SHERMAN ALEXIE'S RESERVATION: RELOCATING THE CENTER OF INDIAN IDENTITY

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Tracey Connette (Creator)
Institution
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site: http://www.ecu.edu/lib/

Abstract: Indian reservations are territories within the United States recognized by the federal government as land reserved specifically for American Indians. Indigenous communities still referred to as tribes have some autonomy over the reserved lands, which allow tribes freedom to maintain and preserve cultural heritage. Indian reservations are societies within the larger mainstream America, making physical and social boundaries problematic for cross-cultural exchange. Indian writer Sherman Alexie challenges the misrepresentations of Indians which originated from a EuroAmerican perspective of the "outside looking in" to these cultures. Sherman Alexie presents the Indian perspective of "looking out" at mainstream society. Rather than evoking a desire for one homogenous society, Alexie's narratives reveal Indian identity as a distinct identity compatible with other cultures. The homogenous element Alexie does include in all of his literature is the human condition.    This thesis demonstrates how Sherman Alexie conceptualizes the reservation as a center of Indian identity in three of his novels, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (1993), Reservation Blues (1995) and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (2009). In The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, the reservation functions as a center of post-colonial trauma rather than existing as a cultural hub. In Reservation Blues, Alexie portrays the center as a process rather than location of Indian identity. In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, the center of Indian identity is the Indian character him or herself; the reservation is only elemental as part of the process of Indian experience. As Alexie's work reveals, the reservation is not an experience all Indians can claim but whether in absence or presence, it has an effect on all Indian identity and the Indian culture within contemporary multicultural societies.  

Additional Information

Publication
Thesis
Date: 2010

This item references:

TitleLocation & LinkType of Relationship
SHERMAN ALEXIE'S RESERVATION: RELOCATING THE CENTER OF INDIAN IDENTITYhttp://thescholarship.ecu.edu/bitstream/handle/10342/3160/Connette_ecu_0600M_10313.pdfThe described resource references, cites, or otherwise points to the related resource.