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On December 27, 1763, a mob of settlers from Paxtang Township (near Harrisburg, PA) rode to the workhouse in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and massacred the fourteen remaining Conestoga People, completing the vile and atrocious act that began two weeks earlier with the massacre of six Conestoga who were peacefully residing in their village in the rolling Pennsylvania countryside.
But this is not a story of a tragedy visited far too often on Native peoples in North America. Rather it is a story of resilience, determination, and the understanding that history can be told from many perspectives.
Written by Lee Francis 4 (Sixkiller, Tales of the Mighty Code Talkers), illustrated by the incomparable Weshoyot Alvitre (Deer Woman: An Anthology, Sixkiller) and edited by Will Fenton (The Library Company of Philadelphia), this new graphic novel from Red Planet Books and Comics chronicles the last days of the Conestoga People and brings their story to light; a story of despair and hope, loss and love, ancestors and the ghosts of history that are always with us.
Ghost River features 60 pages of art and 60 pages of interpretative materials, including historical context from some of the finest colonial-era scholars and teacher lesson plans developed by experts at the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. A digital edition of Ghost River (ghostriver.org), which will launch November 15th, will bring even more lessons and context to the graphic novel.
Redrawing History: Indigenous Perspectives on Colonial America has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Alongside Ghost River: The Fall and Rise of the Conestoga, the Library Company of Philadelphia will host an eponymous exhibition (November 11, 2019 – April 10, 2020) through which visitors can explore the process behind the project, including seeing Weshoyot Alvitre’s original artwork and the historical materials from which she drew inspiration (click HERE for more information on the exhibition).
Redrawing History: Indigenous Perspectives on Colonial America has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.