• Daniélle Awogbemi

The Heroes We Both Need & Deserve



Can we talk about how great Indigenous Comic Con is?

Not just because it's a comic convention (and I sure as heck love those), but because of the fact that it's a way for Indigenous folks and their cultures to be seen in media without some ridiculous stereotype or appropriative BS attached.

They MORE than deserve to have positive representation. Indigenous peoples are the first Americans, but they've been treated heinously by what we now know as the modern American society and government. (I'm sure that you've heard of the #NoDAPL movement and seen the footage of the water protectors--peaceful protestors, mind you--being hosed in extremely low temperatures, sprayed with tear gas, unlawfully strip-searched, and violently handled.)

From games like "cowboys and 'Indians'"--interestingly switched to "cops" ("good" guys in place of the cowboys) and robbers (the bad guys in place of the "Indians")--to stereotypical TV and movie incarnations, to erasure in every way possible (even in "inclusive" social justice activism), all the way to having aspects of their cultures appropriated for Halloween costumes, the media has never been kind to them.

And as a superhero geek, I, for one, am glad that Indigenous superheroes and Indigenous stories, created and told by Indigenous people, are finally getting more publicity. They've heard a myriad of white stories and as minimal as black, Asian, and Latinx representation has been, they've also heard other POC's stories. We rarely hear theirs.

In my entire life, I've only been exposed to one. It was a story from my first grade Reading and Language Arts book (shockingly, the most diverse set of stories I've ever come across in my academic career) called Little Rattlesnake. It was told by Te Ata, also known as Mary Frances Thompson. I remember being fascinated by her picture in the "About" section after the story.


Though I had to look up her birth name, her Chickasaw name always stuck with me. And that's something I hope happens with other Indigenous storytellers as well as with their characters.

The world doesn't need shit like The Super Friends' racist caricature character "Apache Chief," it needs greatness--like Te Ata's stories and Jon Proudstar's Tribal Force.


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