81 pages 2 hours read

Sherman Alexie

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2007

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Before Reading

Reading Context

Use these questions or activities to help gauge students’ familiarity with and spark their interest in the context of the work, giving them an entry point into the text itself.

Short Answer

1. Who are the Spokane people, and where do most of them live? List five details that you think are likely to be true about Spokane history or culture.

Teaching Suggestion: The protagonist of Alexie’s novel lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington State. This question is intended to gauge what students already know about the Spokane, so that you can fill in any gaps in their understanding of this cultural setting before they begin to read. Because non-Native students may harbor misconceptions about Native peoples, this question is probably best answered in writing, to minimize the spread of harmful stereotypes and misinformation. After students have given preliminary answers, you might offer them the resources below and then ask that they revise their answers to reflect what they have learned.

  • This article from the Spokane Tribe of Indians recounts key facts from the history of the Spokane people.
  • This 6-minute video from PBS profiles a Spokane program to pass culture from generation to generation.