DC Comics Basing Native Superhero on Cree Activist Shannen Koostachin
DC Comics author Jeff Lemire is working on a new superhero team, Justice League Canada, and as he develops a female First Nations character he's looking to the late activist Shannen Koostachin for inspiration. Koostachin, from the Attawapiskat First Nation, led a campaign for safe schools and Aboriginal education and was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize. She died in a car accident at the age of 15 in 2010.
"I think if I can capture some of that heart and some of that essence in this character, perhaps she'll almost be a guiding spirit in the creation of this character," Lemire told CBC. Lemire says that he has not decided on the new character's superpowers, and will be taking submissions from students. "There would be the cultural strengths," he said. "The family ties, the knowledge of the land, the rich, rich symbolism of the Cree on James Bay."
Lemire is the author/artist of the acclaimed indie graphic novels Essex County and The Underwater Welder for Top Shelf Comics, and since 2009 has been working within the DC universe (where the superheroes live) as a writer for various titles. His blog is at jefflemire.blogspot.de.
Koostachin's legacy is Shannen's Dream, a social justice campaign that seeks to improve funding for education for First Nations children. Koostachin and Shannen's Dream are the subject of Alanis Obomsawin's 2013 film Hi-Ho Mistahey!. Here's a clip: