ERIC Number: EJ865627
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Reference Count: 20
"A Limited Range of Motion?": Multiculturalism, "Human Questions," and Urban Indian Identity in Sherman Alexie's "Ten Little Indians"
Ladino, Jennifer K.
Studies in American Indian Literatures, v21 n3 p36-57 Fall 2009
Despite the fact that more than two-thirds of American Indians live in urban areas, many readers and scholars of American Indian literature continue to associate Indigenous peoples with natural environments rather than urban ones. Highlighting literary texts written by Native authors that reflect the multifaceted dimensions of urban Indian life is one way to begin combating lingering stereotypes and complicating notions of contemporary Indian identity in productive ways. Among recently published texts by Sherman Alexie's ,"Ten Little Indians" (2003) stands out as worthy of special attention. This collection of stories depicts life as an Indian in the city of Seattle. Throughout this set of stories, Alexie implicitly theorizes the ways in which Spokane and other Indian identities are negotiated in this multicultural city. "Ten Little Indians" might be described as a text that illuminates the problems with multiculturalism while simultaneously imagining a polycultural world. In this essay, the author suggests that in "Ten Little Indians," it is not only humor but also the city of Seattle that provides a common space for shared humanity to materialize. The author explores how Alexie's turn to urban space corresponds to his move toward "love and empathy." The author analyzes several of the stories in "Ten Little Indians" in order to consider how urban space shapes contemporary Indian life and how Indians, in return, construct their own personal and cultural identities within the city environment. (Contains 8 notes.)
Descriptors: American Indian Literature, American Indians, American Indian Education, Cultural Pluralism, Urban Areas, Empathy, Self Concept, Metropolitan Areas, Identification (Psychology)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Washington