Hope Gamble Designs Navajo Creation Comic Strips to Educate Peers

Hope’s Dream

Hope’s dream is to create comic strips about Navajo creation stories and develop versions of these stories that address struggles currently facing children in her community. These comic books would be sold at local gas stations or grocery stores, and the money attained would be used to sustain the printing of comics and to host art workshops in local elementary schools.

“The comics will address the old monsters with new faces that kids my age face today in my own Anime style,” says Hope. “I hope to create comic books to sell that may one day also be used in classrooms on my reservation.”

Hope’s Home and Community

Hope lived most of her life in Farmington, New Mexico, until her parents moved to the small community of Nazlini on the Navajo Nation reservation in Arizona because her parents wanted her to experience more Navajo culture.

“I did not understand what that meant until I moved to the Navajo Reservation,” she said. “It is very different here, but I like it.” 

Hope explained that at her former school in Farmington she was failing because she was being bullied and the school administration would not do anything about it, however, “At my new school, I am a straight-A student. I get to learn about my culture.”

Today, she lives in an old house that is being renovated on dirt road and her only neighbor is an aunt who barely speaks English and herds sheep when she is not working for the Tribe.

“Our house is in a canyon that my brother and sisters love to play in, especially after it rains when the water puddles create places to swim and frogs to catch.”

What motivated Hope to develop her dream?

Hope’s passion is to draw characters she makes up and put them in a storyline.

“I love to draw and I love to role play,” she says. “My stories are inspired by my love for anime, which is Japanese-style film. Comics are a way of putting both of them together.

“When we moved back to the Rez, I learned a lot more about my Navajo culture. I want to make comics about the creation stories and make new stories using my talent of drawing.”

One day she was in a store with mother who showed her a book with “stories about people who had stories. Then my mom said ‘Why not create a comic book that helps the kids your age understand the creation stories in a new way?’”

The Dream as a Solution

“I think kids would be interested in my comic books because they are a very different style than the way the creation stories are usually presented to them – the old style is uninteresting to kids my age.”

Hope explained that they want to not only see the stories they know in a different style, “but the also want to see the creation stories have a second part that addresses issues that they are dealing with today, such as bullying, youth suicide, failing grades, domestic violence and human trafficking.”

She acknowledges that while selling comic books to kids “is not a new idea,” however, “my content – blending creation stories with challenges faced by kids today – is something that is new and appealing to the community.”

The Potential Impact in the Future

Hope has been drawing for as long as she can remember. She keeps her drawings in sketch books and can see how much her skills have developed over the years.

“I got into telling stories when my friend asked me to join a role play, which is a group chat online. We continue for days, even weeks, before characters get killed or magically come back to life.

“In Navajo creation stories, the characters were not like real people, but magical characters who could transform themselves or have magical powers.

“I want to use this same magic in the comics that I plan to design, write and ultimately sell as part of my Dreamstarter project.”

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