Identify the historical era Sherman Alexie is writing about in "What You Pawn I Will Redeem" and its significance to the story.

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sherman Alexie's "What You Pawn I Will Redeem" is contemporary to the time in which it was written.  The first publication of the story was in The New Yorker's April 2003 edition, so the story is likely set in the 1990s.  The protagonist Jackson lives in Seattle, but he is from Spokane.  Jackson also says that his people have lived with a 100-mile radius of Spokane for generations, so Spokane (the Spokane Indian Reservation) is the cultural hub for his people.  During the 1990s, Native Americans saw the implementation of more laws related to preserving and upholding their civil rights and liberties.  For example, the 1990 Indian Arts and Crafts Act called for the prevention of sales and marketing of items that look like Native American arts and crafts that are made by non-Native people.  So Alexie's story, appropriately so, is a quest for Jackson to reclaim his sense of identity, which has come out of an era espousing the same values.

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What You Pawn I Will Redeem

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