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The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book [Paperback]

Gord Hill , Ward Churchill
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
List Price: CDN$ 12.95
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Book Description

April 15 2010

The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book is a powerful and historically accurate graphic portrayal of Indigenous resistance to the European colonization of the Americas, beginning with the Spanish invasion under Christopher Columbus and ending with the Six Nations land reclamation in Ontario in 2006. Gord Hill spent two years unearthing images and researching historical information to create The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book, which presents the story of Aboriginal resistance in a far-reaching format.

Other events depicted include the 1680 Pueblo Revolt in New Mexico; the Inca insurgency in Peru from the 1500s to the 1780s; Pontiac and the 1763 Rebellion & Royal Proclamation; Geronimo and the 1860s Seminole Wars; Crazy Horse and the 1877 War on the Plains; the rise of the American Indian Movement in the 1960s; 1973's Wounded Knee; the Mohawk Oka Crisis in Quebec in 1990; and the 1995 Aazhoodena/Stoney Point resistance.

With strong, plain language and evocative illustrations, The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book documents the fighting spirit and ongoing resistance of Indigenous peoples through 500 years of genocide, massacres, torture, rape, displacement, and assimilation: a necessary antidote to the conventional history of the Americas.

The book includes an introduction by Ward Churchill, a writer, political activist, and co-director of the American Indian Movement of Colorado.

Now in its second printing

Frequently Bought Together

The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book + What We All Long For
Price For Both: CDN$ 26.84

  • What We All Long For CDN$ 15.16

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Product Details

Product Description

Quill & Quire

The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book, by First Nations artist and longtime political activist Gord Hill, promises a fresh approach to understanding what has happened to indigenous people in the Americas since 1492. But over the course of 80 illustrated pages that demonstrate an evident depth of research, the book fails to deliver on that promise.

The subject matter is rife with dramatic tension – a cruel history of genocide, cultural erasure, forced relocation, and sexual abuse that has repercussions to this day. But Hill’s retelling is burdened by ideological didacticism and fails to engage the reader with any sustained narrative drive.

A significant part of the problem is the scope of this project. Recounting many of the key moments of the past five centuries in roughly 10,000 words is an obvious challenge – in one case, the chronology leaps forward 85 years from one panel to the next. Too much of the narrative is divided between uncreative, rote description and repetitive, dogmatic references to “the struggle” that could have been lifted from the pages of Socialist Worker. The unfortunate irony is that despite the unconventional graphic format and the incredibly unsettling subject matter, this book is sometimes as dry as the traditional history texts to which the author seeks to provide an alternative.

There are some bright moments, though. The drawings themselves are rich with complex historical and ethnocultural detail. The varied experiences of indigenous peoples from Chile to Alaska are enumerated with an uncommon specificity, paying particular attention to geography and the details of people’s homes, customs, and attire. In this sense, the book provides an antidote to the monolithic stereotype of “the Indian” that continues to hold sway in the North American imagination. The story and pictures also employ occasional flashes of humour, particularly when lampooning white-dominated police and military forces in sections that deal with modern-day native battles. And many lesser-known – and shameful – moments in North American history are brought to light.

But ultimately Hill’s primary audiences, First Nations people and those in allied movements for social justice, would be more effectively engaged and inspired by stronger storycraft than the bland rhetoric that predominates here.


The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book combines the American tradition of graphic novels with a depth of American indigenous history unlike any publication that has come before it.... Hill's visual history weaves the stories of colonialism and resistance together and fills the gaps of our average historical knowledge, making the reader feel the weight of these conflicts and their results in a way sometimes hard to grasp from academic texts and brief newspaper articles.
Art Threat

Gord Hill has put colonial myth-makers on notice with a comic that educates and inspires.
The St'at'imc Runner

Gord Hill blends his visual and literary talents to tell the story of aboriginal life since the arrival of Europeans in the Western Hemisphere in 1492.... 500 Years of Resistance succeeds as a bold primer on colonialism and its haunting legacy today.
This Magazine

Comic books have a long tradition of being subversive, and Gord Hill uses every ounce of that tradition to challenge the treatment of First Nations across North and South America. The introduction and bibliography, written by activist Ward Churchill, provides an overview of Churchill's own involvement in the American Indian Movement and the Wounded Knee uprising of 1973. It frames Hill's intention of using The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book as a primer on the colonization of the Americas, from a First Nations' perspective.
ffwd (Calgary)

Comics aren't always known for treating serious subjects, but Gord Hill's The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book adds a dose of reality to the genre. Hill, of the Kwakwaka'wakw nation, has taken the topics of dispossession, genocide, and the colonization of First Nations in the western hemisphere and, surprisingly, pulled off a rendering in comic book form.
Dissident Voice

Hill's raw images convey the events depicted effectively.
Publishers Weekly

A reminder about just how complacent popular culture has become in the oppression of human rights, and how wonderfully engaging and provocative comic books can be if they're done properly ... What's really impressive about the book, however, is how the medium fits and re-energizes the message perfectly: the anarchy of comic books, and their ability to shape young minds. And therein lies the true importance of a comic book as brave as this one: it has echoes of the topicality of headline-grabbing causes that the government ignores, wishes would go away (and, thus, get worse). Wow.

The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book is a milestone. Never before have I come across a non-fiction graphic novel capable of evoking such a powerful emotional response. Dealing with such topics as genocide, oppression and assimilation the comic is sure to cause frustration and sadness in the reader. At the same time, 500 Years of Resistance is inspirational and empowering, accurately depicting the strength and nobility of Native warriors. Gord's straightforward approach to writing coupled with his iconic illustrations has created a truly groundbreaking comic book.
Redwire Media

This is a fantastic illustrated introduction to American history that most of us don't know, including contemporary rebellions like the Zapatistas in Mexico and the two Canadian standoffs in the late 90s.
Sacramento News & Review

An eye-opener, not least because Hill's assured treatment of these dark pages of history is a welcome addendum to the seminal A People's History of American Empire by Zinn, Konopacki and Buhle.... How many of us know of Lautaro (Mapuches), Tupac Amaru (Incas), Tecumseh (Shawnee), Pontiac (Ottawa), Cochise (Chiricahua Apache), Crazy Horse (Oglala Lakota), Geronimo (Chiricahua Apache) or Yellow Thunder (Ho-Chunk)? Hill introduces them as one whose knowledge is intimate and theirs are truly edifying stories.
The Morning Star (UK)

Illustrating the time of Columbus through today, author Gord Hill presents with fat, jagged lines a legacy of occupation, enslavement and efforts to erase cultures, and the wars of resistance in return. Hill, an activist for Native Americans, allows anger to seep off each page, lending a sense of first-person passion to an otherwise straightforward series of historical events.
Colorado Springs Independent

Gord Hill's goal of giving indigenous peoples a better understanding of their past so as to counter the benign version all too often taught in schools and presented in the media makes the format [of his work] the perfect vehicle for his hard-hitting message.
BC Studies

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An vital resource Sept. 9 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This graphic novel is insightful and passionate, with a strong and important perspective. Teachers will find this book to be an invaluable resource in the classroom. It brings the history - however brutal - to life, changing the learning experience into a much more effective one. It is just the right length, comprehensive, has just enough detail. Can be used a main source or as a supplement to other learning. Important for readers of all ages.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating story of the untold history of the Native peoples of the Americas Oct. 24 2010
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Defeat doesn't mean submission. "The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book" discusses the many ways over the relations between Europeans and Native Americans where they have shown resistance even in defeat, in response to the terrible atrocities that have been executed upon them. All throughout the Americas, many struggles are depicted with a very anti-European slant. "The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book" is a fascinating story of the untold history of the Native peoples of the Americas.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Comic Book April 5 2013
By Kissy Kissems! - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Awesome Comic Book, with fun drawings and excellent stories. I think this is great that Gord Hill is spreading the warrior tradition through the medium of comic book art. I think it can reach a lot more people that way. Against Colonization, Against Capitalism!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I applaud both Ward Churchill and Gord Hill! April 1 2011
By The Best Dentist In America - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The atrocities committed by The Government of The United States upon the indigenous people, the native population, as well as numerous other persons are abundant. I applaud both Ward Churchill and Gord Hill for their insight, their wisdom, and their courage to communicate this message in such an eloquent and yet comprehensible manner. This book should be required reading for all public school students. Now is the time for all good citizens to come to the aid of their party.
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting overview of the subject June 2 2014
By Anthony Prudori - Published on Amazon.com
Takes you through indigenous resistance over 500 years in a not-very-thick book, so you lose a fair bit of detail, making sometimes wonder what didn't make it into the book.

Still, an education about how history is seen.
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool Jan. 5 2014
By Jacki Cubias - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It was what I expected. Beautiful artwork and it's educational. It's a fun way for a teen to learn about history.
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