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Chapter 13 Page 27

August 22nd, 2016

Defiant Elk claims his opponents’ valor on Chapter 13, Page 27. Blaise has opinions about it. Elk tells him to stuff his opinion. What is Snow up to during this? Please vote for Snow by Night on Top Web Comics and find out!

So this page. I spent a long, long time thinking about this page. It’s subject matter is controversial, and I didn’t want to walk into it lightly. So I talked about it with historians and native artists. I did research. In the end, I decided to include it, because it is setting up important events later in the story.

Also, this practice did happen, and to remove it entirely would be a form of erasure and an embrace of the noble savage stereotype, which I’ve worked hard to avoid. Toothy Kit and Defiant Elk are both protagonists, but they have their flaws. They are grappling with radical cultural change that is upending their way of life.

Finally, I am drawing upon the spiritual reasons why the nations of the northeastern woodlands scalped in the first place. Elk isn’t doing this for a bounty. That would happen in real history as the colonists sought to manipulate the natives for their own gain.

If this page is offensive in anyway, please accept my apologies. This page is important for later events and was not a casual decision.



    So some tribes also practiced scalping? I had though only the invading Americans did it, to prove they had killed natives and claim the reward the government provided.

      Scalping was practiced by the northeastern woodland nations long before the Europeans showed up. For them, it was a ceremonial part of war. The colonial governments (especially the English) co-pted the practice and used it as proof of killing and introduced the financial reward element. That practice twisted the original intent of scalping, but the natives did what they had to to survive.


    Well of course this is offensive as hell. Scalping is disgusting, period. Who cares what the “culture” says.


    I didn’t notice any of that because he still has his shirt off. ;-)


    I had to think about this a little… My Conclusion is that I find this far less disconcerting as someone who rifles through the pockets of their victim for valuables.

    IN Elks case, he is still honoring the spirit of his enemy by claiming it.


    I watched an account of a man playing dead after an attack and this happened to him…but he was very much alive and awake! He had to make no sound nor movement WHILE IT WAS HAPPENING to keep up the illusion of being dead O_O
    He survived, got up and staggered back to town and even found his scalp along the way (discarded for some reason) but Drs couldn’t reattached the it. Apparently he liked to freak people out by removing his hat after that.


    I have no say whether this is offensive or not at all, but since you’re taking inspiration from actual natives and they practiced this, it indeed only makes sense if it happens here too. You can’t only take the nice, cute and cool things, it would be farther from the truth.


      My people didn’t b0ther with scalping. If you have a strong stomach, you can read up on some of the things we used to do on a Friday night.

      Weirdly enough, we had an absolute horror about dead bodies, however.

    I don’t think that this should be offensive to anyone, at least not to anyone who stops and thinks about the history and practices of their own people.
    Several Europeans cultures, including the Celts in my own background, took heads for similar reasons. I remember reading about some Celts keeping the heads on little shelves in their homes, making them part of the household. Scalplocks are smaller and much more portable than skulls, though.


    How do they deal with baldness/lice?

      Native Americans don’t suffer from male pattern baldness. Read about it here. As for lice, they were much cleaner than their European counterparts in this era. They didn’t suffer from lice as much, and if they did, they had better herbal remedies than the colonists.


    Forgive me, I am having a difficult time understand what exactly Elk means by “strip”. Does he mean the style he has going on there where his hair is only on the top of his head and not the sides? I’m pretty sure that’s what he means, but am not entirely certain so thought I would ask. :)


    Thank you for including this and not omitting. Thank you for not erasing the history. This page is not offensive this is reality and in reality cultures are different. This is not different than the Aztecs believing that their gods needed hearts otherwise the sun would not rise. What modern times sees as barbaric or silly was based in the fact that for many people before the advent of sciences like astronomy or chemistry or even meteorology that things were different and spiritual facets of life were very important. Heck we once thought the medieval people were crazy for thinking the plague (black death) traveled on the air. They have found evidence now that it was actually airborne more so then carried by fleas. Well done including this and I am curious as to your native American contacts since I am part Iriquois don’t know much more than a name and he was a great grandfather. I was actually curious about it since you have been basing your tribes of them.

      I made a list of my sources. You can find it here. It’s a little bit out of date, as I’m constantly adding new books to it like Timothy Shannon’s Iroquois Diplomacy on the Early American Frontier and Robbie Robertson and David Shannon’s Hiawatha and the Peacemaker. My two primary native contacts are Kristina Badhand (Lakota) and Lee Francis (Pueblo). I’m hoping that Kristina will do a vignette for me. :-) Lee is the editor for Native Realities and the organizer of Indigenous Comic Con.

      For the upcoming vignette, I will be drawing from a speech by Red Jacket. Red Jacket was a Seneca orator, sachem, and all around BAMF. He gave a speech to the US Senate on the Religion of the White Man and the Red. It’s considered one of the greatest speeches in history (by William Jennings “I know a thing or two about speeches” Bryan).

        Mark Linimon

        Thanks for the mention of Indigenous Comic Con, I never would have heard about it otherwise. I may see if I can arrange it.


        Thank you for the information. I will definitely be looking into and I never knew there was such Comic Con. I look forward to this speech adaption.


        Thanks for this. There’s been a long, and incorrect revisionist trend trying to blame scalping on Spanish wolf bounties and the taking of representative pelts. It’s a strange combination of respect for First People’s and the old Protestant Black myth about Iberians that really sticks in my craw.
        There was ritual murder up north just as there was down south in the New World. Different types of that sort of thing manifested all over the world, and trying to absolve all of one side or blame all of the other is wrong irrespective of which side gets or loses credit.


      I don’t want to undermine point of your post, but I would like to note that something being reality doesn’t make it not offensive – often it’s the other way. But if it’s real, you shouldn’t omit it just because someone considers it offensive.


        You aren’t undermining it, and their are plenty of people who find reality being included or their less than savory past offensive. They are people trying to erase history all the time, they shouldn’t but they do.


    Minor question: Considering the setting, does the “stealing enemy´s valor” actually works or is it mere superstition?

      *Wicked Grin*

      If the Japethan’s alchemy works, the natives’ medicine works.


        Is the valour taken by taking the aether of the slain, or is it something else and possibly even more intangible?

          Hmmmmm. I hadn’t made up my mind about that. Any suggestions? What do you all think?


          I don’t know. Leave the question open for now? Sometimes the answer just clicks to something else later like a puzzle piece.


          I agree with Turul to leave it open for now. As someone who is a stickler for fantasy worlds to create rules and stick to them, I think this actually falls into the category of “not everything needs to be explained”. Especially when it comes to spiritual stuff like that. Let there be a little mystery of the unknown :)


    Plot point or not, I think it´s important to highlight the cultural differences between the protagonists, without making one superior or more correct than the other. I guess there are things the settlers do regulary than natives like Elk consider digusting, morally or otherwise.

      Absolutely. And those differences will be the subject of the upcoming vignette “How We Decided You’re People! As told by Toothy Kit, Wisdom-in-Training”.


    So, is that hair thing true of all native tribes? I always wondered why so many of them wore their hair that way.

    And how come the third panel’s the only one that shows blood on Elk’s fingers?

      It was one of the interpretations I read about in historical texts that specifically dealt with the Haudenosaunee generally and the Mohawk specifically. Not all of the First Nations practiced it.

      The blood’s on his right hand. We don’t see that hand again the rest of the page.


        Annoyingly, once I click on reply, I can only see the comments, so I’ll have to rely on memory. But I believe the right hand is shown bloody with the knife, but in the previous panel it is shown clean with the scalp.
        I don’t really care – the art is beautiful and the blood is messy and the details I leave to artistic license and necessary composition compromise – but there it is.
        If memory serves, that is…


    I thought it was because when you see a man walking down the street with a hair cut like that, you know he’s afraid of no-one. Not that I’m going to mention that to Mr Elk.

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