Graphic Novels and Native American WWI Soldiers
This week, the U.S. WWI Centennial Commission DISPATCH featured an interview with Chag Lowry, a Native American graphic artist, who has a new book coming out, SOLDIERS UNKNOWN. Inspired by the history of two great-great-uncles who served in WWI, SOLDIERS UNKNOWN, Lowry teamed up with artist Rahsan Ekedal to write about the 91st Infantry Division's experience in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.
In an interview with Chris Islieb, Director of Public Affairs for the Centennial Commission, Lowry discusses the cultural implications of war for Native American soldiers, who came from very different backgrounds than others in the military service. For example, he talks about post-War mourning and healing practices in his community. He explains "...every Native man from that generation was a holder of culture, language, and ceremony that is precious. When a Native man died in combat their entire community was impacted in a devastating manner. I also wanted to show how culture and ceremony helped heal those Native men who returned home."
In this impressive interview, Lowry reaches beyond the combat experience and describes the universality of his book's story for all Native Americans. He says "My characters represent the historical aspects that are present among the Native American experience of World War One. The characters are Yurok but I feel they represent all Native soldiers from that time. It is important to represent the full range of cultures and people who fought and sacrificed in the Great War. Our families and communities are still impacted by this experience today. Thank you for letting me share about this work."
Please consult this link to read the full interview with Chag Lowry, which includes images from SOLDIERS UNKNOWN. A fascinating window into an understudied yet amazing part of the Great War! Link - Interview with Chag Lowry