There, There is a novel that highlights and explores the struggles of modern-day Native Americans through a wide array of unique individuals (twelve, to be exact), each with problems and missions of their own. Tommy Orange, the author, sought to reflect many of the mixed thoughts and feelings he had growing up, in his writing, to make his characters struggle the way he did in a way to accurately depict the ambivalent nature of his own identity, of his peoples’ identity.

 

According to the New York Times, Tommy Orange is an Oakland native and is a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes. In his mostly-white high school, he was often mistaken for being Chinese and Mexican, and bullied because of his apparent ethnicity. His father was a Cheyenne Native American (and a Native American Church ceremony leader, at that) and his mother, a wanderlust white woman who was spiritual. His parents clashed over religious values when his mother converted to Christianity, and this brought on dreadful feelings concerning the end of days and eternal hellfire when he was just a boy. This would serve as inspiration for his writing, in part. There, There has been honored by famous writers such as Margaret Atwood and Pam Houston, and he is said to be part of a new generation of indigenous writers who are reshaping Native American literature. Joshua Whitehead and Tommy Pico are just a couple names from these ranks.

 

Ultimately, Tommy Orange wants native voices to spread, to be heard, just as others are.

Categories: Native American, Tommy Orange

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