Staying informed, having fun

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Last week I blogged about staying in touch with the world.

It can be really hard to do when you don’t have a lot of free time. Not everyone wants to read the newspaper during their ten free minutes of the morning or catch the news before heading to bed.

But there are some really fun ways to stay in touch with what’s going on in the world.

I recently read 7 Generations: A Plains Cree Saga.

It’s a short graphic novel written by David Alexander Robertson and illustrated by Scott B. Henderson.

It’s about seven generations of a plains Cree family. The story shows how the coming of Europeans changed the lives of the particular Aboriginal family the story follows.

While many of the historical aspects are factual, the characters and their specific experiences are mostly fictional. For this reason I wouldn’t consider the graphic novel journalism. However, it does inspire me to think about telling more journalistic pieces through this medium.

But journalism isn’t really what the author was going for. He came to speak to my class yesterday. He is using the graphic novel to help educate people about indigenous people in Canada. I think he will be successful in that. I didn’t learn anything I don’t already know from the book, but had this been around when I was a kid I probably would have learned about how life for Aboriginal people was/is a lot earlier in life.

Robertson has a few other graphic novels. I know I need to educate myself more about important issues such as this, and have been beating myself up about it. But with my schedule I don’t have a lot of time for reading. Graphic novels don’t take up a great deal of time and can be packed with information so I’m going to order a few of his other books from the library for Reading Week.

In the past year I have read Nahlah Ayed’s A Thousand Farewells and Jim Blanchard’s Winnipeg’s Great War. Both books are non-fictional accounts of huge events. The subject matters were bleak and weighed down with names, dates and small details. The information in 7 Generations was much easier to digest. Sure, there was less, but that made the most important things stand out more than in the other books.

It was probably because of how easy it was to consume that this book had the greatest impact on me of the three. Parts of Ayed’s and Blanchard’s book hit me hard enough to move me to tears, but having visual aids in Robertson’s graphic novel was much more impactful.

It frustrates me to no end when people say Aboriginal populations of Canada have no excuse for their current situations because what happened to them shouldn’t be impacting them anymore. Robertson’s book is a great illustration of why they are wrong. It is definitely a book I’ll recommend to people needing a bit of education.

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