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Thursday, September 15, 2022 

A comic tackling issues concerning Indian women, and another one drawing from ancient traditions

Spectrum News 1 reported of a comic published by a guy in Texas titled Coywolf, starring a character named Canelita, and deals with issues involving women of Indian/indigenous descent, such as domestic violence:
Bert Arista is a Dallas Cowboy — kind of. He’s not running routes or calling plays, but he does create graphics for the organization.

[...] He’s designed a lot of cool art for the organization such as its Dia de Los Muertos campaign, but the work he’s most proud of is a project outside of work, "Coywolf." It’s a comic book that he helped bring to life.

“I wanted to create character to be like that. I want Canalita to be this strong, Hispanic character that also seems to address these type of issues, where women aren’t just looked at the same.

Canelita is an Afro-Indigenous superhero who seeks justice for the murder of her parents. The idea was thought up by Gabe Hernandez, who is from San Antonio but lives in the DFW.

[...] Hernandez and Arista also showed us the back of the comics, which also draw attention to various causes for Indigenous women.

“On the back you can go the Coalition of the Missing and Indigenous Murdered Women of USA. There’s a site where you can contribute,”
Arista said.

More than four in five Native American Indian and Alaskan Native women have experienced violence in their lifetimes, and this includes 56% who have experienced sexual violence and 55% who have experienced physical violence.

“Bringing in the awareness of Indigenous women in their communities could be a way to give back to what we are taking. Because we are taking pieces of their culture, pieces of the entire Southwest culture. So we have to give back,” Arista said.
Reading this, I wondered what the reaction would be if somebody who wasn't of Indian/Black descent developed this book? Would there be stupid, irresponsible objections along the lines of stereotyping, and an instant writeoff regardless of whether the author researched the topics in focus? 2 years ago, an author named Jeanine Cummins who penned "American Dirt" came under attack by SJWs for not being Mexican-American, and she even faced death threats by creeps who believe this alone disqualifies her from writing about the subject of cartels and the experiences of victims. Based on this incident, what would be the reaction if the author of Coywolf wasn't of Indian descent? It likely goes without saying he'd face offensive backlash by people who aren't really concerned about the issues he's alluded to in the graphic novel. And then we wonder how it's so exceedingly difficult to tackle serious subjects?

In similar news, Indian Country Today wrote about a superhero creation in North Dakota titled KODA:
For educator Mark Mindt, his KODA character has been by his side since he started working on his education degree years ago.

KODA was also there when he attended tribal college for art and technical skills to market the character.

“KODA the Warrior” is a Dakota comic book superhero created by Mindt. The character is based on Mindt's experiences with a superhero twist. Mindt is KODA’s writer and illustrator and now the fourth edition of the super hero is back.

“I’ve been drawing KODA while working on my bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND,” Midnt told ICT in an email. “After graduating, my first position was as a third grade teacher on the Coeur D’ Alene Reservation in Idaho. It was there that KODA came to life by blending my artwork with stories of KODA’s journey to my students. Their excitement for a new adventure continued to inspire me.”

[...] Mindt shared how KODA started as a character in his thoughts. He said: “KODA’s story begins as a college student pondering what his own path in life means. He grew up with his dad on their family farm near Pony Gulch, ND. He soon met a mentor in the form of a Thunder Being called Walking Thunder.”

“What makes KODA’s story memorable is his decision to ‘take a leap of faith’ and pursue his vision. His decision brought him to discover new lands and the Red Road within him,” added Mindt.

Mindt continued, “While KODA is yet in his early 20s, he travels from the safety of the farm and into a world of ancient traditions, cultural miracles and the strength of tribal languages throughout these tribal lands.”

KODA begins to learn more details about a missing family member and the reasons for their absence from his life. “Most importantly, KODA understands his purpose isn’t to simply ‘save the day’, but to help others believe in their personal power to make their own days more meaningful,” said Mindt.
I congratulate the guy for conceiving his own comic, and building on ancient history can be advantageous, but as I've argued before, I wish these folks would go beyond just superhero themes some more, and not rely solely on one of the USA's most overused themes in science-fantasy comics. Why, even the whole "secret identity" theme is overused as well, and that's one more thing that could be downplayed.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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