The artistic style of Gord Hill is one of a man less obsessed with art than that of a man who desperately needs you to understand the weight of stories which must be told. A self proclaimed warrior and member of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation , Hill has spent a lifetime defending his people and his territory, telling stories through art, writing, carving, and activism.
His latest project, The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book is a documentation of the fighting spirit and ongoing resistance of the indigenous people of both North and South America.
The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book combines the American tradition of graphic novels with a depth of American indigenous history unlike any publication that has come before it. In his forward, Hill stresses that the strength of the comic book is that it is a “format useful in reaching children, youth, and adults who have a hard time reading books or lengthy articles.”
In reality, this format goes beyond even that, giving anyone with the jist of American history a truly solid mental image of just how involved the indigenous people of America were in the efforts to keep and reclaim their land. Reaching back to the start of it all when Christopher Columbus landed in South America and ending with the Six Nations land reclamation in Ontario in 2006, Hill’s visual history weaves the stories of colonialism and resistance together and fills the gaps of our average historical knowledge, making the reader feel the weight of these conflicts and their results in a way sometimes hard to grasp from academic texts and brief newspaper articles.
Hill spent two years researching historical information to create this 87 page glimpse into history, and covers the some of the most meaningful fights as they moved up and down through South and North America. With stories from Chile to New Mexico, to the American Plains, to the Canadian western coast the reader is left striken with the breadth of devestation on our soil that has been mostly left from the texts of our high school books.
Arsenal Pulp Press launches the 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book on Friday, May 14, at the Aboriginal Friendship Centre in Vancouver (1607 East Hastings Street, 7 to 9pm).