“I know I’m reading a good book when it simultaneously breaks your heart into thousands of pieces and then makes you laugh so hard that it joins all the pieces together”
- On reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
A Conversation with Native Americans on Race
"This primary source set includes photographs, text documents, and interviews with Sherman Alexie that provide context for thematic elements within The Absolutely True-Diary of Part-Time Indian."
**The discussion questions found in the "Teaching Guide" are connected to the items found in the "source set"**
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian tracks the misadventures of a young teen, Arnold Spirit, Jr., who decides to leave the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white high school. Alexie, who describes the book as semi-autobiographical, speaks with Renee Montagne.
“Before-and-after-education” photographs of Sioux boys taken three years after arriving at boarding school in the 1880s.
"Throughout the nineteenth century, boarding schools were established to educate and assimilate American Indian children according to US cultural standards and values. These schools, predominantly run by Christian missionaries, were often funded by the federal government and worked to “civilize” Native American children, forcing many to abandon their names, cultures, and identities in the process. This collection of photos and documents shows what life was like for the many children enrolled in American Indian boarding schools."
Miss Tallahassee, Rosemary Plunkett advertises Pepsi-Cola, 1962
Photo by Ted Newhall
'The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian’ and ‘On the Reservation and Off, Schools See a Changing Tide'
In this Text to Text, we compare Arnold’s challenging journey with the similar, real-life choices other Native American students have faced in attending schools “off the rez.”
"Aaron Huey's effort to photograph poverty in America led him to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where the struggle of the native Lakota people -- appalling, and largely ignored -- compelled him to refocus. Five years of work later, his haunting photos intertwine with a shocking history lesson."
NMAI Director Kevin Gover discusses some of the Americans exhibition’s themes in his 2015 TEDx Talk.
"Delving deeply into the often misunderstood and frequently over looked historic realities of the American Indian, The Canary Effect follows the terrifying and horrific abuses instilled upon the Indigenous people of North America, and details the genocidal practices of the US government and its continuing affects on present day Indian country."