Green Grass Running Water

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Coming Home In many Native American cultures, ceremonies of sacrifice and renewal are an annual activity used to promote community and individual well being. In the novel Green Grass, Running Water, Thomas King suggests that when one is able to fully accept one's own self and/or cultural traditions, a renewal celebration or regeneration of the spirit may give the individual's life direction or guidance in previously misguided areas. The Native American Sun Dance is a celebration where the sacrifice of past difficulties and misdirected ideals and/or paths may cause the participants to gain strength and understanding in their lives . This is also a time to celebrate how the world was once created and to insure harmony between all living things. Thomas King proves this thesis using the characters Alberta, and Lionel.

Alberta Frank is a Native American woman teaching native studies to a small group of "white" students at the University of Calgary.

This Native American woman is lecturing on the "destruction aimed at . . . reservations," a topic integral to her life, and one from which a great deal of passion should be generated. However, her uninspiring and spiritless lesson causes "certain individuals" to "fall asleep," sit "virtually in each other's laps," and enter into a private "conversation." Indirectly her lecture touches upon an important religious celebration of the Native American culture, the Sun Dance. She depicts the Sun Dance, which celebrates the creation of earth and all of its components, as a trivial and meaningless component of her people's culture. Even though she portrays such a momentous occasion as inconsequential, its inclusion in her lecture is an unconscious admission to herself of how her own desire for inner peace can be realized through this cultural celebration. Alberta closes her lecture by wishing her...