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‘We’re ready to tell our stories’: Manitoba actress feels represented in new Marvel series

She may be appearing in millions of homes worldwide in her role in a Marvel Cinematic Universe miniseries, but Katarina Ziervogel says there were a lot of barriers to cross before she could see herself represented onscreen.

Ziervogel, a member of Sagkeeng First Nation, plays the role of Taloa in the Disney+ series Echo — a spin-off of 2021’s Hawkeye — centred around the title character portrayed by Alaqua Cox.

As someone who is both deaf and Indigenous, Ziervogel told Global Winnipeg — speaking in sign language with a translator — that until seeing Cox in Hawkeye, the idea of a high-profile actor representing both of her identities was unheard of.

Click to play video: 'Marvel celebrates Indigenous and deaf hero at ‘Echo’ premiere'

Marvel celebrates Indigenous and deaf hero at ‘Echo’ premiere

“I would say there was a little bit of deaf representation and a little bit of Indigenous representation, but never within the same character,” she said. “Not until Hawkeye, when that came out… (Cox) was the first deaf Indigenous person who represented both of those. She spearheaded that.”

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“I’m hoping that there’s more opportunities that are opening up for people. More access, more open-mindedness, just people willing to bring in deaf Indigenous writers, cast, crew more stories to be brought to the mainstream — because we are here and we’re ready to tell our stories.”

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Also starring well-known Canadian Indigenous actors Graham Greene, Tantoo Cardinal, and Cody Lightning — plus MCU regulars Charlie Cox (Daredevil) and Vincent D’Onofrio (Kingpin) — Echo has been a success so far, premiering at number one on Disney+ and Hulu in the United States.

Ziervogel said she’s inspired by the self-confidence of her character on the show as an Indigenous person.

“I didn’t have that strong sense of self,” she said. “For example, my mom, who was a Sixties Scoop survivor, that’s what I was seeing growing up, versus Taloa, my character in Echo. She has a strong sense of identity, of her Indigenous culture and who she is.”

Click to play video: 'Canadian Indigenous actors featured in Marvel’s ‘Echo’'

Canadian Indigenous actors featured in Marvel’s ‘Echo’

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