The Association for American Indian Development has launched a campaign against Activision for publishing PC and console title GUN, claiming that the game glorifies racism and genocide.
GUN is set in the American west of the late 1800s, and sees players taking on the role of cowboy Colton White. According to Activision's own press information, players must face off with a variety of enemies including "corrupt lawmen, merciless outlaws and unforgiving Native Americans."
The AAID claims that the game features "some very disturbing racist and genocidal elements toward Native Americans," observing that players must slaughter a set number of Apache Indians in order to advance through levels. The association also objects to the fact that "Indian scalping" has a prominent place in the game, and "the mis-information of American Indian traditions of 'killing' sacred white animals."
Now the AAID has set up an online petition requesting that Activision "remove all derogatory, harmful and inaccurate depictions of American Indians from the videogame GUN." If this demand is not met, the AAID will campaign for the game to be removed from retailers' shelves worldwide.
The petition website goes on to outline the AAID's argument in full, with a statement which reads: "To create a game where one must slaughter members of a racial group in order to move forward promotes and condones the near genocide of Native Americans in this country."
"How many kids will (and although rated for mature players, young kids will still manage to get a copy of it) play this game and then carry what they've experienced into their interactions with real, live Apaches and other Native Americans?"
"Yes, Native people still live here in America. They are not a lost or extinct people and they don't all live secluded on reservations. And, believe it or not, Indian kids play Xbox, too."
The AAID also argues that Native Americans are not being treated with the same respect as other ethnic groups in this instance. "If a game were created that had its hero slaughter, say African Americans, Irish, Mexicans, or Jews, would there not be an outcry of extreme proportions?"
"Yes, the brutal slaying of America's indigenous people is historically accurate...it happened. But so did slavery, lynching and the Holocaust and we don't see games glamorizing it as if it were the right thing to do."
Activision was unavilable for comment at the time of writing.