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"Don't ever let anyone tell you what being Indian means. Too many of us died to get just a little bit of us here, right now, right in this kitchen."
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There There is a 2018 novel and the debut work by author Tommy Orange.

The book focuses on twelve "urban" Native American characters around Oakland, CA, and their lives before they all convene at a pow wow in Northern Oakland. It examines their individual struggles with heritage and identity in the modern world; through their arcs, Orange showcases the mistreatment and abuse Native Americans have faced throughout the centuries, and how the United States sanitizes it and continues to leave them with nothing.


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This work contains examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: A recurring theme, examined through its effects on others. Thomas is an alcoholic and lost his job, Tony's mother left him with fetal alcohol syndrome, Octavio lost his family in a drunk driving accident, and Jacquie is trying to become sober after her daughter committed suicide.
  • A Degree in Useless: Played for Drama. One character has a graduate degree in native studies, but no job prospects. This is used as a metaphor for the plight of Native Americans in the modern day.
  • Domestic Abuse: Blue suffers from an abusive partner, whom she eventually leaves.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Thomas, who grapples with his mother being white and his father being "one thousand percent Indian".
  • Shout-Out: The title is one to Gertrude Stein's autobiography: "There is no there there."
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  • The Whitest Black Guy: How Calvin views himself, as he doesn't claim to be Native and just says he's from Oakland.

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