“Year one was so amazing, we had to do it again!” said Indigenous Comic-Con creator and Native Realities CEO Dr. Lee Francis (Laguna Pueblo). “This year we are expanding to highlight more areas of Native and Indigenous people in popular culture. There’s just so much to do and see and we are thrilled to have such an opportunity to work on this once again.”
Indigenous Comic-Con’s sponsor Johnnie Jae (Otoe-Missouria/Choctaw) agrees. “The inaugural Indigenous Comic-Con was more successful than we could possibly have imagined. So, this year we had to make the move to a bigger venue so that we could better accommodate the attendees, artists, and vendors.”
Round two of Indigenous Comic-Con, which is the premier gathering for Indigenerds [the definition of an “Indigenerd” is folks who want to see dynamic, authentic, and joyous representations of Native and Indigenous people] and all things Indigenous pop culture, will take over the Isleta Resort and Casino from Friday through Sunday, November 10-12. Isleta Resort is just south of Albuquerque, NM on the Isleta Pueblo reservation.
For its second incarnation, Indigenous Comic-Con will again feature Indigenous pop cultures of all sorts. This year’s headliner is Eugene Brave Rock, one of the brightest up-and-coming Native actors in recent years. Brave Rock, a member of the Blackfoot tribe born and raised in Alberta, Canada, is best known for his role of “Napi”, aka the “Chief” in the 2017 DC hit, Wonder Woman (starring Gal Gadot). Brave Rock honed his skills as a stuntman and coordinator, most notably setting up a boot camp for Native American stunt performers featured in the Oscar-award winning film The Revenant.
Also among the stellar guests for this year’s comic con are comic creators Arigon Starr (Super Indian), Jon Proudstarr (Tribal Force), illustrators Lalo Alcaraz (La Cucaracha, Bordertown) and Weshoyot Alvitre (Moonshot 2, Deer Woman), actors J. Larose (Saw II, Ray Donovan) and Alan Tafoya (Deadliest Warrior, MacGruber) and author Richard Van Camp (The Lesser Blessed, Three Feathers).
Indigenous Comic-Con 2017 promises great access to guests, who will be participating in everything from panels to signings and everything in-between, as well as a terrific vendor space, cosplay contests, interactive art installations, cooking and martial arts demos, puppetry shows, makerspaces, robotics demos, movie showings and more.
“When we imagined this event last year, it was a dream undertaking,” explains Francis. “Bringing together Native and Indigenous folks from comics, film, literature, and gaming was a massive undertaking but so very worth all the energy and time.”
According to Francis, the idea that showcasing the incredible pop culture expressions of Native people in one place was critical and rooted in self-determination. “The need to show that we are more than just historical representations or stereotypes of a long-gone people is the first steps to undoing four hundred years of misrepresentation.”
Supporting the Indigenous Comic-Con, attending the Indigenous Comic-Con and promoting the Indigenous Comic-Con is a continued act of defiance toward a pop culture world where Native Americans only exist in the past; the romanticized existence of Indigeneity. The Indigenous Comic-Con looks beyond this ‘tragic’ past toward a bright and exciting future where Native people are the heroes of our own stories. “A future where Native kiddos can see themselves reflected in the mass media world they occupy,” says Francis. “A future where Native people embrace the joyous reflections of their traditions, culture, and communities.”
This is also one of the main reasons why the Indigenous Comic-Con changed its host location to the Isleta Resort and Casino. “In moving the event to Isleta Pueblo, we continue to honor our obligations and traditions by locating on tribal land,” Francis explains. “This is a powerful and deliberate statement about how we are working to promote tribal entities as well as support our local tribal institutions.”
Single tickets run $20 (Friday only) or $25 (Saturday or Sunday only), while the three-day pass runs $50 ($30 for youth and $10 for kids 3-10). VIP passes begin at $80 and four-person, three-day family passes begin at $200.
You can find hotels, travel information and booth vendors on the Indigenous Comic-Con website.