Ten Little Indians Background

Ten Little Indians Background

Ten Little Indians is a 2004 collection of short stories by Sherman Alexie. The collection is composed of nine short stories that tell of the struggles of the Spokane tribe, a Native American tribe that lives in Washington state. Though there are various lead characters throughout the work, many parts of each story seem autobiographical, describing Alexie’s own life. By writing about a Native American’s life more realistically, Alexie addresses those who believe the extreme stereotypes that many different filmmakers and authors have imposed upon Native Americans.

Most of the Native Americans in Ten Little Indians have moved out of the reservation to live an average middle-class life in the U.S. One character is in college, getting degrees that will secure a good job. Another young man is working to become the president of the U.S., but his cultural identity and social pressures threaten to tear apart his sanity. Others are struggling with their families and their love life, just like every other human. Even though some of the people have average jobs with fancy technology and pricey indulgences, they also exude the traditional values of their people: humor, modesty, loyalty, and joy.

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