“They're coming to get you, Barbara!” Prophetic words from the script of the first modern zombie flick ,George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. Since that film’s original release in 1968 the undead have ravaged the American pop culture landscape and infected nearly everyone with the hunger for more.
Brad Pitt recently took his stab at the genre with World War Z, which opened to mixed reviews but decent success at the box office. I have yet to see this film, but I read the best-selling book it was based on and it was awesome. Author Max Brooks wrote it in such a way that made you feel like he was an actual witness to the end of the life as we know it.
The funny thing about most zombie movies — besides trying to scare the crap out of you — is that they are often trying to say something about society. Things like: racial equality, neighborly trust in a post 9/11 society, the loss of human-to-human contact in the digital era and the reliance on new technology…forgetting the ways of the generations before us.
Imagine no microwaves, no TV, no Internet or cellphones, being brought back to a time when most civilizations were just starting out, a simple game of survival. On the TV show The Walking Dead, characters like the Dixon brothers, Darryl and Merle, who lived off the fat of the land in their previous life, thrive in this new world. Seeing this got me thinking: how would I fare? Where would I go?
I can only speak for my own rez, the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe up near Kingston, Washington (Known as Little Boston), but I think we would do better than the average bear. Most of my aunts and uncles still know how to prepare and gather in the traditional ways without the assistance of any technology. We still have clambakes prepared in the same ways our great, great grandparents had them. Although the recipes may vary, my cousins still prep the smoke salmon with almost the same techniques.
My people are still hunters and gathers, fishermen and craftsmen, but the best part is they know how to share, to take care of one another, something that most zombie survivalists lack. Having survived many turbulent times in Indian history, most Native communities have survived due to this common trait: love for your neighbor.
If the zombie apocalypse does happen in our lifetime, the dead do rise from the graves and look at you like you are a Big Mac and fries, my advice is to buy a copy of Max Brooks’ Zombie Survival Guide and run for the nearest rez.
Jeffrey Veregge, Port Gamble S'Klallam, is a graphic designer and lifelong comic book fan based in Seattle. To see examples of his Native/superhero art, read the ICTMN story "Superheroes Meet Native Design in Jeffrey Veregge's Work" or visit his personal site, jeffreyveregge.com.