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Dakwäkãda Warriors

Saving the earth from evil pioneers and cyborg sasquatches.

Ts’ür’i and Aghay are the Dakwäkãda Warriors protecting Nän from their nemesis Cyber Nà’į and Space Kwäday Dän. Flying in their spaceship, can they prevent the Sha being stolen from Cyber Nà’į and Space Kwäday Dän?!

As a young person growing up in Haines Junction YT, artist Cole Pauls performed in a traditional song and dance group called the Dakwäkãda Dancers. During that time, Pauls encountered the ancestral language of Southern Tutchone. Driven by a desire to help revitalize the language, he created Dakwäkãda Warriors, a bilingual comic about two earth protectors saving the world from evil pioneers and cyborg sasquatches.

Pauls’ Elders supported him throughout the creation process by offering consultation and translation. The resulting work is a whimsical young adult graphic novel that offers an accessible allegory of colonialism. Dakwäkãda Warriors also includes a behind-the-scenes view into the making of the comic and a full-colour insert featuring character illustrations by guest Indigenous Canadian artists.

From the publisher, an interview with Cole Pauls: 

1. Why did you decide to create this comic? 
I wanted to create a sense of identity and strength for the youth from my hometown and the Yukon. To be portrayed in a heroic but also realistic way, where culture is power and the community is stronger because of that. I made Dakwäkãda Warriors to keep Southern Tutchone language and culture alive.

2. What do you hope your work will bring to the Canadian comics canon?
A proper portrayal of Yukon Indigenous culture, we don't live in igloos, ya know!! I want to show the world what Southern Tutchone culture really is and how strong Indigenous culture can be when properly portrayed by someone who lives and practices it.

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 8 to 16

Language revitalization in an allegory of colonialization.
Artist Cole Pauls wanted to reclaim the Southern Tutchone language he had learned as a youth while performing in a traditional song and dance group. So, he created a comic about two Earth Protectors saving the Earth from evil pioneers and cyborg sasquatches. But he also went to his elders and asked them to translate his comic into the two dialects of Southern Tutchone. The resulting work is an allegory of colonialization done in an accessible format, a whimsical young adult graphic novel which helps to revitalize language. Pauls includes a "making of" postscript to give context to the project, and invites guest Indigenous Canadian artists to provide "pin-ups" of his characters.

Additional Information
112 pages | 6.50" x 10.00" | 112 illustrations