Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
Elizabeth LaPensée
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Elizabeth LaPenséeodamino@msu.edu





Research Interests

Indigenous media, media for wellbeing, video games, game development, Indigenous methodology and methods, game studies


Elizabeth LaPensée, Ph.D. expresses herself through writing, design, and art in games, transmedia, comics, and animation. She is Anishinaabe, Métis, and Irish, living near the Great Lakes. She designed and created art for Honour Water (2016), an Anishinaabe singing game for healing the water. She designed and programmed Invaders (2015), a remix of the arcade classic Space Invaders inspired by art from Steven Paul Judd. She also designed The Gift of Food (2014), a board game for the Northwest Indian College about Northwest Native traditional foods.


Early on, she was a Research Assistant for Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace and continues to contribute as a Research Affiliate in the Initiative for Indigenous Futures. Her dissertation in Interactive Arts and Technology from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia shares experiences from the Indigenous social impact game Survivance (2011), which encourages healing through storytelling and creating art. Soon after, she was a Postdoctoral Associate for the University of Minnesota's Research for Indigenous Community Health Center. Her ongoing work addresses the intersections of media, culture, and healing.



Representative Work

LaPensée, Elizabeth. “Indigenous Intervention in Video Games.” Indigenous Intervention into “Indigenous Narrative.” Institute of American Indian Arts. Nativo Lodge, Albuquerque, NM. Friday, April 1, 2016.

LaPensée, Elizabeth. “Indigenous Board Game Design in The Gift of Food.” Analog Game Studies 3.2 (2016). Web.

LaPensée, Elizabeth. “Healing Historical Trauma Through Games.” Diwrnod yng Nghymru Fydd // A Day in Future Wales. Arad Goch, Aberystwyth, West Wales. Saturday, November 28, 2015.

LaPensée, Elizabeth. “Survivance As An Indigenously Determined Game.” AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples 10.3 (2014): 263-275. Print.