Examine the representation of the warrior figure in two of the following: The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book, Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, or alterNatives
The representation of the warrior figure contrasts within The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book by Gord Hill and AlterNatives by Drew Hayden Taylor. Both comic and play script highlight two spectrums in which the warrior figure can be depicted. They both indicate a more militant perspective in which Warriors are shown to represent their interests and reject those that disagree. 500 years of Resistance largely highlights the physical struggle of warriors against European conquest and colonialism whilst Alternatives represents the recently found use of intellect to argue for Native rights and retain its history. Both texts also acknowledge a diminished warrior figure, one in which is overwhelmed and subordinated physically in Hill’s comic and one that is subordinated socially in AlterNatives.
Chronologically in 500 Years of Resistance, War on the Coast highlights the first resilient and strong depiction of warriors. The comic represents the unified reactions that Native warriors had against the arriving expeditions from Europe. “The first Europeans on the northwest coast were a 1742 Russian expedition that sailed to Southern Alaska . . .” The comic straight away depicts the exploitive intentions of the Europeans, “Soon, gangs of armed Russians were taking Aluet families hostage + forcing hunters to gather sea otter skins” (Hayden, P.51). Furthermore, “In 1778, a British naval force under Capt. Cook arrived at Nootka sound on south Vancouver, claiming the lands for the British Empire.” (Hill, P.52). In this panel, the British ship is represented as a massive object compared to the miniscule canoes used by the Native warriors. Although this highlights a clear advantage for the colonialists, warriors are still shown to be confronting the ship, indicating their representation to be without fear and devoted to defending their land. They perhaps had no choice considering “The English cited Indian “savagery” and “depredations” as justification for the dispossession and enslavement.”. Within the section of War on the Coast, Warriors are shown to successfully confront and repel European ships. “Throughout the 1780s + ‘90s more European + US ships were attacked. In 1794, the Resolution was captured + destroyed by Haida warriors, who killed the entire crew. . .”(Hill, P.53). Resistance on a larger scale is further shown “in 1802, a Russian fort at Stika was destroyed by as many as 1,000 Tlingit Warriors. The Tlingit were well-armed thru trade and determined to defend their lands...” (Hill, P.53). Dressed in full Native outfits, the warriors in this panel highlight pride in their culture and appear to represent moral superiority compared to the plain clothed Europeans whom they defeat. In these initial conflicts, the warriors who represent the determination of sustaining their Native way of life repel European settlers.
Further representation of the defiant, strong warrior is exemplified in the Resistance section of Hill’s comic. The representation of warriors in this section appears unified in that it depicts warriors as persistently repelling the European invaders. “The colonization of the Americas by European forces was not easy. It involved centuries of war as our ancestors fought a life + death struggle” (Hill, P.37). In this panel, a “Mexica eagle warrior” is shown in a full Native outfit having just killed an armored Spaniard. A race, which at the time regarded Native’s “as inferior to the Spaniards as children are to adults and […] between monkeys and men.” (Mines, P. 453) Sweat is shown to be dripping off of him, highlighting the hard work and devotion to the cause in which he fights for. Despite confronted by three more armored soldiers, the warrior still appears ready to fight, clearly representing him to be fearless. Warrior’s determination and...
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