Home Cartoon characters Comic book superhero Dakota is back

Comic book superhero Dakota is back


Dan Ninham
Special for TIC

For educator Mark Mindt, his character KODA has been by his side since he started working on his education degree years ago.

KODA was also there when he attended tribal college for art and technical skills to market the character.

“KODA the Warrior” is a Dakota comic book superhero created by Mindt. The character is based on Mindt’s experiments with a superhero twist. Mindt is the writer and illustrator of KODA and now the fourth edition of the superhero is back.

“I drew KODA while working on my Bachelor of Education from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND,” Midnt told ICT in an email. “After graduating, my first job was as a third-grade teacher on the Coeur D’Alene reservation in Idaho. That’s where KODA came to life mixing my artwork with stories of the KODA journey to my students, and their enthusiasm for a new adventure has continued to inspire me.

Mindt, a citizen of the Spirit Lake Dakota Nation, is an art teacher at Tate Topa Tribal School in Fort Totten, North Dakota.

“I moved back to North Dakota and enrolled in United Tribes Technical College and quickly earned not only an associate’s degree in art/art marketing, but also acquired the technical skills necessary to create and market professionally. KODA in a comic book format,” Mindt added. .

Mindt shared how KODA started out as a character in his thoughts. He said, “KODA’s story begins as a college student ponders what his own path in life means. He grew up with his father on their family farm near Pony Gulch, ND. He soon encountered a mentor in the form of a Thunder Being called Walking Thunder.

“What makes KODA’s story memorable is his decision to ‘take a leap of faith’ and pursue his vision. His decision led him to discover new lands and the Red Route within him,” Mindt added.

Mindt continued, “While KODA is still in his early twenties, he travels from the safety of the farmhouse and into a world of ancient traditions, cultural miracles and the strength of tribal languages ​​across these tribal lands.”

KODA begins to learn more details about a missing family member and the reasons for his absence from his life. “Most importantly, KODA understands that its purpose is not simply to ‘save the day,’ but to help others believe in their personal power to make their own days more meaningful,” Mindt said.

“What makes KODA so special is his personal growth as an Indigenous man learning about his Indigenous identity and how to empower others to reach their full potential,” Mindt said.

“KODA is based on my own journeys as an educator seeking to positively impact others,” Mindt said. “I was inspired by KODA’s patience, kindness, professionalism and perseverance. I turned to KODA’s guidance when I was tested to help me gain clarity, embrace humility and respect with my gifts and strengths.

Today, Mindt is grateful to go to schools and help students have better attendance, live in the moment with those you respect, and see the past and the future as times to learn and growing up.

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Bdoka is a Dakota term for “male” in reference to a role model or mentor. Mindt has several people who have guided him on his personal and professional journey. He said his father, LaVern Mindt, was always there for him. Others were too.

“Richard Ray is a retired superintendent from Manvel Schools, ND, who taught me how to stand up to the many school challenges that every member of a school team can face,” Mindt said.

When Mindt applied for a position at Manvel Schools, he shared cartoons that complimented his application. “It was obvious he had a talent for drawing,” Ray told ICT.

“Mr. Mindt came to Manvel as an experienced administrator and accomplished teacher,” Ray said. “Mark is very bright and has a positive attitude which makes him a pleasure to work with. Above all, Mark loves children and accepts them as they are while encouraging them to achieve their individual goals. He is always ready to help children reach their full potential. He addresses children with understanding and attention. The children feel that he really cares about them.

Ray said he can imagine Mark using his art as a way to reach children. “He’ll be able to ‘connect’ with them while teaching his cartoon lesson,” Ray added.

According to Mindt, he said Nadine Eastman, superintendent of Enemy Swim Day School in South Dakota, modeled Indigenous leadership that has always put children first and supported families in their communities.

“I worked side-by-side with Mark Mindt in the administration of Enemy Swim Day School in northeastern South Dakota,” Eastman told ICT. “Mark had a knack for connecting with students through conversation, humor, storytelling and art. At the start of the pandemic, we all created video messages for students. Mark created a story very interesting that he read on his video to share with our students who were at home. He is really good.”

Walking Thunder helps KODA understand the many challenges he faces and accept help and guidance from new mentors and allies.  (Image courtesy of Mark Mindt)

Mindt recently joined the faculty at Cankdeska Cikana Community College and leads the Dakota Culture Committee.

College President Cynthia Lindquist said, “Mark is passionate about his Spirit Lake Dakota identity and wants to learn more. Along with his mastery, we welcome his enthusiasm and eagerness to step up and lead. It helps us better organize ourselves to “develop our own” team of Dakota teachers. We recently created a 2+2 with Indian Studies at the University of North Dakota (UND) and have a student in the program who is committed to returning to work at CCCC.

The UND 2+2 program encourages two-year students to transition through the next two years of college smoothly toward a four-year degree.

“We will support his ideas and the further development of his comic book for teaching Dakota cultural values ​​and how to be a good parent. This work will enhance our Dakota Studies curriculum, but also our commitment to providing community education opportunities for learning,” added Lindquist.

“Butch ThunderHawk showed me that we are all blessed with gifts and it’s our responsibility to pursue our vision to know where it can take us,” Mindt said. “His tribal arts have inspired my art as well as my connection to my personal Dakota identity.”

Mindt continues to improve his personal life with his comic book hero KODA and may be coming to a school near you in the greater North Dakota area.

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