PEACE PARTY, the multicultural comic book featuring Native Americans, earned a front-page blurb and long interior article in the 5/24/00 edition of Indian Country Today (ICT). The appearance in the nation's no. 1 Native newspaper has catapulted PEACE PARTY to new levels of public awareness. Readers can see what ICT said at
American Indian Comic Book Wins Award
Keyed on PEACE PARTY's $500 award from the Puffin Foundation, the ICT article quoted positive reviews from several sources. It stressed publisher Rob Schmidt's prime objective: "to enhance awareness of American Indian history, culture, and youth issues." It noted Schmidt's plans to offer the comic as a teaching tool and to print versions in Native languages.
Schmidt, a non-Indian, believes his Native American research and contacts have prepared him to write an Indian-themed comic book. As ICT observed, "His organization also lists a formidable lineup of American Indians in the arts, writers, lawyers, and professors who act as the advisory board and screen all material for sensitivity." Schmidt claims this combination is unprecedented in comic book history.
Alexie invited to contribute
Ironically, while the PEACE PARTY article took up a third of a page, the other two thirds were occupied by a Sherman Alexie interview. Alexie, the talented Spokane/Coeur d'Alene writer, has denounced non-Native authors Tony Hillerman, Barbara Kingsolver, and Ian Frazier (On the Rez) for writing about Indians. He half-jokingly suggested a 10-year moratorium on whites writing about Indians so Indians can "catch up."
According to the article, other Native writers such as N. Scott Momaday and James Welch have said anybody should be able to write about anything. PEACE PARTY's Schmidt adds, "With all due respect to Mr. Alexie, whose work I admire, I have to agree with Momaday and Welch. I'm happy to submit PEACE PARTY to Native scrutiny to make sure it measures up."
Schmidt suggests the ideal solution would be for Alexie to write a PEACE PARTY story. "I understand Sherman is a comic book fan from way back," says Schmidt. "I'd love to see what he could do with our Indian characters."
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