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Ghost River: From Colonial Past to Native Present

The graphic novel Ghost River: The Fall and Rise of the Conestoga (Red Planet Books and Comics, 2020) revisits the 1763 massacres of the Conestoga, an inter-tribal Indigenous community who lived peaceably on a tract of land set aside by William Penn with the very founding of Pennsylvania. While many scholars have focused on the political motivations of the assailants -- the so-called "Paxton boys" -- and the aftermath of the mob violence, Ghost River foregrounds the Indigenous experience by drawing upon unpublished manuscript records and the perspectives of contemporary Lenape (Delaware) peoples, whose ancestors survived settler colonial violence across the trans-Appalachian West.

Ghost River weaves a transhistorical literary web of historical artifacts, historical fiction, and Native artwork that reimagines colonial history from a Native present. The project was led by a Native author (Dr. Lee Francis 4), artist (Weshoyot Alvitre), publisher (Red Planet), and press (Tribal Print Source), and the narrative was refined through sustained consultation with both Lenape cultural advisors and early Americanists. Today the graphic novel is available in print and freely available online.

In this Lunch Seminar at the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis, Will Fenton, CESTA's associate director and editor of Ghost River, will discuss the origins of the graphic novel -- the digital humanities project Digital Paxton -- the collaborative process behind the project, and the opportunities and challenges for Native consultation in the context of tribal sovereignty in mid-Atlantic.

As part of the CESTA Lunch Seminar Series, this talk will include lunch and take place at the Stanford Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis in Wallenberg 433A.

Co-sponsored with the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, the Native American Studies Program,  and the Stanford Archaeology Center.

Tue October 25th 2022, 12:00 - 1:15pm
Will Felton