The “Old Way”: Sherman Alexie’s Modern Native American Warrior

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date

April 2017

Faculty Sponsor

Jacky O'Connor


Native American cultures are centered around keeping traditions traditional. Despite these values, the idea of becoming a warrior for the people has faded and been misinterpreted and lost its sense of strength. Thomas and Victor from Sherman Alexie’s “This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” (1993) learn what it takes to grow from young men into strong warriors on a quest to recover a deceased family member. Understanding the depths and history of Alexie’s duo provides evidence of what it means to be a modern warrior while still keeping to their sense of Native American traditions. The two face trials and tribulations as modern Native Americans while also overcoming obstacles warriors of other tribes endured (pre and post colonization). It is not often Native American literatures receive Native American analysis. As a Native American, I am able to illuminate with an interpretation that allows personal experience and knowledge.

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