Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 283
Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie was published in 1996. The story is about a serial killer prowling the streets of Seattle, Washington. The victims are all white men. This modus operadi earns the killer his nickname and results in racial tension in the community.
The first victim of the Indian Killer is Justin Summers. He was found buried in the backyard of an abandoned house. Another victim is Edward Letterman, a businessman murdered outside of an adult video store. The killer also kidnaps Mark Jones, who is later set free.
David Rogers is kidnapped while leaving a casino and is murdered. His brother Aaron, enraged at his brother's death, commits acts of violence against Native Americans. His attacks are supported by Barry Church and Sean Ward. Sean eventually decides against committing violence.
John Smith is a Native American adopted by Daniel and Olivia Smith, a white couple. As he grows older, he wishes to understand his native roots and culture.
Marie Polatkin is a Native American woman who protests a Native American literature course taught by a white instructor, Dr. Clarence Mather. Mather wrongfully believes he is of Native American descent.
Reggie Polatkin assaults white people to quell his anger, the result of the abuse he experiences at the hands of his father Bird. He is joined in his attacks by Ty Williams. Reggie's close friend Harley Tate, who is deaf, ends their friendship because of Reggie's violent behavior.
Jack Wilson is a crime novelist who, despite being white, believes he is Native American and writes about native culture.
On of the most influential characters in the story is Truck Shultz, a radio host who sensationalizes the Indian Killer murders and promotes racist propaganda.