Discussion Paper: First Nations' Culture in the Metaverse

24 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2022

See all articles by Bibi Barba

Bibi Barba

Lulu Jiji Indigenous Design and Consultancy

Dr Vanessa Lee-Ah Mat

The University of Sydney

Angelina Gomez

Digital Law Association

Joni Pirovich

Digital Law Association

Date Written: March 16, 2022

Abstract

The metaverse belongs to all people. The best metaverse will reflect our diversity, the richness of all civilisations and cultures and the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family.

Now, at the infancy of the metaverse, there is an opportunity to build the foundations for an equitable metaverse, which respects the rights of all to be represented in its worlds.

First Nations Peoples need a seat at the metaverse table, as well as support to acquire and hold virtual land, to represent their culture and spirit.

Why start with First Nations ahead of other traditionally underrepresented groups? Why is there a need to advocate for the recognition, inclusion and respect of First Nations culture and perspectives in the metaverse?

• For over 65,000 years, First Nations peoples (of Australia) have been the custodians of, and have passed down the generations, past, present and future Knowledge of both the physical and spiritual world guided by Kinship (which comes from the Lore of Creation).

• Kinship is about having social responsibility to yourself, each other, and about inclusion within the physical and spiritual worlds.

• Virtual worlds will increasingly become a part of the 'land on which we meet' and this paper posits that the foundations of the metaverse should respectfully incorporate First Nations' Lore, particularly Kinship, as a means by which to welcome and support many traditionally underrepresented groups in society into and in the metaverse.

• First Nations’ Knowledge, and the practices of Kinship, could ground the metaverse and gift it the cultural foundations to last through time.

• The foundations upon which the metaverse is built should incorporate learning from past mistakes in respect of First Nations Peoples, mistakes of disregard and contempt for their human rights that have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of humanity.

• The Digital Law Association’s charitable purpose is to advance a fairer, more inclusive and democratic voice at the intersection of technology, law and policy. The DLA is also a signatory to the Uluru Statement from the Heart and is seeking to walk the path of reconciliation. In pursuing the DLA’s charitable purpose and walking the path of reconciliation, the DLA has assisted with the production of this paper to share the voice of (Australian) First Nations’ culture and Kinship, in light of the above and with the view that grounding the metaverse in Kinship principles may also provide a model to foster increased diversity and encourage the inclusion of many traditionally underrepresented groups within the metaverse.

Keywords: cultural embassy, metaverse, first nations, kinship, virtual land

Suggested Citation

Barba, Bibi and Lee-Ah Mat, Vanessa and Gomez, Angelina and Pirovich, Joni, Discussion Paper: First Nations' Culture in the Metaverse (March 16, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4058777 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4058777

Bibi Barba

Lulu Jiji Indigenous Design and Consultancy ( email )

Australia

Vanessa Lee-Ah Mat

The University of Sydney

Angelina Gomez

Digital Law Association ( email )

Australia

Joni Pirovich (Contact Author)

Digital Law Association ( email )

Australia

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