This month, we are highlighting and celebrating Indigenous stories through our June library display, which will be up for National Indigenous History Month. We have also included resources below on Indigenous comics, including resources spotlighting Indigenous Creators, Indigenous-owned comics publishers as well as other Canadian publishers that focus on publishing Indigenous creators’ work.
Please let us know if there are any comics resources you would recommend we add to this list, and visit us to read great comics by Indigenous creators!
This month also saw the release of the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Calls for Justice. If you haven’t had the chance, you can read the final report here, which was launched by the Government of Canada in September 2016. The report exposes the impacts of colonization, racism, and sexism on Indigenous communities. The goal of the report is to offer effective recommendations that will enhance and ensure the safety of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA individuals.
A great resource is the Indigenous Comics and Graphic Novels: An Annotated Bibliography, created by Taylor Daigneault (Métis), Amy Mazowita, Candida Rifkind, and Camille Callison (Tahltan).
To search for Indigenous creators who have lived and worked in Canada, visit our Canadian Cartoonists Database and type keyword “Indigenous” in the search bar. You can also narrow the search by adding more keywords separated by a comma like “Indigenous, women, Alberta”.
You can also visit the Cartoonists of Color Database, an amazing resource that spotlights marginalized comics creators. Search “Indigenous” in the Ethnicities drop down menu, along with other accumulative filters. The Cartoonists of Color Database was created/ is maintained by cartoonist MariNaomi.
Indigenous-owned Canadian comics publishers
“Indigenous Story Studio creates illustrations, posters, video and comic books on health and social issues for youth.”
“Indigenous Story Studio, formerly known as the Healthy Aboriginal Network, has been a registered non-profit Society in the province of British Columbia since 2005. Our mandate is the non-profit promotion of health, literacy & wellness.”
“Strong Nations provides an open service of information to support, and hopefully transform, the lives of Indigenous peoples by providing access to, and demonstrating the use of, Indigenous text in literacy acquisition. It is our hope that we can bring Indigenous content into the lives of all peoples in order to create pathways that support the building of strong nations together.” Indigenous graphic novels at Strong Nations
“Theytus Books is a leading North American publisher of Indigenous voices. Located in Syilx territory on the Penticton Indian Reserve in British Columbia, Theytus Books is proudly First Nations-owned and operated in partnership with the En’owkin Centre. As the oldest Indigenous publishing house in Canada, Theytus Books is recognized and respected internationally for its contributions to Aboriginal literature. Since its inception in 1980, Theytus Books has been a leading proponent for Indigenous authors, illustrators and artists. It ensures that their voice and vision are expressed with the highest level of cultural authenticity and integrity.”
Canadian publishers that focus on Indigenous comics
HighWater Press is an Indigenous-focused imprint of Portage and Main Press. You can find many of their titles at CCOL! “HighWater Press publishes books that portray a wide-ranging expression of Indigenous peoples’ culture and experiences, including high-quality fiction and nonfiction. Our current catalog is a rich mix of novels, graphic novels, memoirs, and children’s books. Our acclaimed list features established authors as well as emerging new voices. Vibrant and thought-provoking, these books will challenge and engage you.” View their comics here.
“Founded in 1975 by Rick Wilks and Anne Millyard, Annick’s reputation was built on a commitment to literature for youth that remains our guiding philosophy to this day. Annick publications are dynamic and written to the highest literary standards. We encourage critical thinking and the development of a child’s inner resources so that, in addition to becoming confident, contributing members of their community, they are also engaged with society at large and their peers around the globe. Most of all, we are passionate about ensuring that our books be pleasurable, self-affirming, informative, and entertaining.” Search “graphic novel” as the keyword with the theme set to “Indigenous”.
“Arsenal Pulp Press is a book publisher in Vancouver, Canada with over 400 titles currently in print, which include literary fiction and nonfiction; books on social issues; gender studies; LGBTQ and diverse literature; graphic novels and non-fiction; cookbooks; alternative crafts; visual arts; and books in translation. We are interested in literature that engages and challenges readers, and which asks probing questions about the world around us.” View their Indigenous comics and other literature here.
Other publishers focused on Indigenous Comics
“Featuring the incredible tales of Indigenous icons, First Nations freedom fighters, Aboriginal astronauts, and Native American superheroes whose stories have long been coopted, unheard or ignored. We strive to give you the most original and authentic representations of Native and Indigenous peoples through stories and texts that educate and entertain children, youth and adults.” Based in Albuquerque, NM.
“An imprint of the American Indian Studies Series at MSU Press. Makwa Enewed stands dedicated to books that encompass the varied views and perspectives of people working in American Indian communities. In that light, books published under the Makwa Enewed imprint rely less on formal academic critique, argument, methodology, and research conventions and more on experientially grounded views and perspectives on issues, activities, and developments in Indian Country. While work published in Makwa Enewed may resound with certain personal, speculative, conversational, political and/or social concerns of individuals and groups of individual American Indian people, in a larger sense such concerns and their delivery reflects the import, strength, uniqueness, and potential viability of the series. The series will gather its strength from the voices of tribal leaders, community activists, and socially engaged Native people. Thus, each publication in the Makwa Enewed will call forth from tribally based people and places, reminding readers of the varied beliefs and pressing interests of American Indian tribal people and communities.”
More Guides for Indigenous-Owned Publishers
First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Publishers and Distributors originally created by Sara McDowell for the University of Toronto, maintained by Desmond Wong (firstname.lastname@example.org):
“This guide is intended to provide assistance in identifying current publishers of material by or about First Nations, Métis and Inuit. The focus is on Indigenous-owned publishers, and academic and small presses that publish the work of Indigenous authors. A particular effort is made to include publishers of Indigenous language materials. More detail is provided on publishers from Central Canada. While an effort has been made to select publishers working in a good way, this guide should not be understood as an endorsement of any publisher or publication.”
“Indigenous publishing companies play an important role in raising the profile of Indigenous materials in the publishing industry. They do this through sharing Indigenous stories, supporting Indigenous writers and illustrators, and printing materials in Indigenous languages. This research guide offers an overview of Indigenous publishers, distributors, and news media, and also introduces alternative modes of publishing, such as zines and podcasts.”
Comics on display at CCOL