Tracks Background

Tracks Background

Tracks is a novel that was written by Louise Erdrich and was published in 1988. It is the third book in a series of four books that tell the story of four Anishinaabe families that are all somehow connected to each other. All of them live on an Indian reservation in North Dakota. Also, even though it is the third book, it comes first in time, telling the backstory of several characters in the series. For this series, Erdrich chose for the narration type to be first-person, but alternating between multiple characters.

Tracks has two narrators, a tribal elder named Nanapush and a young girl of mixed lineage named Pauline. In Nanapush’s chapters, he is talking to Lulu, his granddaughter who has been sent to government school. Lulu is now estranged from her mother Fleur, but Nanapush is telling stories to Lulu that explain why Fleur sent her daughter to school. During the time period of Nanapush’s story, Pauline, who is the other narrator, is deeply suspicious of Fleur and her magic. Tracks explores the relationship between non-Native Americans and Native Americans, the immense impact that the whites had on the quality of life of the Natives, and the delicate bonds that hold families together.

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