are the responsibilities of a story listener?  How does orality contrast with literacy? 

How to Engage.  As with any storytelling event, if you are not actively participating in the unfolding story, the storyteller will cease telling the story.  And so too with this 3-D Landscape; if at any point in the sqigwts unfolding story you are not so attentive, not responding “appropriately” (based on miyp teachings), the story will stop and you will need to re-engage the 3-D Landscape from its start.  Immediately after listening to the elder, it is your moment to then engage and participate, navigating with key strokes or a gamepad.  What may seem like a "pause" may just be the moment to act.

Are you ready to participate, learn by 'itsk'u'lm “doing”?  Are you ready to be attentive, to stmi’sm “listen"?   Only in being engaged and attentive can the miyp embedded in hnkhwelkhwlnet be revealed.

Campfire Dialogue. Following your sqigwts gathering experience, you will find yourself, with others, sitting around a campfire. You can then dialogue with a Tribal elder, and explore what you may have just experienced, perhaps confirming for you the Schitsu’umsh hnkhwelkhwlnet ł miyp revealed. You can also ask questions about how hnkhwelkhwlnet knowledge and practice might address climate change. Also joining you will be scientist, who can answer your questions about the biology and ecology of Sagittaria latifolia, and your questions on climate change projections and their implications for this plant.

"Even after so many years of working with and listening to the wondrous stories retold by the elders, I'm still like a child and so gratified that the stories continue to hold deep secrets that are yet revealed, and one miyp with such far reaching implications."  Rodney Frey

"Ah ha moments."  It was in the act of researching and writing on the dynamics of ‘me‘y‘mi‘y’m for this module, while at the same time learning about and applying an alignment with the 3-D Landscape, that Frey experienced and Campbell confirmed one of those "ah ha moments."  Revealed was snukwnkhwtskhwts’mi’ls ł stsee’nidmsh - "empathetic adaptability."  Following your 3-D Landscape experience, it is recommended that you consider visiting Lesson Plan: Empathetic Adaptability.  While a pivotal miyp for the Schitsu'umsh, snukwnkhwtskhwts’mi’ls ł stsee’nidmsh has implications for us all.  Another "ah ha" came in considering the implications of uchnek’we’ - literally meaning, “we are all relatives/we are all one.”  As you engage the sqigwts landscape, may you have your own "ah ha moments."

Contact and Conversation: As this 3-D Landscape is a first-attempt prototype, a proof-in-concept project, your comments and questions are most welcomed and appreciated.  Please contract: Join the conversation and share ideas with us on the Sqigwts Blog.





Enter the Interactive 3-D Landscape



To navigate your avatar, use the following keys:

  • Turn Left: A or Left Arrow
  • Walk Forward: W or Up Arrow
  • Walk Backward: S or Down Arrow
  • Turn Right: D or Right Arrow
  • Strafe Right: E
  • Strafe Left: Q




To navigate your avatar, use the following Gamepad buttons:

  • Walk and Turn: Left Joy Stick
  • Strafe Right: B Button (red)
  • Strafe Left: X Button (blue)

Gamepad Navigation

Copyright: Coeur d’Alene Tribe and University of Idaho 2015.