Oceti Sakowin

The Indigenous Humanity of VR

Michael Running Wolf Jr.
Running Wolf
2 min readApr 23, 2017

--

At F8 2017, where I gave a quick diversity talk on my work, I had found a like minded Native American developing technology to help her people… and I immediately made her cry.

I have a simple prototype of my time at Standing Rock. The prototype shows three of my favorite 360 panorama videos: a women’s prayer march, horses milling around by the riverside, and the joyous announcement in January 2017 that then President Obama would delay the DAPL construction. It has a simple gaze/hover mechanism where you go from a bird’s eye view of the Water Protector camp, which then draws you into a video bubble.

Importing GIS textures in Unity3D

Technologically, much of my work went into extensively optimizing the terrain and textures so you can get a horizon to horizon view of North Dakota. It’s still very raw and too abstract, but soon it will be amazing!

F8 conference attendee and Native American from California

Despite being incomplete it brings people to tears. Some in particular, who have an understanding of Native American culture and values, are more affected. In the celebration video you can see and hear hundreds of Water Protectors dancing around a sacred fire while a conch-shell from the pacific blows to the tune of an honor song and drum. The whole crowd moves and you, the viewer, see it all in 360 panorama. As a Native witness you see firsthand the power of tribes separated by thousands of miles and an ocean united in one voice.

Mni Wiconi : “Water is Life”

360 Snapshot of the celebration.

I hope to get my VR experience completed soon, if you want more information please visit the website, which is a WebVR demo of the experience:

--

--

Michael Running Wolf Jr.
Running Wolf

Montana Native American Software Engineer for Buffalo Tongue Inc, a non-profit. He has an interest in indigenous cultural revitalization.