Indian No More

By Kirkus Reviews

In 1954, the Umpqua tribe was terminated by the government. Unable to afford their land on the former Umpqua Grand Ronde reservation in Oregon, 10-year-old Regina Petit’s father, who is Umpqua, decides to sign up for the Indian Relocation Program and move the entire family to Los Angeles. Regina and her little sister, Peewee, spend the summer adjusting to life in their multicultural South Central Los Angeles neighborhood, where they befriend black siblings Keith and Addie and Cuban brothers Anthony and Philip. In this new environment, Regina is forced to confront the dominant ideas about her Indian identity through what the other kids have learned at school and from the 1950s TV show The Lone Ranger. A neighborhood game of Cowboys and Indians defies the outcome Regina played on the rez, where the Indians win. The children experience a racist attack while trick-or-treating when white teenagers throw eggs and use the N-word. (The book leaves Regina puzzling over this incident without addressing the history or implications of the slur.) McManis and Sorell produce a poignant family story of the impact termination had on the thousands of Native Americans who left reservations in order to survive. Using a supporting cast of color to reflect distorted stereotypes back at them, however, has the effect of eliding the implication of white culture in their origins. A good starting point to introduce the legacy of tribal termination.