Native American Representation

As many of our American history classes have done, Martyr of Christ misrepresents the relationship between Native Americans in Canada and the people they come in contact with. Before I delve in to explaining my findings in this comic, I would like to point out there that there is some truth to the comic. There is a saint, Saint Isaac Jogues, a Jesuit priest that was spoken about in some detail and the reader is informed about his death and veneration. That is not what I found to be a problem.

MartChrist

The story tells about how the Native Americans interacted with Father Jogues. The way the comic was written was with the Native Americans speaking broken English. Almost all of the sentences are written without conjunctions. I’m sure that the Native Americans knew no English and were not as pleasant when they encountered foreigners. The comic shows the Natives coexisting with the new people in a cordial way. It did show the natives holding the head of the Saint but only after living with him.

Beheaded

The comic itself is a series of short comics in which the first two show the interactions with the Native Americans. The second, Quest of Honor, also misrepresents the natives. The first time the native encounters a foreigner his exact words are “I’ve never seen a man like you. Who are you?” I guess the only reason that the creator of the comic would right the English in the bubble was so that the reader can understand. While being so critical in my interpretation of the comic, I have to realize the purpose of having the Native speaking English.

AtVillage

Again in the second story we see the natives communicating with the new people they come in contact with and it seems not to be a problem. By now we have all learned that the interactions with Natives were deadly to say the least. It is hard for one to understand that the relationship between the two sides was pleasant. In this story we do not see the killing of someone who isn’t native. It actually shows the Native people welcoming the foreigners in and honoring them. They treat the people like they are higher ups and show them the most respect. We know that this was not the case. I was a little taken back by these stories, but for the sake of informing people on the most basic level of the encounters with the Natives these stories do their job.

  1 comment for “Native American Representation

  1. knewell2
    October 7, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    I think you argument as to why the creator decided to have the Native American’s dialogue at the beginning written in English is compelling. But I have definitely read some webcomics that have multiple languages present among characters and the creator makes a distinction, whether by putting the text in “<” and “>” or modifying the text in some way, whenever the non-dominant language is being spoken. I wonder if this is a more novel idea that developed during the evolution of the webcomic or if the creator of this comic just decided to make it appear as if the Native Americans did indeed speak English. By having them already speaking the same language as the Saint, it could make it appear as if they were on equal footing as compared to reality.

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