The University of Montana's Esports team is continuing to lead the way of tapping into not only the sports side of video games but also careers in game development.

And their latest outreach is hoping to involve a new segment of youth who are likely playing games but have never thought about earning a living in online entertainment.

The Grizzly Esports team and the All Nations Health Center are inviting Indigenous middle and high school students from around Missoula to a special workshop in Missoula next week to explore possibilities.

A special, one-day workshop on video game design

The "INDI-Game Design Workshop will be held at UM's University Center Gaming Den on Monday. Students will have a chance to build their own games, play in an esports tournament and learn about Indigenous video games.

O’Mastewin Foster, a third-year media arts student, and UM Esports team member, organized the workshop as a way to give Indigenous youth a space to develop and discover new skills.

 “The intention of this workshop is to open the horizons of what we as individuals are capable of and have the right to participate in," Foster said.

Video games offer a positive experience

“I see this event as having the potential to connect Native youth to each other, the broader UM community, the Indigenous gaming community, and to develop a passion that could become a career,” said Faith Price, who is the community prevention coordinator for All Nations Health Center. “The youth I work with daily love video games. Games of all kinds offer comradery, fun, laughter, and creativity – all of which are good for us as people.”

The first session will run from 9 am to 1 pm for middle school students, with high school students from noon until 4 pm. The student will have lunch and be able to meet Tony Brave, who is an assistant professor for digital technology and culture at Washington State University in Pullman.

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