Pimitamon: Conceptualizing a New Canadian North through the Graphic Narratives of Jeff Lemire


  • David Beard UM-Duluth
  • John Moffatt Ron and Jane Graham School of Professional Development, College of Engineering, University of Saskatchewan




Settler-colonial studies, Jeff Lemire, Canada, Rhetoric, Crossroads, Indigenous studies


In Essex County, in Secret Path (his collaboration with Gord Downie), in Roughneck, and in his creation of the indigenous Canadian superhero Equinox for Justice League United: Canada, Jeff Lemire highlights a vision of the Canadian ‘north’ as transformative space. In Lemire’s hands, ‘the north’ is where Chanie Wenjack’s historical reality (Secret Path), Derek and Beth Ouelette’s personal demons (Roughneck), and Miiyahbin Marten’s life as an ordinary indigenous teen in Moose Factory, Ontario (Justice League United Volume 1: Justice League Canada) all undergo a transformation which speaks to shifting perceptions of identity, responsibility, and belonging in Canada. The north becomes a site where Lemire (and Lemire’s readers) directly confront how even a deliberate act of intended reconciliation between settler-colonial and indigenous peoples can effectively colonize the space in which it occurs. All three works, in different ways, deploy rhetorical strategies to minimize the ‘collateral damage’ that is probably unavoidable, and even perhaps necessary, in the articulation of the kind of anticolonial dialogue toward which Lemire’s work is oriented.

Author Biography

John Moffatt, Ron and Jane Graham School of Professional Development, College of Engineering, University of Saskatchewan

John Moffatt is Associate Professor at the Ron and Jane Graham School of Professional Development, College of Engineering, University of Saskatchewan, where he teaches courses in rhetorical communication. His research centres on rhetorics of Canadian identity, with a focus on the construction of credible and ethical witness in how discourses relating to issues like Northern Development, Diversity, and Indigenization are framed for ‘mainstream’ audiences.


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How to Cite

Beard, David, and John Moffatt. 2020. “Pimitamon: Conceptualizing a New Canadian North through the Graphic Narratives of Jeff Lemire”. Nordlit, no. 46 (December):160–183. https://doi.org/10.7557/13.5540.