Welcome To Your Authentic Indian By Rebecca Roanhorse

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Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™ by Rebecca Roanhorse is a thought-provoking sci-fi short story that explores the tensions and paradoxes inherent in the representation and commodification of Native American culture. Using New Criticism Theory to analyze the ways in which Roanhorse uses language and structure to create these tensions and paradoxes. In this short story, Roanhorse uses a second-person point of view to immerse readers in a “virtual” experience, providing readers with their own Indian Experience™. The story follows protagonist Jesse Turnblatt, who works as a “guide” at a virtual reality company. Throughout the story, Jesse Turnblatt experiences the commodification and cultural appropriation involved in this virtual world, …show more content…

The feeling of “authenticity” comes from having Indigenous people acting as “guides,” although those guides are from diverse backgrounds that are not true to their own lives. The “authentic” experience revealed to be what non-Indigenous people think being authentic is based on things like movies and books, rather than what might feel authentic to the people who are guiding the experience. A question of authenticity, and how non-indigenous individuals think they can co-opt indigenous experiences to feel "authentic" causes readers to think what the true meaning of authenticity. Firstly, there is a tension between the protagonist’s Native American identity and the commodification of his culture for profit. Jesse Turnblatt works at a virtual reality company that offers tourists a simulated “authentic Indian experience,” to which he himself, finds inauthentic. This tension heightened by the fact that Jesse is Native American himself, caught between the demands of his job and his cultural …show more content…

The use of technology to simulate a cultural experience seems inherently inauthentic, and the protagonist recognizes this paradox as he becomes more aware of the commodification involved in his job. The use of virtual reality technology also creates a tension between the natural and the artificial, as Jesse experiences insert example. To continue, paradox can bd seen in the idea of a cultural experience that is meant to be both authentic and universal. The virtual reality company markets its experience as “authentic Indian” while at the same time making it accessible to anyone through technology, regardless of race, gender, and ethnicity. The tension arises between the desire to preserve and protect cultural traditions and the desire to share them with a wider

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