John Poniske sets up a war simulation board game at his home in Waynesboro, Pa., that he has created centering around a pre-Revolutionary War in Connecticut that pitted Native Americans against English Colonists. The game, which is still in the developmental stages, has raised concerns within the Native American population currently living in Connecticut. (AP/Timothy Jacobsen)
A new historic board game based on colonial times in New England is rankling tribes who feel it perpetuates stereotypes of Native Americans as savages.
“From what I’ve seen right now: totally inappropriate, highly offensive, nowhere near ready to be in production,” said Annawon Weeden, a member of the Mashpee Wampanoags in Massachusetts, tells Eric Tucker of the Associated Press, here.
“It’s just a way to have fun reliving a tragedy.”
The game, “King Philip’s War,” refers to the deadly struggle between colonists and tribes in the 17th century.
Tucker reports that it’s been developed by a company partly owned by former major league pitcher Curt Schilling. Tucker writes:
John Poniske holds a board game piece at his home in Waynesboro, Pa., that goes with his soon-to-be released, and controversial game about a pre-Revolutionary War that took place in Connecticut between Native Americans and English settlers. The board game pieces, playing board and game rules are still in the prototype stage. (AP/Timothy Jacobsen)
But Schilling, who won World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox, said historical events should not be whitewashed for fear of offending someone. King Philip’s War helped forge early American identity, even if it “clearly exposed the horrible side of humans in some cases,” he said.
“If everyone intent on keeping historical events stopped at content that might seem offensive, we’d lose sight of the horrific mistakes this nation, the world and the human race are capable of, and that would be a horrific thing,” Schilling said in an e-mail sent through his publicist.
The game was designed by John Poniske, a middle school social studies and English teacher at Antietam Academy in Hagerstown, Md., who said he came up with the idea after reading a military magazine article about the war.
The game involves scenarios such as ambushes, massacres or spying.
A Facebook group, Stop the Release of King Philip’s War, has more than 340 members and urges MultiManPublishing to halt production.
The war took place from 1675-76 and was named for Philip — also called Metacom. He was leader, or sachem, of the Wampanoag people. During the war from 1675-76, settlers were attacked, villages were burned and thousands of Native Americans died. King Philip was beheaded in 1676.
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