Arigon Starr was asked to contribute to an online comic about the phenomenon known as “The Social Distance Powwow.”
As most of you know, because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, social gatherings have been cancelled, including Native American powwows. A few enterprising entrepreneurs created a group on Facebook to encourage folks to come together to dance, drum and sing. The page has been hosting virtual powwows since March, with no end in sight.
Arigon was approached by writer S.I. Rosenbaum and one of “The Nib’s” editor to add images to thirty panel online comic. “The Nib” features topical, social justice webcomics from a variety of contributors.
“I was excited to use my comic skills to tell a different kind of story,” said Arigon. “It was a challenge to take real world events and turn them into a visual narrative. S.I. Rosenbaum’s writing was compelling, so that made it a lot easier for me to illustrate my community.”
“How to Powwow in a Pandemic” features a short history of the creation of the Social Distance Powwow, plus how Native people used these gatherings to keep culture alive. “I had fun drawing a lot of regalia,” Arigon said. “What was important to me also was the story of the Jingle Dress dance and the origins in the 1918 Pandemic. A lot of folks don’t know these things, so having the responsibility to be as accurate and authentic as possible was key.”
You can enjoy the comic online here: