Parents' Guide to

Indian No More

By Joly Herman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Moving story of Umpqua family relocated to L.A. in '50s.

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A dramatic and touching tale of forced cultural assimilation, this story fills an important gap in what most textbooks cover about the U.S. government's role in the persecution of Native Americans. Indian No More shows how uprooting people from their land affects generations of people. The struggle that Regina undergoes to learn about herself in the context of White society is extremely moving. When her family is told that their people are no longer recognized as a tribe, Regina personally attempts to understand what this means. And what it means is that she's seen as foreign, even though her people and other Native tribes have inhabited the continent for far longer than the European American settlers oppressing them. It means that she's called names. It means that although the American dream is achievable to some degree, the loss of identity might be the very steep price.

What makes this story good, and why kids will like it, is that the struggle is told with the clarity and honesty that only a kid can call forth. It's not cut and pasted from an experience and put into another time and place. It feels real because it was real. It's an important addition to the middle-grade historical fiction canon.

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