Although Sherman Alexie is widely recognized author, he is also known for the poems that he writes. Below are some of Alexie's poems which discuss various issues Native American's face. What are common themes you notice about the three poems? What issues is Alexie trying to address? Who do you think the intended audience for the poems is? Write your response to these questions in the blog.
When other Indians want to give thanks For my poems, stories, readings, and movies, They often give me Pendleton blankets. I think I own twenty-five or thirty
And actively use ten or twelve of them, Which is, according to custom, rather odd. Growing up on the Spokane Indian Rez, I never saw a blanket leave its box
Because my mom thought they were gifts from God.
On her birthday, in 1963, My aunt and her friends drank antifreeze.
Fourteen teenage Indians died that night. My aunt survived but she soon went blind.
And though she's no masked superhero,
She recognizes me with some other sense No matter how long I've been absent.
I can silently appear on her front porch But she'll say my name as she opens the door.
Buffalo Bill opens a pawn shop on the reservation right across the border from the liquor store and he stays open 24 hours a day,7 days a week
and the Indians come running in with jewelry television sets, a VCR, a full-lenght beaded buckskin outfit it took Inez Muse 12 years to finish. Buffalo Bill
takes everything the Indians have to offer, keeps it all catalogues and filed in a storage room. The Indians pawn their hands, saving the thumbs for last, they pawn
their skeletons, falling endlessly from the skin and when the last Indian has pawned everything but his heart, Buffalo Bill takes that for twenty bucks
closes up the pawn shop, paints a new sign over the old calls his venture THE MUSEUM OF NATIVE AMERICAN CULTURES charges the Indians five bucks a head to enter.