“This is What it Mean” by Sherman Alexie tells the story about Victor and how his journey to Phoenix, Arizona to get his father’s ashes. The relationship with his friends and family is affected by the colonization. Victor is an Indian man. He grew up very poor and his mother is poor too. His father died of a heart attack and he needed money to go to Phoenix and pick up his father’s ashes back.The people in his area are poor too. Victor went to the Tribal Council to ask for help. But the Tribal Council couldn’t offer a lot of help, only $100. That is not enough for much. But Thomas offers to help him with money. Victor didn’t really have a good relationship with his father. The Indians were struggling to survive.
We see the tribe itself as the basic unit of governance and the leadership that defines other traditional leaders in Sherman Alexie’s “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona.”
Colonialism has had an effect on the economy and society. Because of their extreme poverty, he had no money when he sought to locate his father. His friend Thomas helped him out by lending him some money so that he could travel and reach the city where the father had died. Being of Indian descent, they were never recruited, leaving them without a job or a source of money.
The impact of colonization on the Indians can be seen from the beginning, after victor learned that his father died, he had to go to Phoenix, but he was so poor that he didn’t even have the money to buy a plane ticket. This describes the living conditions of contemporary Native Americans. There was another scene when Victor and Thomas are in july forth. Thomas said that it was very strange for Indians to celebrate this festival because he felt that this festival had nothing to do with them. This shows that Indians are confused about their identity.
Two characteristics of the government existing in Sherman Alexis’s poem but not shown (the US Government) is tyrannical and selfish. Tyrannical because indigenous people’s lives were controlled in every aspect. Where they lived, how much money they had, what school they went to and more. Selfish because the land that was rightfully the natives were stripped for them only to be told where they could live and how much land they were able to have. Millions of acres reduced to small reservations. Bountiful resources now turned to drugs, alcohol and poor nutrition. Rather than sharing resources they keep as much to themselves as possible. The government shown in the poem, the tribal government, is one that is giving. They try to help their community with what they have. They are also traditional, tribe governments have been around in many indigenous cultures.
In “This Is What it Means…” by Sherman Alexie, he describes the type of government that exists on reservations, such as the one that Victor and Thomas live in. Victor goes to see the counsel in order to receive financial assistance to go to his Dad who recently passed away in Phoenix. During this interaction, Alexie shows elements of this type of government. The first is that they are a tight-knit community of appointed individuals. They were selected by the community to assist the community. The other aspect of this government that is shown is that they are very poor. Victor asked for only $100 dollars and the counsel was not able to assist him, and they suggested that he seek help from someone else in the community, which did in fact end up working. As for Thomas’s experience within this community/government, he had been treated as an outcast. This is shown when Victor described him as the kid with a bunch of stories that no one wanted to listen to. This is also evident when they recall the story of Thomas falling and breaking his arm while the boys laughed at him and teased him.
The rulership that takes place within “This is what it means…” is known as a tribal government or sovereignty. These governments are ruled by the culture or tribe that exists in the space. In this case, the Native American tribes would choose their own people to be in charge, as seen when Victor visits the council. The council offers him money for his trip to pick up his father’s ashes, most likely funded by the outside government. The problem is that this enforces a culture only seen on the reservation. The Native Americans become accustomed to living under these conditions of colonization and make decisions that help them collectively, such as the small funding they provided to Victor, showing that they themselves are forced into their current living conditions because of a lack of money. These issues present themselves to Thomas, and his life on the reservation exists as the “Lone Storyteller”. He is separated from most of the group and lives his life trying to express his true identity relating to his culture.
In “THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS TO SAY PHOENIX, ARIZONA” by Sherman Alexie, Victor does not have a job and must rely on counsel for the little funding they have. The counsel not having the funding shows how much his native tribe is dealing with lack of fun to maintain native traditions. It messes with his identity because he cannot provide his father with a proper ceremony due to lack of funds. The people in victors’ life must deal with their traditions being stripped away from them by colonialization. This can cause substance abuse to cope with and further divide families.
In “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” by Sherman Alexie we see the government/rulership follow that of a tribal governance system. The tribe is the primary unit of government, and leadership is determined by a council of elders or other traditional leaders. Some of the characteristics of this type of government are that it is decentralized and focused on the needs of the tribe as a whole, rather than the interests of any one individual or group. We see this when the victor goes to the tribe to ask for money and they collectively make a decision to only afford to give him 100$ dollars. As an allegorical figure, Thomas-build-a-fire represents the struggle of Native Americans to retain their cultural identity and traditions in the face of external pressures. Throughout the short story, we see Thomas grappling with his identity as a Native American and his relationship to his culture and community for the stories he would tell about his dreams and visions. He becomes an outcast that even by the end of the film loses his friendship with victor as he himself doesn’t want to become a outcast like Thomas-build-a-fire
In “This Is What It Means”, directed by Sherman Alexie, tells the story of a man named Victor and his journey to Phoenix, Arizona, to find his father. Victor was an Indian and had a friend named Thomas. They had a sweet friendship until the day Victor hit him and they broke up. The area and people were poor and had no money, and this shows the rule of colonialism and its impact on the descendants of Native Americans and how radically their lives are governed. Colonialism affected his family and friends economically and socially. They were so poor that when he tried to travel to look for his father, he had no money, and his friend Thomas helped him by giving him some money so that he could travel and go to the city where the father died. Being of Indian descent, they were never hired for a job, had no income or a place to work. Because of this, their financial condition was difficult.
In the short story of “THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS TO SAY PHOENIX, ARIZONA” we see the rulership of colonization and its effects on the descendants of Native Americans and how drastically rules their lives. we see how the how victor and his relatives and pushed off into reservations and left with little means of self sufficiency. we also see the bad shape the economy is in their community leaving close to no one with money the firework sellers. the only source of money they have as a community is with their tribal council, who are reluctant to even give victor money due to its scarcity