Sherman Alexie’s book, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian has been banned from the Meridian School District curriculum in Idaho this week, according to Native News Online.
Alexie, a renowned native author who is Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, has achieved the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2007. The book tells the story of Junior, a nerdy high schooler growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Junior leaves his school on the rez to attend an all-white high school where he is forced to deal with the judgements from his peers.
Having read the book within the year of its release (when I was in middle school) I found the book hilarious, and wonderfully written. The issues that arise within the book are what almost every native person faces while growing up in non-native communities.
When I was young I enjoyed it even more for the language and general anecdotes that I could so easily relate to. However, in the Meridian school district the things that I loved and still love so much about the book are the things that they are banning it for.
The book explores so much about teenage life, and more specifically native male teenage life as they suffer through loss, lack of support and acceptance. The book should not be banned from a supplemental reading for 10th-graders because some parents are offended by some of the language because their children are going to be exposed to these things regardless of the child’s race, gender, religion, area or school curriculum. The parents might as well accept this and try to explain to their teenagers their own standards in morals, education, and general expectations of character.
Like I said having read it in middle school, I’m sure a large group of high school students, along with their parents are mature enough to handle a well-versed book such as this. While the book will not be on the reading list anymore, I encourage all those to read it that feel they are more mature than a middle school girl to read the well-written and award-winning novel.