Identity In Painted Tongue's Identity

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Painted Tongue uses his humming, his circular path, counting coup, and his physical appearance to construct his identity because he was forced to go to a boarding school when he was only a child, and therefore his knowledge of his own culture is not perfect. Painted Tongue works hard to reaffirm his identity because he is not confidant of it, and he reaffirms it more strongly when he thinks that he is disrespected or that his identity as an Ojibwe warrior is put in doubt, for example when he is at the hospital after breaking his nose and he feels disrespected by the nurses. However, when the doctor does not speak down to him, Painted Tongue sees that "he was white but his nose looked very much like Painted Tongue's" (Boyden 84). Painted Tongue…show more content…
He sees himself and his identity through the lens of white society, and this is represented in his name. His name is composed of an adjective followed by a noun, which is how white society imagines all Native American names to be constructed. This stereotype is based partially on reality, since famous Native American people include names such as Crazy Horse, Red Cloud, and Sitting Bull, but these are translations of their names, and not all Native American names are constructed this way. Painted Tongue constructing his identity through white stereotypes can also be seen when he scares a white child by making a stereotypical "scary Indian" face, but this brings him "a mix of sadness and victory", partially because the only way he can have a sense of self is through negative stereotypes. Furthermore, his silence is also significant because it is similar to stereotypes of strong, stoic Native American warriors who do not unless it is to say something spiritual and profound that is prevalent in the white collective imagination. It could also be representative of how Native American people are silenced in modern
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