June 01, 2007

Alexie riffs on Flight

Revising Sherman AlexieDave: In many of your books, there's an orphan or a character missing a parent. The child is missing too many pieces to form a complete or satisfying self-image.

Alexie: Well, that's a constant theme of any colonial literature. That's what I write.

Dave: How so in relation to colonial literature?

Alexie: Displacement. The killing of your birth father and the substitution of an adopted father. Think of your birth parent being your original culture and your adopted parent being the colonizing culture. In a sense, Native Americans, anybody who's been colonized, they're in the position of an orphan.
And:Dave: How have reservations and reservation life changed since you grew up on one?

Alexie: One of things we forget as natives and non-natives is that reservations were created as concentration camps. They were created so Indians would be shipped there and die. I really think that's still their purpose: to kill.

What has changed? Casinos have changed them. Not all of them, but a lot of them. So there's more money, more jobs, but there's still a distinct lack of education; there are still the same social problems. The joke is, Instead of Chevys up on blocks in the yard, it's Lexuses on blocks in the yard. The amount of money flowing through any particular tribe has increased, but the social problems persist. They may not be as poor materially, but they're poor spiritually.

1 comment:

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Ah, and so the logic behind the USS Sherman Alexie's story presents itself: placed into a killing environment, his character becomes a killer! Hey, neat-o!
All Best
Russ Bates