Does the book There There see addiction as a result of historic discrimination against Native Americans? Or does every person feel responsible for how they react to this discrimination?

One could reasonably argue that There There sees addiction as the result of historic discrimination against Native Americans and that every person feels responsible for how they react to this discrimination. On the one hand, addiction is a consequence of the poverty and hopelessness experienced by Native Americans. On the other, it is always the result of specific choices made by individuals.

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Addiction is quite a common characteristic of Native American life as it is depicted in There There . Tony Loneman suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome due to his mother’s addiction. It has made his face very difficult to look at, even for him. Blue’s mother, Jacquie Red Feather, is an...

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Addiction is quite a common characteristic of Native American life as it is depicted in There There. Tony Loneman suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome due to his mother’s addiction. It has made his face very difficult to look at, even for him. Blue’s mother, Jacquie Red Feather, is an alcoholic who gave up her daughter for adoption not long after she was born. Years of addiction have taken their toll on her mental and physical well-being.

Nonetheless, Jacquie is still making the effort to stay on the wagon and helps others to deal with their additions as a substance-abuse counselor. This would appear to indicate that addiction, on one level at least, is always a choice, as is the decision to take positive steps to overcome it.

On the other hand, there is no point denying the intimate link between addiction, especially addiction to alcohol, and the rampant poverty, racism, and lack of opportunity which are the hallmarks of Native American life in White American society.

The gradual erasure of indigenous culture by the White man over many centuries has induced a sense of cultural loss and displacement. Unable to adapt to living in a society that doesn’t fully accept them as equals, it’s no wonder that so many Native Americans have turned to the bottle for comfort.

Another kind of addiction, this one much more modern than alcoholism, comes in the form of Edwin Black’s addiction to computer games. Edwin’s sedentary lifestyle is the primary cause of his chronic weight problem. Once again, we can look at that addiction from two angles. Edwin’s addiction is very much a product of White society, as computer games are not a traditional part of indigenous culture. At the same time, Edwin made a choice to sit around playing computer games all day.

But now, like Jacquie Red Feather, he’s taking active steps to deal with the problem. As with many of the characters in the story, he is determined by his environment yet still able to exercise sufficient freedom to transcend it.

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