The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

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At Junior’s grandmother’s funeral, held on the football field to accommodate all the people who loved her, Junior’s mother publicly gives a white billionaire his comeuppance to the delight of the whole community. “And then my mother started laughing,” Junior says. “And that set us all off. It was the most glorious noise I’d ever heard. And I realized that, sure, Indians were drunk and sad and displaced and crazy and mean but, dang, we knew how to laugh. When it comes to death, we know that laughter and tears are pretty much the same thing. And so, laughing and crying, we said goodbye to my grandmother. And when we said goodbye to one grandmother, we said goodbye to all of them. Each funeral was a funeral for all of us. We lived and died together.” How does this reflect a cultural insider’s perspective and how does it disrupt stereotypes about stoic Indians?

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The sterotype of "stoic Indians" leads one to believe them unfeeling.... without emotion. Junior's insight teaches us that feeling and emotions run deeply through his people, that they feel, mourn, and celebrate in the same way everyone else does. Only Junior would understand the laughter and the tears, the community's feeling of solidarity and respect. Through him, we can better understand the perspective of those living on the reservation..... those who continue to adhere to their culture.