Publication Details

Dudek, D. L. (2016). "Good Relationships Mean Good Lives": Warrior-Survivor Identity/ies in David Alexander Robertson's 7 Generations. Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, 43 (1), 39-50.


David Alexander Robertson's graphic novel 7 Generations: A Plains Cree Saga,illustrated by Scott B. Henderson,moves backwards and forwards through and overlaps time in order to connect remembered stories and current experiences to Indigenous identities in Canada. This graphic novel,rendered in colour,was first published as four individual black-and-white comics with coloured covers: Stone,Scars,Ends/ Begins,and The Pact. The series follows the protagonist,Edwin,as he listens to the stories his mother and father tell him about his Plains Cree ancestors and family in order to help him heal after his attempted suicide. Although the stories embody the personal histories of Edwin's ancestors,they may also be understood as representative of the stories of many Indigenous peoples in Canada. The narrative spans across more than 200 years of Canadian history: the first issue unfolds primarily in the early nineteenth century; the second progresses through the smallpox epidemic of 1870-71; the third follows Edwin's father in a residential school in the 1960s; and the final issue continues Edwin's father's story and concludes,full circle,in 2010. At the end of this fourth book,The Pact,Edwin and his father,James,walk alongside a river,which becomes the site of their reconciliation. In this essay,I argue that Edwin's warrior survivor identity is shaped in an interrelationship with the river that embodies his past and present ancestors.