David A. Robertson is the author of “Peggy”, a story in the anthology This Place: 150 Years Retold. The story features illustrations and colour art by Natasha Donovan. In his author statement below, David shares why he chose to focus on Francis Pegahmagabow – the most effective sniper of World War I, as well as a respected Indigenous rights activist – and what he hopes readers will gain by reading “Peggy”.
My work has often focused on representation—on how Indigenous Peoples now, and in the past, have been portrayed in literature. I also strive to find Indigenous heroes who have been underrepresented in literature. Often, I have used comics, an art form that spans all genres, and reaches all ages, genders, and cultures. I’ve known about Francis Pegahmagabow for years, on a surface level. I knew that he was one of the most effective snipers in history, but I wanted to know more about him, and I thought it was important for Canadians to know more as well. Drawing on several texts, including Brian McInnes’ excellent Sounding Thunder, I learned about Francis “Peggy” Pegahmagabow the man, and the effectiveness of his work that extended beyond the battlefield.
Comics are engaging and powerful. Much like Francis himself. But, as with this story, they often serve as an introduction, and it is up to the reader to continue the learning. There is so much more to Peggy, up to his retirement as Supreme Chief of the National Indian Government in 1950, and into his later life. The nuances, struggles, and victories are fascinating, and I hope this text catapults you into that life, and the teachings we can draw from it.
David A. Robertson
Learn about other Indigenous veterans with the Indigenous War Heroes Project: http://indigenouswarhero.org.
Read David A. Robertson’s take on the story of Francis “Peggy” Pegahmagabow in This Place: 150 Years Retold.
Explore the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators in this groundbreaking graphic novel anthology. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are a wild ride through magic realism, serial killings, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact.
Featuring Stories By: Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Sonny Assu, Brandon Mitchell, Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, David A. Robertson, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Jen Storm, Richard Van Camp, Katherena Vermette, and Chelsea Vowel
Illustrated By: Tara Audibert, Kyle Charles, GMB Chomichuk, Natasha Donovan, Scott B. Henderson, Ryan Howe, Andrew Lodwick, and Jen Storm
Colour By: Scott A. Ford and Donovan Yaciuk
This is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.