“You don’t have to pay attention, It’s the reservation” (245).These lyrics symbolize the attitude of white society towards the Indian nation. As white settlers to this country moved westward, respect for Native Americans did not exist. Native Americans were slaughtered, their land was confiscated and in the end, they were put on reservations-soon to be forgotten. In the book, Reservation Blues, by Sherman Alexie, the relationship of racism, discrimination, and oppression with white society is explored. The Indian characters, Chess and Checkers become part of the band Coyote Springs, and are faced with a life in the outside white world. Chess aligns her identity with her native upbringing. Checkers dreams of fitting into white society by changing her identity. The band mates of Coyote Springs use the influence of white society to their advantage. In all these situations, the characters explore how the influence of white society shapes their own identity.
White society, specifically white women, have always had a negative impact on Chess. As Coyote Springs travels the country performing, white women flirt with Junior and Victor. On more than one occasion, both men spend the night with white groupies. This infuriates Chess. Instead of blaming Junior and Victor, she vents her anger towards white women as a whole, “Chess only thought about those white women in the van. She hated Indian men who chased after white women; she hated white women who chased after Indian men” (81). Chess wants Indian men to be with Indian women. She does not want her own culture to be intermixed and wants Indian men to stay loyal to Indian women. Chess has felt discrimination all of her life. She knows that she is separate from “white” society and is not part of “white” culture. It has been taught to her since birth--us and them. As a young adult she feels slapped in the face by her friends not defending...