The Native American Broadcasting System Summary

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Sherman Alexie is a Native American poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, comedian, filmmaker and scriptwriter. He represents the second generation of Native American writers who have become prominent in the 1990s. He is the most recognized, prolific, and critically acclaimed author in modern Native American literature. He has been described by David Moore as "the reigning world heavyweight poetry bout champion in the second generation of Native American literary renaissance begun in the 1960s".1 Alexie was born on October 7, 1966, in the town of Wellpinit on the Spokane Indian Reservation in eastern Washington State. Alexie's father, Sherman Sr., is from the Native American tribe of Coeur d'Alene. He occasionally worked as a logger…show more content…
He is pointing out how Native Americans have been bought via the products of white culture: cigarettes, coffee, sugar, alcohol, and food supplies. The prose poem "The Native American Broadcasting System” shows Alexie's use of irony to address the issue of alcohol abuse: NEWS BULLETIN: The Adolph Coors Corporation is sponsoring a new promotional contest. On the bottom inside of every beer can and bottle, Coors had printed a single letter. The first Indian to collect and spell out the word RESERVATION will receive a train ticket for a special traveling back 555 years. (FIOM, 85)
The huge corporation, the Adolph Coors Corporation, which symbolically represents white America's economic power, is promoting a contest that involves loads of drinking. Furthermore, if one could spell out the word that represents Native American suffering best, 'RESERVATION', he is awarded the grand prize of a trip back to the time when the earliest settlers colonized North America. So much can be seen in this brief passage: Alexie establishes the awful results of the historical abuses brought on by the introduction of European goods to Native American culture as he illustrates the power and control of the colonizers over the Native
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I remember you were so proud you knew a foreign language. I remember I told you English was your foreign language and you left again."(BFD, 21)

Alexie is concerned with the fragmented, often alienated “bicultural” lives of such characters who sacrifice their native identity and culture in the hope of being assimilated in the dominant American one. Those who attempt to become assimilated, according to Elbert Memmi, might behave in this way:
They endeavor to resemble the colonizer in the frank hope that he may cease to consider them different from him.Hence their efforts to forget the past, to change collective habits, and their enthusiastic adoption of Western language, culture and customs. But if the colonizer does not always openly discourage these candidates to develop that resemblance, he never permits them to attain it either. Thus, they live in painful and constant ambiguity.32

In the poem entitled "13/16", Alexie envisions a native fractioned identity as a result of the negative consequences of assimilation and mixed marriages with the whites:
I cut myself into sixteen equal pieces keep thirteen and feed the other
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