The problem of dealing with the indigenous people of the land.

The problem of dealing with the indigenous people of the land.

Love Medicine Since the beginning of colonization of America, there has been the problem of dealing with the indigenous people of the land. After the first attempts in eradicating the population, the American government changed its policy to integration. It is this integration into white society and the severance from the Indian culture that causes disenfranchisement in the modern Indian reservation. In Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine, the contradictory efforts to isolate the Native Americans on reservations and to make “regular” Americans of them are seen over roughly a fifty-year period. The Morrisseys, Kashpaws, Lamartines, Lazarres and others must define their relations to alien religions, customs, economic realities, and family and social structures. And over this struggle hangs a veil of alcoholism and despair. June Kashpaw was taken in by Marie Kashpaw and her family as a young girl and later moved with Nectar Kashpaw’s brother, Eli. Though Native American definitions of family include various ties of friendship, including spiritual kinship and clan membership, June is treated as an inferior because she is not a member of a nuclear family, which is strictly a Western European institution. As a result, June leads an unhappy life of promiscuity while looking for a home and a sense of belonging. On the Christian holiday of Easter, June finds her “home” by dying in the snow. However, it is interesting to question whether June’s home is in the Christian-defined heaven or the afterlife believed in by her Chippewa ancestors. Despite the lonely life that June led, she caused her son Lipsha Morrissey to live with the same feeling of alienation by giving her son away to her “mother” Marie. Lipsha also grows up without knowing of his ancestry and therefore feels incomplete. Added to the stress of this, Lipsha also feels detached from the white society by having the ability to use the old Indian medicines. Yet through th…


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