Tag Archives: sherman alexie

Some good literature!

I wanted to dedicate a thread to what now are two of my favorite writers! I discovered them last year, when I started reading American Indians authors. These authors are: Joy Harjo, for poetry (and “narrated” poetry too!), and Sherman Alexie, for short stories (you might have already seen our previous post on his screenplay “Smoke Signals”). If you read any of their poems or short stories, and you wish to comment here, go ahead! You can find both authors on our Talking People section devoted to American Indian thinkers, activists and artists. We included links to their own websites. We asked Joy Harjo for permission to include in our little webpage her poem “Strange Fruit”, because it’s also related to the little webpage we have for the song Billie Holiday sang, with the same title. We are planning to select more poems for you all, so you get interested in this fantastic writer! Then, we’ve sent out a permission request to Alexie’s publishers, to see if we can scan “The Search Engine”, a story included in his Ten Little Indians. This year, we are going to make the proposal in class for Advanced 2 students to buy copies of the Smoke Signals, the screenplay, but we wanted to offer a sample of his short stories, too. Well, hope you like them! Feel free to comment!

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Smoke Signals

This is the title of a movie based on Sherman Alexie‘s script. Alexie is a Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian writer. I have ordered some copies of the published script of this movie, “Smoke Signals” (1998, read the summary of the movie at Alexi’s website!). We can’t get the movie in Europe, because of our DVD/videos players, but I have watched it and I have collected some YouTube videos on our YouTube account, so that you can watch them. The first one is here below, anyway. Let me give you some background info: “Barter” means “exchange, swap, swop, interchange, trade”. [The French upon meeting the Coeur d’ Arlene Indians called them the “The Heart of the Awl” saying they were the greatest traders in the world.] Thomas, 1 of the 2 main characters, trades a story (The girl says “Better be good!”) for a lift (para que les lleven en coche) to the exit of the reservation (the rez) (they joke about leaving the rez, saying that it’s like going abroad, to the USA! 🙂 “Have you got your passports?”). Thoma’s story is about an event in Victor‘s dad’s life (with hippies in the 60s, when “all the hippies were trying to be Indians” and there’s a very funny comment around making social statements, do you get it?). Both of these boys are leaving the rez to get to the place where that man, Arnold, died. You see, Victor’s dad runs away from the rez, deserts his family, but… Well, you’ve got to watch the movie! By the way, 1 of the 2 girls in the car is also in the TV series “Northern Exposure” (Doctor en Alaska), Elaine Miles, a  Cayuse/Nez Perce Indian, who plays the role of Marilyn in that series). Cultural tip: Indian peoples have an amazing oral tradition (or used to have before the genocide attempt, and are having now that miracously they’ve survived that!), and that this boy who tells the story is an example – he’s a gifted story-teller.