November 17, 2009

Quileute in Meyer comic book

Bluewater Productions has produced a series of comics called FEMALE FORCE featuring the life stories of Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Michelle Obama, and Caroline Kennedy in a broad examination of strong women in politics. Now FEMALE FORCE has branched into the literary world with comics about JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer.

Judging by the first seven pages, which are available online, Bluewater has added a supernatural framing device featuring vampires, wolves, and other spooky things.

I guess these scenes imply Meyer is a master of the macabre--rather than, say, a romance-besotted housewife. She's in tune with the grim and ghastly, channeling supernatural visions from the dark side. In short, this isn't just a plain-vanilla biography of someone who married her high-school sweetheart and lived happily every after.

The narrative inexplicably jumps to a history of the Quileute. Besides linking Indians to werewolves and vampires in the first few pages, this page also makes some questionable claims. (Right-click on the image and select View Image to see it full size.)

The first three captions are fine. The third panel shows a half-naked in a headband and cloak. I don't know if this is historically accurate, but I doubt it. This seems like the movies' conception of what the "primitive" Indians must've worn.

Panel four takes a turn for the worse when it says, "They originally were a very spiritual people." Really? They were but they aren't now?

True, this claim might have some validity. Everyone--Indians and non-Indians alike--are probably less spiritual in this modern age. But what's the writer's basis for making this claim? Have the Quileute Indians themselves admitted they're less spiritual nowadays?

Again, I doubt it.

True, many of them have abandoned their traditional religion for Christianity. But who says they're not very spiritual Christians? Maybe they believe more strongly in Christianity than they ever believed in their traditional religion.

Wolves on a vision quest

Panel five says, "The boys would go on quests to find their supernatural power once they reached puberty." Not all tribes traditionally practiced vision quests, of course, but most had puberty rites of some sort. I don't know if the Quileute had such rites or if they involved searching for a "supernatural power." This could be true, but it sounds like a movie concoction to me.

The Quileute website says, "Youths sought their own taxilit (personal guardian power) on solitary spirit quests." Hmm...not quite the same thing. A "supernatural power" is something like changing yourself into a wolf. A "personal guardian power" is more like a guiding spirit that helps you in times of trouble.

The previous panel says, "Legend holds that a supernatural transformer fashioned the Quileute from wolves...," an accurate summary of the tribe's origin myth. But this panel shows wolves, not boys, going on a quest. The picture contradicts the previous caption and implies the Quileute are wolves in human form.

So the comic book perpetuates the phony legend that Stephenie Meyer invented--that the Quileute aren't merely descended from wolves, but are still shapeshifting werewolves. Apparently she and the comic-book creators haven't learned anything from the objections people have raised. They're still peddling their products at the expense of Indians--telling false and misleading stories, without permission, to enrich themselves.

For more on the subject, see Meyer Violated Quileute Etiquette, The Problem with Quileute Werewolves, and Twilight vs. Quileute Legends.

P.S. The lines about the Quileute being less spiritual and the boys going on supernatural quests apparently come from the Quileute Wikipedia entry. I quoted these lines myself in Genuine Quileute History and Culture. But I'd still take anything written by non-Indians about the Quileute with a big grain of salt.

1 comment:

Kat said...