The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) first Indigenous superhero was introduced last year in the Disney+ show, Hawkeye, and will soon be starring in their own spin-off series. Alaqua Cox (Menominee and Mohican) appeared in her first role ever as Maya Lopez, also known as the vigilante Echo. Like her comic-book counterpart, Cox was born deaf and brings a level of diversity and authenticity that has so far been missing from much of modern media, especially in genre films like Marvel or DC. One of the few other examples of an Indigenous actor being featured in a movie such as those was Eugene Brave Rock’s character, “Chief”, in the 2017 Wonder Woman. With her own show on the horizon, it’s a hopeful sign of greater representation in the future for future generations who’ll grow up on this media.Embed from Getty Images
Authenticity seems to hopefully be at the forefront of the creative minds behind Echo after a casting call was recently released for Indigenous dancers, singers, and royalty. As a comic book fan myself, the chance of seeing my culture represented this way on a platform as big as Disney is truly exciting to say the least, especially when it’s being done in a respectful manner. Traditionally, Native superheroes or fictitious characters are often portrayed laden with stereotypes without much thought put in, leading to one-dimensional and infamous tropes being repeated for years on end. Seeing Cox play a deep, rich character whose actions weighed heavily on the story was a refreshing experience that this community has long since strived for. Through this casting call and show in general, hopefully, we will begin to see more Indigenous representation in genres that have historically kept us in a box of stereotypes and falsehoods.Embed from Getty Images
In Hawkeye, Cox was joined by fellow Indigenous actor, Zach McClarnon (Hunkpapa Lakota). In the upcoming Echo, another Reservation Dogs star is joining the cast, Devery Jacobs (Mohawk). While their role is still unknown, it’s still exciting to see the network of Native actors come together and contribute to the series. With no release date, we still have quite a while to wait until we can finally watch the show, but until then, there’s much to look forward to for the future of Indigenous representation in mainstream media.