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ERIC Number: EJ912999
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 18
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0161-6463
Structures of Urban Poverty in Greg Sarris's "Grand Avenue"
Dyck, Reginald
American Indian Culture and Research Journal, v34 n4 p13-30 2010
Greg Sarris's 1994 "Grand Avenue" offers tough urban stories about a long-fought, still-continuing struggle for survival and self-determination. Sarris's stories present the day-to-day lives of a contemporary, fictional Pomo community living in a multiracial neighborhood not far from their traditional homeland. The stories depict poverty, high unemployment, destructive sexuality, and parenting that provides little protection for children. To understand better the devastating conditions and the possibilities for hope that these stories depict, it is important to consider how historically developed socioeconomic structures shape the characters' present choices. Forced onto the margins of economic production, Pomo individuals and communities face the profound cultural consequences of their position in US society. Without a historical perspective, readers can easily see the characters in "Grand Avenue" as hopelessly trapped in a world of their own making. Thus, this article first presents a history of Pomo peoples' engagement with dominant modes of production. This history registers the two-hundred-year transformation of self-sustaining, culturally integrated Pomo communities into embattled, economically dependent urban enclaves. The article then considers the ways in which Sarris's characters experience the present consequences of this history. (Contains 47 notes.)
American Indian Studies Center at UCLA. 3220 Campbell Hall, Box 951548, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1548. Tel: 310-825-7315; Fax: 310-206-7060; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A