The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Opening Question Of the following list, which do you think that teens currently deal with the most in their life (personally or in their family)? Why? Identity/self-esteem, poverty, racism/discrimination, family relations, hopes and dreams, bullying, alcoholism and violence Write 4 sentences on which item from the list and why you chose that item as the most prevalent in teens lives. The Absolutely True Diary of a

Part-Time Indian By: Sherman Alexie Art by: Ellen Forney Before our feature presentation, We bring you this quick service announcement Background information on ATDPTI (or Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian) Why are most of the Reservations in the West? There are two main reasons:

Westward Expansion (Manifest Destiny) The belief that the United States should reach from sea to shining sea Dawes Act of 1887 The Trail of Tears: President Andrew Jackson began to aggressively implement a broad policy of Indian removal in the 1830s. This policy, combined with the discovery of gold on Cherokee land in northern Georgia in 1828, led to their removal to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) on the Trail of Tears. Assimilation: "Kill the Indian, Save the

Man" Assimilation is the process of one group of people being "absorbed" into another's culture Goal of assimilation policy: for all Native Americans to live & behave like white Americans Tools to achieve assimilation: Boarding schools for Native American children Elimination of their main food source Missionaries to introduce Christianity

Dawes Act (1887) Goal of the Dawes Act: to assimilate Native Americans Reservations were broken up into "allotments" that were given out to individual families. Families were supposed to farm and build homes on their allotment to support themselves Land that wasn't given to a family was sold by the US government to white farmers It failed: Some of the land was unsuitable for farming & ranching Some refused to adopt a different way of life Some sold their land to white settlers, but others were

upset that their land was given away Now back to the story: Introducing Arnold Spirit, Jr. Drawings are interspersed to illustrate the point Junior is trying to make, because words are too limited (page 5). From the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington. Wellpinit, WA

Spokane Tribe In the northeastern part of Washington state Spokane means children of the sun or Sun People

The 2000 Census reported the resident population of the reservation at 2,004 persons. For thousands of years the Spokanes lived near the Spokane River, living by fishing, hunting and gathering. They constructed permanent villages for the winter by the river for fishing and huts in the mountains for gathering. Other Indian people began to influence the Spokanes introducing them to plank tradehouses and horses. The first white men to contact the Spokane were explorers and fur traders. A trading post known as Spokane House was constructed near the confluence of Spokane and Little Spokane Rivers around 1810. Samuel Jackson, the first missionary to visit the Spokane, arrived in 1836.

The Spokanes suffered from introduced diseases, including smallpox. Land-grabbing by white settlers was exacerbated by a lack of legal controls to prevent injustice. By the 1860s, settlers were driving into the West pushing out the original inhabitants, such as the Spokanes. The Spokane Indians, among many other Indians, were given English

names. The Spokanes made a number of agreements with the federal governments in the late 19th century. In 1877 the Lower Spokane relocated to the Spokane Reservation which was declared a reservation in 1881. In 1887 the Upper and Middle Spokane agreed to move to the Colville Flathead Reservation

Main Characters Junior (Arnold Spirit, Jr., the main character) Rowdy (his best friend) Mary Spirit (Juniors sister) Gordy, Penelope,and Rogers (Juniors friends from Reardon) The adults:

Coach Grandmother His parents Mr. P Themes, Motifs and Symbols Theme: Central idea or a message of a work; it offers insight into life. Symbol: A symbol is anything that represents another thing. Motif: While a symbol might occur once in literature to signify an idea or an emotion, a motif can be an element or idea that repeats

throughout that piece of literature. Themes Directions: You will take down the following themes for the novel. As we read you will write the page # and sentence(s) that show the theme in the novel. 1. 2.

3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Identity and self-esteem Poverty Racism and discrimination Family relations Male friendships Role Models

Bullying Alcoholism and Violence Hopes and Dreams Motif: Basketball We all cried in the locker room for hours. Coach cried, too. I guess thats the only time that men and boys get to cry and not get punched in the face. (p. 196) We just shot lazy jumpers for a few minutes. We didnt talk. Didnt need to talk. We were basketball twins. (p. 228) Motif: Books and

Reading In Wellpinit, I was a freak because I loved books. In Reardan, I was a joyous freak. (p. 98) If one reads enough books one has a fighting chance. Or better, one's chances of survival increase with each book one reads. Sherman Alexie Symbol: Names

I had no idea that Junior was a weird name. Its a common name on my rez, on any rez. (p. 60) My name is Junior, I said. And my name is Arnold. Its Junior and Arnold. Im both. I felt like two different people inside of one body. (pp. 601) The people at home . . . a lot of them call me an apple . . . because they think Im red on the outside and white on the inside. (pp. 1312) They werent calling me by my rez name, Junior. Nope, they were calling me by my Reardan name. (p. 143)

Symbol: The road to Reardon Traveling between Reardan and Wellpinit, between the little white town and the reservation, I always felt like a stranger. I was half Indian in one place and half white in the other. It was like being Indian was my job, but it was only a part-time job. (p. 118) Theme: Identity and self-esteem "I am zero on the rez. And if you subtract zero from zero, you still have zero." (p. 16) "Theres probably no place more isolated than my reservation, which is located

approximately one million miles north of Important and two billion miles west of Happy." (p. 30) "He was the loser Indian father of a loser Indian son living in a world built for winners." (p. 55) "Well, life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community." (p. 132) Theme: Poverty Poverty = empty refrigerator + empty stomach" (p. 8) "My parents came from poor people who came

from poor people who came from poor people, all the way back to the very first poor people." (p. 11) "It sucks to be poor, and it sucks to feel that you somehow deserve to be poor . . . Its an ugly circle and theres nothing you can do about it." (p. 13) "I lied about how poor I was." (p. 119) Theme: Racism and discrimination

We were supposed to make you give up being Indians. Your songs and stories and language and dancing. Everything. We we arent trying to kill Indian people. We were trying to kill Indian And whats more, our white dentist believed that Indians only felt half as much pain as white

people did, so he only gave us half the Novocain. (p. 2) During one week when I was little, Dad got stopped three times for DWI: Driving While Indian. (p. 46) . . . some Indians think you have to act white to make your life better. Some Indians think you become white if you try to make your life better, if you become successful. (p. 131) Theme: Family relations

I suppose [my dad] is depressed. I suppose my sister is depressed. I suppose the whole family is depressed. (p. 40) And my parents love me so much that they want to help me. Yeah, Dad is a drunk and Mom is an ex-drunk, but they dont want their kids to be drunks. (p. 46) Yep, my daddy was an undependable drunk . . . He may not have loved me perfectly, but he loved me as well as he could. (p. 189) Theme: Male friendships I think Rowdy might be the most important person in my

life. Maybe more important than my family. Can your best friend be more important than your family? (p. 24) I wanted to tell him that he was my best friend and I loved him like crazy, but boys dont say such things to other boys, and nobody said such things to Rowdy. (pp. 489) Theme: Role Models You can do it. . . . Do you understand about amazing it is to hear that from an adult? Do

you know how amazing it is to hear that from anybody? Its one of the simplest sentences in the world, just four words, but theyre the four hugest words in the world when theyre put together. (p. 189) Theme: Bullying And we let it happen. We let them pick on you. (p. 41) Theme: Alcoholism and Violence Plenty of Indians have died because they were drunk. And plenty of drunken Indians have killed other drunken Indians. (p. 158)

And you know what the worst part is? The unhappy part? About 90 percent of the deaths have been because of alcohol. (p. 200) I was crying because I knew five or ten or fifteen more Spokanes would die during the next year, and that most of them would die because of booze. (p. 216) Theme: Hopes and Dreams But we reservation Indians dont get to realize our dreams. We dont get those chances. Or choices. Were just poor. Thats all we are. (p. 13) You kept your hope. And now, you have to take your hope and go somewhere where other people

have hope . . . Youre going to find more and more hope the farther and farther you walk away from this sad, sad, sad reservation. (p. 43) The quality of a mans life is in direct proportion to his commitment to excellence, regardless of his chosen field of endeavor. (p. 148)

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