Discussion Guide for "Super Indian Volume One"

Discussion Guide for Super Indian Volume One

Graphic novels tell a story using a combination of words and pictures in a sequence of panels. Sometimes, as with Super Indian, a volume contains several different, related stories. The visual way of conveying a story parallels storytelling in various cultures, including Native peoples. Some Southwestern tribal nations recorded stories on stone. These are known today as petroglyphs. Among the Plains nations, stories and histories were recorded on buffalo hides.  Some in Western society argue that because Native peoples or nations did not have a written alphabet similar to the English one, they were not a literate people. And yet Native people passed stories on, over thousands of years, using these visual techniques. 

  • Discuss ways in which one people selectively view another in ways that unfairly denigrate that other. 
  • For over a hundred years, Native communities have been exploited by people who seek to acquire Native spiritual and material knowledge. Among them are anthropologists. As Super Indian opens, we meet Professor Karl Von Kelheim. He’s searching for ancient artifacts. Over recent years, artifacts from several tribal nations were put up for auction in Paris. Some speculate that anthropologists acquired them through nefarious means. Acoma’s leadership objected to the auction. The U.S. State Department asked for the items to be returned. Look for and discuss those news stories. Professor Karl Von Kelheim’s presence in the story has a historical context that has bearing on today’s tribal nations. 
  • A delightful aspect of Super Indian is the use of technology. Outside of Native communities, there is a perception that Native people live their lives much like their ancestors did, with little use of modern technology. That, of course, is not the case. Native Nations, as sovereign entities, make strategic use of technology. Many have websites. In Super Indian, Hubert is a nerd who blogs. Together with your child, look up tribal nations that are, or were, located in your state. Visit their websites and learn about the various ways they use technology to accomplish their business or cultural goals. 
  • Interspersed in Super Indian are one-page biographies of “Real Super Indians” like Maria Tallchief and Jim Thorpe. Look for additional biographies about them, and learn more about their respective nations, too. Recently, Thorpe has been in the news because his family and the Sac and Fox Nation wanted his remains returned to them for interment at the tribal cemetery. In their lawsuit, they tried to use the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), but the US Supreme Court ultimately ruled against them. Learn more about NAGPRA, such as when and why it was enacted.   


Now that you have read the first book, check out Super Indian Volume Two!

"Super Indigenous Reader" (Sixtus Dominguez Jr.) photo above used courtesy of READ INDIGENOUS Susana Garcia Dominguez.


Arigon Starr
Photo by Ryan RedCorn