The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie

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What is the purpose of the drug in the story "A Drug Called Tradition" in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven?

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In “A Drug Called Tradition” by Sherman Alexie, we are told the story of three Native American youth who try a new drug and go on a spiritual journey. The story centers around the main idea of “tradition” and its place in Native American life and spirituality. Many Native Americans have a complicated relationship with the concept of tradition, and it isn’t easy to remember many traditions because of how the US government and white settlers have decimated Native American culture.

The painful history associated with a culture that is mostly lost is why Victor tells Thomas that he is welcome to come along to try the drug so long as, “you don't tell any of your stories until after you've taken the drug.”

The story implies that Thomas is always trying to tell the cultural and historical stories associated with the Spokane—but Victor and Junior, like most Native Americans on the reservation, don’t want to hear them—except when they’re under the influence of the new drug.

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