•  Absolute True Stories of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie

    "Traveling between Reardan and Wellpinit, between the little white town and the

    reservation, I always felt like a stranger. I was half Indian in one place and half

    white in the other. It was like being Indian was my job, but it was only a part-time

    job"  (Alexie 118).



    How westward expansion affected Native Americans

    Mascot Debate

    "What was I doing at Reardan, whose mascot was an Indian, thereby making me the only

    other Indian in town?"


    Thematic Questions

    Racism and Discrimination

    • ‘And what’s more, our white dentist believed that Indians only felt half as much

    pain as white people did, so he only gave us half the Novocain.’ (Alexie 2)

    • ‘We were supposed to make you give up being Indians. Your songs and stories and

    language and dancing. Everything. We weren’t trying to kill Indian people. We

    were trying to kill Indian culture.’ (35)

    • ‘During one week when I was little, Dad got stopped three times for DWI: Driving

    While Indian.’ (46)

    • ‘. . . some Indians think you have to act white to make your life better. Some

    Indians think you become white if you try to make your life better, if you become

    successful.’ (131)

    Hope and dreams

    • ‘But we reservation Indians don’t get to realise our dreams. We don’t get those

    chances. Or choices. We’re just poor. That’s all we are.’ (13)

    • ‘You kept your hope. And now, you have to take your hope and go somewhere

    where other people have hope . . . You’re going to find more and more hope the

    farther and farther you walk away from this sad, sad, sad reservation.’ (43)

    • ‘The quality of a man’s life is in direct proportion to his commitment to excellence,

    regardless of his chosen field of endeavour.’ (148)

    Family Relations

    • ‘I suppose [my dad] is depressed. I suppose my sister is depressed. I suppose the

    whole family is depressed.’ (40)

    • ‘And my parents love me so much that they want to help me. Yeah, Dad is a drunk

    and Mom is an ex-drunk, but they don’t want their kids to be drunks.’ (46)

    • ‘Yep, my daddy was an undependable drunk . . . He may not have loved me

    TEACHING SUPPORT KIT The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian 6

    perfectly, but he loved me as well as he could.’ (189)


    • 'Poverty = empty refrigerator + empty stomach’ (8)
    • ‘My parents came from poor people who came from poor people who came from

    poor people, all the way back to the very first poor people.’ (11)

    • ‘It sucks to be poor, and it sucks to feel that you somehow deserve to be poor . . .

    It’s an ugly circle and there’s nothing you can do about it.’ (13)

    • ‘I lied about how poor I was.’ (119)