Posts Tagged ‘Kumeyaay’

SDCC panelIt’s been a great honour this week to have been invited to participate in the “Recovering Indigenous History Through Comics” panel at San Diego Comic Con. A huge thank you to Comic Con International for organising the panel and supporting this kind of work – and a particular thank you to Comic Con co-founder Mike Towry for facilitating the involvement of myself, Jen Shannon and Elijah Benson. Without Mike’s personal involvement it’s hard to imagine this panel happening at all.

This panel has been significant for several reasons. Firstly, because it confirms the alignment of comics – a historically outsider, vernacular medium – with indigenous voices and marginalised perspectives. And not just “comics”, but “Comic Con International” – the largest comics convention organisation with a global presence and a community numbering in the millions. Although this was just a single, hour-long panel with 200 attendees, Comic Con’s support has given those of us who work in this area the kind of visibility that’s hard to get elsewhere. And this support and visibility in turn reinforces my own sense – and that of many of us involved more broadly with applied comics – that non-fiction, informational comics have an increasingly important role to play with regards outreach and education. And lastly, I think it points towards the growing recognition that the medium has not yet reached its full potential – that there are still subjects waiting to be explored where comics can do an excellent job of raising awareness, providing information and context, enabling new voices, etc. For me, this means history, archaeology and heritage – but there was a lot of mention both in the discussion after our panel and throughout the convention panels of comics’ connection to indigenous futurism and indigenous science, tribal and community sovereignty, raising political awareness, cultural revitalisation, climate adaptation, etc.

A final thank you to my colleagues on the panel, CU anthropologist Jen Shannon, MHA Education Department language leader Elijah Benson, Kumeyaay Community College Board Member Stan Rodriguez, comics creator Paul Guinan, SDSU anthropologist Kate Spilde, our moderator, the sculptor Johnny Bear Contreras, and Mike Towry of Comic Con. We hope to be working with many of these people again in the coming year on new community history comics.

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