Image of Elizabeth LaPensée standing in front of a mural.Elizabeth LaPensée is an award-winning designer, writer, artist, and researcher who creates and studies Indigenous-led media such as games and comics. She is Anishinaabe, Metis, and Irish, living near the Great Lakes as an Assistant Professor of Media & Information and Writing, Rhetoric & American Cultures at Michigan State University. 

Most recently, she designed and created art for Thunderbird Strike (2017), a lightning-searing side scroller video game, as well as Honour Water (2016), an Anishinaabe singing game for healing water. Her work also includes analog games, such as The Gift of Food (2014), a board game about Northwest Native traditional foods.

She runs hands-on workshops in an effort to build capacity for Indigenous-led game development. She created curriculum for the award-winning Skins Workshop developed by Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace and the Initiative for Indigenous Futures. For over ten years, she has offered workshops to partners including the United Indian Students in Higher Education Youth Day in Portland, Oregon; Aboriginal Youth Science Exchange Camp in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario; Urban Native Youth Association in Vancouver, British Columbia; Native Girls Code for Gen7 in Seattle, Washington; Electa Quinney Institute for American Indian Education in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Salish Kootenai College in Polson, Montana.

Visit Elizabeth LaPensée's website

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Event Details

Sovereign Game Prototyping Workshop

Tuesday, April 3
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Powers Hall Ballroom
Open event flier

What would analog game prototyping look like using Indigenously-determined materials like leather, beads, copper, and birch bark? What kinds of games can we imagine that reflect sovereign bodies and relationships? What game spaces can we co-create which we are reciprocal with?

Refreshments will be provided. For more information, contact Angie Burdett at 989-774-3341 or


Elizabeth LaPensée's visit to Central Michigan University is sponsored by the Olga J. and G. Roland Denison Visiting Professorship of Native American Studies​ within the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences at Central Michigan University and the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture and Lifeways.

Image from Honour Water designed by Elizabeth Lapensee.

Image from Thunderbird Strike designed by Elizabeth LaPensee.