Paying the land

by Sacco, Joe,

Format: Print Book 2020
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Summary

NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2020 BY THE NEW YORK TIMES , THE GUARDIAN, THE BROOKLYN RAIL , THE GLOBE AND MAIL , POP MATTERS , COMICS BEAT , AND PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

From the "heir to R. Crumb and Art Spiegelman" ( Economist ), a masterful work of comics journalism about indigenous North America, resource extraction, and our debt to the natural world

The Dene have lived in the vast Mackenzie River Valley since time immemorial, by their account. To the Dene, the land owns them, not the other way around, and it is central to their livelihood and very way of being. But the subarctic Canadian Northwest Territories are home to valuable resources, including oil, gas, and diamonds. With mining came jobs and investment, but also road-building, pipelines, and toxic waste, which scarred the landscape, and alcohol, drugs, and debt, which deformed a way of life.

In Paying the Land , Joe Sacco travels the frozen North to reveal a people in conflict over the costs and benefits of development. The mining boom is only the latest assault on indigenous culture: Sacco recounts the shattering impact of a residential school system that aimed to "remove the Indian from the child"; the destructive process that drove the Dene from the bush into settlements and turned them into wage laborers; the government land claims stacked against the Dene Nation; and their uphill efforts to revive a wounded culture.

Against a vast and gorgeous landscape that dwarfs all human scale, Paying the Land lends an ear to trappers and chiefs, activists and priests, to tell a sweeping story about money, dependency, loss, and culture--recounted in stunning visual detail by one of the greatest cartoonists alive.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Best known for his Palestine books--most notably, Footnotes in Gaza (2010)--frequent Eisner Award--winner Sacco's nonfiction titles share essential overlapping features: talking heads given agency to speak their truths, exquisitely detailed artwork, meticulously revealed events. Here Sacco heads to Canada's Northwest Territories, home to Dené people since "time immemorial." Accompanied by a Yellowknife (the Northwest Territories' only city) local in a borrowed truck, Sacco visits remote communities to learn about Indigenous history and colonization, government-admitted "cultural genocide" through 150 years of residential schools, the legacies of abuse and addiction, the battles over extraction of natural resources, and the ongoing quest for autonomy. Sacco records elders and activists, those who stayed, others who escaped yet returned, young adults desperate for connection with their vanishing heritage. Amidst the arduous journeys of survival (and not), Sacco's occasional godfather-of-manga-Tezukaesque self-parodies--for example, as "Joe of the North" with a netted trout, announcing, "He has engaged with the fauna and redeemed himself in the eyes of his readers"--provide welcome, momentary (can't resist) comic relief. Harrowing and enlightening, Sacco presents another solemn, resonating dispatch."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Eisner-winner Sacco (Safe Area Goražde) travels to northern Canada to talk with members of the Dene, a First Nations group located largely in the Northwest Territories, in this arresting exploration of a community on the brink. Fracking is the hotly contested issue at hand; it brings money and jobs, but devastates the environment. Sacco delves deeper than the current debate, exploring the long, fraught relationship between the Dene, the Canadian government, and the land. The powerful middle chapters collect first-person stories of the atrocity haunting Sacco's investigation: the mass forced separation of aboriginal children from their families to be "reeducated." Separating young people from their communities, Sacco argues, robbed generations of identity and direction, as Sacco learns from the testimonies of Dene people from all walks of life, from tribal leaders and elders who grew up in close-knit nomadic tribes to a young man hunting his first caribou. Sacco's densely composed, meticulous black-and-white art has grown even more realistic and carefully observed in this work, though he still presents himself as a caricature with buckteeth and Coke-bottle glasses. He wisely withdraws his presence to the background, allowing the Dene and other locals he interviews to take the spotlight, interspersing close-ups of faces with images of the breathtaking northern vistas. Sacco again proves himself a master of comics journalism. Agent: Nicole Aragi, Aragi (July)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Chipewyan Indians -- Northwest Territories -- Mackenzie River Valley -- Social conditions -- Comic books, strips, etc.
Indians, Treatment of -- Northwest Territories -- Mackenzie River Valley -- Comic books, strips, etc.
Graphic novels.
Comics (Graphic works)
Social issue comics.
Nonfiction comics.
Publisher New York :2020
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description 264 pages : illustrations ; 28 cm
ISBN 9781627799034
1627799036
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