George Morningstar. Like the man who he alludes to, General Custer, George Morningstar posses an American patriotism that borderlines insanity. His zeal for American superiority blinds him to different perspectives on anything pertaining to challenging America’s supremacy. His brutal abuse of Latisha and undermining of Native traditions could be an analog to General Custer’s motives for his attempted genocide of Native Americans.
Dr. Joseph Hovaugh. A very powerful character in the novel, he dislikes those who challenge his opinion or attempts to challenge his authority. Kind of like a “God” who has deemed the natives as “mentally unfit” it demonstrates how Caucasians believed their “God” saw Native American “savages” who required protection and education. His constant need for control and often cold callous behaviour alludes to an Old Testament variation of the Christian God.
Babo Jones/ Sgt. Ben Cereno/ Jimmy Delano. During the question period, it seemed that Sgt. Cereno was in charge, much like captain Benito Cereno in the short story by Herman Melville. However, Babo Jones, a black woman, was the one with all the knowledge and though she seemed quite erratic and wild because of her frequent topic changes, she had all the power during the questioning.
Ben Cereno’s impatience and poor treatment of Babo, like the captain Cereno’s poor treatment of the slaves, led to his dismay and he couldn’t get the information he should have gotten as an investigating police officer; similar to Cpt. Benito couldn’t get the power he should have had as captain of the ship. Jimmy Delano’s patience was rewarded and he was able to discover the true familiarity which Ms. Jones possesses about the Native Americans’ escape. Comparable to Amoso Delano who discovered that the slaves had overtaken Benito’s ship thanks to his inquisitive nature.
Alberta Franklin. Frank, Alberta is where one of the greatest landslides in North American history transpired. “Turtle Mountain” had been picked away by its inhabitants for mining purposes and suddenly collapsed killing 76 people, destroying ¾ of the houses, and covering over 1 mile of the CPR. Alberta Franklin has reached a crisis point in her life, stuck between two men which she does not want to marry and unable to get the baby she so desires.
These aspects of her life have been “picking” away at her, and her inability to decide could be comparative to the pace of a turtle. It is quite probable that Alberta is going to have a meltdown which will drastically affect those around her. On a side note, Alberta seems to also parallel the actual province of Alberta. In the novel, Charlie describes Alberta as the province and Alberta as the person in the same way. Therefore when this crisis finally unfolds in Alberta’s life it may also lead to some sort of actual disaster occurring in the province as well.
Eli. There are two aspects of real-life stories which correspond with the development of Eli Stand Alone in Thomas King’s novel. Elijah Harper, Minister of Northern Affairs in Alberta, was also faced with a situation that abused Native American rights. When the Meech Lake accord failed to address the individual and cultural needs of the Native American people, he stood against it and effectively stopped it from proceeding. Eli stands against the dam because it too neglects the Blackfoot’s land rights.
By this act of resistance, perhaps others will join his efforts, as Newfoundland did in the Meech Lake Accord, or Duplessis will give in. From religious texts, Eli who turns away from God and allows his sons to sin is cursed with the prophecy against the “House of Eli”. In many ways, Eli turned away from his native culture and for this reason, his birth home is now endangered. This parallel from the religious text could possibly indicate that Eli and his cabin will be lost during the story, when Eli least expects it.
Clifford Sifton. As the minister of interior from 1896- 1905, Mr. Sifton had to deal with the controversial issues of separate schools. As expected, he funneled money into Catholic schools for white families while neglecting Native Americans. Similarly, Mr. Sifton supports the dam which may be in favorable interests of Duplessis and other residents of Alberta but it severely undervalues the Native Americans’ land rights. Also, Mr. Sifton in the story has a love for the great outdoors like his historical counterpart but is still adamant about upholding the welfare of his investors and supports, not the natives.
Four Indians. Ishmael, Robert Crusoe, Hawkeye and Lone Ranger are all Caucasian characters from white literature. However, Thomas King has changed these characters into Native Americans to present an alternative perspective to each of the stories.
During each section of the novel, Mr. King explains how “First Woman, Changing Woman, Thought Woman, and Old Woman” are assigned a native role in each story by the often silly Caucasian protagonist. Mr. King has instead given the natives the predominant role in his story while comically mocking each of the Caucasian characters, undermining the popular attitude that they were the only “heroic and intelligent” ones in each of their respective stories.
Bill Bursum. In the novel, Bill Bursum is constantly underestimating and disrespectful toward the Native Americans; whether subconsciously or deliberately out of ignorance. He refused to address Minnie as Ms. Smith, which may seem minuscule but demonstrates his lack of respect for his native subordinate or others in general. He is consistently ranting on about his perspective on Native American culture taking aspects such as effective TV advertising and attempting to articulate how being Native American stops Lionel and Minne from appreciating the complexities of his “Map” advertising design.
He asserts that the natives of Blossom aren’t really true natives anymore and are that is in complete contradiction due to their use of technology. This kind of ignorance and mistreatment of Native Americans is what fuelled Bursum Bill which allowed Caucasian and Spanish farmers to illegally usurp Native American land they squatted on. Though Bill may believe soundly in his believes, in the end, his ideology will fail like Bursum Bill.
Four Canadians. P. Johnson, S. Moodie, Archibald Belancy, and J. Richardson have all in some way contributed to the development and exposure of Native American culture via literature on the international stage. The fact that they all entered the café together suggests that perhaps that their support of native culture could possibly have rendered them as friends if they had been alive in the same place and during the same time period.
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