“Indian No More” by Charlene Willing McManis With Traci Sorell
Review by Jennifer McClear, Library Technician at the Peapack & Gladstone branch
How would you feel if you were forced to move away from all you knew and were familiar with? Would you feel scared? Nervous? Sad? Excited? All the above perhaps?
If you had to start over in a brand new place, not knowing much of anything (except perhaps that you were different), would you hold onto all that made up your background (culture) or would you forget where you came from in order to fit in and/or succeed? Would you try to find a happy medium — keep some of your traditions, while doing your best to make the most of your new surroundings?
This story tells of Regina and her family being forced off of their reservation (the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde) by the government and the adjustment to their new lives in Los Angeles in the late 1950s. The grandmother is one family member who adjusts slowly (if at all), while still holding onto her native culture. Her son (Regina’s father) is determined to adjust to being an American so he can make things easier for the rest of the family, but especially for his two daughters. Their neighbors, from a variety of backgrounds, welcome Regina and her family. The community, having experienced similar struggles when they came to live in L.A., help bring them all together.
In the end, no matter where you live, you’ll always have a piece of home within you. And as long as you have family, you’ll survive just like your family before you survived.