What is the Spokane Indian Reservation like in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part- Time Indian?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Indian Reservation is the standard reservation, but its significance is what it symbolizes.  The reservation symbolizes a loss of hope and a resignation to a life of despair.  It is here where Junior makes the great association between his life and the lack of opportunities.  Junior struggles to find any examples of life on the reservation where hope exists.  The concept of the reservation is antithetical to the historical "DNA" of the Native American people, an irony not lost on Junior in his perceptions of reality.  A culture that roamed freely, not believing in arbitrary boundaries now finds itself contained and limited, unable to move past borders that have been set by White America.  For Junior, this is both physical and symbolic of the depths to which Native Americans have been reduced.  Junior understands this very well and comes to associate the reservation with this state of being in the world.  This is why Junior wishes to go somewhere that represents "hope," something he does not see in the reservation.  While Junior does recognizes the limitations of White America with his time at Reardon, and does emotionally value the Native American experience, his own experience, Junior also understands that there is much pain associated with the reservation and the people who live on it.

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