His father would leave the house, sometimes for days. Sherman had five siblings. His mother had to take care of them by herself. During high school Sherman figured out that he wanted to be a writer. Sherman Alexie promoted an understanding of Native Americans and how they live in poverty through his work The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfights in Heaven, Reservation Blues, and Indian Killer.
Native americans were not able to adapt to western customs and integrate themselves into US societies. Although it is true that American Indians had little influence on modern technology and they have their own history and beliefs, their adaptation in modern US society has not flourished as much. In some cases like shown in Source 4, an American Indian woman is seen smoking from a cigarette. This could be evidence of American Indians adapting to the western world, but it is merely a photograph taken for a photographer's album.
Being a writer of many different styles, Sherman Alexie started off as a poet before writing novels and short stories. His poetic manner continues in the story “Indian Education”. He has a wide array of dry statements mixed with metaphors and statements that are not meant to be taken literally. The trend for each years is that he starts off dry and literal and ends poetic and metaphorical. His description of his interactions with the “white girl” in seventh grade is a great example.
Many Native Americans live on reservations that were established in 1851 under President Andrew Jackson. Life on a reservation is not glamorous. A majority of the stories are filled with alcohol, suffering, death, and sadness. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie details some of the experiences that that Native American culture faces. Arnold reflects on the treatment of Native Americans when he states “We Indians have lost everything… We only know how to lose and be lost”(Alexie 173).
Once European men stepped foot onto what is now known as North America, the lives of the Native Americans were forever changed. The Indians suffered centuries of torment and ridicule from the settlers in America. Despite the reservations made for the Natives, there are still cultural issues occurring within America. In Sherman Alexie’s, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, the tragic lives of Native Americans in modern society are depicted in a collection of short stories taking place in the Spokane Reservation in Washington state. Throughout the collection, a prominent and reoccurring melancholic theme of racism against Native Americans and their struggle to cope with such behavior from their counterpart in this modern day and age is shown.
They are trying to save their lives.” Although Sherman Alexie’s success seems as if it has only opened up doors for himself it did not, it opened up doors for other Indian kids that are still on the reservation. When Sherman Alexie wrote his books and poems the kids on the reservation read them. They gave them hope, he gave them a reason to fight for their lives the way he did. Those kids too started to write their own short stories and found the same joy in learning that Sherman Alexie did.
He will invariably have a thin sexy wife with stringy hair, an IQ of 191, and a vocabulary in which even the prepositions have eleven syllables” (79). In this text, Deloria argues how anthropologists purposely contrast themselves from Indians on reservations with how they dress to show their overwhelming wealth and intelligence over Indians while also crudely mocking how anthropologists pretend to be hierarchical snobs. High school students would be intrigued with the sass Deloria uses in his writing. Another appropriate type of reading would be Native Americans’ personal narratives of their own experiences on colonization, American politics, cultural appropriation, and more. Dawnland Voices edited by Siobhan Senier, for instance, would be a spectacular reading for this proposed class since it includes intimate indigenous short stories, poems, and writings from the New England region.
Capitalism has always been a subject of controversy throughout American history. As America expanded west and developed many new advancements in technology, more specifically the railroad, many people sought to make big profits out of the new and advantageous land. A common argument that historians often put forth about the settlement of the West was that big businesses and entrepreneurs had capitalized on the mostly untouched valuable resources of Western United States and had turned them into commodities thus destroying Native American society. Before America’s expansion into the West, Native American tribes lived in a society free of the capitalistic ideals, which in turn, made them less concerned about profit and more concerned about their
Throughout history, there have been many literary studies that focused on the culture and traditions of Native Americans. Native writers have worked painstakingly on tribal histories, and their works have made us realize that we have not learned the full story of the Native American tribes. Deborah Miranda has written a collective tribal memoir, “Bad Indians”, drawing on ancestral memory that revealed aspects of an indigenous worldview and contributed to update our understanding of the mission system, settler colonialism and histories of American Indians about how they underwent cruel violence and exploitation. Her memoir successfully addressed past grievances of colonialism and also recognized and honored indigenous knowledge and identity.
Despite the negative stereotype of American Indians, the objections and disapproval of fellow Natives, and the criticism of others, Sherman Alexie went on to become a successful writer that has inspired many. Alexie overcame many obstacles that would have deterred him from his goal, but he was able to remain steadfast and continue on in his pursuit of writing. As a result, he has published many literary works that include several short stories, poems, and a variety of novels. He allows his culture to seep into his writing, and continues to inspire young American Indians who also desire the path of knowledge.
In particular, the writer’s use of metaphor and symbolism works to highlight the way that Europeans and their capitalistic systems have influenced First Nations and their culture. “When a meat eater becomes a sugar eater”: Mike was forced to become a sugar eater, just like the First Nations were forced into dependency on Europeans. First nations used to exist eating natural foods, such as different meats and fish, which they killed themselves. The First Nations were forced into a situation where they became dependent on grocery stores and were moved into a white-washed world where they were unable to live a traditional self-dependent life like they used to. In the same way, Mike, who grew up eating natural foods, became dependant on white-washed food for survival while he was at school in the south.
By this practice, alcohol retailers are able to sell directly to Native Americans without breaking the law and producing a plethora of profit for themselves. In 2010 in the town of Whites clay, just off the border of the Pine Ridge Reservation, it was reported that the town of fourteen people and four liquor stores sold five million cans of beer, most of which was marketed towards the Natives. This is an example of how Native American’s problems are unending and are fueled by
The video plays on the injustices faced by Native Americans during the colonization of North America to strengthen the modern appeals made by the speaker. Towards the middle of the ad, the narrator says, “Struggling” as images of extreme poverty cuts to an image of a Native American sitting on a box with his head in his hands. Realizing the injustices of their situation, The imagery conveys a feeling of guilt within the audience. Americans took Native Americans land and put them on reservations to be “forgotten” (another one word description in the video). Through these images and language choice, the speaker makes an ethical appeal: many Native American in modern society already live in poverty and suffering, and having a mascot called the Redskins only adds insult and shame to their lives.
In his book the Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie portrays a teenage boy, Arnold Spirit (junior) living in white man’s world, and he must struggle to overcome racism and stereotypes if he must achieve his dreams. In the book, Junior faces a myriad of misfortunes at his former school in ‘the rez’ (reservation), which occurs as he struggles to escape from racial and stereotypical expectations about Indians. For Junior he must weigh between accepting what is expected of him as an Indian or fight against those forces and proof his peers and teachers wrong. Therefore, from the time Junior is in school at reservation up to the time he decides to attend a neighboring school in Rearden, we see a teenager who is facing tough consequences for attempting to go against the racial stereotypes.